The Sabre Jacket is 5.11's take on a full featured highly weather resistant jacket. The creation is likely a response to the growing demand of high-end jackets. After a brief look-see, the general layout appears very response jacket like, but with numerous additions. Starting with the pockets, there are 2 classic side hand pockets with zipper openings. Flaps are sewn on top of the opening to help with item retention when zippers are open and weather protection. Both shoulders have zippered pockets with highly water resistant zippers. 3"x2" loop velcro areas are also on these pockets so you can mount your favorite cool guy patch. Both sides of the upper chest also have fancy weather resistant zippered pockets. The more central placement is easiest to use for most users, but will be covered by those who wear armor. On the inside of the jacket is a zippered pocket on the left and a velcro sealed pocket on the right. I guess they mix it up to give the user options on speed vs. security.
Like on the response jacket design, there are zippered areas on the upper right and left to give access to the ID panels. There is an additional large one on the upper back. The ID panels connect with velcro now instead of a zipper. The panels themselves have remained as simple fabric and the user still needs to find a way to apply patches to the panels. All of the ID openings are also secondary pockets in which they offer access to the space between the 2 main layers of the jacket. Although not meant to be pockets, you can fit larger odd shaped objects in there when you find yourself having to make-do. A cool new addition is the long pit-zips on the sides. They use 2 zippers in which one can zip from up to down to allow heat to come out or zip down to up to get to concealed weaponry easier or free up movement. It isn't a huge deal, but the side zippers don't come with any kind of pull-tab at all making them very hard to use. Luckily adding 550-cord or whatever is not an expensive fix. On the note of pull tabs, the one on the main central zipper is awesome. It is grippy and fits in your hand great. The only draw back is that they are not used anywhere else on the jacket.
The sleeve ends use both elastic and velcro strap adjustments. I find the velcro strap adjuster to be too thin and is getting snagged or torn off frequently since it does not have much loop velcro to grab onto. Making these 1" wide instead of .5" would help the problem. Another problem that occurs with this issue is that the main side hand pockets are lined with fuzzy material for comfort, but the sleeve straps love to snag on them since the hook part of the strap grabs onto the fuzzy pocket material.
As a bonus, the Sabre comes with a detachable hood. Using snaps and velcro it attaches to the collar fairly easily. My vision was quite obstructed at first, but the velcro adjustment on the back on my head allowed me to quickly fix that. Shock cord and cord locks allow the hood to be cinched down tight. The visor is a bonus, but I found out the hard way it is prone to bending. It doesn't come as gimpy looking as my pictures show it. Since I don't use it all of the time I put it back in the area where my back ID panel is. Unfortunately this means every time I sat down in a chair, I bent the hell out of it. Despite looking a bit abused, the whole hood still functions fine.
For additional finer points I want to note the jacket will probably be more appreciated with more clothing worn under it. If you put it on with just a t-shirt at the start of a cool day, the jacket feels pretty damn cold. As a bonus cold touch, the pit-zip zippers will come in contact with your skin and will be extra cold. I wish there was a little interior fabric flap to keep the zipper slider off your skin. Keep in mind this whole cold complaint is very limited. The jacket will quickly warm up and keep you warm. As another oddity I find the collar hard to keep down. Half the time I just decide "fuck it" and go Elvis style for a day.
In the end with all the pros and cons considered, it isn't the best thing out there, but the Sabre is pretty nice for the price. It is very wind and weather resistant with a large load of pocket features. A crafty person who doesn't need the ID panel features could turn them into some cool pocket or organizer platforms. Currently available in Coyote, Black, and Navy.