Review: Helikon-Tex Defender Mk2 Shirt, long sleeve

The Defender Mk2 long sleeve Shirt is an update to the older Defender model and was reconfigured to fit into Helikon-Tex’ Urban line.
The target group is law enforcement, security personnel and/or active people. The shirt aims to combine a functional and tactical design with enough room for movement and low profile body armor underneath.
Having all this in mind, it is always interesting to take a closer look at apparel, which fits several user profiles. Since I was considering getting the Mk1 Version, I was quite happy to see an updated model with several improvements. But let’s start with the basic facts.


  • Weight: 390g
  • Material: 58% Cotton, 40% Polyester, 2% Spandex
  • Grammage: 155 g/m2
  • Features: 4 pockets, 1 loop for sunglasses, button down collar, vented armpits


The Defender Mk2 shirt is a heavy duty shirt with button closure at the front and four pockets to the chest. On each side you will find an expandable pocket which has a flap that can be closed with velcro. Directly underneath it is another pocket, which is accessible by a nicely covered ykk zipper.

Front chest pocket with velcro closure

Access to this zippered pockets is established from the side like Napoleon pockets.

Zippered Napoleon pockets underneath both chest pockets. Above the corner of the notebook you can see the loop for the glasses

The slat for the buttons features an inconspicuous loop at chest height to slide in the buckles of your sunglasses.

Loop for the glasses. Also a good look at the decent manufacture of the shirt!

The armpits feature mesh webbing, resulting in some decent ventilation during more active movements or warmer weather.

Vented armpits using mesh.

The fabric itself is quite breathable because of the high cotton content. Considering this high amount of cotton, this shirt will have better “no melt, no drip” (even if I hate that sentence) properties than the common NyCo fabrics used in the industry.

The collar is buttoned down, which results in a very decent overall look of the shirt. In the back of the inside of the collar there is a loop to hang up the shirt. This is a nice feature that was a given for so long but forgotten by the industry in recent years. It is good it comes back.

Very edgy look with the overal design. Take notice of the buttoned down collar and the folds on the sleeve, giving the shirt a more formal look.

The sleeves can be tightened around the wrists with buttons and feature folds, which gives the shirt a more formal look. The slit on the cuffs is long enough to properly fold the sleeves up. An additional button makes sure that this slit is not too open, when wearing the shirt long sleeved.


The fit is relaxed and roomy. Usually I am in between Medium and Large shirts. This particular shirt is sized Medium and fits me perfectly. The cut is wide enough to carry gear underneath in a concealed fashion.

The length of the sleeves is long enough for my arms, which are longer than average. At the time of the pictures I was 75kg at a height of 180cm.


The manufacture of the shirt is quite good. Helikon-Tex was always in the middle of the quality/price ration of the industry. They stepped up their game in recent years and this shirt is a good example for this. There are some loose threads here and there, but nothing you can quickly cut and burn with a lighter.

A look on the manufacrture: clean seams and straight work by the seamstress.

The stitching is clean and even with 5 stitches per cm. Together with the heavier fabric the overall feel is of high quality.

In use

The shirt can be compared to a BDU top, therefore acting like a very light jacket throughout the Spring, Summer and Autumn. Given the thickness of the fabric, it is more suited for late Spring and early Autumn than for Summer, despite the mesh vents in the arm pits.
The fabric of the shirt creases not much, which provides a clean look and eases the maintenance of it. You hardly need to iron it.


The Helikon-Tex Defender MK2 is a wonderful piece for the period of transition of Spring to Summer and Summer to Autumn. The practical setup of the pouches offers enough room for everyday uses, while being low key enough to not make the shirt to bulky.
The mesh vents are a welcomed feature, given especially the thickness of the fabric. The form and fit will make this shirt sell itself.

I would welcome more colors than the 3 available, to give users more options to blend in. Given the various colors Helikon-Tex is offering, I am surprised the Defender Mk2 comes only on Olive Green, Khaki and Black.

With that being said I hope I could give you a decent overview of the shirt.

Thank you for reading, and also thanks to Helikon-Tex for providing me with the shirt!

Here is the direct link to the shirt:

No Comment

You can post first response comment.

Leave A Comment

Please enter your name. Please enter an valid email address. Please enter a message.