You Just Cannot Stop

A quick shot from the archives around the time I decided to actually start buying some Crye clothing. Those who saw the post on the Navy Custom combat shirt in AOR2 will have seen the little story about the time I nabbed it on ebay (during the week of SHOT ’16) which was a result of the aforementioned decision being made around the end of 2015.

I’ve talked a bit before about the number of brands of clothing I tried over the period of many years before actually picking up any more items from Crye. I’d owned my 2nd Gen combat cut trousers in RG for a long time, but they were ‘it’ for a good few years, despite the huge popularity of the brand. I just didn’t see a benefit in terms of putting out useful info to folks if I was just buying and reviewing the same stuff that had been covered hundreds of times already. I think the new G4 shirt is finally a design I’m going to really like, but even though I own a few now I’ve really never rated the AC or G3 combat shirts very highly. Again I’ve gone somewhat in to my reasons why in the blog post on the G3 combat shirt I published earlier this month.

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So what’s in the shot? Left to right:

-G3 Combat shirt
-NC Combat shirt
-‘UKSF Custom’ combat shirt (which I’ve not featured yet, it’s a mix of AC and NC)
-The Test Item labelled early iterations of the US Army combat pant
-G3 Combat trousers

Obviously 3 out of the 5 have never been commercially available at just regular tac gear shops, they were only military issue therefore you have to acquire them through sales groups, auction sites etc. These were just the acquisitions of those first 3-4 months after I made the change and I’ve tried to continue down a similar path since then. Always hunting down anything different, doubly so if it’s available at a good price.

For those who are interested, a lot more pieces from what has become my collection over the past 2 years are going to be posted in the coming months and if you are in to camo and uniforms (which I’d imagine you are if you’re here) you will probably enjoy them. That said of course there are plenty of other brands in the mix, other families of camouflage patterns, other clothing styles for inclement weather versus just arid and temperate climates. After all you never know where you might find yourself.

The ‘Other’ AOR Clothing

Must admit I thought yesterday’s post would do better, but either folks don’t like AOR2 nearly as much as me, or facebook stopped most people seeing it. Either way I love the stuff so here’s the Patagonia L9 Temperate Pant.

Crye, Beyond, Wild Things, Patagonia and probably more I don’t know of have all been making different items of AOR apparel for US Navy Special Warfare for a long time now. The original AOR1 and 2 combat trousers from Patagonia were a lot more like the Crye Army/Navy Custom cut, using the Crye AC combat knee pads. Further down the line I believe Patagonia got a bigger contract to supply a lot more kit with their current proprietary designs, such as these trousers. Still a combat cut with a lot of similarities to Crye Precision offerings, but a lot of changes too. Primarily coming out with their own knee pads which do a similar thing to Crye’s but without infringing on the patent CP have in place. I’ll post pictures of those pads at a later date but as you can see there’s 4 small holes around the pocket instead of the one large hole in the middle. The interior closed cell foam pad features 4 male portions of a press stud and the plastic cap that goes on to the outside encapsulates the 4 female portions. Slide in the foam fad, clip on the outer, done. Like the D3Os but with the studs instead of quarter-turn fasteners. I’m not filled with confidence that the Patagonia pads will be comfortable given how badly I got on with the D3Os but I’ll look to try them out some time soon.

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The entire knee pad pocket and the area around it is made of a colour matched stretch material. There’s also stretch at the lower back as per the Crye design and while the groin does have a gusset it’s made of NYCO rather than more of the stretch nylon. Most of the same pockets as found on G3s are present minus the ones around the back, which is a downer in a way but then you’re not short of other pockets. Ankle cuffs are there, but no waist adjustment, something I personally find pointless in Cryes anyway. Buttons at the fly and on the main thigh pockets as well as velcro for both, along the lines of the NC combat shirt.

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Patagonia also like to pretend they don’t produce for the military and take DoD money, as if somehow that would make them evil gun obsessed alt-righters with blood on their hands, or something ridiculous along those lines. Reality is the customers for their main line in the US are not pro-military or pro-2A and their management is the same. They also have at least 2 manufacturing options. As with this garment, a lot of their military stuff comes from ‘Readyone Industries’ who have a really grating promotional video here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch…

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Readyone are distinctly shady from what I’ve been able to dig up online and bits and pieces I’ve heard, but if you want to look in to that sort of thing because you’re interested in who really makes stuff for the military I’ll leave you to do your own googling, rather than turn this post in to a bunch of slander.

I’ve got other Patagonia apparel with different manufacturing names however and there seems to be a correlation between colourway and maker. From what I can see anyone who’s US military or otherwise works for the government in a role where they might need these sorts of uniforms is able to buy multicam and plain coloured L9 apparel. Those products come from somewhere else and have very slightly different features to the AOR1 and 2, also seem to be stitched together just very slightly better overall.

Other than that I’ve not a lot of knowledge about or experience with these combat pants, but since there aren’t many companies producing such complex military apparel to a high degree of quality I thought they were worth taking a look at.

Where’s My Trident?

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While the 2nd generation of Crye’s combat apparel was still in production there were a couple of specific variations made for certain military units. In the earlier days some sets were manufactured to the standard Army Custom cut but with AOR1 and 2 fabrics, these sets shared a few very small features in common with the very first generation uniforms and weren’t made in great numbers. I have a field shirt here that’s an example of that, it didn’t cost me too much fortunately, but if the combat shirts and trousers ever do appear for sale online (which is very rare to begin with) they can go for huge amounts of money.

Those AC sets were of course used by US Army SOF and probably some Navy, but I’m no expert in that area of gear history. What most people do think of when they see AOR patterns of course is SEALs and some other US Navy Special Warfare units. There was definitely a period around 4-6 years ago when everyone and his dog who played airsoft was trying to look like a SEAL on account of all the books and movies coming out, so the prices on any Navy Custom cut items that came up for sale went through the bloody roof. This cut of uniform and the AOR patterns have never been offered commercially of course and technically you have to have a US Government purchase order to buy them. I know that because I asked FirstSpear once out of curiosity of what the rules were. How the DoD ever really expected to control something as simple as clothing I’m not sure and the reality is there’s lots of this NC apparel in the hands of civvies all around the world at this point. AOR1 tends to command a higher value than 2, the combat pants being the most clamoured for item, followed by the combat cut shirt then the field cut sets. There are also a few NC sets multicam out there, but they seem far less common than the AOR patterned items.

It was about 2 years ago before I first went to Las Vegas that I decided I fancied having some AOR in the collection. Not because I’ve ever been in to the impression or re-enactment scene it’s just a really cool looking pattern that always comes from quality manufacturers who put out good, modern kit and that fits what I like to buy. The handy thing about physically being in the US where most of the auctions are located is you can actually be online for the end of said auctions. I like collecting gear but I’m never getting up at 3-4am GMT on a Tuesday just to avoid someone upping the bid I placed a few hours earlier by 1 dollar. I specifically remember being sat on a chilly, deserted monorail station platform one night after I’d been up to the Stratosphere for some dinner, hunched over my phone waiting for the next train while watching the last few seconds tick down on this particular combat shirt. Fortunately in 2016 the prices had dropped massively compared to 2011-12 and the auction in question hadn’t seemed to attract a lot of bidders that week, so I only had to pay a couple of notes more than a commercial Crye shirt would’ve been. Not too bad all things considered, worth it in the long term.

This sort of tale might not interest a lot of folks, but I want to say that it’s not so much just a load of money that’s needed if you want to have cool items to post about and discuss. There’s no effort or challenge involved in simply throwing a ton of cash at the first thing that comes up and being wasteful, no rewarding sense of hunting down a good deal either and I’d imagine everyone loves doing that, I know I do. Not to mention of course that if you over spend on one thing that’s money out of the budget to get other things. Personally I have an awful lot of forums and facebook groups and preset searches bookmarked in Chrome that I’m checking with great frequency (many times per day) so as to minimise the chances of missing any good bargains that crop up. Unfortunately I am classic Mr 32R/MedR and medium in almost everything in general, which means there’s a lot more competition as it were, whereas if you fit XS-long or XL-Xshort you’ll have zero trouble getting things at good prices. But honestly hunting down the things I like is as much of a hobby now as taking the photographs and then writing about them or taking them out to airsoft games (or occasionally for work with some gear).

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So apart from the fact you need to be a member of an elite unit in the USN to ever have be issued these NC AOR items, what’s the difference between them and the AC cut that was commercially available for a good number of years? Not a whole lot in the grand scheme of things. The sleeves, yoke and collar are the usual 50/50 NYCO of course, the usual YKK coil zip, same velcro cuffs as an AC, same height of collar, pockets mostly the same too. The label would imply the torso fabric is different to that found on an AC shirt, but I don’t believe it to be correct. Initially the NC line was manufactured with an all synthetic/polyester torso, which means very fast drying but as you’ll have seen from the videos in my last post – terrible FR performance. The change over to the torso fabric was made quite early on, so if you see an NC shirt with a shiny, sports jersey/gym shirt type torso it’s an old piece and much less common. Everything about the look and feel of this particular Navy cut combat shirt suggests the torso is actually 96% cotton and 4% lycra, as per all commercial AC combat shirts. My guess would be that they printed thousands of the green labels at the start for the sake of efficiency and continued using them even when they became incorrect.

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One key difference that plays in to the word Navy is the closures on the upper arm pockets. Where an AC shirt uses hook and loop, here you’ll see buttons as the primary method of securing the pocket flap. Much like the fingerprint ID on your phone, velcro is very unreliable when it’s fully sodden and water logged. The other key change is in the elbow pad pocket. Whereas the AC elbow pad is not actually contained inside a pocket of fabric and straps directly to the wearer’s arm, the NC shirt fully encloses the pad. You’ll note the pocket looks more than a bit like the one found on a G3 combat shirt, so presumably Crye found the setup to work better and carried the feature over from the NC to all G3s that we see today. They certainly didn’t copy the elbow pocket from the G2/AC field shirt as that is a different shape with top loading for the pad rather than the opening being down near the wrist.

Between the NC and AC combat trousers I only know of the differences in pocket closures, buttons vs pure velcro. But if I ever find a pair in AOR2, in my size and good condition for a good price, I’ll likely be tempted to pick them up and talk about them. Odds are slim of those planets aligning though.

NSW moved on from the NC some years ago of course as Crye discontinued manufacture of the 2nd gen uniforms, so Patagonia L9 sets and G3s (Crye and Drifire) in the AOR patterns were issued. Whether they still frequently use AOR1 and 2 I don’t know exactly because I don’t keep up to date on that stuff, but they’ve certainly worn them for long enough now that substantial amounts have leaked their way out of the Navy.

Potomac FR UCP Shirt

One last piece of UCP to complete the set before we move on to greener pastures… literally. I’m working through a few older photos still (down to around 22 months backlog right now) where I didn’t quite get pictorial for all the features on every item, but please bear with me over the next 11 days up until SHOT. Either directly or shortly after all the content is posted from there, I’ll be getting in to pictures with better backgrounds, better lighting, just better composition all around with more photos per piece of kit. I’ve got zero training or education in photography or media of any kind and the most base model DSLR Canon made. From the point I took shots of my first AEG back in 06 up until now it’s been a continual process of 100% pure trial and error to attempt to up my standards and bring half decent images to accompany all the posts.

So I hit the question of a good combat shirt to accompany the Crye test item/prototype Army combat pants. The US Army combat shirt of the period sells extremely cheaply online, so it’s a solid choice for someone looking to get a good quality upper torso garment to use in any activity where a plate carrier might be appropriate/desirable. You even get full FR construction at a bargain price. Problem is those Massif combat shirts *always* smell weird no matter how many times you wash them and lack both a zip and a proper collar. I’ve had too much neck ache on my delicate airman skin from narrow slings and straps on various gear over the years to go back to any sort of shirt without a decent collar, so that meant the ACS was out.

Since I was only ever going to have one UCP shirt in the collection, I also had to pick something that would be different and interesting enough to be worth featuring here. A generally high standard of construction quality is also a given of course, especially in a ‘dead’ pattern that won’t be in production much longer, if they’ve not stopped printing fabric it already that is. Problem is the options are limited in this pattern. I wasn’t going to try and hunt down and drop the big bucks on a rare Crye shirt in a pattern that’s not amongst my favourites, certainly if I didn’t have the set with the trousers. Tru-Spec do/did a reasonable option and I still recommend their combat shirts for an economical choice, it’s just a very common brand that again I don’t find personally interesting. That left (in the realm of well made options) the Potomac Field Gear below and one other shirt I have seen on ebay that’s a similar cut, but I can’t recall the brand for the life of me. So when the Potomac came up for not much money, that’s what I settled on, particularly given the RRP. Passive Shooter also picked one up years ago in US Woodland when combat shirts in said pattern were a lot scarcer than they are these days, so I’d seen the design and the construction quality already.

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The really stand-out unusual feature about the Potomac ‘Advanced combat shirt Gen 2’ is the amount of padding you can fit inside it. The UF-Pro Striker XT that I’m a big fan of accepts some 3D spacer mesh on top of the shoulders, but the Potomac has pockets for 2 pads on the chest, one right across the back and 2 in the shoulders. They’re thickly made too so if you wear the whole lot you really look like a lego man that’s lifted a ton of weights.

https://store.potomacfieldgear.com/…/comersus_listCategorie…

Needing 2 layers of fabric to contain these pads around the upper part of the torso isn’t ideal for heat or sweat dissipation and the 1/2 length vislon zip is frankly too long and chunky for optimal wear under armour. Then again if you had all the pads in the front the zip wouldn’t be pressed against the sternum as much as you would normally expect.

The construction is full FR, which fits my OCD nicely as it means I have a complete set of FR UCP. The sleeve fabric is proprietary to Potomac, though I can’t comment on durability or performance. However I would strongly encourage every single one of you to watch the following 2 videos. They’re not just about this shirt, but I found them many years ago when first looking in to this garment and they opened my eyes like never before to the difference FR fabrics will make in the event anyone might actually be caught in a blast.

https://youtu.be/sEn0HbnKrHs?t=1m9s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5dKqfqOfPo&ab_

I got in hot water during my brief stint in the sandy place for not wearing standard MTP and sticking in a Multicam US Army combat shirt and combat pants when I had to leave base, but I’ll take a telling off over risking polyester melted to my skin any single day of the week, regardless how tiny the risk may be in my job. I’ve scrounged up aircrew FR MTP since then to negate the issue when I next deploy. Throughout the ‘bulk’ phase of the coalition deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan burns constituted a serious proportion of our casualties, unfortunately in the air force the civilian mindset is pervasive and being as well prepared as possible is mocked and derided rather than encouraged. I’m not one for living my everyday life in fear, far from it, but I’ll do everything I can to be as well kitted out as I can be if I’m going to unpleasant and unruly parts of the world where westerners are targets.

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Now as you’ll note the right arm loop fields are in the US Army issued pattern, I believe there’s one area for a flag, one for rank and one for unit/name, but I sent my shirt off (along with some velcro brand grey loop) to an individual who used to do some nice mods for tactical apparel. He did a good job in the end, sadly it took well over 6 months when I was promised only 6 weeks. Payment was made right at the start of course and comms were spotty from then on with a whole lot of broken promises. Those of you who’ve followed me for a while will know I had a similar issue previously with a GBB tech and I’ve even had extensive delays recently with a different airsoft technical service who I’ve used many many times in the past with no issue. So while I’m pleased with the end result as it fits me personal preferences, I’m certainly getting more and more wary of anyone here in the UK who does any work on military uniforms or replica guns. Any time I find someone who actually is reliable they’ll be getting a great deal of business and positive press from me that’s for certain.

Overall, it would get more likes on the gram if it was Crye and I’ve no idea if these shirts were ever issued, but I enjoy having this piece in the collection since it’s of a high quality in construction. Though may not be the perfect choice it ticks most of the right boxes and exhibits some unusual but interesting features in the design. It’s a snapshot of the time period when it was made, put it that way.

UCP ACP with a little G3

Everything gets cool again once it’s old and long out of production. You may think “eww, UCP” right now but give it long enough and it’ll be cool on social media again. Apart from anything else, despite the U in UCP being entirely wrong, the pattern consists of a variety of greys in a proven pixel arrangement. So in any environment where the flavour-of-the-month Wolf/Manatee/Frost grey might work, UCP would also be just fine, possibly better in some respects. Just don’t wear it in the lush green woodlands or bright sandy desert.

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I’m not a historian in terms of which military unit or organisation wore which items and during what time period, that’s not my kind of bag at all. What I have gathered is that these initial versions of the US Army Combat Pant in UCP were made by Crye (or perhaps a sub contractor) around 2009-10 then worn and tested by members of an airborne infantry unit who deployed with them to Afghanistan around 2010 or 11. The one article I could find online is here at Soldier Systems Daily:

http://soldiersystems.net/…/08/11/commercial-army-combat-p…/

I don’t have comparative pictures right now of these trousers next to the multicam version that was later adopted in larger numbers when MC became the camo for US Army/Air Force deploying to Afghan (while still wearing UCP at home), but suffice to say the multicam version is very close in terms of cut and features. They did away with the front thigh pockets and went from velcro closures to tons of buttons of the inferior 4-hole type that US uniform always feature, along with other small changes that moved the pant further from the G3 design, but fortunately the integrated Airflex knee pads stayed, which is perhaps the key feature:

https://i.pinimg.com/…/53/aa335315bd8061f183beae28ba8d6552.…

Crye themselves did make some proper AC/Gen 2 combat sets in UCP for certain SF guys, but they’re so rare they go for anything from $500-700+ on the used market for just the lower halves. While I do have some uncommon Crye items that were expensive to obtain, I don’t like UCP nearly enough to spend that money and these trousers in slightly worn condition cost a a bit under $50. I also find them a bit more interesting since I already own a couple of pairs of AC trousers in the more common colourways and it’s nice to have some kit that’s of the more widely issued variety, also that marks an important step in development of a garment that went on to produced in large quantities.

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As you’ll see by the label the trouser is flame resistant, though the weirdest thing about them is the fabric used behind the knee pads and in the groin gusset. It’s different from the rest of the piece, doesn’t exhibit any rip-stop grid pattern and should be stretchy just like Crye combat trousers; but it simply isn’t, it’s static.
Why they even bothered to put in these separate panels I’m not sure, but it smacks of military decision makers making decisions about things they don’t understand in even the slightest little bit. Could just be someone ordered the wrong material of course, either way it’s pretty damn pointless.

All the pockets that a G3 trouser would have are present, though constructed slightly differently. Also present are the waist adjustment tabs, bungee cord for knee pad height adjustment in the front pockets as you would expect and velcro knee/ankle cuff adjustments. Though the waist line is not padded and the fly exhibits buttons instead of a zip and velcro.

I’ve been remiss in not posting a shot of the G3/Airflex knee pads that were exclusively issued with these combat pants, as while they were made exactly like any other Airflex pad shape wise, they were moulded in a Foliage Green colouration that’s never been sold commercially. To my knowledge these FG pads are the 2nd least common type of Gen 3 combat knee pad after those made in Wolf. They’ll be pictured here at a later date however.

Pouch Catch Up

A little while back I discussed modular placards, then more recently what I like in a plate carrier – to include mounting those placards. But which is the best type of placard or modular panel?

Given how many people would attach triple mag pouches to their conventionally styled PALS-fronted PCs and chest rigs, a removable panel that does the same as said pouches is going to be a solid and popular option. But which is the ‘best’ PALS pouch of the gazillions out there and how do you integrate that in to the QASM+velcro panel set up?

A hugely subjective question of course and most pouches sit on a scale of maximum speed at one end with maximal retention at the other. As with clothing some items manage to do a bit of both and stray from the line in a positive way, some stray from it in a negative fashion though too. Assuming we’re discussing the truly ubiquitous 30rnd 5.56×45 mag, my belief for the past couple of years has been that the simple open topped pouch with a kydex insert is the best all around option for a majority of applications. Add in shingle bungees or a stowable flap and you’ve got the best pouch going for 95% or more of situations.

ESSTAC have been making pouches specifically designed for their own KYWI (kydex wedge inserts) for a very long time, although they only really caught on properly in 2017 and ESSTAC themselves now even offer a Vel Sys mounting spec placard that features 3 slots for 556 mags to be retained with the KYWIs.

When I got my first plate carrier that could accept a placard however, ESSTAC weren’t making those products, but Haley Strategic Partners had released the MP2 plastic pouch inserts and seeing the similarities to the KYWIs I’d already tried, I decided the MP2 would be the way forward. So back in August 2015 I commissioned the pictured nylon panels from Dead Coyote Tactical Nylon after furnishing him with some MP2s to work from.

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Each pouch on the panel is of course built just like the ‘guts’ of a D3CR, because the MP2s are designed to work in the D3CR. The pockets did turn out slightly too deep, but with a few pennies worth of high density foam dropped in this was remedied. Firmly inserting a mag can still cause the ears of the plastic to disengage the webbing retention strip, however this is in large part a problem with the MP2s as the cut in the top centre could really do with being deeper; currently it is only sits at about 4-5mm which needs extending to my mind. All that said however the MP2s stay pretty firmly where they belong even if the top tabs are disengaged and it would take some serious jostling to lose the inset and/or your mag. We’re talking parachute opening type deceleration and for anyone who’s done any freefall you’ll know pulling that handle once you reach terminal velocity is like being clothes-lined by metal barrier when running at full sprint.

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Depth issues aside, DCTN did a superb job of setting the width of the opening to each cell, as the area within which the MP2 has room to expand directly affects the level of retention it provides. If the cordura causes the two sides of the plastic to clam too tightly together you’ll never get mags in or out. Conversely, leave the plastic open too wide and magazines will wobble around all over and potentially bounce/fall right out.

A pouch that’s built to the right dimensions will allow rapid and entirely unobstructed access to magazines when needed, yet will also retain those magazines quite reliably under the majority of circumstances. With the simple addition of a small loop of 1/2″ webbing on the front of the pouch, bungee cord and a retention tab could be routed through said loop and the webbing holding in the MP2, making the setup viable for flying around in things and jumping out of flying things.

The funny thing about all this is that Haley Strategic already teased their 3-mag variants of the original D3CR chest rig they’ve been selling for years that holds 4 mags. The new 3 cell version will work as a placard like the Spiritus rig does now and though there will probably be small pouches mounted on the front of the rifle mag cells, said cells will no doubt be built just like what you’re seeing in these images that I took in March 2016.

It takes way longer for a big company to design, develop, test, re-design, re-test then manufacture and bring a product to makes en masse of course.

Old Man Crye G3

I honestly can’t remember exactly which year Crye released their 3rd Generation of combat clothing and I should do because I asked for some 2nd Generation combat trousers one Christmas back when those were still very much being commercially sold, but either way it was around 6-7 years ago that the change was made and the earliest review I’ve found in a quick google is from militarymorons.com back in 2011. So the 11 time frame is about right since MM has a long history of jumping right on the best new gear right away and putting out info.
 
I’m sticking with my prediction that the G4 uniform is going to be shown at SHOT in a couple of weeks time, but honestly, if it isn’t I will be almost relieved in a way as that’s one less thing on my ironic list of ‘needs’. If it is there however, rest assured I will be all over that. The crowds at the booth will no doubt be deep, but I will keep going back there multiple times a day until I get the shots and the info.
 
As far as the now infamous G3 Combat shirt goes, there’s nothing I can do in terms of describing the construction and materials that hasn’t been long done already, so I’ll link this very detailed piece from my buddy Rich over at The Reptile House instead:
 
https://thereptilehouseblog.com/2014/03/19/crye-g3-combat-shirt/
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In the realms of the NYCO combat shirt however, the G3, despite it’s reputation, is long in the tooth design wise. It’s also a jack of all trades and master of none. Tyr Tac and Arc’teryx now have combat shirts for example using fabrics specifically designed to be lighter, more breathable and faster drying than your average NYCO – suited to extremely hot weather and jungle usage. At the other end Arc’teryx, Drifire, Platatac and others have shirts in a fully flame retardant construction. While the Crye is fairly good in hot weather and has an FR torso R(but not sleeves), it doesn’t excel in either area. It’s a good option for the sort of people that Crye design clothing for, but it’s certainly not the best for any given usage that somebody might have for a shirt that is cut specifically to go under body armour. It’s neither ideal for the civilian user, or the military man/woman who needs the best protection against explosions and any other flash fire hazards.
 
Rich also sums up a lot of thoughts I share in the start of this piece covering the Arc’teryx Assault Shirt AR, which for me is the next, more modern step in terms of a NYCO combat shirt that fits my criteria for using in hobbies and games like airsoft:
 
https://thereptilehouseblog.com/2016/07/15/review-arcteryx-leaf-assault-shirt-crocodile/
 
I’m also going to perhaps illicit some firm reactions when I say that comparatively (and please add huge emphasis to that word) the Crye G3 is one of the cheaper shirts sold commercially that the end user may consider for serious duty use. All of the shirts offering equivalent NYCO fabrics from Beyond, Tyr Tac, Arc’teryx, Patagonia (if you can get one) all charge even higher prices. In some cases a lot higher. Hell even 5.11 make a couple of combat shirts that cost more than Crye and anyone who buys those and admits it to me will receive a strongly worded letter let me assure you.
 
Fortunately of course there’s still plenty of solid mil surplus kit and mid range options that offer either NYCO or full FR construction, but amongst the high end manufacturers who contract to SF but also sell commercially, Crye is still one of the cheaper brands. Far as I know their commercial pricings have never actually changed in the entire time the G3s have been sold to the public, which makes them actually quite a lot better value in 2018 when you take inflation and increases in manufacturing costs in to account.
 
That all said, despite Multicam being by far the most common Crye colour way found on the second hand market, there are also many brands at both higher and lower price points who beat the G3 shirt in various ways and also offer original Multicam. So personally I would tend to only recommend the G3 shirt if you want the best combat shirt available in MC Tropic, Arid or Black. If you want the best in RG, Black, Tan/Khaki or regular MC then other companies mentioned do make a better shirt if you wish to spend more.
 
So there’s a lot of considerations to weigh up in a combat shirt. Despite its’ popularity, I really despise the G3 for having the split velcro and plan on having someone who’s good with a sewing machine make something that will fix that for me. It is a good option in various ways and of course the quality is there, but then again it’s really not the best option in a lot of other ways. As I very often say, the end user must learn what they need to learn in order to make the best decision about the materials, features and patterns that will bets suit their uses, then narrow down manufacturers based on that information and shop around from there. If gucci looks are the aim then sure, stick with what’s popular online and gets likes on social media, but never be drawn in to thinking popularity guarantees the best results for you personally.

NY Mail Call

Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
Here’s a bunch of kit.

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ft. CamelBak Tactical, Crye Precision (Khaki from Airsoft Evike.com), Arc’teryx LEAF (Wolf from Edgar Brothers/Edgar Brothers Shop),DRIFIREALG DefenseUF PRO from Polenar TacticalGrey Ghost,Obliterator Industries Ltd from ehobbyasia.comFlimmuur Tactical,Magpul Industries Corp.PTSRoman KurmazFRV Tailoring,Patagonia and Griffon Industries with some MultiCam and PenCott Camouflage.

People do seem to enjoy these types of posts, but of course over time everything here will be individually featured on the blog/FB and IG with more detailed images and descriptions, or reviews where appropriate.

Garand Thumbing It In

Nobody’s going to believe me when I say this, but roughly 6 months ago I’d been watching a lot of Garand Thumb videos and I’d also recently commissioned some custom Crye cut apparel from Roman Kurmaz, so I said jokingly to Passive Shooter “imagine getting a combat shirt made in plaid flannel with combat cut jeans? ha!”. Then a little while later the tactical cut flannels went tacti-viral, but the All Skill No Luck versions lack a collar, zip and any velcro.

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Personally I can’t stand a combat shirt without a collar and I think you all know I enjoy a patch or two. Not to mention colour/pattern options, this grey is more my style than red or blue.
Of course this is also a *super* practical piece of gear so providing camouflage in the urban jungle is imperative.

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FS x DCTN

Hit a little golden seam in my big old backlog of gear pics to post. Finally get to talk about what I personally would need to see in a potential plate carrier purchase and display my most recent custom(ish) amalgamation.

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This is purely what I use for airsofting and trying stuff out since I’m not nearly Tier 69 enough to deviate from my issued Mk4 Osprey, but it’s a list I’ve developed over a good few years based on playing a few different types of games, using various types of replica guns and in every season and weather condition. To avoid going off on too many tangents I’ll break things down to bullet points, each of the following are boxes that have to be ticked before I click checkout.

-Taken as read in the modern world, but construction needs to be light and efficient. 500D cordura and some hypalon. No 1000D, big metal buckles, excessive layering etc.

-Also taken as read but sewing must be more than up to scratch. Potential for failures in stitching simply isn’t acceptable. Your kit is no use to you on the floor because a shoulder strap wasn’t bar tacked, or a buckle didn’t have the triple or X stitching it needed. Obviously far more of a concern when wearing real kevlar/plates that both weigh a lot and need to actually protect you.

-Quick detachment between cummerbund and front plate bag. Ever since I picked up my first FirstSpear​ Strandhogg I have outright refused to go back to tearing up that huge field of velcro under the front flap. Shoulder strap QD is preferable but not an absolute necessity.

-Compatibility with placards of the type Mayflower standardised some years ago. It’s something not seen on widely issued military armour because when you’re only ever rocking the fi’ fiddy sex you don’t need that. However the great thing about airsoft or being a civvie shooter (in some countries) is you can pick your guns; probably useful for sneaky blurry-face dudes too. Sometimes you want sub-gun sized pouches, sometimes something like an ESSTAC for the ideal 556 pouch, maybe sometimes TACOs or SR-25 types pouches. Maybe you go real crazy one day and mix it up with GP pouches or med kit or a holster, who knows? There’s loads of placards to choose from and with straight PALS platforms the options are endless.

-Integrated admin pouch with external loop, but built internally. Not the ideal setup if you actually put armour in your rigs (then you want an external pouch), but I don’t so I don’t. Zip closure so there’s no openings at all, also some elastic retention for small items are preferable. Loop has to be there outside for patches… duh.

-1″ Webbing attachment points for ITW Grimlocks. Once my hydro tube is routed over the shoulder, I want enough slack to actually drink without yanking on the tube every time I’m thirsty, but I don’t want said slack flopping around in my face and the retention for that slack needs to be quick and easy to open/close. Obviously these also come in handy for managing cables and other comms stuff if desired.

-‘Negative space’ PALS, because webbing is so 2012. 6/12 from FS and other laser cut PALS grids are becoming more and more common and I think in a few more years they’ll finally make-up the majority of kit that’s produced. If you’re more of a gun guy, think of it as M-LOK for your gear. It just makes sense.

-Full interior lining of spacer mesh – plate bags and cummerbund. Cordura alone is fairly water resistant as it is and almost all cordura that’s used to make gear has a water resistance coating added, so where’s that sweat going when you’re leaking inside a PC with no lining? Nowhere – it’s just soaking your shirt and gradually building up a nasty collection of bacteria and salt. All the best clothing systems are all about moving sweat from the body to the outside, I want my rig to do the same as much as possible. Granted it obviously can’t evaporate out through the cordura (or armour if present) but it can go somewhere and gradually work it’s way away from your skin, also dries far quicker when you take off your PC. Foam pontoons inside the mesh to create channels and standoff are even better, if available.

-Large enough area of PALS at the back to mount (without overhang) either a TYR Tactical, LLC​ or Flimmuur Tactical​ zip-on hydro pouch that can hold a 2L Source Outdoor​ bladder. Sometimes I want water on board, sometimes not. This is also the whole reason I went from chest rigs in my early days of playing over to plate carriers despite having zero requirement for armour – having a place to mount hydration without adding either another set of shoulder straps or the front of a chest rig being pulled up by the water on the back.

-Shoulder straps with either padding and/or mesh built in, or the ability to mount a really nice and comfortable shoulder pad. Because my delicate airman’s skin must be treated with love and care. Also the same points apply to the shoulder straps as with the insides of the plate bags, because sweat can build up anywhere. Minor things, but I’ve been working on this a while.

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The pictured rig is made up of a FirstSpear AAC rear plate bag, upgrade cummerbund and deluxe shoulder pads, with the crucial front plate bag and the shoulder straps built from scratch to my specs by Dead Coyote Tactical Nylon​ (great job he did too).

This is the 2nd iteration on my idea of trying to combine exactly what I want in to one package. I did put out a video showcasing the 1st iteration back in December 14 and I originally paid for and spec’d out that particular design a fair while even before that; so the concepts integrated here are ones I’ve been in favour of for just a little while now. That video is here if anyone’s interested – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lyd7_KEA7o

I first had DCTN start work on his parts for this RG rig around the middle of 2015. I placed an order for the FirstSpear segments which I had sent to him, he built the front plate bag and shoulder straps using those as a foundation, then sent the whole thing on to a friend of mine who was at the time collating a few gear orders I’d placed within the US. My friend had a few personal issues and it took him a while to ship everything over, then of course the customs wait; so from the point of first discussing the idea the whole assembly took a whle and everything passed through a fair few hands to come together in to what you see pictured. Of the dozen or so different PCs I’ve ever owned however this one is the best for me personally, no doubt about it. Light, comfortable, everything I want and like.

Later on down the line I’ll be sure to upload a few shots of the complete setup with Flimmuur back panel, DCTN placards and a few other RG pouches.

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