Ghillie Suit Limitations

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While providing excellent camouflage, Ghillie suits have limitations, too, the biggest one being stifling heat from layers of thick

Camouflage for Sniping 371

Camouflage for Sniping 371

Snip Outline
Sniper capes cover just the head and shoulders. They work well when it's too hot to use a full Ghillie suit.
Ghillie Head And Shoulders
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The best camo pattern ever devised, the author believes, is this USMC digital scheme.

points break up die wearer's outline effectively, almost three-dimensionally, blending him into his surroundings. Farther away—as we reach fade distance—these tiny pixels meld into larger blobs that create an irregularity to obscure and disrupt a Marine's outline. For the first time ever, here's a pattern that works really well, both close up and far away.

I wish I could say the same for the U.S. Army's digital pattern, found on its latest Army Combat Uniform, or ACU. Although the ACU itself is extremely well thought out, its camouflage designers began their slide down the slippery slope when it was decided that one universal shade must work worldwide, for every terrain, every coloration, every season, literally every environment. Inevitably, when you design

Camouflage FOR SNIPING 373

Camouflage FOR SNIPING 373

Ghillie Suit Futuristic

Great uniform, questionable camo pattern—the U.S. Army's latest combat uniform.

a camouflage pattern to work everywhere, it won't work really well anywhere.

Although the ACU's digital concept offers the same potential for effectiveness as the Marine pattern, it's too light-colored—sort of a gray/tan/beige—for just about any setting except the desert. (In a wooded, green setting it will stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.) Still, since tan desert and brown mountains dominate Southwest Asia, where the U.S. Army will be engaged for the immediate future, this pattern will prove acceptable.

Second only to the latest Marine digital patterns, the most effective all-around pattern is the U.S. Army's woodland BDU. The randomly splotched, four-color woodland pattern blends well in all but desert and winter settings, while its

MILITARY/POLICE PATTERNS. (L-R) woodland, plain olive drab, "urban" (Snowflage), black, and tiger stripes.

special IR-absorbent cloth helps conceal wearers from some high-tech surveillance systems.

Plain olive drab, as found on Vietnam jungle fatigues, wasn't bad coloration, but it left the wearer's silhouene intact. To be more effective, this pattern needs spray painting.

Tiger stripes, another Vietnam favorite, reminds me of fishing lures, half of which, my father once noted, are colored to catch fishermen rather than fish. This is a sexy partem, but it's polarized with the black stripes oriented only horizontally. What happens when real shadows are vertical?

To fully appreciate the danger, recall that prisoners used to wear horizontal-striped uniforms so guards could confirm their presence by glancing through vertical cell bars. 1 doubt there's been a sexier pattern, but tiger stripes can get you killed. The colors are great; polarization is bad.

Black BDUs, very popular for entry teams, suffer from the same shortcoming as olive drab, but black makes for an even more distinct outline that can compromise a sniper. I once argued this with a Chicago-area police sniper whose entire tac team wore black, he said, because it "intimidated" bad guys. This particular cop was a "know-it-all," so my words were wasted; I hope they aren't wasted with you.

Understand, in order to be "intimidated," a bad guy has to see you—and if he can see you, he can shoot you. Intimidation works against a gunman who wants to be talked out, but it's begging for death from a determined man who wants to kill someone, especially a police sniper.

Black's not a bad color for entry teams, where they gain a short advantage by startling and intimidating hostiles, especially when wearing helmets and gas masks. But it's a terrible color for stealth and infiltration. What does a shotgun-armed bad guy call two black-attired cops sneaking toward him in daylight? Skeet.

We proved the inferiority of black uniforms during a SWAT competition in Gulfport, Mississippi, when every single black-attired competitor was detected during an observation exercise. It made believers out of everyone. Enough said.

The only overall worse pattern is the gray-white-black combination that's sometimes promoted as "urban camouflage." It's so bright that it highlights the wearer in all conditions except snow—but here's the irony. When originally developed« this pattern was called Snowflage and was not intended to blend with concrete and other urban elements. Use it in snovvfields, not on city streets. The military woodland pattern is much more effective in urban settings.

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Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Hunting Mastery Selected Tips

Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.

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