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The Latest MultiCam Knockoff

MultiCam was developed by Crye Precision and is currently one of the most popular camouflage patterns on the market. It’s been adopted by numerous countries including the US, UK, and Australia. Consequently, we run across MultiCam knockoffs all of the time. Readers send them to us often asking if they are authentic or not. In fact, we received one yesterday that really caught our eye. Generally, copycat patterns are intended for the MilSim or consumer markets which are often more driven by price than performance. But this one was different. It was developed by the US Army and oddly enough, for much the same reasons. Intended as a cost savings measure and yet still be MultiCam compatible, we’re not too sure they have succeeded at either goal. Take a look, and you’ll see what we mean.

The argument is that real MultiCam printed webbing is too expensive. When the Army first adopted MultiCam as OCP (Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage) the plan was to use Tan 499 nylon webbing for MOLLE webbing. At some point, they went ahead and switched to MultiCam printed webbing since it blended so much better. But, it seems that solution proved too costly. Granted, even pennies per vest add up to a sizable sum when you consider the volume of IOTVs the Army purchases. So instead of using the vetted camouflage, PM SCIE secretly developed an in-house four-color pattern designed to be compatible with OCP. Somehow, the omission of just one of MultiCam webbing’s five colors resulted in a 50% reduction in cost, or so claims a recent Purchase Description Change obtained by SSD.

IOTV PD 07 05E Change v3-7

At this point we are unsure exactly how much money is actually being saved. As far as SSD can ascertain, the Army did not go to any of the companies who currently print MultiCam webbing to develop this pattern, but rather enlisted the aid of a company inexperienced with the pattern. Nor do we have any idea how much it cost to develop this pattern or to bring that printer up to speed to produce it or for that matter any of the other webbing producers who will need to make it for the Army. Once you look at the photos of the webbing, you may very well question whether they have gotten this new four-color pattern right yet.

Considering the amount of resources currently being dedicated to Soldier survivability, it doesn’t seem to make sense to reject a pattern that performed so well in testing in both the visual and IR spectrums to adopt a new, untested pattern. And if testing was accomplished, it was done in relative secrecy and that smacks of exactly the type of scenario that PEO Soldier claims they want to avoid in the upcoming camo trials; the arbitrary adoption of a pattern based on subjective criteria.

If, in addition to savings, the intent of development of this webbing was to provide compatibility with OCP, we would have to say they didn’t do a very good job. Let us run you through a few photos to show you what we mean. Then, you can be the judge.

This first photo is a MultiCam background without any webbing.

The second photo is MultiCam webbing on a MultiCam background.

Next is an example of how the Army thinks it should be; four-color pattern on a MultiCam background.

Finally, is a comparison of MultiCam and the Army four-color pattern on a MultiCam background.

The Army’s four-color pattern kind of reminds me of the UK’s Hybrid DPM that was abandoned once they adopted the MultiCam-based Multi Terrain Pattern (MTP), in that it doesn’t quite blend in. Sure, we can see some relation in the four-color pattern and MultiCam, and that is what is probably most disturbing. Aside from spending money on an ill-suited pattern, the Army has succeeded in showing industry that if they feel your pattern costs too much, they will just change a couple of things and make it their own. Equally disconcerting is that this pattern was developed in secrecy and much like UCP, fielded without adequate testing. Their timing is impeccable, seeing that it’s on the eve of the release of the Family of Patterns solicitation.

What were they thinking?

40 Responses to “The Latest MultiCam Knockoff”

  1. ZM says:

    Wow, that is ugly… Did someone say “lowest bidder?”

  2. Administrator says:

    This pattern was developed by the Army.

  3. Doc Dodge says:

    It doesn’t work.
    I can still see it.

  4. Strike-Hold says:

    “U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi!”

    Isn’t this EXACTLY the kind of behaviour that everybody screams “FOUL” at the Chinese for doing?

    Shocking….

  5. USMC DJ says:

    Looks like kiddie camo. stuff they sell in Walmart. Lets get it together guys.. the chinese could have done a better job matching!

  6. Mike El says:

    Looks like the Australian colors.

    Also notice that the camo strip’s pattern goes up and down, while the multicam base goes left to right. Perhaps if the camo patterns both went the same way they would blend a little better.

  7. MarKM says:

    Looks like a typical cheap ripoff. Obviously some bright boys didn’t have a clue, and the results speak for themselves.

    This has happened before, the Wiggy’s sleeping bag copycat comes to mind, and now, the Danner boot given to Belleville.

    It’s all part of the risk of selling to the Government, and the arrogance of some careerist attempting to make a mark on his next review. Anything is fair game in the “up or out” mentality of Command.

    Comes to mind, for all the simplicity of what a red dot really does, why not save some real money and farm out Aimpoints to the selected low bidder?

  8. JEFF says:

    Yeah that looks horrible, tan or coyote would’ve been a better cost cutting approach. The green and the brown just look to bold. Need to simmer down a bit.

  9. JonnyV says:

    wow, so that’s where China decided to dump their failed camo webbing 😛

  10. Flight-ER-Doc says:

    Nothings too good for the troops….so thats what the Army is aiming for

  11. maresdesign says:

    Well isn’t MultiCam just a knock-off of WWII Waffen-SS camouflage?

  12. Dev says:

    Do you (SoldierSystems) by chance have any larger samples of this camouflage?

  13. Administrator says:

    Dev, so far it’s only been applied to 1″ webbing.

  14. James G says:

    As much as I hate Multicam I don’t like seeing an American company getting ripped off

    A “Certain” group of people in a certain hobby is surely the driving force behind creating a market for knock-off Multicam products

    Air…Cough

    ~James G

  15. Strike-Hold says:

    @maresdesign: How the hell do you reckon that? It looks nothing like any of the WSS patterns.

  16. Riceball says:

    While the pattern is horrid I do think that in strips against Multicam it does create a pretty disruptive pattern, I think it would actually do a pretty job of breaking up a person’s silhouette, whether or not the colors on the strip will actually allow you to blend in to the environment is another matter entirely.

    @James Easy on the knocks against airsofters, while some are probably wannabes I imagine that a lot of airsofters are just regular people who like something more realistic than paintball and I imagine that good number of them are current/former military and probably contractors like you too.

    And as far as Multicam knockoffs go, why pay a hundred plus for a set of genuine Mulitcam just to run around playing airsoft when you can buy a set of knockoffs for half the price? If your life isn’t going to depend on it or you’re not using it to make a living I seen no reason to shell lots of money for what amounts to a functional costume. Besides, it’s not like the airsoft community is the only one that’s running around with knockoff Multicam, I’ve seen pictures of lots of different countries whose military wear Multicamesque cammies, most of which are probably not licensed by Crye. Hell, I bet it won’t be long before some Russian & Chinese units are seen running around in Multicam knockoffs given their habit of copying other countries’ camo patterns.

  17. Terry says:

    If they are really that price sensitive, a plain khaki webbing blends surprisingly well with Multicam. It can also be noted that the majority of operators will have at least half of the PALS grid on a vest covered with pouches, of course it won’t help them if the pouches also have that abomination of a camouflage pattern on them. While I care less about how a pattern looks and more about how it performs (Auscam for example works exceptionally well in the Australian Outback but isn’t exactly pretty) that 4 colour webbing is just plain ugly and looks like a cheap knock-off if woodland…

  18. murphquake says:

    The real issue with this pattern to my eye is the lack of the blending and shading techniques used. I remember visiting Crye at the Navy Yard in 2004 and talking to Caleb & Co about the difficulty in keeping a printed pattern exclusive.

  19. mcs says:

    Don’t mean to nitpick, but,
    “…MultiCam webbing’s five colors…”
    The above document states that MultiCam is a 7 color pattern.

    Really, it’s not too bad of a color scheme, all they have to do is darken the base color a bit. At 100yds, 1″ webbing isn’t going to be too noticeable anyhow.

    Let’s just all hope this was an early prototype, and not a finished model. Because really, it’s a bit, well…

    Cool scoop, by the way! Love seeing these new camo articles.

  20. Administrator says:

    Five colors for webbing

  21. Joe says:

    I completely agree with murphquake, simple lack of “attention to detail” makes this a nonstarter.

    Dark Brown and Sand are the only colors that are NOT blended in Multicam.

    The Army deleted those colors, and removed the blending from the colors they kept.

    Article 15’s and half a month’s pay taken from an E2 missing a formation, yet no accountability whatsoever for officers and DOD civilians throwing away millions of dollars and countless lives on ill-conceived camouflage.

    Where’s the congressional hearing on that?

  22. Aaron says:

    It looks like the Polish Camouflage pattern.

  23. Whokka says:

    I agree they have cocked it up…
    but does anyone know the tech spec of this webbing?

    For example, I have used loads of texcel MC webbing on crye PC, pouches etc, and all users know it is not that durable and that it fades quickly and rubs off… basically, you can’t truelly successfully print onto nylon.

    If we look at UK MTP and the osprey 4 armour system it uses acid printed polypropelene on its PALS webbing. and in my experience it is highly durable and doesn’t fade or rub off. In short, a more successful webbing tape. The colour is also a more successful match… though I wouldn’t go so far to say it is ‘true’ MTP.

    So if the US ARMY have made a Technical advance, Well done.
    Just don’t launch it until the colorways are right!!

    If it is just a cost saving exercise… shame on you.

    If you put guys in harms way you sign a contract with them to furnish them with the finest combat gear to may give them the winning edge over the enemy.

    On a final note, I’m surprised after issuing great quality FR gear (Tencate Defender M and Massif fabrics/gear) to those in reach of the bad lads. The Army didn’t go the extra mile and issue FR nylon products manufactured by companies like Eagle Industries aircrew systems with great success, That would be a clear demonstration of commitment to the guys!

  24. Whokka says:

    My bad!! noticed they have moved to an FR shell… good work!
    interesting to see if the tape is FR and the pouch set!

  25. Dev says:

    Thanks for the quick and prompt reply SoldierSystems. Like another fellow reader mentioned, keep up the good work on such scoops and articles.

    Perhaps we should wait until larger samples before passing judgements? Who knows after that ARPAT fiasco, and taking into account the Army’s legendary reputation for hits and misses with these sort of things, that pattern may actually solve a problem for a much lower cost than MultiCam?

    Granted, it may work well and be a really effective camouflage. But I guess it still doesn’t address the issues surrounding the procurement process. Maybe that is an issue for another day.

    I for one (and i’m sure many others here) will be watching this closely.

  26. Mojo says:

    @riceball

    I believe the Russian Alpha teams have been using Multicam for at least the last year.

  27. Wild Bill USMC(Ret) says:

    Thanks Soldier Systems. You were on time, on target about the Navy’s uniform confusion; and, apparently, the Army is striving to keep themselves baffled without any assistance. Why mess-up Multicam? It is a proven and effective pattern for several environments – plains and mountainous desert, desert urban areas, grass plains, and savannah/scrub brush. The Army’s 4-color pattern is very similar to the original EDRL Dark/Jungle pattern that was tweaked to become BDU Woodland. The 4-color pattern DOES NOT mix and DOES NOT belong with Multicam. I like the Multicam pattern and have my own Tru-Spec NYCO BDU sets to supplement the BDU Woodland and Tru-Spec MARPAT Digital Woodland BDUs. I hope DOA officers and officials read this blog and take note that Multicam is superior to ACU, and they should not mess with it.

  28. maresdesign says:

    @ Strike-Hold. The concept, colors, and execution of Multicam reflects the W-SS designs. See the 1945 US Army Richardson Report and Micheal Beavers book “Camouflage Uniforms of the Waffen-SS” for more info on this subject.

  29. Clay says:

    I personally see a striking resemblance to soviet VSR camo. A little off, but close. I’d like to see a uniform in this pattern, if the resemblance to vsr can say anything then this will work well, as vsr is one of the most effective patterns I have tested. And for those who dont like how it looks, camo is concealment, it doesn’t have to look good, it’s not like ur not meant to be seen in it…

  30. Clay says:

    Sorry for the double post, accidentally posted. Ive personally seen vsr camo used in a semi-arid environment where the user’s body literally was indistinguishable from the ground. The only thing that showed up was his OD PC. It works, this should too.

  31. Paulie says:

    Who the F is running the Army’s cammo asylum? Can’t the uber-geeks at NATICK and Fort Livingroom Officers PEO-Retards get anything right?

  32. Strike-Hold says:

    @maresdesign: I’ve had both of those books for years – the only German camo that you could say even vaguely resembles the shapes of MultiCam is the 1945 Liebermuster pattern (which was intended for the whole of the German military, not just the WSS). But it is still a very vague resemblance….

  33. James G says:

    I still say Multicam is Gay

    ~James G

  34. Lasse says:

    Why don’t they just use a solid colored Tan 499 webbing instead of that 4 color version? It’s cheaper than the ugly 4 color version…

  35. LCON says:

    Speaking Of World war 2 German Patterns I think this new webbing pattern looks like a variation Heers Splitermuster 45 with out the black. If the Army wants too save money on Webbing change it back too the Dark earth brown they were going too use in the first place. Don’t Waste it. How many millions do you think they spent too come up with this? More then they could justify I’ll bet.

  36. Clay says:

    ^ how bout looking up VSR? It’s closer I think than german camo.

  37. Brian says:

    Completely consistent with the Natick/PEO SOP of idiocracy.

  38. Kevin says:

    That looks totally ridiculous. What sort of medication are these people on? Because they sure have become stupid-ified from it.