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Blast From The Past – The Latest MultiCam Knockoff

We’ve had a few incredulous readers contact us with doubts that the Army would actually alter the OCP/MultiCam pattern on their own so we thought it best to share this blast from the past. We broke this story on March 25th, 2011.

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?

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33 Responses to “Blast From The Past – The Latest MultiCam Knockoff”

  1. Craig says:

    Just checked my IOTV as well as a few others in my team, all have that fake, ripoff patterned webbing, one of the colors looks almost yellow. I thought it looked funky when they issued us these but forgot about it after throwing mine into a duffel and rocking my PIG instead.

    I would add that the coloring on our FRCUs looks funky too, spots have an almost pinkish hue to them, even brand new before being washed. They also seem to fade a lot faster than the Multicam uniforms that the Aussies are wearing here on base.

    • Craig says:

      Just wanted to make a correction to my previous post. All the IOTVs that I have looked at had true Multicam webbing. However it is the issued plate carriers made KDH that have the fake webbing on them.

      And yes, this is equipment issued to us to go to Afghanistan (almost done with our tour).

  2. Mike B. says:

    Leave it too the Army to screw up something so easy… Got too wonder who’s running things there.. Are these QM Officers that stupid..

    • William V says:

      Quartermasters haven’t been directly involved in the acquisition of uniforms in a long time. If you are looking to grind your axe, apply it to the Acquisition Corps, but be careful, since you’re likely to cut more than a few combat arms Officers that are leading PEO Soldier and PM SPIE.

  3. Doc says:

    Is the army going to continue doing this since they “own” the rights to the pattern now?

    • Paralus says:

      but they don’t own it.

      A Phase IV WINNER might have been ‘owned’ by the Army, but OCP/MC/WTF is not the Phase IV winner, it was chosen in lieu of the Phase IV winner. Crye still owns the license.

      • Doc Rob says:

        but I thought the army bought the “rights” to Multicam? SSD?

        • SSD says:

          We still don’t know the details of any agreements between the Army and Crye.

          Doesn’t matter in this instance. This was done ages ago.

          • Doc Rob says:

            Oh yea I’m tracking this is a repost of something that has already happen, I was just curious as to if this will happen still especially with OCP being the unofficial/official uniform.

  4. H.C. says:

    My IOTV issued as well as my OCP flight vest had legit multicam webbing, albeit a shade darker due to the nylon webbing I assume. I got mine when they first started fielding OCP for OEF… never saw the knockoff webbing in the wild. This knock off webbing looks like garbage. Who the hell comes up with this stuff? I’m all for saving money, but not as the cost of significant loss in performance. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. Fingers crossed they don’t use this when they field it.

  5. bloke_from_ohio says:

    I wonder if the knock off webbing performs worse than solid colored webbing? It would not supprise me if it did. Does anyone with expierience with both care to comment?

  6. K says:

    Eventually I will wake up and discover this was all a dream.

  7. Daniel says:

    I saw that when we deployed in Oct 2012. It seemed to be only on some of the IOTVs though. The smalls if I remember correctly. I had a large and it had the correct webbing.

  8. Daniel says:

    Oct 2011*

  9. Timmay says:

    You want to drive past that grizzly car wreck without looking but you just can’t…

  10. cimg says:

    come on, that pattern can’t be Berry compliant, it looks like something from a Chinese army toy.

    Its not too hard to believe that Big Army will F’up Multicam in the end.

  11. Scott B says:

    My eyes are drawn to the horrific green in the four-color webbing on the MultiCam background. Sticks out like a sore thumb. Its sad to think that the army would cut corners on something so important. I remember the hours of waiting in line a day before deployment to be issued ACUs or whatever they ended up being called. Nightmare.

  12. Mac says:

    So not only are the Army knock off colors not really matching, the edges of the patterns aren’t feathered to blur the edges and the webbing contrasts based on different orientation (Multicam is horizontal like it’s supposed to be, Army knock off is vertical).

    “You had one job!”

    Yeah, the Army will like fuck this up…….just like they fucked up CADPAT/MARPAT by tweaking the colors to give us UCP….

  13. Mike D says:

    I first noticed this at an RFI a couple of years ago. I knew it must have been a cost savings measure or something to that effect. I’m not a fan. To me, that’s not the “OCP” the Army authorized for Afghanistan and therefore is an unauthorized item for wear/use in that theater.

  14. Kaoskydexsolutions says:

    Just go Jaquard!

  15. paul says:

    Unbelievable. There’s no fucking way they really did this. I need to see one of these in the wild.

  16. Doc Rob says:

    If anything I’d rather see solid Tan 499 than this crap all over the OCP gear that they are gonna have to start making since that is there “unofficial” decision.

    • KiNEtIX says:

      I know right? They pass over solid tan because it will stick out too much so they can field webbing where every color is way too dark and thereby sticking out like a peterbilt next to a fiat. And not only do IOTV’s have this crap, the later gen TAPs have this too. It’s terrible.

  17. 2Na says:

    Honestly, after seeing how much we’re dumping on both patterns, and now that the novelty of all that velcro and zippers have worn off, we should just use the same MARPAT gear as our jarhead cousins. It’s rugged, cheaper, works better against NVG systems, and is honestly just more dignified. Then maybe we could take the savings from that pot of cash and transfer it into finally getting a goddamn reliable rifle, if we can keep the payed-off AMC/QM brass out of it.

  18. DBACK says:

    Once again it’s about saving money. Not about soldier safety or what works….*EPIC FACE PALM*

  19. the tennessee ghillie says:

    im just looking at it and thinking WTF !!

  20. John Smith says:

    As ineffective as the knock off looks, I feel like it’s better than a single solid color like the webbing on other equipment. Also, if its covered in legitimate multicam pouches wouldn’t that help to break it up?

    • KiNEtIX says:

      Yes and no, yeah, legit Multicam pouches will cover most of it up but there will always be spots of the crap webbing showing through. The problem is that the knock-off webbing is so terrible. Look at pictures 2 & 3, you could say that real Multicam webbing actually helps the Multicam background by breaking up the solid field behind it and adding depth. In contrast, any depth that the knock-off may afford is killed by the coloring.

      It’s also the principle of the matter, when the army is coming off a multi-year binge on a terrible camoflauge pattern (UCP) that should never have happened, it’s aggravating to think that they may compromise soldier safety to save a few dollars.

      • John Smith says:

        I agree with the principle of the matter. And we all know if they really wanted to save a couple of dollars they would announce a winner for the camo improvement effort and stop purchasing ucp. They should start reading SSD.

  21. R says:

    I made a post on SSD’s story about the whole debacle last week, and I said I couldn’t believe the Army managed to salvage such a shitty situation, and that I was waiting for them to screw up. Little did I know, they outdid themselves yet again, and had screwed it up ahead of time.

  22. JBAR says:

    SSD, what would you say is the largest obstacle to this entire decade’s worth of Army camo SNAFU? The officers residing over the scientific testing, their immediate chain of command, big Army chain of command, industrial politics, or politicians themselves?

    Who selected UCP? What has that person, or personnel, come into questioning or public eye?