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SSD Exclusive – MultiCam Creator Crye Precision Speaks Out Regarding US Army Efforts to Adopt New Camouflage

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Recently, Soldier Systems Daily published a story detailing the three latest courses of action that the Army is considering to adopt a new camouflage pattern. After reading that story, Crye Precision contacted me and said that they were considering providing SSD with some information that would clarify their position on the matter. Heretofore, Crye Precision has been very tight lipped about everything Army camouflage related and my questions have been met with a pat, “we can’t talk about that.”

While no one in the US Army has made an official statement on the current state of the effort, it has definitely gone way off schedule and seems to have lost its focus. Unfortunately, the Army has abandoned its own plan and along with it the transparency that Phase IV of the Camouflage Improvement Effort once enjoyed. Facts are difficult to come by. Crumbs of information appear here and there. Sources leak confidential info to the press. In the process, we begin to see a distorted view of what is going on. From the Army’s standpoint, it seems that Crye Precision is asking for the moon. But based on what I’ve read from Crye, a new picture begins to take focus and I am beginning to feel that the Army and Crye Precision aren’t really in negotiations at all. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the Army’s actions suggest they don’t seem to be negotiating in good faith. Hopefully, the Army and Crye can work this out. I remain incensed that no one in the US Government can seem to pick up a pencil and paper and work out the math on this. After investing over $1 Billion in equipment in the effective Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP)/MultiCam since 2010, the Army should be happy to pay Crye Precision a fair and reasonable fee in order to negotiate a cost savings over the next decade or more.

Early this morning I received the following information in an email from Caleb Crye. It contains some very significant pieces of info. At least now we have one side of the story and hopefully, the US Army will be more forthcoming regarding their position on this.

MC in Combat

Ultimately, the goal is to provide the American Soldier with the most effective equipment. Let’s hope that institutional momentum, bureaucracy and personal agendas haven’t made the Army lose sight of this.

I have published the contents of the memorandum below and you can download your copy of the document here.

Introduction

Over the past fourteen years, Crye Precision has produced millions of protective items for the US Army and other branches of the Department of Defense. We are proud of our work and are honored to serve those who put their lives on the line to ensure our freedoms. As a business, our focus and internal challenge has always been to develop innovative designs that help our warfighters survive and succeed on the battlefield. We have offered countless products, from body armor to protective apparel to simulation software that reduce casualties and save lives, however, it is our MultiCam® camouflage pattern which stands above all of our products as having done the most to safeguard our troops. Though it is impossible to accurately calculate the number of casualties reduced and Soldier’s lives saved as a result of being well concealed from the enemy, the overwhelming number of direct accounts from warfighters citing MultiCam’s® undeniable performance advantage in combat are the truest testaments to MultiCam’s® effectiveness.

Crye Precision rarely weighs in publicly but in light of recently released confidential information that has misrepresented Crye Precision and the situation surrounding the Army’s efforts to develop new camouflage patterns, we feel compelled to correct the record on behalf of our company, our industry partners, the taxpayers and the warfighters who deserve nothing less than our best efforts.

Key Facts

- On June 14, 2004, the Army officially adopted its familiar “pixely” blue-gray Universal Camouflage Pattern (dubbed “UCP”). Alarmingly, this pattern was adopted without scientific or operational testing.

- From 2005-2006, the Army tested MultiCam® against UCP. The Army’s official side-by-side test report confirmed that MultiCam® rated significantly higher than UCP in all environments, meaning that Soldiers wearing UCP were being put at significantly higher risk than if they were wearing MultiCam®. Despite this UCP remains the Army’s official camouflage pattern and is still being issued to this day.

- In 2006, after seeing the ineffectiveness of UCP on the battlefield in Iraq, U.S. Army Special Operations units independently tested MultiCam® against multiple patterns and adopted it. MultiCam® has been proven effective by these units during thousands of combat operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other theaters. To this day, it remains their issued camouflage pattern for organizational clothing and individual equipment.

- After numerous complaints in 2009 from Soldiers about the ineffectiveness of the Army issued UCP putting troops at risk in Afghanistan, Congress ordered the Army to take swift action to improve the situation. In response, the Army developed another program to test new camouflages. The Army tested sixteen patterns, including newly introduced Army developed patterns in a “Pattern-In-Picture” test against MultiCam®. Results: MultiCam® was cited as best overall performer.

- In early 2010 the Army conducted yet another camouflage test. This time testing five patterns against MultiCam® in numerous Afghanistan environments. Again, MultiCam® outperformed all others. The Army began a limited fielding of MultiCam® in 2010 to serve as an “interim solution” for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), all the while continuing to issue UCP to all troops not deployed to OEF. (The Army re-named MultiCam® as “OCP”.)

- 2011, the Army decided that it wanted to adopt a “family” of camouflage patterns (i.e., in addition to a multi or “transitional” environment pattern), and initiated yet another camouflage testing program. The Army program was launched under the name “Phase IV”, representing the fourth and final part of its most recent camouflage improvement effort. After two years of yet another expensive and exhaustive evaluation, the Crye submission, which was based entirely on MultiCam®, was again selected as the top performer. Crye was advised by PM-CIE leadership via teleconference on May 1, 2013 that its submission had won the final program phase of the camouflage improvement effort, and that a formal announcement would be forthcoming.

- Following the notification about winning phase IV from PM-CIE, Crye assumed that the Army would continue to take advantage of the already well-established manufacturing base for MultiCam® raw materials and end items, as it had been doing for years, as the Army does not currently license MultiCam® from Crye Precision, nor does it pay Crye Precision for its use.

- Instead, Army representatives approached Crye to discuss the market’s pricing of MultiCam® gear (such as uniforms) and told Crye that it would have to deliver “significant cost savings”. Since Crye does not supply the Army’s uniforms, Crye informed the Army that it, just like any other supplier deep in the supply chain, has no visibility on or ability to mandate the prices the government is charged by any of the uniform or gear makers. Crye agreed to do its part in the only way it could, which was by reducing already nominal fees it receives from its licensed fabric printers. Significantly, those fees represent only a very small part of the end-item cost and are deeply embedded in the supply chain (just as a fiber manufacturer or a dye provider is, for example.) Crye asked for nothing in return for offering this fee reduction. Crye’s proposal, which offered the Army a path to achieve immediate cost savings, was rejected outright by the Army.

- During negotiations with Crye, in October of 2013, the Army released a Justification and Approval (J&A) that it planned to issue MultiCam® as the Army’s “principle camouflage pattern”.

- Continuing its efforts to reduce costs to the Army and in an attempt to eliminate the Army’s concerns that MultiCam® was more expensive than UCP, Crye submitted several formal proposals which proved that the Army could procure MultiCam® gear at prices within 1% of UCP gear. Crye’s proposals additionally showed that this could be accomplished with no upfront cost to the Army.

- The Army rejected all of Crye’s proposals and did not present any counter proposals, effectively saying that a proven increase in Soldier survivability was not worth a price difference of less than 1%.

- The Army then requested that Crye provide a buyout price for MultiCam®. Crye advised the Army that a full buyout of MultiCam® was unnecessary, pointing to the fact that MultiCam® was readily available for competitive purchase and that the Army could simply continue its use of MultiCam® service-wide, with no new costs to the Army. In addition, Crye pointed out that this course of action would require Crye to cede quality and brand control to the Army, effectively undermining Crye’s commercial market permanently. As such, this option would have required the buyout price to include the entire lifetime value of the MultiCam® brand, and would have been prohibitively expensive.

- Crye declined to provide a buyout figure, which would have to be well into the tens of millions of dollars, because it was likely that any figure presented by Crye could be used out of context to misrepresent and mischaracterize Crye. It was only after continued requests from the Army, coupled with an acknowledgement from the Army that it fully understood that the cost would be in the tens of millions of dollars, and a promise that all information would be kept in strictest confidence, that Crye then agreed to provide a full valuation for the MultiCam® brand, along with a deeply discounted price to the Army for the buyout being requested.

- As Crye predicted, and despite the Army’s assurances to the contrary, Crye’s offer was rejected outright by the Army. No official counter offers to any of Crye’s proposals were ever provided to Crye by the Army.

- Confidential information provided by Crye to the Army has been released out of context, in a manner that misrepresents Crye as having been unwilling to negotiate with the Army and help it find the cost savings it indicated was its goal. In truth Crye has worked exceptionally hard to help the Army meet its stated goals and continues to so.

- Recent information suggests that the Army is now planning to yet again develop, test and field yet another new multi-environment camouflage pattern.

Summary

In Summary, MultiCam® is one of the most thoroughly-tested camouflage patterns in existence. It has been proven in combat and lab evaluations for the better part of a decade and is currently issued within multiple branches of our Armed Forces. It has been the top performer in every major Army camouflage test of the past decade and has been verified time and time again to provide a significant and undeniable Soldier survivability advantage. Its continued use by Soldiers in Afghanistan and Special Operations Forces is a testament to its effectiveness. MultiCam® materials and end-items are readily available today within the competitive market, and MultiCam® products have been proven to be available for nearly the same cost as UCP items. Despite all this, the Army remains on a persistent quest to replace MultiCam®, all the while it still issues UCP to this day, a camo pattern long-proven to put Soldiers at unnecessary risk.

A sincere thank you to all of you who risk your lives serving in defense of freedom. We remain unwavering in our commitment to you.

Examples of official feedback from Special Operations Forces:


“The MultiCam pattern is an excellent camouflage pattern that truly manages/reduces an individual’s signature on the battlefield. I firmly believe that more Rangers would have been seen
and shot during hours of daylight, if they hadn’t been outfitted with the MultiCam uniform. It’s a true force protection measure!”

“The camouflage pattern saved me and my gunner’s life by concealing us long enough to shoot first.”

“On specific missions where other members of the force were in ACU’s, they were specifically shot at or “drew fire” compared to members wearing the Crye pattern. The camouflage was amazing and
probably confused the enemy. It was very hard to see people at any distance with this uniform.”

“While taking fire in an area with moderate vegetation, the Soldiers wearing ACU’s stood out and received a higher volume of fire at their positions.”

“The MultiCam pattern is a must for combat operations in Afghanistan. We blended in perfectly with mountains of OEF.”

“We were ambushed on 3 sides by Taliban fighters. There was nowhere in my immediate vicinity that offered effective cover, so I dropped to the ground and fought from there. I was able to continuously spot and engage fighters approaching the rear of our formation before they were able to spot me despite the fact that I was laying in the open. I truly believe that your MultiCam uniforms kept me from being shot several times that day.”

And the list goes on…

Crye Precision 2014 Product Guide Available for Download

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Crye Precision 2014

(Click cover to download)

www.CryePrecision.com

Objective Force Warrior? What’s That?

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

OFW

I just realized that many of my readers have no idea what Objective Force Warrior or its follow-on, Future Force Warrior are all about and I’m afraid some may think it’s something new. Objective Force Warrior was one of many Soldier Modernization Programs going back to Soldier Integrated Protective Ensemble in the early 90s to 21st Century Land Warrior to simply Land Warrior and then OFW in the early 00s. You could go on for days talking about what they wanted it to do. If you want to really delve into it, download a vision document below.

OFW

Click to view .pdf

For our purposes, the system was intended to integrate with the conceptual Objective Force that would have provided the Army with a new family of ground and air vehicles under Future Combat System. Like FCS, it wasn’t fielded.

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20140129-181023.jpgWhat’s important to you is that it’s where Crye Associates made their bones and many staples of modern Soldier Systems spun out from that program. Working in conjunction with other firms such as Juggernaut Defense and Artisent (which spun off Ops-Core) as well as large contract system integrators, Crye was responsible for the clothing, load bearing and armor components of this Soldier Digitization effort.

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As with most of these programs, lots of money is poured into the software and comms portion and relatively little effort and funding is put towed the clothing and individual equipment components. With many of these programs, actual development of the system’s digital operating environment becomes virtual and during program reviews and Congressional dog and pony shows, Crye’s efforts became the face of the program. They produced prototypes that a Soldier could wear and that looked unlike anything else out there. I’d say that they kept that program moving for as long as it did. The clothing and armor developed by Crye was something you could actually see and lay your hands on, Eventually, after a name change to Future Force Warrior and facing actual combat in multiple theaters, the Army let the project drift away with the C4I component transitioning over time to Nett Warrior.

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Industrial Design house Crye Associates founded Crye Precision based on the success of their work on FFW and after commercialization, caught the eye of the Special Operations community. The rest you should know.

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Ultimately, four critical Soldier Systems technologies find their roots in FFW and with Crye:

MultiCam Camouflage Pattern – It began life as Scorpion for use with FFW but Crye Precision refined the pattern for commercial use and later provided modified variants of the pattern for both the UK (Multi Terrain Pattern) and Australia (Australian MultiCam Pattern). In 2009, the US Army selected MultiCam for use in Afghanistan as the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP). In 2010, Crye Precision developed Woodland and Arid patterns for the US Army’s Camouflage Improvement Effort. They were selected as finalists along with three other companies. In late 2013, Crye Precision introduced four new patterns to complement the decade old Transitional pattern: Alpine, Arid, Black and Tropical.

Combat Uniforms – The concept of producing a shirt that combines a moisture wicking torso with heavy duty sleeves for wear with armor systems was unheard of prior to OFW. The same goes for garments with integrated knee and elbow protection. Now, these concepts are accepted as state of the art.

Crye Armor Chassis – Crye Precision’s armor chassis took an entirely fresh approach to body armor, combining special, ergonomically shaped armor plates in such a way that allowed movement. It has been adopted for use by niche forces and up has influenced armor design.

Close Fitting Modular Combat Helmets – While the material science wasn’t quite there yet when the OFW/FFW helmet demonstrators were built, several companies produced enhanced combat helmets over the years including Crye Precision’s AirFrame that fits very close to the contour of the head.

ID Magazine did a great article on Crye’s participation in the project which we offer here for historical purposes.

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(Click image to view the article.)

SHOT Show – Crye Precision – Six12

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

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Probably the biggest surprise at SHOT Show was the debut of Crye Precision’s Six12 Breaching Shotgun. The threat to the breacher is great. He remains exposed at the breach point while at work. Oftentimes he will use a shotgun to breach but these are Masterkey-style short barrel shotguns with limited capacity (generally, 3 shells). If the breacher is engaged, he may be unable to reach his sidearm or carbine and in many cases, he foregoes the carbine altogether due to not having enough hands. Then, there’s that pesky small capacity of the standalone breaching guns. The 3 or 4 shells (if one in the chamber) may not be enough in the event multiple doors must be breached as a building is accessed. The gun can be reloaded but it’s a slower process than replacing a magazine,

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The idea of a carbine mounted, revolver-style breaching shotgun with a removable/replaceable cylinder magazine came to Caleb Crye in a dream and he brought firearms engineer Eric Burt onboard to make the concept a reality.

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It offers a revolving cylinder containing Six 12 ga shells (hence the name) in a bullpup configuration that retains a full barrel length while keeping the overall length short enough for stand alone or carbine mounted use. Crye Precision has developed a patent pending means to deal with the recoil of a bullpup configuration so that it doesn’t affect the carbine. When the trigger is pulled the cylinder rotates like with a revolver but before the round is fired, it moves slightly forward to mate with the barrel in order to contain the force and flame. Considering the location of the round in relation to the shooter, this is critical.

In this video produced for SSD by Blind Owl Media, weapon designer Eric Burt goes over some basics of the Six12.

Crye Precision Six12 breaching shotgun at Shot Show 2014 from boo keller on Vimeo.

According the Eric Burt, these should be available for agency purchase by December with individual sales commencing after the new year.

www.CryePrecision.com

2014 Crye Precision T-Shirt

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Each year Crye Precision creates a T-Shirt that is sold during SHOT Show to raise money for charity. The 2013 T-Shirt from Crye Precision caused quite a stir. Perhaps, one year later, everyone’s point of view is a little different?

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www.cryeprecision.com

SHOT Show – Crye Precision

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Once you see what Crye has on hand as well as their Six12 project, some will just throw their hands up in defeat and wonder why they even bothered to show up. But most will accept the challenge and up their game.

Crye Precision has delved into new areas and continues to remain out on the cutting edge.

First off are the new patterns. On the left you have Arid pattern and on the right Tropical.

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Next up, three new jackets for Spring.

FieldShell 2

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They’ve redesigned the fit lock on the fieldshell.

Loft Jacket

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The loft jacket is an insulated softshell with stretchy side panels and thumb hole cuffs. It also features a stowable, low-profile hood.

LWF Jacket

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The lightweight fleece jacket is the first use of this new printed softshells with fleece interior.

LEO1 Pants

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The LEO1 Pant was created to offer a low-cost alternative to the combat pant for law enforcement. While the stretch panels are not on this pant, the fit block is said to be well suited to mobility. The LEO offers the Crye knee pad and the front and side cargo pockets are integrated into a single piece to lower cost.

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Hitcoat

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Hitcoat is a two component system designed for LE that incorporates a vest and a sleeves. You may note that the vest offers an offset zippered, front closure.

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The sleeve component is a single, integrated unit that offers armor and shoulder and elbow protection.

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Sizing will be similar to the combat shirt.

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SmartPouch Suite

This is a real gem. Crye Precision looked at the Operator’s load and designed a suite of pouches that can be used for several different purposes.

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For attachments, each pouch has a sleeve for use with AVS that will also accommodate a 2″ belt as well as PALS compatibility.

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More on these soon.

AVS

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They updated the yoke for the Adaptive Vest System.

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Fieldsuit and Combatsuit

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The Fieldsuit and Combat suit were designed for airborne operations,

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They found that by offsetting the front zipper, they could keep the suit from riding up.

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Airframe ATX

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The Airframe ATX is an aramid option for the helmet.

And now what you’ve all been waiting for…Six12

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Six12 is a modular, compact shotgun system that utilizes a rotary magazine ala a revolver.

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Designed as an answer for the breacher, the patent pending system can be used standalone or attached to a carbine. As it is, the bull pup design a perfectly legal length. However, there is a short barreled NFA variant available for use with SBRs.

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The compact design gives the breacher additional breaching rounds in a package that is integrated into his carbine, increasing both lethality and survivability.

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Here, you can see the removable magazine.

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Look for it by Christmas.

www.CryePrecision.com

Crye Precision Offers Three New Products

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Yesterday was a momentous occasion for Crye Precision with the release of the extended family of MultiCam patterns. Not to be overshadowed, however, are three new products that they also released.

Compact Assault Ghillie

APRCG102LG0

The Compact Assault Ghillie is a lightweight, low-bulk concept in assaulter concealment. Laser-cut 3D shapes physically break up the most visible human outline – the head and shoulder. The rear dual-layer panel is removable, and folds forwards over to conceal a long gun or binoculars. The Ghillie is open cut and consists of featherweight materials designed to allow for massive airflow and overheating prevention. The stuff sack mounts to MOLLE or a belt and it’s amazing how small this thing compacts. Made in the US from US materials.

The Compact Assault Ghillie debuted at SHOT Show 2012.

www.cryeprecision.com/P-APRCG102LG0/Compact-Assault-Ghillie%E2%84%A2

NightCap

ACCHN102000

The NightCap is lightweight headwear that allows the user to mount and use NVGs without a helmet. It’s compatible with all current 3 and 4-hole NVG mounts.

FEATURES:

No helmet needed to use NVGs
Highly adjustable headband and chin strap
Stable and comfortable
Battery pack attachment
Simple low-profile chin strap
Cable routing channels
Padded structural support for NVG mount

One size fits all. Made in the US from US materials. Available in MultiCam and Black.

The NightCap debuted at SHOT Show 2013.

www.cryeprecision.com/P-ACCHN102000/Nightcap%E2%84%A2

SkullCap

ACCHS102000

The SkullCap is a fitted, 3-panel cap, cut for maximum coverage and situational awareness. It’s designed to keep the wearer’s ears warm without blocking peripheral vision. The custom fabric used in the SkullCap’s construction allows MultiCam to be printed directly onto the fleece. A mid-weight polyester/spandex blend, this fabric also blocks wind and retains warmth while stretching comfortably to fit most heads.

FEATURES:

Polyester/Spandex blend printed fleece
Lined earband for additional warmth
Eyelets for eye protection

One size fits all. Made in the US from US materials. Available in MultiCam and Black.

The SkullCap debuted at SHOT Show 2013.

www.cryeprecision.com/P-ACCHS102000/Skullcap%E2%84%A2

Crye Precision Releases New MultiCam Patterns and Reinvents Website

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

MultiCam

Today, Crye Precision officially released four new variant camouflage patterns based on the ever popular MultiCam; Arid, Tropical, Alpine and Black. Each is designed for specialized use while the classic MultiCam transitional pattern continues to be great for more universal wear as it tends to blend into most any environment. While Transitional and Black are available for order now, Duro Textiles will have the other new patterns available for order soon.

One new feature you may notice is that the MultiCam family of patterns all feature branding embedded in the print.

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MultiCam is the combat-proven solution for concealment when operating in widely varied and mixed terrain. While MultiCam is suited to an extremely wide selection of environments, we have developed three new patterns that are optimized for narrower areas of operation. These new patterns work well with the primary MultiCam pattern to meet the needs of these extreme environments, thus expanding the performance envelope of the MultiCam family to cover nearly every possible environmental condition. The MultiCam patterns can be used alone or in conjunction with each other to meet nearly any operational requirement.

multicam_graph

The same user now has more system-level options. For instance, a MultiCam chest rig can be paired with a MultiCam Tropic uniform for a known jungle deployment. Similarly, a MultiCam vest and pack can be paired with a MultiCam Arid uniform for activity within an open sand and rock desert. MultiCam Alpine is best suited for any environment encountering significant snowfall, while MultiCam Black is designed to offer domestic agencies a distinct and authoritative presence suited to law enforcement operations.

The MultiCam patterns were developed to provide maximum effectiveness across diverse operating environments with a minimum logistical burden. The patterns all have distinct roles but are designed to work together as a system to meet the needs of nearly any operating environment, all while helping the wearer do so with the least amount of kit possible.

multicam patterns

THE MULTICAM FAMILY OF PATTERNS CONSISTS OF:

MultiCam: The base – the original combat-proven pattern that offers the widest range of environmental effectiveness – ideally suited for apparel & gear that must be employed throughout mixed or varied environments.

MultiCam Arid: A pattern intended for open sand and rock – ideally suited for apparel when working exclusively in bright open desert terrain.

MultiCam Tropic: A pattern intended for deep verdant jungle use – ideally suited for apparel when working exclusively in a dense jungle environment.

MultiCam Alpine: A pattern intended for snow-covered areas – ideally suited for over-garments and gear covers when/where snow cover is present.

MultiCam Black: While not a geographically-based pattern, MultiCam Black gives law enforcement groups a sharp and authoritative presence suited to domestic L.E. operations where projecting a strong and distinct image is a critical concern. MultiCam Black is designed to complement a wide range of existing armor and gear colors (for instance, green or black vests both look well-matched when paired with MultiCam Black uniforms).

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Along with the release of the new patterns, MultiCamPattern.com has been updated.

Photos of MultiCam Black Have Been Out For Months

Monday, November 25th, 2013

This summer I was present during the photo shoot for the 2014 Hot Shots Calendar. As in years past, many of teh costumes were designed and manufactured by Caleb Crye, founder of Crye Precision who developed the MultiCam family of camouflage patterns. I immediately noticed a darkened variant of MultiCam on several of the garments. Turns out, it was what is new referred to as MultiCam Black. I’ve had a little chuckle to myself for the last couple of months, waiting to see if anyone would notice the pattern in the calendar. I guess the ladies’ other attributes have had the lads a bit distracted from the minutia of details like clothing.

To get a gander of the pattern in the wild hit the jump.

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MultiCam Black Branding Imagery from Tru-Spec

Monday, November 25th, 2013

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Tru-Spec‘s parent company, Atlanco is running this banner of their exclusive roll out of Crye Precision‘s new MultiCam Black pattern.