Welcome to the feature-laden world of 21st-century tactical battle dress.
Not only have the various service branches differentiated their uniforms from more traditional battle dress utility styles and patterns in favor of tactically minded enhancements, but also tactical apparel contractors have followed suit, creating their own uniform designs and camouflage patterns for the military, law enforcement, and civilian markets.
Crye Precision's Multicam, a multi-environment blending-type camo pattern printed only on in-house fabrics licensed to third-party vendors, is the hottest camo pattern of the new breed. Tru-Spec is perhaps the biggest manufacturer to sign on in spite of Crye's hefty royalties and use genuine Multicam fabrics to produce two lines of tactical field apparel for both the professional and civilian markets. Tru-Spec first introduced a Multicam version of their popular Tactical Response Uniform (TRU, previously reviewed on this forum), styled identically to the Army Combat Uniform (ACU, which they also produce) with all its tactical features and some additional subtle hop-ups, priced nearly twice as much as their solid-color civilian TRUs (but still considerably less than Crye's own field apparel) to offset Crye's fees and take advantage of the expected demand. Now Tru-Spec has made delivery on Multicam uniforms in a traditional four-pocket blouse/six-pocket trouser BDU cut at a price point that's about half that of Crye's R6 Field line.
Tru-Spec's Multicam BDUs are the niftiest traditional battle dress utilities you are going to find. The quality, stitching, and finishing are excellent for mass-produced Honduras-assembled mil-spec goods made from US materials. Everything is even, the seams are straight, and there are no hanging threads or minor irregularities. You can tell these are going to last. So what are they like?
First, the fabric. It's genuine Crye Multicam 50-50 nylon-cotton blend in a 6-1/2-ounce weight. Tru-Spec opted for the rugged (and less common) rip-stop weave instead of the usual twill Crye fabric. This stuff (apart from the pattern) is basically identical to the material in issue ACUs. It looks crisp, it looks tough, and it looks tactical. When it washes up, it has a soft hand, more like that of 100% cotton than the typical 65-35 poly-cotton blend you find in most commercial-grade BDUs (including Tru-Spec's), yet it maintains a hard exterior finish through repeated wash cycles, neither fading nor fuzzing up. It moves easily on the body with no stiffness or noise, and it helps the wearer stay thermostable through a variety of temperatures and activity levels, with excellent strength and abrasion-resistance.
Then there's the fit. Tru-Spec's traditional BDU design differs very little from the commercial-grade design we've seen for decades. The four-pocket tail-out blouse is sized about as you would expect, with sleeves and a body slightly longer than those of the same-sized top in a Rothco Ultra Force BDU. The TRU BDU is slightly narrower through the body and waist than the ultra-traditional Rothco top, and it is flared slightly below the waist with slightly bigger pockets, all set vertically with two buttons for closure. The Tru-Spec BDU's front closure is covered buttons with a typical fold-over shirt-style collar at the top. There are three cuff buttons on each sleeve. The pants are even closer to the traditional archetype, with two font, two besom back, and straight-topped bellows cargo pockets, each with a standard two-button closure -- less secure than more modern variants (especially for heavy items) but "easy in, easy out". There are no drawstrings, no Velcro tabs, no extra tactical calf pockets, and no knee pad slots in the Tru-Spec BDUs. These BDUs quietly murmur no-frills functionality. The pants are sized slightly larger at the waist than Rothco BDU pants, but with slightly more waist adjustment thanks to twin side tab adjusters. They are relatively generous through the seat as well. The Tru-Spec pants are a hair on the short side though,so longer-legged ballers (32" inseam or longer) may want to consider ordering a Long length. Nylon blousing tapes are threaded through each cuff, the only component of the Tru-Spec BDUs that looks and feels decidedly cheap.
So who are Tru-Spec Multicam BDUs right for? A gear maven who delights in every minute tactical feature of today's modern uniform and likes to have a pocket for every item when he trudges onto the paintball field is going to find them a bit lacking, and he should upgrade to TRUs instead. Knee-pad wearers will definitely miss the lack of internal compatability for pads at the joints of this uniform. Hard-charging athletic paintballers may find the generous cut of Special Ops's custom Multicam Marauders, along with its hardy, abrasion-resistant Cordura joints, suits their play style better than those of the Tru-Specs. However, these BDUs are exactly right for a more budget-minded traditionalist who likes things a bit simpler, one who doesn't require bells and whistles in his battle dress but appreciates traditional style and wants superior camouflage and feel in his woodsball attire.
As of this writing, AFMO has a fairly decent supply of Tru-Spec BDU tops and bottoms in a range of sizes (including Longs), at a very nice price of $60 for a single top or bottom and $105 for a full set. That's only $15 more than a set of the well-made Asian Multicam knock-offs from Real Action Paintball -- and you're getting a significant fabric upgrade in genuine Crye rip-stop ny-co -- so don't expect AFMO's current shipment to last long...
This post has been edited by Lil' C: 27 April 2007 - 09:11 PM