Most people's biggest beef about the Army Combat Uniform is not the styling of the garment but rather its camouflage pattern. Army Combat Uniform Pattern, or ACUPat, is a three-shade digital camo pattern consisting of Grey Green (AKA Foliage Green), Deep Grey Green, and Desert Tan (AKA Sand). It is also known as Army Pattern (ArPat), Army Universal Camouflage (AUC), Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP), Digital Army Pattern (DAP), Army Digital Pattern (ADP), and All-Terrain Digital (ATD). It is a disruptive-style multi-environment camo pattern designed to break up the human form at a variety of ranges across a wide range of terrain, from desert to urban to deep woodland. ACUPat was the apparently the finalist along with Crye Multicam in the Army's Project Scorpion pattern testing, outpointing Crye's blending-style camo in the infrared tests and coming close enough to Multicam's performance in the visual testing to warrant the Defense Department's acceptance of it as the current single pattern for all uniforms and gear. That ACUPat consists of only three colors, no fades in the pattern, and no licensing fees (unlike Crye Multicam) -- making it significantly cheaper to print -- might have also influenced the government's decision to adopt it.
Indifference to the ACU camo is rare in the woodsball crowd. Most Army operators seem to be satisfied with ACUPat, but paintballers tend to either love it or hate it. People in some parts of the country favor it for summertime play when the terrain is dry. People in other parts of the country like ACUPat in the winter when the foliage is off the trees and the landscape is brown. Still other 'ballers say ACUPat's disruptive effect works exactly as it should in a variety of terrains, and its low-contrast neutral shades serve them well. Then there are the detractors, who claim ACUPat makes them seem to glow in the dark when they play in the deep woods. Personally, in recognition of its low-bid heritage, I like to joke that ACUPat is "the camo that hides you pretty well everywhere but not really well anywhere"...
So what happens when the best tactical styling meets the hottest camouflage fabric? Paydirt for paintballers! It's the Tru-Spec TRU in genuine Multicam!
Tru-Spec's Tactical Response Uniform (TRU) debuted a little over a year ago. It was the much-anticipated civilian version of the Army Combat Uniform in down-low solid tactical colors and proven, more traditional camo patterns like woodland and three-color desert. TRUs were also uprated for improvement in some of the minor details over the mil-spec Army uniforms produced by Tru-Spec and Propper. Recently, the TRU became available to the public in genuine Crye Multicam 50-50 nylon-cotton rip-stop fabric. Here's how the new TRUs stack up...
Anyone who has a genuine ACU made by Tru-Spec will recognize the excellent quality, fit, and finish of the Multicam TRU. It is sized similarly to their ACU, possibly a hair more generously. The stitching and seams are perfect, and the TRUs (like their solid-color cousins) are additionally reinforced at key points (including the Velcro tabs) compared to what the Army gets. My set had absolutely no irregularities whatsoever. The fabric is 50-50 ny-co in a rip-stop weave, less common than the ny-co twill Crye produces for various vendors but just as genuine and with a real feeling of durability. (Tru-Spec seems to be the only vendor besides Crye marketing rip-stop uniforms, making the TRUs somewhat unique.) The fabric feels very similar to the standard Army uniform rip-stop fabric, if perhaps very slightly lighter and with a slightly more brushed texture that gives it a very soft hand.
All the aforementioned features of the ACU are present in highly refined form in the TRU. The new Multicam TRUs have a few new twists on the original solid-color production run (which were made in 65-35 poly-cotton blend rip-stop), most notably a full-length Velcro closure on the pants cargo pockets, which, like the ACU pants also have a secure elastic drawstring for redundant security. The cargo pockets are actually a little more difficult to open one-handed -- and certainly less quiet -- with the added Velcro, but the contents (including heavy items) are guaranteed to stay put. Otherwise, the styling of the new TRU is virtually identical to that of the ACU.
The bottom line is this. At $140 per set, the Multicam TRU is expensive woodsball apparel. However, it is less than a set of Crye R6s (the only comparable Multicam rip-stop alternative) by more than 25%. If you are looking for myriad tactical features, and the more athletic and paintball-specific design of similarly priced custom Multicam Special Ops Marauders doesn't suit you, Multicam TRUs may be about the best thing going for the hardcore woodsball player.
(As of this posting, AFMO was just about out of their first shipment of Multicam TRUs, save for odd sizes. They estimate another shipment by the first week in April and urge pre-orders, so if you think you're interested, reserve yours soon, as the second batch will surely go as fast as the first one did.)
This post has been edited by Lil' C: 26 March 2007 - 08:02 AM