For the average street cop, camo patterns are not terribly important. For the SWAT cop, they may be extremely important, especially depending on the environment you may be operating in. So, keeping current with what is the best camo pattern may be of some interest to you.
Most people would agree that the real experience with camouflage patterns lies in the military. Back around 2000, the US military moved away from the older woodland pattern that was standard for almost all troops. The Marines went to the MARPAT, and the Army went to UCP (Universal Camouflage Pattern, also sometimes called ACU). I’ve seen airmen wearing some kind of digital tiger-stripe, and my brother has been issued some sort of weird digital blue camo uniforms for his Navy unit.
Currently, most soldiers wearing the standard ACU uniforms are very disappointed with the pattern’s performance, stating that it is inferior to all other patterns in all environments. In fact the Army has acknowledged the failure of the pattern, and has begun looking for a new pattern.
When asked, a significant number of soldiers currently serving in combat zones stated they wanted what the Marines have. But, the funny thing is, some of the Marines may not want the MARPAT the aforementioned soldiers are envious of. The Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) just purchased several hundred uniforms in the old woodland pattern for their people.
Is this a case of “Back to the Future?” I don’t know. I do know that decades of experience seemed to show that the old woodland pattern was effective in the environments it was designed for. I do know that many of the SWAT teams in the US and Europe operate in conditions similar to what the old woodland pattern was designed for. I also know that the Army says the UCP doesn’t work, and that the elite Marine units just ordered up uniforms in the old woodland pattern.
In police work, we call these clues.
I don’t know what is best. I don’t claim to be an expert in camo. I just suggest you carefully look at all of the options, and not dismiss the old woodland in favor of the “latest, greatest”, because the new stuff may not be all you think it is.
- Army Times article (article no longer available online)
- Marine Times article (article no longer available online)
- ITS Tactical Evaluates Camo Patterns