Camouflage Comparison: Mirage, MultiCam and UCP

by September 1, 2009 09/1/09

brick-wallStrike-Hold! has just published an excellent visual comparison of camouflage patterns on their blog.

The three patterns compared are Bulldog Tactical Equipment’s Mirage, Crye Precision’s MultiCam and the Army Universal Camouflage Pattern (ACU).

Instead of voicing our opinions, take a look at the article on Strike-Hold! and let us know what you think in the comments here.

We’d love to hear from you.


Are you getting more than 14¢ of value per day from ITS Tactical?

Please consider joining our Crew Leader Membership and our growing community of supporters.

At ITS Tactical we’re working hard every day to provide different methods, ideas and knowledge that could one day save your life. Instead of simply asking for your support with donations, we’ve developed a membership to allow our readers to support what we do and allow us to give you back something in return.

For less than 14¢ a day you can help contribute directly to our content, and join our growing community of supporters who have directly influenced what we’ve been able to accomplish and where we’re headed.

Click here to learn about all the benefits and Join!


Rusty
Rusty

If we are more interested in long distance, than short distance camo effectiveness, then I think they need to go a completely different route.

For instance, take a look at the German Panther of WWII in Ambush Camo scheme. That was the right track to be one. Why? Because it had different color in large patches with other smaller splotches of color on top of that.

When you look at nature, from a distance, you typically see bright areas broken up by spots of dark, and dark areas broken up by spots of bright. This is what they need to reduce that blob effect that was smartly pointed out above. none of those camo patterns above do this effectively. Your eyes are drawn to shapes, so you want to effectively break up the shape of the person.

Rusty
Rusty

If we are more interested in long distance, than short distance camo effectiveness, then I think they need to go a completely different route. For instance, take a look at the German Panther of WWII in Ambush Camo scheme. That was the right track to be one. Why? Because it had different color in large patches with other smaller splotches of color on top of that. When you look at nature, from a distance, you typically see bright areas broken up by spots of dark, and dark areas broken up by spots of bright. This is what they need to reduce that blob effect that was smartly pointed out above. none of those camo patterns above do this effectively. Your eyes are drawn to shapes, so you want to effectively break up the shape of the person.

Kelly
Kelly

Let photograph three guys peeing on a red brick wall and decide which is the better camoflage pattern. Umm, obviously it's the fourth guy in the red brick camo you guys didn't even see. Really, if they are going to do a test, why not have them standing in the woods or a field of high grass. I spent a lot of time in the AOR and didn't see much red brick... that battlefield must have been in Dover, Delaware. I joke but I am also serious. I have seen some great tests on the Multicam describing the locales I mentioned, let's see how the Mirage is in a field or in the mountains.

S
S

From the other comparison pictures I've seen in other mock terrains the ACU stuff sticks out like a sore thumb. Yeesss... I know the stuff in the pics is repro. But from the non-repro pics in various environments it still was the FIRST thing I noticed when my eyes were scanning. From the color choices and the mock environments between the three I feel that in a situation where cover may be involved and not out in the open like a moron, It would take more time to pick out guys in Multicam than it would in the Mirage pattern (UCP isn't even worth mentioning, it's like walking into an area with an ash-grey business suit for all the good it will do you).

Put the three in a 50 yard shot BEHIND cover and snap a picture. You'll be enlightened. Out in the open is very different than behind cover.

S
S

From the other comparison pictures I've seen in other mock terrains the ACU stuff sticks out like a sore thumb. Yeesss... I know the stuff in the pics is repro. But from the non-repro pics in various environments it still was the FIRST thing I noticed when my eyes were scanning. From the color choices and the mock environments between the three I feel that in a situation where cover may be involved and not out in the open like a moron, It would take more time to pick out guys in Multicam than it would in the Mirage pattern (UCP isn't even worth mentioning, it's like walking into an area with an ash-grey business suit for all the good it will do you). Put the three in a 50 yard shot BEHIND cover and snap a picture. You'll be enlightened. Out in the open is very different than behind cover.

trenkilla
trenkilla

For overall design, concept, and functionality of the uniform, Mirage is definitely the best. Multicam is a big step up from UCP which sticks out like a sore thumb. However, seeing both Multicam and Mirage right next to eachother @ the warfighter's conference, Mirage is clearly the superior camouflage design, and the creator and founder of Bulldog took all recommendations and criticisms of the ACU and incorporated them into his new Uniform setup. They're really nice and its hard to understand why they're not being tested alongside MultiCam in theater.

VooDoo3
VooDoo3

UCP is and has been insufficient as a camo pattern since it was developed. Big Army needed a proprietary pattern they could control. If they would have went with MC (which they should have) they would have to pay Crye a royalty. Mirage is a great pattern, but there is nothing on the market, so it would be next to impossible to outfit the services quickly. MC on the other hand, has been on the market for a few years now and would be much easier to provide to DoD. I think we will go with MC as our primary combat uniform and then maybe down the road a better pattern will win a contract.

Brian
Brian

There are alot of good all terain patterns out there. I started to pay closer attention when my unit bought Advantage uniforms over a decade ago since woodland did not work well enough in Korean winters. The Marines took the right approach by having snipers help design the pattern & serve as a BS filter. For some unknown reason the Army picked ACU (good concealability when dirty & overboard on the velcro). The Air Force may as well have designed a uniform w/advice from the Magic 8-ball (cheezy ACU pattern knockoff, same silly lower shirt pockets, EMORMUS rank & material w/ the consistency of canvas). A leap backward in technology. Crye Precision makes the best uniform in my opinion. The thought put into the product is revolutionary (not a BDU retread). Crye's problem is that they don't expand. They have a limited amount of workers and no wharehouse capability in NYC. The best thing for them to do is to move to North Carolina and employ all the out of work folks from the many closed textile factories & stay Berry compliant. Shipping to Ft.Bragg (probably their #1 customer) would be right there, w/NSW just up the road. I just wish the Army & Air Force ASKED their operators for the best patterns(both would say Multicam) & also issue a lower cost garrison version to those who don't expect to low crawl anytime soon.

Shorty
Shorty

So, is just me or does it look like those mannequins are pissing against the wall? Sorry, I guess I should be analyzing the uniforms....

Juan
Juan

I love Multicam. I works for where I work. I love how it was develop by people that had no military experience. Therefore they didn't have any lingering feelings towards certain camouflages or ideas about what it should be. They just worked from scratch and traveled everywhere to figure out what would work best.

GunMonkey
GunMonkey

I'd like to see photos in various terrain at distances of 50+ yards.

Camouflage that looks good up close is just a big dark blob as longer ranges (such as Realtree)

For some examples of what the terrain looks like in Afghanistan check out Michael Yon's Blog. Lots of really good photos there.

GunMonkey
GunMonkey

I'd like to see photos in various terrain at distances of 50+ yards. Camouflage that looks good up close is just a big dark blob as longer ranges (such as Realtree) For some examples of what the terrain looks like in Afghanistan check out Michael Yon's Blog. Lots of really good photos there.

yastobaal
yastobaal

Just to let you guys know, the ACU is a reproduction, not authentic. So it might be brighter than usual.

tremis
tremis

Nice comparison, it shows the obvious regarding Multicam vs UCP. The new stuff looks pretty darn good. My eye was attracted to the MC guy a lot more than the Mirage, but I believe it was the shapes of his rig that drew my eye in, not the color. I'd like to see a direct comparison of either gear on both guys or no gear on top of the clothes.

MIke P
MIke P

I never realized how much the ACU stands out! Holy Moses! So where are we on the new camo for our troops?

What goes into deciding new camo too? I can imagine the headache in changing everything but having the edge in staying hidden is a huge plus.

Although, do the ACU's defense... does the ACU in the pics look a little faded than normal?

MIke P
MIke P

I never realized how much the ACU stands out! Holy Moses! So where are we on the new camo for our troops? What goes into deciding new camo too? I can imagine the headache in changing everything but having the edge in staying hidden is a huge plus. Although, do the ACU's defense... does the ACU in the pics look a little faded than normal?

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Thanks for your thoughts, and comment.

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Brian,

Thanks for your thoughts!

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Brian, Thanks for your thoughts!

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Those are real people Shorty :)

~ Bryan

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Those are real people Shorty :) ~ Bryan

Rusty
Rusty

Realtree is a great start, but there just needs to be a much bigger variation in the contrasting colors for it to work right at long distances. Problem is, it wouldn't look real up close, where the selling is done. See, realtree is sold to hunters walking through a store, and they see the stuff from at most, 10 or 15 feet away as they decide whether or not to purchase it. If they were awarded a contract to take that concept and add more contrast to the colors, such that it didn't look real up close, but did look real at 50 to 150 yards, then they might end up making the most effective camo on the market for military use.

In addition, it could be region/terrain specific. In other words, the vegetation that is used for the camo pattern could be taken from the region that the camo is expected to be used in, such as Afghanistan.

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

GunMonkey, agreed on camo "blobbing" at longer ranges. Michael Yon's Blog does have some great images of terrain from the war.

Thanks for the comment!

Rusty
Rusty

Realtree is a great start, but there just needs to be a much bigger variation in the contrasting colors for it to work right at long distances. Problem is, it wouldn't look real up close, where the selling is done. See, realtree is sold to hunters walking through a store, and they see the stuff from at most, 10 or 15 feet away as they decide whether or not to purchase it. If they were awarded a contract to take that concept and add more contrast to the colors, such that it didn't look real up close, but did look real at 50 to 150 yards, then they might end up making the most effective camo on the market for military use. In addition, it could be region/terrain specific. In other words, the vegetation that is used for the camo pattern could be taken from the region that the camo is expected to be used in, such as Afghanistan.

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

GunMonkey, agreed on camo "blobbing" at longer ranges. Michael Yon's Blog does have some great images of terrain from the war. Thanks for the comment!

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Yastobaal,

Thanks for adding that information!

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Yastobaal, Thanks for adding that information!

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Tremis,

I agree on needing to see a true comparison preferably without any gear on.

Thanks for the comment,

Bryan

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Tremis, I agree on needing to see a true comparison preferably without any gear on. Thanks for the comment, Bryan

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Mike, as Yastobaal pointed out the ACU is a reproduction and a bit brighter. Soldier Systems and Strike-Hold! are both great resources for staying on top of Camo news.

Thanks for the comment!

ITS Admin
ITS Admin

Mike, as Yastobaal pointed out the ACU is a reproduction and a bit brighter. Soldier Systems and Strike-Hold! are both great resources for staying on top of Camo news. Thanks for the comment!

The Latest
Squawk Box