From time to time I come up with some pretty crazy things that just happen to be right. Yeah, I know…I’m the Gundoc…it’s what I do. Here’s one that has been tried time and time again and has never been done right. What could that possible be…URBAN CAMO.
Yeah, I realize that most of these patterns are done more as a show of force. They make a SWAT team look like a team of Ninjas in the dark and that scares the crap out of people. That, however, is not what I’m talking about. Here’s what I mean…
Okay, for starters all three of the guys that came up with these patterns must have been eating shrooms. Why??? Because all three (as examples of the multiple types of urban patterns out there) fail to do their primary mission…camouflage. The top one would do fairly well in an urban blizzard. Everything about it is too light. The middle one…that’s the basic crap everyone else has been trying to improve on. You get some dark colors in there but where…in the urban jungle…are you going to find stark white in a spot where you are getting ready to breach a doorway or suppress an angry mob? NOWHERE, that’s where. As someone that has been doing camo jobs for both civilian and government for a number of years the lack of thought that goes into these so called patterns insults me. Oh, and I can’t leave out the last of the above pictures. That regurgitation is supposed to be a digital urban pattern. Do I really need to say more about it? Let me finalize it with this, digital patterns are meant to become smooth shapes at a distance…a lot of distance. Inside that it is a visual nightmare. It’s a billboard saying, “HERE I AM”.
Alright, I’m actually willing to admit that there are a couple companies out there that are coming close but are still more of a ninja suit than a meaningful camouflage. Take a look at these:
Here we go again…better but still not quite what I’m looking for out of a camo. The top of this latest three is a big improvement but still digital. We got away from the bright white and landed on gray. A lighter gray, at a distance, will still blend with the lightest colors around you. Next time you’re driving take a look at the white stripes of a crosswalk at a distance. Not a casual look (Please don’t wreck. If you do it’s not my fault you did something stupid.) but pay attention to the color of the lines. At a distance they will blur to a pale gray. That is simply what our eyes do. The further away something gets the more the colors fade. Therefore, the gray of your camo will blend right in with the dirty white stripes of the crosswalk. There is another thing that the gray accomplishes. Our brains tell us that dark images are close and are hard objects. So, you put the black of the camo on top of or close to the gray and the gray will appear to be the shadow of the hard, dark image. In this way a camouflage can trick the eye into believing something that isn’t actually there.
The computer background…does a better job of not just the colors but how they are put together and not being all hard images. A little fading together is a good thing. It is, however, sad that a computer geek trying to make a cool background makes a camo that works better than people actually trying to make camouflage for uniforms. Ouch.
Now, all of you know I love the guys at A-Tacs. Why do I love their stuff? Because they do things my way. I saw their display at SHOT Show a couple years ago when they did their official kick off. I was actually shocked to see camo done right. The edges faded into the next color. The colors were progressively toward the hard images. It was perfect. I am almost…almost…on board with their urban pattern. I think some areas are too light. They introduce an almost airbrushed amount of blue to make the black really fade into the white but it’s still white. If it had been a medium gray or even more into the gray scale at all I would have declared them the winner. But again they made the pattern to be more of a show of force. In that they win the internet.
I am in the middle of a new project. I bet you couldn’t tell from all this. In case you hadn’t guessed I’m taking on urban camo in the hopes of coming up with a game changer. It’s not an easy task but I figured since I am turning my training rifle into a Guardian (have to come up with website pictures somewhere our web genius shot down all the other pictures we’d gotten but I trust his opinion) it was time to do something new.
It also came about by a facebook post a couple of friends were involved with. It started out as a means of calling out the stupidity of some people. It’s a popular thing right now to have all your gear in desert tan (current military issue colors) even if you live in the urban jungle. Okay, yeah…that’s dumb. You want our gear to match your area of operations. If that is the city…don’t use desert colors. If that is the Pacific Northwest…use OD and black. If you’re in the High Desert…Multicam or A-Tacs Desert. The point is to match your surroundings…not to dress up so the chicks dig it.
So to this end I started on my rifle. I have a bit of a challenge. You see I live in the High Desert urban jungle but my bugout location is nowhere near the city. I have my shotgun set up in desert tan and black. That’s pretty well done and I’m not the sharp shooter of my group anyway. So let’s set up the AR15 as the “get the hell out of town” rifle. Now I have my purpose for the rifle and therefore the camo but that still presents some difficulties. High Desert and the city don’t exactly have matching colors. This isn’t the Iraqi urban jungle where everything is sandy colored anyway. I still have greens and tans along with my more traditional urban colors to deal with. So here’s how I started:
I started with a base coat of coyote tan. That’s the color of the dirt around here. I added a misting of OD and brown over the top to give it some depth and pick up the ambient colors. These will be my lightest colors that will pick up on all the light colors around me. (crosswalks, window glare, ect). This is by far the end though.
After that came the black. It was time to start adding the urban colors. I had to leave plenty of room, though, because we still have a long way to go. If you haven’t picked up on this…a pattern like this is a long process.
Yes, now it’s time for the gray. This picks up on the pavement and sidewalks. It will also act as shadows as well as force the black to be it’s shadow in brighter light. We’re starting to take on a more urban look and that’s a good thing. Its’ hard to tell in the picture but I left areas of the tan, OD, brown combo in thee. The handguard got the same treatment and as soon as it has had enough time to dry it will be mounted and be ready for the final step.
Well, after a little redo after getting the handguard on we have a pattern I’m pretty happy with. The picture I have is with the cerakote still wet so I’ll post a picture after it’s dry and I get a logo on it.
Here we have the concepts of real camouflage at work. We need the dark colors. We have to blend with shadows and the black of night. We have to deal with daylight colors around us. The trinity of local colors blended behind the dark colors will allow the eye to be fooled when peeking around shaded corners in broad day light. I’m really happy with the way this turned out. Camo should be able to adapt to different surroundings. We can do this just by adding in more local colors. Here, the high desert, I added the appropriate colors. Other places you will want to leave out the tan. Others you want to ditch all three and go with a completely different shade. Maybe a rusty brown instead of your normal medium brown that I used.
Go forth and camo well…and…(shameless self promotion warning)…if you want an expert to do the job, you know where to find me.