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 Post subject: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:10 pm 
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I've always been a fan of ATACS-FG. I might even go so far as to say it's my favourite camo pattern. As I'm currently going through a 'fed up with Multicam' phase I've been looking at how viable it would be to build a high-end/spec kit in that pattern. In short it's not. This has got me thinking; has ATACS's time passed?

It was never going to be the next multicam; Crye had that one tied up in a pretty little bow. They developed a camo ahead of everyone else that was perfect for the current warzone, and that came in arguably the best, most revolutionary BDU on the market (and the only camo for said BDU), that got widely adopted by every SOF on the planet, and that has progressively been adopted by wider military. However that's not to say that ATACS/ATACS-FG is a bad pattern, especially the latter. In their intended area of use they work exceptionally well, probably better than multicam. Yet they would never become widely adopted my 'operators' because of the existing SOP with regards to multicam uniforms (Polish and Russians are the only chaps I've seen in the stuff down range), and the availability of the Crye style BDUs in one pattern. Granted it's not the 'prettiest' of camos, it doesn't have the 'legit use down range/fashion' aspect of multicam, and it's very Marmite when it comes to whether or not people like, but the same can be said for Kryptek.

To me it seems to me that the pattern suffered quite heavily from a lack of investment from the higher end manufacturers. It probably didn't help that they seemed to over engineer the webbing/elastic, aesthetically/practically making it terrible (I get it's a 'pattern within a pattern', but that doesn't transfer across so well). Mayflower and HSGI were probably the only two major names to have invested in it, but now Mayflower has dropped off. BFG flirted but never fully committed. Platatac made/make the odd bit, but nothing substantive enough to really count. There's the odd high-end replica/clone manufacturer, but no one else really legit. In the last two years I can't really think of anything new that's been released in either ATACS or ATACS-FG. ATACS-LE appeared on the scene with a whimper. This seemed to lead to a lack of interest from us geardos, who might have liked the pattern but were perturbed by the quality of gear (I at least come under this category), and lead to ATACS becoming an 'airsofter' camo. A reputation that it's subsequently been lumbered with, and without some sort of marketing/product shift is likely to retain.

The interesting comparison is if you look at Kryptek. Similar comparison to ATACS; no 'in the wild' pics and very Marmite. Before those Travis Haley/HSP/BCM pictures were released showing the Crye-style Platatac/Mayflower gear the level of interest didn't seem too substantive. As soon as they surfaced it seemed to become everyone's favourite camo. Suddenly everyone is making stuff in that pattern, and everyone wants in. I have a feeling that if ODG ever release their stuff, given the celebrity backing (Chris Costa) and high spec gear (Arc'teryx/Mystery Ranch/S&S Precision), they'll have the same or at least similar response.

So although this is sort of just a rant on my part I'm curious as to other peoples opinions on this topic:

Do you think ATACS/ATACS-FG could gain some traction, or at least would have, if they'd invested in producing some higher end BDUs (or gear in general) through someone like Platatac? Or if they'd got some 'celebrity' backing?

Will it stay around, or can we expect it to die off in the next few years in the face of competition from Kryptek, ODG and Pencott? Given the US army has gone with Crye, this is most definitely a civilian market war.

Was it doomed from the start?

Am I talking out my arse?


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:25 pm 
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Users of A-TACS:

Users of the winner of Phase 4/US Army short-cut: US Army (with the possibility of all 4 branches if the Government get their way).

See? No major player (in the world) uses any version of A-TACS. Why should a company invest thousands of dollars into raw material just to please a few guys who use it on a hobby basis? You'd have to be insane/dumb to do something like that.

When Phase 4 is (officially) finished, my guess is that most of the "new" patterns will die off, due to all mills and manufacturers being tied up with producing the winning pattern(s). Unless they are picked up by a Gov. organization.

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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:52 pm 
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Well, that goes straight back to Blackjack's claim in how Kryptek's patterns are being so sexy right now when no government based military in the world is using or even planning(AFAIK) to use that pattern.

I kindda agree with Blackjack. Celebrity backup probably did work in that area.
Or maybe just all that hexagonal pattern looked sexy to geardos I)


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 5:17 pm 
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I believe A-TACS was a bit too early on the market (2010) compared to Kryptek (2012). Also, Krypteks PR department probably got a bit bigger PR budget/brains than the guys who run A-TACS. Get someone to do a custom run of uniforms for Travis Haley, and you suddenly have millions of people watching the photos and then the 1000s of fan-boys who wants to know what pattern it is, and where to get the same gear, meaning that you have people who want Kryptek gear and the money to spend.

Kryptek is a finalist in Phase 4 = Better than the baseline patterns (MC, AOR1 & MARPAT (if I remember correctly).
Kryptek is also pretty hunter friendly. It doesn't scream military compared to A-TACS. That's another +1 for Kryptek.

Will Kryptek stay? I wouldn't put my money on it, unless some other Gov. organization or country adopts it. Let's see in 2 years.


A-TACS do have a celeb, nutnfancy :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 23, 2013 11:24 pm 
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Essal raises a good point that I forgot to mention/refer to in my original post. Both Kryptek and ODG have advertised themselves as a camo for both hunting and for tactical/military use, effectively drawing on both markets. Once you combine the hunting, 'range commandos', LE/security and airsofters you do have a substantial customer base. Maybe not as big as any government organisation, but a notable enough market to suggest that 'civilian camo' can be successful. Hence why I believe that both Kryptek and ODG will remain successful, especially given the backing that they have. Another example of this is how Haley/HSP/Arc'Teryx basically invented grey as a camo too, which has also gained traction. Celebrity seems to go a long way.

This is why I partly disagree with Essal. I agree that once the US Army officially chooses a winner to Phase 4 (which is SSD is to be believe then they already have, and have gone with Crye) that the vast majority of the 'new wave' of camo patterns will die off. Yet multicam is already the go to colour for 99% of gear. You get Coyote and Multicam, maybe Ranger Green and/or Black. The US have been using OCP for the past few years as well. It's not like everyone is going to have to suddenly start making a new pattern of gear. There's hardly a shortage of the stuff. Hence, I can imagine that there will remain a space on the market for competitor products. I just don't think ATACS (or Pencott for the matter, for the same reasons) is going to be one of them.

It's an interesting point raises about the timing too. I hadn't really considered that ATACS emerging as a 'competitor' during the biggest multicam push (where availability suddenly spiked and EVERYONE started wearing it in the military, but the novelty of it was still relatively 'fresh') would have effected it's popularity/adoption, but it having now been raised I can see that that was probably as significant, if not more so, than the backing it got. Or possibly a reason why it didn't get the backing in the first place.


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 12:42 am 
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I have to say I'm a huge fan of ATACS but the Law Enforcement blue variant they produced was uglier then a ginger stepchild


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:36 am 
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Not sure if ODG will be successful, they appear incapable of getting to the market and I'm not sure wether MR and Arc' are backing them or if ODG has to buy for the backing while those brands don't bear any significant risk. I think there's also a threshold for how many patterns can push into a market at a given time, saying that the time for ODG has passed with Kryptek being significantly stronger at this time, keeping ODG out.


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:49 am 
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I am a supervisor for a (US) federal law enforcement agency. Due to the unique mission that my office has, we are considered one of the two semi-officially-designated groups who evaluate gear and camo patterns.

From what I observed, the timing of ATACS was what killed it, at least for us. In early 2009, we began slowly replacing our old woodland/black/Navy blue gear with Multicam. At almost the same exact time, we were evaluating different patterns for possible use by us and our cohort unit. Mirage Camo by Bulldog, and another pattern whose name escapes me, by a foreign company called Land Camo, were what we personally thought fit our AORs the best. I went along with the circus sideshow that is bureaucracy, and dutifully had the photo shoots and filled out all of the eval forms and then passed it up the chain of command. However I knew in my heart that MC was the next big thing, and that there would not be any movement toward a separate pattern on any scale of quantity. In the end I was correct.

We had, as I recall, one iteration each of Mirage, ATACS, Land Camo's pattern, and a couple others (Kryptek had a pattern included, I believe, but not any pattern seen today...I can ask someone else who may remember more), however no furthur shipments ever arrived. The stuff we were evaluating was the correct pattern and fabric, however being prototypes the construction was sometimes a bit crude (seams off, uneven PALS loop spacing, etc.) and we sat there waiting for more of it so that we could continue the evaluations. Well, needless to say, no more shipments ever came.

Did I, and my co-workers, think that ATACS had potential? Certainly! However we were turned off by some minor things that we never could (at the time) forsee being addressed, like coyote-colored PALS webbing on top of ATACS fabric, contrast color zippers, etc. We also imagined that the higher-ups were going to put more time and effort into selecting a pattern. We did not realize that MC was there to stay, and that it was a decision probably made "for us" long before we received any other patterns to evaluate.

Had ATACS come along, and been picked up by more high-end gear producers, perhaps a few years earlier, it may have stood a chance with us adopting it. However in the end I am pretty sure the timing was one major factor that killed it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:13 pm 
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Most of these Gucci patterns are a target identifier, if the world is dressing in multicam, then why would you want to stand out. For instance just take a look at a Dev who are fielding m.c. in increasing number in favour of aor1/2,

Don't forget the huge overhead costs and logistics associated with keeping stock levels up in various patterns. With budget cuts this seems to be much more an issue then a couple of years ago.

Then again some patterns will always be niche products and will never truly go away. Tigerstripe anyone. ;p

Personally I just wish ODG would play ball and release their bdu's for sale, cause I dig that look.


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 7:37 pm 
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Your statement is full of thruth, yet, do not discard a couple of other factors:
-You'll want to wear the most standard pattern for high profile work and/or working with big army because you don't want to be the guy/team standing out. However, there's a ton of low profile assignments in SOF where you want to be wearing the most effective camo, period. Your team is on its own, so the only risk of being singled out by the enemy is to actually be detected. This leaves some room for AO based camos.
-Also, eventhough trivial, there's always gonna be that command/unit/sub element seeking special recognition through specific camo. It happened in the past, it will happen again.

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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 6:33 pm 
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didn't read much of anything above (too long) but what put me off about atacs was the constant cheap advertising. it was just too condor esque. collars always worn up. guns were too "tacticool". just always looked like an airsoft gi advertisement….


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:16 am 
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I agree with Joe, the A-TACS marketing was cheesy. With all of the gear being the same camouflage pattern and everything looking too new, clean, and vibrant, along with most of the weapons being dipped/painted in ATACS camouflage, it kind of made it out as some sort of pop-culture advertisement. Besides, the advertisements looked like a simple and not-so-serious photo-op. I guess that the advertisements were not "cool" or "hardcore" enough.

Now, it may be used by many more SOF personnel than we think, but we just don't get to see any confirmation of that in pictures or in words. Much like Jack.Traven posted above, sometimes you need a camouflage to blend into the environment and you don't need to blend in with the other forces around you, because there are none besides your small team. Perhaps it is mostly a dying camouflage though.


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:22 am 
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Maybe it's because it's a camo in need of a niche. The market is saturated. In the US military alone, you (currently) have:

-Woodlands
-DCUs
-UCP
-MARPAT Woodland
-MARPAT Desert
-AOR1
-AOR2
-AOR3
-ABU pattern, whatever the hell that is called...
-Multicam/OCP

This doesn't even cover the wide range of uniforms the special people are wearing. So, where does ATACS fall in? Pretty much their only hope, since they didn't generate for a RFP from DoD, is/was to airsofters, paintballers, hunters, and domestic security (to include Law Enforcement), and the international market.


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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:50 am 
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ATACS was doomed, it my opinion, in large part because it didn't look like a pattern. A lot of the appeal in camo is the look, to project an image.

Identification.
-> IFF.

Recognizability/marketing .
-> You see UCP, you think US Army.

Impel (is that the appropriate word? In french we'd say "ça en impose")
-> To most people ERT cops in camo are far more intimidating than in blue uniforms even with the same helmet, same gun, same...

...and for civilians (ie kids wearing woodland shorts at school), just that it looks cool.

All things considered, as stupid as that sounds (but as the UCP debacle kinda proved)... actual camouflaging ability almost secondary... In that purpose ATACS did decent, for all I know (to be honest I did not read the testing papers), but as far as the image it projected, ATACS was a total failure. It doesn't look like a pattern. It looks like dirt.

Of course they tried to go after gov't contracts because it's a lot of money, so they directed their advertising mostly for that market. But IMHO, the only way they could stand a chance was in the hunting market, where effectiveness is (generally) the thing that matters the most.

Of course some SMU could use it as they don't care as much for their public image (except maybe DG, because they're SEALs at heart and they like the attention :mrgreen: ) like agencies or military branches do... but you can hardly sustain a product line and pattern printing with only a few hundred ninjas.

Now add this to the above posts (saturated market, bad timing, etc) and there's little room left for success.

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 Post subject: Re: The Death of ATACS
PostPosted: Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:57 pm 
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I really like ATACS and I think it's quite effective. I've seen many demo photos and videos from actual folks (mostly hunters) and I think it works quite well. I personally think the blurring and stippling (Flecktarn) effects are more effective at concealment than the dithering technology of the current US range of camo.

But I also agree too that it doesn't look cool, but honestly, that's not why I'm wearing it. There's several independent companies that are banging out some seriously cool mil spec gear. But I do have to say, I'm not a fan of the Propper ATACS ACU line. I haven't seen their cotton poly BDUs yet, but the ATACS are stiff and feel almost like a heavy canvas.

I guess I don't have too much to add here other than I don't understand why it gets so much disdain as it does. Ideally in whatever situation you're in, you'd want to pick the camo that works best for that particular environment. And from what I've seen, most of the people that like it and use it are older and not in the junior high mindset that they need to run out and get a pair of air jordans cause that's what everyone else is wearing.

And I don't mean that to be over generalized. I just mean that 98% of the multicam nuts are teens that play airsoft. That remaining 2% are just individual multicam / military aficionados or they tend to go with something else for hunting ect.


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