The Nov-Dec. issue of KOMMANDO – International Special Operations Magazine features an up-close look at the new Sniper Smock and Trousers and Combat Field Shirt from SABRE that are being used by Austria’s legendary COBRA anti-terrorist unit.
Below is our English translation of the original article – a PDF of which is included below the translated article.
SNIPER CAMOUFLAGE: PenCott camo GreenZone
(photo copyright Soeren Sunkler 2012)
Camouflage is an essential part of a sniper’s requirements. KOMMANDO-International Special Operations Magazine (K-ISOM) gives you an exclusive look at an interesting solution.
Together with the legendary anti-terror task force unit (EKO) COBRA from Austria, we were able to test the new PenCott camouflage, developed by Dominic Hyde from Great Britain.
Hyde started his company Hyde Definition in 2008, well before the British military began an internal project to look for a new camouflage pattern. When the British military did decide on a new pattern, they approached Crye Precision to develop a variant of MultiCam called the Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP). This did not detract from the efforts of Hyde however. A good camouflage pattern will always prevail.
According to Hyde, the PenCott camouflage pattern was not influenced by any other existing color schemes. But he did analyse several historical patterns during its development that he considers to have been effective for their time. These included German camouflage patterns from the 2nd World War, the British Brush Stroke pattern used on the legendary Denison Smock, the French Lizard pattern used by paratroopers in Algeria and Indochina, the U.S. Jungle Leaf used in Vietnam and its later variant known as Woodland, the Canadian CADPAT (Canadian Disruptive Pattern), and even MultiCam by Crye Precision.
From Hyde’s extensive independent research and development effort came the initial “GreenZone” variant of PenCott, plus the semi-arid regions variant known as “Badlands” and the arid-regions variant known as “Sandstorm”. A fourth variant for use in snow-covered terrain known as “Snowdrift” has just recently finished production. The three main variants are available on four types of material: milspec 50/50 NyCo rip-stop, 500D and 1000D Cordura nylon, and 65/35 rip-stop poly-cotton.
Camouflage material must not only work, which is difficult enough, but it also needs to be produced at reasonable prices. And by no means do all camouflage patterns that are designed manage to get produced, or imported. Meanwhile, PenCott has been featured in film, television and on the news. It is therefore certainly no “one-hit wonder”.
K-ISOM had the unique opportunity to analyse PenCott-GreenZone up-close together with a team from EKO COBRA the newly introduced uniforms for snipers and marksmen. What struck us immediately was that the GreenZone version is more than perfect for the alpine highlands. Although the pattern consists of digital pixels, GreenZone manages to excellently integrate all of the colours that occur in high mountain terrain into the pattern.
In contrast to many other pixel patterns, PenCott camouflage is not based on a system of block-like rectangles and squares, because they look unnatural. The individual pixels and shapes in PenCott are arranged in a combination that appears random, but in such a way that it emulates the predetermined combinations one sees in nature. The GreenZone pattern is therefore perfect for alpine bush, grasslands and shrub landscapes. Likewise, it would likely prove effective in other European mountain ranges.
Along the transitions between colours there are virtually no hard edges, all colors harmoniously blending together. Using a unique process, Hyde has ensured that the green, brown, beige and sand-colored shapes are not recognizable as hard blocks of pixels. Instead, they appear as larger color segments, overlapped with smaller sections. Sometimes they even appear to have something like a “spray-paint” effect. The risk of recognisable pattern repeat – even at closer range – is also relatively small. What is obvious is that Hyde really put a tremendous amount of development work into this pattern.
Smocks and Trousers
We were also able to get a closer look at the Gen.II Sniper Trousers that belong to the sniper / marksman uniform. The trousers are made from milspec 50% cotton and 50% nylon, and we were particularly impressed with the features such as the Cordura knee-reinforcements, with removable padding, and the many attachment loops for scrim and camouflage and for affixing a special camouflage net. The trousers also feature large reinforced 50-mm belt loops, a high-cut kidney panel with removable braces, two bellows pockets on the back of the upper and lower legs, and two side pockets with D-rings. All bellows pockets have the following additional features: security against items falling out, D-rings, drainage eyelets and a ripstop storm cuff in the lower third of the leg. The storm cuffs are adjustable through elastic cords with one-handed cord-locks. All buttons are covered, of course. The bottom line is that the trousers represent the current pinnacle of tactical clothing design.
Also sighted in use with the EKO COBRA team was the Gen.II Combat Field Shirt that deserves more attention. The camouflage effect also perfectly matches the pants.
The Combat Field Shirt features two bellows chest pockets with and Velcro-fastened flaps for closing. It’s also possible to open the pockets from either the top or the side, depending on the requirements of the situation. Like the cargo pockets on the trousers, these pockets also feature an upper extension of the pocket that provides security against items falling out. There are also Velcro patches on the chest and sleeves for attaching badges, team call-signs and blood-type patches. We were especially positive about the underarm ventilation zippers with mosquito nets, and the reinforcement on the elbow provided by an additional layer of fabric. There are also two bellows upper sleeve pockets with Velcro patches, a forearm pocket on the left sleeve, and the wristbands of both sleeves are adjustable with Velcro. The collar also has a Velcro tab closure.
An inside pocket with side-entry and Velcro-closure completes the Combat Field Shirt. The Combat Field Shirt and the Smock are tailored specifically to the needs of military and law enforcement marksmen and snipers – but hunters and special operations forces would also probably be highly satisfied with the set-up.
The excellent camouflage in alpine terrain is clear to see. Although the GreenZone variant is not an all-encompassing solution, but it is certainly perfect for verdant landscapes in Europe, Asia and North America.
This sophisticated sniper system impresses thus not only with its functionality, but also with its all-round camouflage effectiveness.