Retro Camouflage's Return to Popularity?
It came to my attention several years ago, while browsing in a sporting goods store, a camouflage pattern I hadn't seen since my youth. As I looked at the design hanging on the rack, a flood of nostalgia came over me. That pattern was MossyOak Bottomlands.
In order to see where we are with the revival of retro camouflage, we must take a look at its history. The first military use of a breakup style camo was in WWII with M1942 used by the Marine Corps.
M1942 Camouflage Pattern. Also referred to as Frog Skin.
After WWII, soldiers returning home either used black and red buffalo plaid for hunting, or made use of the surpluses of the M1942 pattern by incorporating it into their hunting and sporting needs. It would become known as "Duck Hunter" and "Brown Camo" by its users. The popularity of the pattern, especially among duck and bird hunters, saw that it would be copied and used up until the early 90s by some companies.
My vintage Columbia Gortex Hunting Jacket in "Duck Hunter" pattern. This was put out by Columbia from the late 1970s-early 1990s.
Like with M1942 the surplus market would give, and still gives, hunters a way to break up their outlines. Tiger Stripe, ERDL, and M81 woodland are patterns tried and used by many. Even up into the 90s, it wasn't uncommon around rural Northwest Georgia, where I live, to see M81 surplus being used in the deer woods.
Rise of the Commercial Market
The first attempt at making a commercial camouflage pattern, not based on military design, was TreBark. In the early 1970s, Jim Crumley a bow hunter from Virginia decided that the surplus patterns available thru mail-order and surplus stores weren't enough. By using a gray color base, and odorless brown and black markers, the first commercial pattern TreBark was born. It would take off for success in 1983 when Cabela's offered it in the fall catalog.
The Original TreBark pattern.
In 1986, two other big names would enter the arena. MossyOak and RealTree. Like with Ford vs. Chevrolet, or Remington vs. Winchester, MossyOak and RealTree would start a debate on which pattern is better for years to come. Both Companies would evolve from the original patterns, and offer several different styles to fit the environment the hunter would be in. As manufacturing and technology advances, a lot of these patterns are 3D and in HD these days.
Original MossyOak Bottom Lands.*I like to believe that some inspiration came from M1942 in the base design.*
Original RealTree.*I like to believe that TreBark inspired this design*
Current Times and Revival of Retro Patterns.
With all the advances in camouflage these days, it's exciting for a retro lover such as myself to see a revival of the old-school patterns. With MossyOak bringing back bottomlands, Drake offering what they are calling Old School; to folks customizing their boats, guns, and even tactical equipment in retro patterns, it's a welcome bit of nostalgia in today's shooting and sporting world. The trend toward using old-school camouflage for personalization and simpler practicality, over more recent offerings, I believe is part of the revival. It's easier to customize guns and equipment for example in the older and more basic patterns, when using paint, Cerakote, or coatings such as Alumahyde. Another part is just the cool factor and nostalgia it brings. There are several smaller companies offering retro type camouflage accessories, giving folks an option to style their guns or gear that way. JunkyardOps and Flatline Fiber Co. shown below are two of many examples of these type companies, and you can find a lot of options to do custom coatings in whatever pattern you want from Brownells. Either way, whatever pattern you decide on, be it old military or commercial camouflage, I believe it's a welcome sight in today's time!
Some examples of retro camouflage patterns giving some personality and customization:
Modern Custom Chest Rig made from M1942 shelter half. (Photo courtesy￼ of owner @carbinesandcoffee on Instagram)
Cerakoted Retro “chocolate chip” desert camo magazine for an AR15, available from JunkyardOps.(photo ￼courtesy of @its.miller.time on Instagram)￼
A Brownells BRN180(a modern retro design rifle in itself) featuring a retro pattern Tiger Stripe sling made by Flatline Fiber Co. (photo courtesy of owner @thee_adam_￼jagger on Instagram)
Weatherby Shotgun that has been Cerakoted in MossyOak Classic Bottomlands. (Photo sourced from Cerakote’s website)
Springfield XDM cerakoted in classic Realtree. (Photo sourced from Cerakote’s website)
AR-15…Do You Really Get what You Pay For?
Having been tinkering with the AR-15 rifle platform for almost 2 decades now, one question I constantly get asked by people that are new to the platform is whether it is worth it to spend so much money on an AR-15 rifle? Do you really get what you pay for? My question back to them has always been what is your budget? As most all of us question what we��re willing to spend on an item, this has always been my first question. My second question is what is important to you? For example, what is the purpose of the firearm? How would you like it setup as far as optics, handguard, trigger and sights? Many people truly have no idea what they want, so I typically will show them some of my rifle setups and gauge their interest in one direction or another. Most people I deal with appreciate this approach and it truly helps them understand some of the different configurations and can help them make up their mind.
Now back to the question of do you really get what you pay for. This is probably one of the most debated subjects when it comes to anything that’s tangible, we value and spend our hard earned cash on. The AR-15 firearm platform has such a wide range in prices in today’s world, starting from the $300-$500 price range all the way up to $4k-$5k. So do you really get $4k worth of performance out of an AR-15 costing $4K and do you really only get $500 worth of performance out of a $500 AR-15? In my opinion, that answer is truly found somewhere in the $1k-$2k range. You do get a lot for your money in that specific price slot. Think of a lot of the mid to upper tier rifles offered by BCM, SOLGW, DD and Geissele over at Brownells. All of these rifles come generally with a good trigger, hard use barrel/BCG and nice handguard/furniture. Now this isn’t to say that you get so much less with that $500 AR-15. They are very good starting points to figure out what’s ultimately important to you. Lower end rifles from S&W, Stag Arms and Aero Precision can be good values too, you just don’t get some of the added benefits of a nicer trigger, hard use barrel and sometimes the furniture is lower end on the quality or materials used.
So my experience has been all over this price spectrum. I have higher end rifles from Noveske and Geissele as well as some lower end rifles from PSA, RRA, Spike’s Tactical and Aero Precision. My experience with the lower end rifles have been, they usually get parts swapped out to bring them up in status. Whereas the higher end rifles are perfectly fine in their “as purchased” setup. This of course is one’s personal preference and is another one of the beauties of the AR-15 platform is the ease of changing out most common parts to improve or enhance the firearm.
So at the end of the day, it’s all up to you and your wallet. But I will add that outside of the $1k-$2k arena, you enter into a state of increasingly diminished returns on your investment. Whatever price you’re looking at spending, be sure to check out Brownells and their incredible inventory of AR-15s and other firearms.
WASR Wednesday my dudes.
Throwback to my first AK
The grand power stribog is a Slovakian 9mm carbine style pistol. Imported by global ordnance out of Sarasota Florida. The stribog sp9a1 gen 2 is normally priced between 700-900 depending on where you get it and what kind of sales are available at the time. The example I have shipped with 3 magazines, 2 straight body magazines and 1 curved magazine. Mine also came with the sb tactical brace that most firearms of this style come with. As a little bonus the Stribogs come with a spare set of the polymer flip up sights and it all ships in a pretty nice hard case.
Out of the box it is a lot smaller than I had expected. (That’s what she said) It has a solid weight of 5lbs 1oz unloaded on the 8” barrel model. There is now a 5” barrel model available along with models that accept Glock magazines. There are 3 main models of stribog to look for, the original is the sp9a1 which a direct blow back with a reciprocating charging handle. Shortly after that came the sp9a1 gen 2 which is also a direct blowback model but with a non reciprocating charging handle. Which to me is a major plus. Then that leads us to the sp9a3 which is grand powers take on a roller delayed action. I am honestly not super knowledgeable or experienced with the sp9a3 considering I’ve never even seen one in person. All of the models ship with lower receivers that have fixed non changeable grips and take the proprietary stribog magazine. As long as I’m understanding this correctly, the neat thing is that the serialized part is the upper receiver portion. Therefore you could easily change out the lower to one of the many aftermarket options available that better suits you.
First shots- The first time I took the stribog out I was not exactly thrill with how it went. I had two failure to feeds in the first magazine. Then when I removed the magazine to clear the malfunctions the entire magazine shot the remaining rounds out. After two or three more times of picking about 28 rounds out of the snow I realized that the straight body magazines that they ship with these are absolute junk. The curved magazine that they send however is awesome. The curved magazines look better, seem to be made better, and have ran 100% flawlessly.
So after the initial hiccup the first time shooting it I have really grown to love this firearm. Since owning it I have added a couple small upgrades from HB industries to it including their short stroke buffer kit and their mini comp thread protector. I have since put a couple thousand rounds through it with nothing but good times and good things to say about it.
Grand Power has since released the 5” barrel models and the models that accept Glock magazines. Aftermarket support for the stribog seems to be pretty good with offerings from companies like HB industries, Jtac industries, and Arms republic. There are plenty of parts available online like handguard extensions, lower receivers that take different magazines, triggers, and grips.
I think the future is bright for the little stribog and I am excited to see what comes next for it. In the future I may try to get ahold of a sp9a3 to check out. In the meantime if you are interested in picking up a stribog for yourself then I would highly recommend it. That being said make sure you pick up a few curved magazines that way you can avoid the entire first situation I had.
Awesome firearm for the price, and I’m sure you’ll love it.
Adam Jagger gun blog post #1 7/10/2022
I guess I’m blogging now 😅
Hello and welcome! I’m Alex, or Pipe Guy as most of you’ll know me from IG or YouTube. The majority of my content here will cover my adventures (or misadventures) with firearms. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it, just whatever I feel like posting at the moment. I will occasionally discuss my other hobbies of pipe smoking, watches and collecting old junk.
Some background on me- I’ve got 28 years of experience shooting (Dad taught me when I was 6 but it sounds better the other way) and spent four years in the Marine Corps where I spent my time as an 0331 (Infantry Machine gunner) but also did some other really cool courses such as Basic Urban Survival Training (BUST) and Combat Hunter. That said, I’m not the type that thinks military training is relevant to the civilian world. Some things are, most is not. I’ve got an associates from Sonoran Desert Institute (que laughter, but it helps me win arguments on the internet “dO yOu HaVe A dEgReE iN tHaT fIeLd?” And I am certified through the International Firearm Specialists Academy. Most importantly I’m passionate about these tools and am always trying to learn more.
I was brought into Brownells Bureau of Propaganda 4 years ago and am proud to say they are a driving force behind this blog. A good portion of what I discuss will available through their website. I want to emphasize now that I’m not just shilling. Brownells is a fantastic company that does wonderful things for the firearms community and I fully believe in the mission of the Bureau of Propaganda, which ultimately is to show firearm culture in a positive light. The Second Amendment is constantly under attack, more so now with a big push to get some pretty terrible bills passed. I’m going to try to refrain from politics as much as possible here, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.
This is not going to be just another AR15 blog. I tend to prefer old school style and while some ARs certainly qualify for that, there’s a whole lot more that can be talked about as well. If you want more of my nonsense, be sure to check out my Instagram @pipe.guy as well as my YouTube channel Pipe Guy. From old school snub nose revolvers and Browning Hi Powers, to holsters, “modern” pistols such as the Sig Sauer P226 and Beretta 92FS, tools, gear, and other accoutrements were gonna go over it all. Yes even the occasional AR15. Book reviews will also go up now and again, albeit far less often. I need to read a book a couple times to really feel comfortable reviewing it so you’ll have to bear with me on that. The topics those will cover will mostly be history, self defense and shop manuals.
If you’re still reading, I appreciate you and hopefully you’ll stick around for more! Here’s a teaser photo of the next blog! The video on these will be going on my YouTube later this evening, and the blog will likely be going up tomorrow.
I’m very excited to start blogging with Brownells and want to thank everyone that reads this for doing so!
2A Spread #2, featuring Adam Jaggers BRN-180.
Aluma-Hyde II…Firearm Finishing for the People.
I consider myself to be a moderately proficient individual when it comes to firearms, especially in the case of building, taking apart as well as troubleshooting. I am mostly self taught, but have just a tad bit of formal training. Now when it comes to the job of refinishing a firearm or applying a protective coating, I’ve merely scratched the surface of the possibilities. With many of my older mil-surp firearms, I’ve went through the task of stripping and re-finishing the various wood stocks, removing cosmoline and sanding said wood. Then applying a stain and then a correct oil or shellac to try and replicate the original looking wood furniture. The metal I typically would clean a bit, then oil as necessary.
A couple of years ago, I received a Charles Daly AR-12 shotgun that I decided I wanted to make an attempt at trying to paint it with a desert kind of camouflage theme. Nothing too crazy, but something just to get my feet wet. Initially I was going to go with a spray paint, but learned about Aluma-Hyde II finish from Brownells. It’s a firearm finish that’s applied from a spray can like a paint would be, but cures much harder. I won’t say that it’s as durable as Cerekote or Duracoat, but it also doesn’t require anything but prepping supplies and the can it comes in. To prep the surface before applying, anything not wanting to finish should be taped up and the entire surface degreased. Removing of anodized finish or bluing isn’t necessary. Aluma-Hyde II will bond to an already existing finish. You can take a Scotchbrite pad and scuff up the surface, but I have found it not to be necessary. I was shocked at how nice the AR-12 shotgun turned out. The only real issue I encountered was sometimes the nozzles would clog up, requiring a clean out. The only other negative is it takes an enormously long time to air cure…up to 2 weeks!
After having gotten my feet wet with my first project, I wanted to try using a stencil pattern to apply a camo finish using Aluma-Hyde II. I chose a woodland pattern from Branson Cerekote to paint my 10.5” BRN-180 pistol in .300 Blackout. This time, I also picked up an extra large toaster oven to oven cure the finish. My understanding with cerekote is to apply each color at a time with cure time in between. Aluma-Hyde II starts to cure after 30+ minutes allowing time to apply more colors/coats and add/remove stencils. I found this to be ideal, but you have to work fairly fast. My first project using stencils came out really nice and I was more than happy with the results.
Since those 2 projects, I’ve completed 2 additional projects using stencils and Aluma-Hyde II finish. I completed an Aero Precision EPC9 as well as another BRN-180 project. Aluma-Hyde II is truly an impressive firearm finish that is easy enough for a novice such as myself to apply and come out with a good looking outcome. Preparation of the surface is truly the key to a good outcome and try not to apply too many colors. 3-4 colors is really the maximum I would recommend since the finish is relatively thick in nature. Now I just wish Brownells would start to offer additional colors!
It keeps me warm.
Surplus Romy G kit on DC industries receiver with Russian furniture
@oldwestgunsandclothing bringin' that wheelgun heat for #wheelgunwednesday! Which do you prefer?
👀 Waiving that BOP Flag! What We’re Working on: A Look At Some Retro Rifles from Brownells 🇺🇸🦅 maybe we can get our buddy FlyingRich in the Bureau 😉 Video Out Soon! 🎥 @hankstrange 👈🏽 #hankstrange @brownellsinc @safetyharborfirearms @joshuacoburn @baby_facep @flyingrich_official @rwrepp @possumfatback - - #bureauofpropaganda #bop #2a #retro #Brownells #bop #safetyharborfirearms #secondamendment #hankstrange #retrorifle #shf (at Strange Farms) https://www.instagram.com/p/B5RN0JFhDrd/?igshid=ds3333z6tsdp