MARSOC, It’s one of those things your either into or not into… At present there’s a healthy amount of people who are looking to replicate the loadout or at least, have some of that cool guy look rub off onto their own loadout. Its certainly a look I like, and I’m not the only one… I can’t remember the last time I went to a game and didn’t see at least one other person rocking the M81/Multicam combo with a Mk18 and a JPC or LV-MBAV.
Ive always admired the US Marines, From watching films such as Full Metal Jacket and Heartbreak Ridge, To newer films and series such as Jarhead and Generation Kill. Most recently it’s been through reading accounts of Special Forces soldiers in non fiction books such as the seminal classic “Level Zero Heroes” by Michael Golombesky.
I’m certainly not a massive expert on the unit, but they have a unique image when it comes to gear… Their most iconic loadouts coming from recent years working in Afghanistan alongside the local forces (Most of the reference material is from the above book and associated missions) Shying away from MARPAT and Multicam for the most part, The use of M81 US Woodland “CryeFire” Pants is what most people think of… combined with a number of options to cover your torso from as soft shells, fleeces and indeed matching combat shirts in woodland.
So when it comes to buying genuine M81 Cryes your looking at forking out a significant amount, prices of £500+ for the Pants alone are common, a full set in the right size could see you off the best part of a grand. We all have our own budgets, for something I run around like a dickhead in… that’s way above mine.
When it comes to repro M81 “Crye Cuts” there’s a lot of different options, from the likes of Emerson and TMC to FFI and Toy Soldier. Also worthy of note are the Combat Systems G3 pants which Kireru Disruptive Society did a fantastic job of reviewing… if you’ve not yet had a look at his review, check it out. Combat Systems CZ G3 Combat Pants Review
After much debating and trying to find a suitable pair in a size that would fit my massive frame, I managed to grab a set of Flash Force Industries “Crye G3 BDUs” in US M81 Woodland, A reasonable price for the set at around £110 all in direct from JKArmy, although the shirt isn’t my cup of tea… A fat guy in a UBACs isn’t a good look, I’ll usually just wear a T-Shirt.
Upon arrival I was happy enough with the initial inspection, Stitching etc appears very similar to my genuine Crye G3s… albeit with a few more loose threads dotted around. Actually fielding the set would have to wait a few weeks, I’d purposefully bought a set too small to spur on my weight loss… A short time later and with a fair amount of crap not consumed I managed to fit into the set… a year down the line and their baggy but adjustable enough to remain very usable.
Sizing is a little off from Crye, the Pants are a touch smaller and with a little less adjustment. The shirt a little larger and with a far thinner (and more delicate) wicking base layer. My advice would be to buy a size up from what your used to, although this isn’t as much of an issue as some other Asian manufacturers.
The stretch panels on the FFI pants are again a little thinner than that on genuine cryes, however the colour is good overall and doesn’t have that repro look that’s often the case with Crye cut pants. The M81 material itself seems a touch bright but after a couple of warm washes and a bit of wear the edge comes off and they look suitably worn in.
I’m a bit funny about washing kit, most laundry detergents contain optical brighteners which can make your combats stand out like MC Hammers tracksuit under NODs, a cool or warm wash in just water is usually enough… failing that you can buy “eco friendly detergent” which usually doesn’t contain those compounds.
I also don’t generally wash my BDUs until I’m forced to… that’s not to say I leave my shit in a bin bag for 10 months before checking on it (Like a certain mate did whilst deployed with the military) but a little mud from a Sunday’s Skirmish can be brushed off with little fuss… There’s also the little bonus of my camouflage not fading as quickly.
Pockets and design are virtually identical to the Crye G3s I own in Multicam, the stitching however in places does leave a little to be desired. Thebottle/mag keeper in the left bellows pocket has started to come away, bearing in mind it’s not the pocket I usually use I’m a little disappointed.
Other minor little gripes are the belt loops being made of a thinner material and not finished quite as well as the Cryes they’re based on. Not a massive deal to some people, but running an inner/outer belt with hook and loop Velcro can tear this up a little which long term could be its downfall.
Zippers are YKK as per genuine Crye, and have proved as tough as they should be. The way some of the Velcro closures are stitched however makes it hard to deny that corners have been cut.
I can confirm that Crye Airflex knee pads will fit perfectly into these pants, and I’m sure the repro ones will work much the same… Although with Airsoft being the fashion show it is, why wouldn’t you buy Crye? 😂
Overall I’d say these are worth the cost, I’ve worn these and my Cryes alternately to every game I’ve attended (bar one game) for the last 12 months. There’s little sign of wear save it the inside of the belt loops and on the bellows pocket retainer, I can see these pants lasting a few years even with the abuse I put them through… crashing through thick brush, over walls, through windows etc… generally being clumsy…
To round up, if you have the money… Buy Crye/Drifire. If money’s something your looking to ration, these are a suitable alternative.
Would I buy them again? I think that despite the little niggles I have with these I’m pretty happy… they look the part which is half the battle, they’re also almost as comfortable as my real Cryes… a little more give with the stretch panels and I’d struggle to know what I’m wearing. The corners that have been cut are for the most part not integral to the pants function or durability, for a third of the price of genuine Crye I’ll have to give FFI a pass on this one… I guess the real answer will be in the next month or so… I’m looking for some Crye G3 pants in ranger green, if I don’t buy genuine next time then this would certainly be one of the few manufacturers I’d be considering.