Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

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    nkomo
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    Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by nkomo on Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:11 pm

    I have a weakness when it comes to US militaria. I love to collect Special Forces modified uniforms. Every time I go to a surplus shop, you will find me digging through piles of uniforms or searching the racks for these jackets. Most people just pass them by and never give them a second glance. Myself, if I see one and it is the right price, it will end up in my collection.

    Before we get started, modified jackets are military jackets that have been "changed" by their former owner by adding the lower front pockets to the upper arms. Sometimes the former owner will use other jackets or pants to add the pockets to the upper arms. These modifiecations were done so the user could have easier access to their pockets. Many times, SF soldiers would have their lower pockets covered by equipment or gear. This proved difficult for them to have access what was in the pockets, so they moved them to the upper amrs. Upper arm proved to be easier access. This was not a regulation change, so most of the people who had modified jackets were SF types who had MUCH leeway in regards to uniforms. The removal of the lower pockets was not absolute as will be illustrated in this thread. Sometimes, there were just extra pockets added to the jacket.

    How I started collecting modified jackets is fairly simple. My father, my son, and I were in a surplus shop in Winchester, Kentucky called Stuff's. We had heard of this place, and had even looked for it many times with no luck. One day we found it! What an interesting store. The prices were usually very high, but sometimes bargains were to be found. The first time I was there, I was going through a uniform bin and found several jackets that had the pockets sewn on the sleeves. I had no idea what they were, but knew something was different about these here. Unfortunately, I only had $15 on me. They were asking $5 a piece for the jackets (Small sizes). My dad was tapped out, so I could only afford to buy 3 jackets that day. I bought the 2 jungle jackets and the modified 6-color desert. I wanted so bad to get the others, but finances wouldn't allow me to do so. Two weeks later, when I got paid again, I went down to Stuff's and bought the other 4. This is what started me on my quest to find these jackets.

    What I am going to show you is what to look for while surplus hunting. I certainly am no expert on these jackets and I want people to feel free to ask questions and to make comments. I am here to learn and share with others what I know. Thanks!


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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by nkomo on Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:57 pm

    I have MANY more modified jackets in my collection. Actually, I have too many for any one man to own. It took me over 4 hours of picture taking, editing, and posting these pictures on here. I will eventually post more, but some other day perhaps. Remember, I am not an expert on modified jackets and I'm hoping members can add information and their own pictures to this thread.

    If I had to rate these jackets from most common to most rare, it would go like this:
    1. Woodland
    2. 3-color DCU
    3. 6-color Desert
    4. ERDL and jungle jackets tie for rarest
    5. RDF- RDF gets it's own category because I've never come across a set before. Not even sure they made one.


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    modified DCUs

    Post by RTS on Wed May 06, 2009 8:37 pm

    Arch,

    Pg 36 of the May 2009 edition of Knives Illustrated has a picture of the first Navy SEAL
    KIA in Iraq wearing what looks a lot like to me the Propper factory modfied DCU top. I
    can bring a copy with me when we meet up if you can't find one as reference.
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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by CollectinSteve on Thu May 07, 2009 12:54 am

    Wow... 4 hours to take pics of a "niche" bit of kit. The mind boggles at thinking of that Very Happy

    I find it interesting that not many nations followed suit with the modifications before getting their own factory made versions (nearly all nations have sleeve pockets now). At one point I had an Italian COMSUBIN (roughly equal to US Navy Seals) jacket that had its lower pockets on the arms and the pen pocket from the arm on the rear left shoulder blade. I sold it for quite a bit of money because I already had something like a half dozen factory made variants. I kinda regret selling that sucker.

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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by nkomo on Thu May 07, 2009 1:05 am

    CollectinSteve wrote:Wow... 4 hours to take pics of a "niche" bit of kit. The mind boggles at thinking of that Very Happy

    I find it interesting that not many nations followed suit with the modifications before getting their own factory made versions (nearly all nations have sleeve pockets now). At one point I had an Italian COMSUBIN (roughly equal to US Navy Seals) jacket that had its lower pockets on the arms and the pen pocket from the arm on the rear left shoulder blade. I sold it for quite a bit of money because I already had something like a half dozen factory made variants. I kinda regret selling that sucker.

    Steve
    Steve,
    Yeh....4 hours. I really have more modified jackets than any one person would ever need, but each one is a little different. My wife rolls her eyes when I show her a new modified jacket. She says they all look alike. However, what she doesn't notice is the subtle differences in pocket placement, sewing design, patches, etc. It takes a true collector to notice all these little differences. Each jacket has a different history to it and it is interesting to see these jackets as they have evolved. Very Happy
    Arch


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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by CollectinSteve on Thu May 07, 2009 1:29 am

    Hi Arch,

    I have the same thing going on my domestic front. The last time I heard "but you already have tons of that stuff" I was trying not to drool directly onto a rare Bundeswehr Flecktarn ripstop set in ACU cut. Different cloth, different colors, different cut... same "well, it looks the same to me" comment! Then again, she is the only woman in town who goes out in public wearing 1990s Philippines National Police pants, so it's not like I am right to quibble with her about the details Very Happy

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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by nkomo on Thu May 07, 2009 1:50 am

    Steve,
    I hear you. My wife is a good one. She travels with me to various flea markets, surplus shops, and bases to indulge in my collcting "sickness". She may not appreciate the finer points of modified uniforms, but she does appreciate the history behind them. She is a good one....I'll keep her for awhile!
    Arch


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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by Mercenary25 on Thu May 07, 2009 10:07 am

    I got modified DCU jacket once, but owned it for few days before I traded it away to Arch alongside with PJ (?) used M1961a LBT chest rig. I have to confess that I miss them. Very Happy


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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by bond007a1 on Thu May 07, 2009 1:21 pm

    Arch seems to aquire stuff from all of us that we end up MISSING DEARLY....like my...errr...his USMC modified set that WAS formerly was mine...lol

    Steven


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    Re: Modified Uniforms.....an explanation

    Post by downboy on Mon May 24, 2010 11:18 pm

    Modification is basically a field expediency practice.Became a norm when the USSF were sent to OIF-P.But this basically became popular since chest rigs became the de facto must have for most tier one troopers SEALs,SF`s,etc...Individuals just had them tailored off base but since the OIF era units placed special orders before deploying hence the uniformity.Military technology,research and development and war sure goes hand in hand.

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