Speaking of variants, I've been meaning to see if we can figure out what these dang'd things are called. Here are the variants I know of based on pictures and items in my collection:
1. M2003? = 1st pattern camo, smooth cloth, no arm pockets, use of buttons for various things. 2003 only date seen.
2. M2004 (early)? = 1st pattern camo, smooth cotton, two arm pockets, heavy use of velcro. 2004 only date seen.
3. M2004 (mid)? = identical to above, but 2nd pattern camo and different cloth. 2006 earliest, 2008 latest seen.
4. M2004 (late)? = identical (or pretty close to it!) to above, but ripstop cloth. 2006 earliest, 2012 latest seen.
5. M???? = ripstop with slant chest pockets and no lower pockets. 2008 only date seen.
I am wondering if #5 is a Chinese fake. I've not been able to find a picture of it in use and the only examples I've seen are from 2008 and brand new. More telling, you can buy them on Alibaba. There is also a picture of a Chinese female body guard wearing one during a PR stunt. Since it is a radically different cut from all the uniforms AND the traditional cut was produced for at least another 5 years, I am suspicious.
Any info from others?