Many military veterans know the nuances of camo like the back of their hands. To newcomers? It’s blurry, muddled acronym city.
For those with heads swirling, here’s a pint-sized breakdown of the different camo patterns used today along with corresponding acronyms.
Universal Camouflage Pattern – Known as UCP or Army Combat Uniform PATtern (ACUPAT), this is the U.S. Army’s current camo pattern. This adaptation of U.S. Marine Corps MARPAT does not contain the color black in its pattern.
MultiCam – Originally beat out by UCP in 2004 for the Army Combat Uniform, now MultiCam is slowly being phased back in to replace UCP. It can be seen already on American Special Operation units as well as some police officers. The pattern itself is an amalgamation of browns, tanks, greens and light pink.
Airman Battle Uniform – First seen in 2003, ABUs are set to completely infiltrate and take over the Battle Dress Uniform in 2011. The color of the ABU is very similar to ACUs.
Navy Working Uniform – The NWU is based on MARPAT though its color pattern uses mostly blues and grays and is worn by the U.S. Navy.
MARPAT – This camo type also goes by “digital pattern” and stands for Marine Pattern. Patented by the U.S. Marine Corps, the popular pixilated pattern is available to civilians only as an ersatz version called Digital Woodland Camo or Digital Desert Camo.
Tactical Assault Camouflage – TACAM was employed by the National Anti-Terrorism Technology Development and Training Center in 2004. Using fractal patterns, or rough, fragmented geometric patterns, the camouflage is supposed to blend in ideally with urban and suburban regions.
US Woodland – As the most widely recognized “camo” out there, woodland has been the default pattern for U.S. soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors since 1981. It’s also used by 46 other countries including Afghanistan, Pakistan and Venezuela.
As for the new camo patterns in the works? We’ll save that for another time. For now, check out ITS Tactical, who recently did some camo comparing of their own.