Getting tired of wearing guccicam, er, the Multicam pattern for your loadout? If you're the geardo fashionista, chances are, you are looking for the latest tactical fashion for you to be different at the airsoft skirmish site. Especially if you've got money to burn, and want the latest, best and baddest camo pattern, then you might want to look into the Advanced Tactical Concealment System, or known as A-TACs.
Press announcements was made by Digital Concealment Systems (DCS), the owner of the A-TACS pattern, over year ago about this pattern and first revealed publicly during the Shot Show 2010. A-Tacs aims to replace existing digital patterns which have flaws, with the the ACU, CADPAT, MARPAT, and other patterns that take inspiration from these, being its targets. The Multicam might be another thing, since it's not a "digital" pattern.
The flaws mentioned by DCS are that due to pixelated prints on these patterns, the angles are 90 degrees and do not actually absorb the shapes in the environment, which have more angles giving them a more solid colour, rather achieving some blending in the background, which defeats the purpose of stealth. DCS designed A-TACs to answer the issues of digital patterns in three ways:
"1. Replace un-natural square pixels with organic pixels. Utilizing our patented process, we created a palette of natural colors digitally sampled from real-world elements in carefully controlled lighting. The pattern is then created using a mathematical algorithm that writes “organically-shaped” pixels using the specific color information given. The resulting pattern while still digital, is far more organic in appearance.
2. Use small patterns to create larger more distinct shapes designed to work at a distance. Small shapes create larger shapes and larger shapes are organized into a distinct pattern with no horizontal or vertical orientation. This unique 'pattern within a pattern' concept allows A-TACS® to effectively break the human outline at great distances thereby, minimizing the 'blobbing' effect of other patterns when viewed from a distance.
3. More effective use of color-range produces a better concealment system. A-TACS® is created using a far greater range of inter-mingled natural colors than was previously possible. The overall base color for the cast is a neutral tan which is designed for use in open, rocky or arid environments."
There are still few photos of the A-TACS in action, apart from the photos found at the A-TACS website. Third party photos of the pattern were taken during trade shows, which are not exactly places to test camouflage patterns. So for now, it's really hard to make a judgement on how effective the pattern is, especially with the Multicam now becoming even more widely adopted in two of the most famous armed forces, the British (with their MTP) and the US (which is rushing to equip troops in Afghanistan with the multicam). Among airsoft players, the Multicam is still the most preferred camo, apart from those who always prefer their nation's official uniform camo patterns.
One thing's for sure. A-TACS is also a good-looking pattern as it looks a more refined pattern as compared to the jagged patterns of existing digital camos.
A-TACS is now available in Nylon Cordura for those looking into using it for their gear, such as vests, slings, holsters, and the like. The Cordura weights will be the usual the 330D, 550D and 1,000D. Moreso, DCS have also partnered with TWN Industries to allow the use of the A-TACS for water transfer film so you can dress up your guns and other gadgets with the camo pattern.
The debate is now on whether A-TACS would give Multicam a run for its money. Some online forums are discussing this but it seems that Multicam is very much preferred. But then, nothing will end the debate until a more authoritative side-by-side comparison of both patterns is done. So we're still holding judgement on this one.
But expect the airsoft market to be first in adopting this pattern for field use, especially that they can rely on some suppliers coming from the Far East willing to serve the airsoft market if they see there's some demand forming.