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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So you wanna go retro? This guide will help you to build a 1980's to 2000's US military loadout. This guide will cover the Woodland and Desert versions of this US military loadout.



Battle Dress Uniform:

The two BDU's for this will be US Woodland and Desert BDU (Choc-Chip Camo)

US Woodland BDU


US Desert BDU:


The Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) was used by the United States Military as their standard uniform for combat situations from the early 1980's to the mid-2000's.
BDUs are common and easy enough to get a hold of a genuine set. This also often makes them quite cheap.

Load Bearing:
For this loadout, there are two load bearing options; ALICE suspender rig and the Load Bearing Vest.

ALICE suspender rig (1980's-1990's):





The All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) system, was adopted by the United States Army in 1973. This rig consistes of a Y-harness (named because of its shape), a pistol belt and a variation of pouches depending on operational requirements.

Load Bearing Vest (1990's)





The Load Bearing Vest (LBV) was introduced in the 1990's as a replacement for the ALICE Y-harness. The LBV can hold six M16 magazines and two grenades.

Magazine pouches:

ALICE magazine poch holds 3 M16 mags and two M67 grenades.

Canteens:

Water supply

Compass pouch:

Holds military compass

Holster:

The M12 holster fits M1911 and M9 handguns.

First Aid Pouch:

Contains field dressing

ButtPack:
(1970's-1980's)


(1990's)

Contains all field neccesities for up to a 3-day operation.

Headwear:
PASGT Helmet
Nicknamed "K-Pot" for its resemblence to the German World War II helmet. It was the standard issue helmet at the time. A Woodland or Desert BDU helmet cover was also standard issue depending on the deployment environment. A Cat-Eye Band was also worn to identify friendly troops from behind.


Boots:
Full leather "speedlace" USGI boots (1990's):
Designed for European operations the full leather boot has a "lug" sole


Jungle Boots(1980'S-1990'S):
Designed for jungle enviroments these boots saw considerable use through Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Bosnia and Kosovo. The green canvas version saw use up until Panama where it was replaced by the Black canvas version. Both the black and the sand versions saw action in the Gulf war.


Gloves:
US flight gloves


Goggles:
Either SDW (Sand, Dust, Wind) or T800 goggles.

SDW:

T800:


Weapons:

Assault rifles:

M16A2:




The M16A2 was the standard issue rifle for the US Military at the time. The A1 version was also used up until Operation Just Cause in Panama (1989). M203 grenade launchers would also be issued to the grenadier.



Many airsofters (including myself) use the Airsoft M16A3 because the A2 is harder to come by. (Note the detachable carrying handle/rear iron sight)


XM177:
The XM177 OR CAR-15 saw some use until it was replaced by the M4 Carbine in 1994.


M4 Carbine (1994-)
Designed to be a more compact version of the M16.

Support weapons:

M60(1980's-1990's):
The E3 version of this light machine saw wide use with the US military throughout the 80's and 90's.


M240:
The M240 saw use alongside the M60.


M249 Minimi:
The M249 was introduced in 1984 to bolster automatic firepower in a squad.


Sniper Rifles:

M40A1(1980's/1990's):
Used by the United States Marine Corps, the bolt action M40A1 was introduced in the 1970's. It served as the Marine Corps primary weapon system until the 2000's where it was replaced by the M40A3.




M21(1980's):
The M21 was used by the US Army as its primary sniper weapon system until it was replaced by the M24 SWS IN 1988.


M24 SWS(1990's):
The military version of the Remington 700, the US Army adopted it over the M21 for it's snipers.



The Complete loadouts:

Desert:







During the Gulf WAR in 1991, Nighttime Desert camo was sometimes used by SEALs and other members of the military. It was developed to better hide the user against night optical devices.



Woodland:



















Conclusion:
I hope you enjoyed this guide. I put a lot of time and effort into it. All the gear can be found on Ebay or even your local surplus store. Hopefully it will help you build your own 1980's'1990's loadout. Good luck :tup:
 

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Nice guide!
Just a "Lore" comment:
The Desert Night Camo Parkas was designed to be a countermeasure to soviet/Russian Nightvision technology. Unfortunately the camo didn't work, and on "newer" NVG's it actually make you stand out. It Does however work from a visual perspective and versions modded to become jackets instead of parkas have been seen with some SF groups.
 

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The night desert parka was designed for use against active IR systems mounted primarily on Warsaw Pact AFVs such as the big IR floodlights on the T-62 or the BMP-1. My experience with using them in an active IR environment has not proven them to be all that great but honestly, it's pretty hard to hide from that stuff... Against a passive system, they are not really any better or worse than anything else.

They are ok camo wise but really hit their stride as overparkas on cold desert nights. They are cut the same as the old fishtail parkas so you can tie the bottom split halves of the parka snug around each thigh and draw up the waist draw string and they keep the wind out pretty well.

There are buttons inside the night desert parka as well that allow you to button in a specific night desert parka liner that REALLY adds to the usefulness of these things. I use mine as an intermediate cold winter jacket in normal lifetime use, in fact it is sitting right behind me now on my coat hook (I am at work now).

Another good night desert parka gag is to take a candle, rub the dickens out of it all over the outside surface of the parka till it's nearly white with wax then iron it with an iron set to Medium. It happens that the material the night desert parka is made of is absurdly weather resistant when waxed, while it's not a "rain coat" by any stretch, it is certainly more weather-proof than you would expect once waxed.
 

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M4 Carbine (1994-)
Designed to be a more compact version of the M16.
By the way... it is NOT M4 carabine. It is Colt 727. And the guy on the picture is NAVY SEAL.

You may also add to your gear list parts of M56 set as well.
Suspenders for example was often in use along with LC-1/2 till 90s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
By the way... it is NOT M4 carabine. It is Colt 727. And the guy on the picture is NAVY SEAL.

You may also add to your gear list parts of M56 set as well.
Suspenders for example was often in use along with LC-1/2 till 90s.
Apologies. Fixed that now. Also I have reached the photo limit so I cant post any more photos of web gear.

(I never said anything about him not being a Navy SEAL.)
 

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I'd like to add something to this. I love this era, as well as the Vietnam era. Through my research, I have discovered that the Vietnam era M1956/M1967 web gear continued to see limited use up until Desert Storm.


As you can see, this RTO is using the M1956 universal ammo pouch. if you look even closer, you can see he's also wearing the M1956 suspenders.

The Rangers in Operation Urgent Fury also used a lot of Vietnam era gear, as you can see here.

Note the third pattern Jungle fatigues instead of M81 woodland. Als note that they're all using the M16A1. if you're doing an EARLY 80s impression, the M16A1 would be far more common.

I believe these are Marines. Note the ERDL camouflage pattern.

Look closely at the second soldier on the left. He's wearing the M1956 'H' suspenders instead of the ALICE LC-2 suspenders.

Anyways, just my 0.02.
 
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M56 suspenders are very comfy. I'm stronlgy prefer them over LC2.
I can understand why they where used for such long time.
Not only Army but SEALs and other SF as well.
 

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M56 suspenders are very comfy. I'm stronlgy prefer them over LC2.
I can understand why they where used for such long time.
Not only Army but SEALs and other SF as well.
I would think that in the early post-vietnam era, the SF groups would still be wearing the STABO harness.

But I agree on the M56 suspenders. Also, the ALICE rucksack straps don't constantly slip off like they do with LC-2 suspenders. nylon on nylon isn't great for friction XD
 

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By the way... SEALs had used M16A1 when all others branches already had M16A2.
Probably because of full auto... I think it ok even for late 80's and even early 90's.
There is a lot of photo proofs.
 

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If you doing reconstruction, there is few things you have to know.
Rifle slings... find some black "silent slings".
Get rid of dump pouch. Use only LC1/2 pouches.
One of the helmets looks strange (guy with m4).
But I really glad to see someone trying to do some"old school".
Good luck to you both.
 

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The H harness was seen well into the late 90s in the Marine Corps I had one til 99 when I had to get an lbv when I deployed with a different unit. Lbvs sucked. Lived my h harness.
 

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Was always curious what that night camo was! Seen a bunch in the local surplus store and I questioned its use
 

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I've seen some really good use of the night camo with "modern" kits, where they've been modded into a regular jacket and "raid" modded as well.
 
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