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ATACS iX “Tiger Stripe” Provides More Equipment Options

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ATACS iX is a relatively new transitional camo pattern beginning to turn up with increasing frequency. We tried it recently in Maryland and Arizona.

The ATACS iX “Intermediate Extreme” pattern camouflage has been around for a few months now and has been appearing with increasing frequency in the product line-up of tactical manufacturers.

Two of the most recent of these are Tru Spec and OSOE.  The former manufacturer made their TRU (Tactical Response Uniform) available in iX; the latter, their AK/M4 and 12 Ga. Micros — though whether these go into regular production remains to be determined. There is also talk that Vertx is looking at the pattern for their apparel.

The ATACS iX pattern is actually a combination of ATACS FG and AU colors, melded with the intention of giving a more effective bridge pattern with improved depth and “…enhanced edge detail in the transitional areas between light and shadow within the pattern…”

A secondary benefit, more financially significant to those currently wearing ATACS AU and FG, is that it's a bridge pattern so you can transition between background environments and uniform patterns worn without needing multiple uniforms or individual loadouts in different patterns.

Special Operations Equipment - ATACS-iX


As with any new camouflage pattern, the questions begin with, does it work in my/your/our AO? The next one is, or should be, does it work better than what I'm/you're/we're using now? That's a question each individual, agency or unit will have to answer.

Another is, does it have staying power? Right or wrong, fad-based purchasing happens and some genuinely effective camo patterns never catch on. Few things are as aggravating as transitioning a whole professional group (like an LE tactical unit) to a pattern and then having to transition again a year or two later because the pattern is no longer available or the company has gone out of business.

There is also the matter of having the kit available in a new pattern. It can be the tactical equivalent of a +3 Cloak of Elvish Invisibility but if Condor is the only one making the uniforms or gear it will not command the same interest from serious end users as if it were made by an HSGI,  Tyr Tactical or someone similar.

This is why ATACS iX offerings from such manufacturers as Special Operations Equipment and Mayflower Research & Consulting are significant.


It is also true that a Gucciflage pattern will sometimes find traction with buyers who for whatever reason shy away from established and proven patterns (MultiCam being the obvious example) because of its military background or commonality.

We know of at least 3 law enforcement agencies in which MultiCam is proscribed for those very reasons — they want something less commonly encountered and more distinctive under stress. You can agree or disagree with such administrative P&P (Policy & Procedure) restrictions but that won't make them go away.

Some ‘niche' users have similar but self-imposed restrictions — barring equipment sent for review or writing, I stick to good ole' fashioned OD green. It's reasonably effective in multiple environments, I can get matching exterior equipment from virtually anywhere, it's suitable for use in Class B/utility LE work and I don't look like I'm trying to be Beardy Badass McTactical in the photos and videos we shoot for work (not that I'm at huge risk of being mistaken this way, but still).

If working as an instructor or OPFOR/role-player necessitates a color change, I switch to my old woodlands.

I admit it. I'm gay for woodland. It makes me nostalgic — plus I still have a pair issued to me before Panama over 2 decades ago.

Will iX work for you in your area(s)? Is it worth the money to buy? Should you purchase this instead of [insert Kryptek, Orion Design Group, Pencott, insert-camouflage-pattern-here]?  Only you can determine that.

Thus far in our limited experience ATACS iX has been very effective in both the desert around Tucson and the woodlands of Maryland (the latter during the Greenside Training-RECOIL-OFFGRID #weaponizethesenses series) but that's by no means an in depth study or wide sampling  — nor were our lives potentially dependent upon it.


This photo and feature photo courtesy of Greenside Training and David Merrill.

That said, I really like the pattern, both from watching it in practical application and admittedly because of the tiger stripe appeal. The former reason is the only one that matters operationally of course, but the latter will definitely have an impact on the marketplace and thus equipment availability. RECOIL/OFFGRID contributor and Greenside HMFIC Freddy Osuna is increasingly fond of the pattern as well.

We'll be publishing more on the pattern and how it fares against the Mk. I eyeball in future articles, including the upcoming Observation: Both Ends of the Glass, which you'll soon see in print.

Interestingly, the ATACS iX pattern will be the new kid for just a short time — A-TACS is releasing the Enhanced AUX later this year, FGX next year and LEX in 2018.

Note: if you're interested, there is a lengthy discussion of this pattern one of the Primary & Secondary groups on Facebook. You can find that here. Although it has some of the unfortunate presumptive statements one often sees in online discourse there is also some intelligent commentary (both pro and con) as well. It's worth looking at.

There is also (as usual) an excellent update of the latest news in ATACS and other industry matters on Soldier Systems Daily.


Learn more at A-TACS.

Corey Graff contributed to this article.

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