Yesterday’s Newcastle UKSF pics are fast achieving cult status.

They’ll be analysed no end, I’m sure – a bit like that infamous CAG pic featuring Moustache Man; pored over intensely for its interesting peculiarities.

Now, while the Newcastle pics may not offer a representative sample, they are a puzzle to be decoded. One of the first things I looked into was finding out which jacket the guy dressed in black top and blue trousers was wearing (double black would look a bit conspicuous, I think – so I’m minded that the trousers are dark blue).

The trousers are identifiable as Arc’teryx but the jacket took more work. Having said that, it’s not at all clear which style the trousers are, and the jacket has more clues in that respect.


However, I’m sure it’s possible for someone to suggest a range of trouser styles which feature the dead bird in this position.

As the title suggests, for the black top my money is on the Arc’teryx Gamma MX softshell jacket in the Blackbird colourway, which – when softshells were at the height of popularity – was a flagship product. Indeed, it’s a perennial feature of Arc’teryx’s outdoor line.

Bear in mind that I’ve filtered the following pics to spot details.

The basics, as I see them, are: a jacket length black top with a tall stand-up collar (folded down in the reference pics) and cuffs which are of a fabric separate to that used for the shell of the jacket (they don’t follow the same profile as the arm ends).

By lightening the pics, it became apparent that the inside of the collar exhibited a separate fabric from the shell, and I am calling fleece on that – a classic softshell lining.

The substantive clue which said “softshell” to me was the smooth, almost satin-look of the shell and its drape.

Fleece would have a different texture and would appear matt – unless it was a hardface. However, if it was a hardface, the drape would differ to that shown here:

Then I looked at the contrast bicep pocket. The Gamma MX isn’t the only Arc’teryx item with this feature, but those items lack the other distinctive features.

The clincher was the cuffs:

Like my recent blog about the use of items from the AVS Customisation Kit, I can only make an assessment but on balance I’m 90% certain of provenance.

Readers may like to test my methodology on the candidate jackets they favour, to see how that works out. I guess we’ll never know for sure what the jacket is, but it’s fun to speculate.

P.S. Trekkit in Hereford has the Gamma MX on sale right now

Further reading/links

The UKSF Kit List

The Comprehensive UKSF (SAS/SBS) L119A2 Parts and Accessories List

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