Thursday, December 18, 2008

My M65

After a trip to H&M made me realize what I really wanted, I looked around for an M-65 vendor. Everything local (essentially just Joe's Army/Navy in the Newcastle Farmers Market) only stocked Rothco merchandise. Rothco's sizing consistency and attention to detail is somewhat lacking. Too the internet!

After asking around, I finally settled on a Alpha Industries Knox Armory brand M-65 from Silbermans Army/Navy at The price was reasonable and they had a good return policy if the sizing didn't work out. I ordered it and they told me they'd ship it in a week. Then they told me it would be another week. Then another three days. Then another day. Then they canceled my order because they couldn't get the product from the manufacturer. If I had known that they have the jackets in stock, I never would have ordered from them in the first place. Even now, the jackets they know they can't get are still listed on their website. Wonderful people those Silbermans.

I order a Tru-Spec M65 from instead. It was at my door in a few days. Nice coat and I really like it. Despite tru-spec's advertising, it is not mil-spec.
  • M65s have a vestigial cuff on the sleeve used to connect the sleeves to gloves in order to make the jacket more weather tight. You can see them in the picture on this page. These are never used and often just get in the way. Tru-spec omitted them entirely. Good for them.
  • Most of the velcro on the jacket seems to have a larger range of adjustment than normal. Fine by me.
  • The jacket liner has additional buttons so you could, in theory, wear it as a jacket all by itself. Why anyone would do this when the liner sleeves are several inches too short is beyond me. I wish the liner had elastic cuffs and extra pockets like the Alpha Industries liners. I suppose if I want those features enough I could just buy an Alpha liner and put it into my Tru-spec jacket.
  • The liner sleeves button into the jacket using cotton straps with button holes sewn in them. Usually it's buttoned in with loops sewn on the liner sleeves. The former works and the latter doesn't so I'm happy.
About my only complaint is with the pockets on the jacket and it isn't Tru-spec's fault. The M65 was designed in that post-war period where officers hates seeing soldiers standing around with their hands in their pockets. Like the CWU-45/P flight jacket and M65 field pants, their solution was to design the pockets so you couldn't do this comfortably. These were the same people who made sure that the MA-1 flight jacket had a sleeve pocket big enough to hold a pack of smokes. Funny how priorities change over time, isn't it?

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