Ghillie Suits
by Randy Cox (

A "Ghillie" is a Scottish game-keeper. Pronounce the word "Gee' lee", starting with the glutteral gee (guh), not a jay sound (jee). These guys found that they could sew strips of burlap to their clothes, then wait patiently for poachers to come by -- as long as they remained still, their game would nearly step on them.

 The real professionals at making Ghillie Suits are military snipers. Making a suit and using it to stalk your instructors is part of the graduation from sniper school. I was once stalked by a special forces sniper from 500 meters across a field of grass, bushes, and general scrub -- at the end of 4 hours, he stood up TEN METERS BEHIND ME! -- I never saw him -- even though I knew he was out there somewhere.

 Good, professional-looking Ghillies can be seen in the movies "Sniper" and "Clear and Present Danger".

 In most lighting conditions, detection is a result of both brightness and shape contrasts with the background. Most camouflage fatigues do a pretty good job of matching the general brightness level of foliage, desert, etc. The camouflage pattern printed onto the material attempts to match the shapes inherent in the background as well. Unfortunately, all camouflage fatigues follow the human form pretty closely -- resulting in an overall shape that looks like a human, not natural background. The problem lies in the fact that the fatigues are trying to duplicate a three-dimensional pattern of shapes (foliage, usually) with a two-dimensional camouflage pattern applied to a sheet of fabric. In most lighting conditions, it don't work very well. Now, camouflage fatigues and jackets and such certainly blend in much better than blue jeans and T-shirts, but they aren't totally effective -- and cannot be without adding three-dimensional noise to the essentially two-dimensional form of a human.

 A Ghillie Suit is a very effective camouflage technique that uses strips of material to break up the outline of the wearer. This fools the eye of the enemy -- the brain sees no recognizable shapes. By adding strips of burlap, or camouflage netting, or branches off bushes to your clothing, you create the three-dimensional pattern disruption I was talking about above. The advantage comes from creating patches that are nearly the same color as the environment, while simultaneously creating ultra-dark shadows alongside. Printed fabric cannot create black patches as dark as real shadows -- the shadow is about 2 orders of magnitude darker than the darkest printed black fabric.

 How to make a Ghillie Suit:

  1. Obtain an old pair of coveralls -- this is called the foundation of the suit. In a pinch a fatigue blouse and pants will suffice.


  2. Get some burlap from your local fabric store (about 4 yards). The more burlap you use the more effective (up to a point) will be the Ghillie Suit -- however, it will rapidly become heavy (Army and Marine sniper suits weigh up to 20 pounds or more).


  3. Dye the burlap some dark to medium green (Rit dye -- try to match foliage greens). Instructions are on the dye package), Dye a little (half a yard) brown (use sparingly).


  4. Cut the burlap into strips 2-3" wide and anywhere from 6" to 12" long (mix up the widths and lengths)


  5. Sew one end of each strip to the outside of your foundation -- all over it. Space them so that the ends of the upper strips will overlap the attachment points of strips lower down. The sides do not need to overlap. Fill in by tying vines, small foliated branches, grass, etc. to the suit by knotting the strips around it, or sew strings or cord at random over the suit to tie these material in.


  6. Crawl and enjoy!



 Ghillie Suits are used for stealth -- move as slowly as possible, if at all. If one hides in bushes, and uses single shots, the enemy won't be able to find you unless they are looking almost directly at you when you fire. Be careful that muzzle blast doesn't disturb foliage or raise dust.

 An effective technique is to hide in the base of bushes near a path, let the enemy go past, then pick them off with single shots from the rear.

 A gun cover can be made using the same techniques and should be used to disrupt the shape of the weapon.-


Building a Sniper Blind

For the perfect Ambush

By: Rob Beebe

Camouflage is one of the best resources a paint ball player can use. It can give them the ability to sneak up on an opponent. There is the
basic BDU or camouflage clothing , this is good but it dose not break up the out line of the body. To break up the outline of the body you
need a sniper suit this takes camouflage a step further by using long strips of burlap and other cloth to break up the out line of the wearer.
This is very good form of camo but it is very heavy and hard to move in. My answer to this is the sniper blind , it is made like the sniper
suit but instead of sewing the cloth strips to clothing you sew it to an army half shelter or some sort of canvas about 8' by 3' foot.


burlap different lengths and colors
a strong thread and needle
an army half shelter or canvas drop cloth about 8' by 3'
assorted natural color materiel
an army poncho (green)
2 sticks 3 foot long

To make the blind first you sew the burlap and cloth to the canvas alternating type , color , and length. You really can't mess up but make
sure it looks natural(if it does not you can move the strips around till you are happy with it). Then you go to the site were you want to set
up the blind(It is great for covering your flag). Make sure there is nothing between you and were you may be shooting(bushes , trees ,
and tall grass)after that dig a ditch about 2 foot deep and the size of you canvas. Next spread the canvas out over the ditch prop it up with
the sticks. Than lay out the poncho in front of the ditch to stop the movement of dirt when you fire. Now all you have to do is blend the
blind in to the back ground(if the cloth and burlap are to light or dark for the surroundings use spray paint to even it out). Finely you lay
and wait for the enemy.





Camouflage Infosheet
by Randy Cox (

Randy Cox is a camoufleur -- He designs military camouflage for a living. Randy works for Teledyne Brown Industries. Randy also
makes Ghillie Suits. See his web page for more info.

Military Camouflage

Military camouflage should be broken into two categories: clothing and nets. Clothing is simply what personnel wear -- fatigues, jackets,
coats, ponchos, etc. Nets are used to place over other things to hide them from observation. Military nets are LWCSS - Light-Weight
Camouflage Screen System -- available through surplus stores. Only one manufacturer of military camouflage sells to the civilian market
(through distributors). It may be found in Cabela's, U.S. Cavalry, Ranger Joes's, Bean's, and other catalogs under the Bushy Ridge(tm)
trademark. Nets are of limited use in paintball -- unless you make want to make a blind for some position. The military camouflage net
industry has fallen on hard times recently -- no market, and it's really overkill for the hunting and paintball -- deer don't use night vision
goggles or radar.

However, camouflage clothing is doing pretty well. These are sometimes lumped under the moniker "BDU's" -- even though BDU is
actually just the U.S. Army acronym for Battle Dress Uniform. There are camouflage patterns for just about everything: regular 3-color
green BDU (USA and USMC issue); desert 3-color BDU; 5-color desert (AKA "chocolate chip"); night BDU (a grid of green over
green); the ever popular tiger stripe (several patterns); tree bark (various manufacturers -- most popular is probably RealTree(tm)); and
various forest patterns (like ASAT(tm) and others). Foreign military is becoming real popular -- British, French, German, and Russian
clothing is now commonly available. Mail order sources for all of these are the same as in the camouflage net paragraph.

I am going to offer no opinion on what works best, because it all depends! It depends on how you use it. If you attack all the time, it
doesn't matter what you wear. If you go defensive, it matters until the fire fight begins. If you creep up and pick off the enemy one-by
one, it matters a lot.

General rules of thumb for using camouflage:

1.Brightness difference with the background (contrast) is the initial detection cue to the human eye. Therefore, light colored
camouflage will give you away in dark, shadowy foliage -- however, it will blend well in rocky, sandy areas, or in dead grass.
Conversely, light green single color BDU's might blend well in short, green grass, and dark green night cammys might fit well if
you crouch in the shadows at a tree line.
2.Patterns and shape are the next most important cues. Try to get a camouflage pattern that matches the "blobiness" of the range
you fight at. Too large a pattern -- the color patches on your camouflage are larger than the average patch of color in the
background -- generally increases shape cues, while too small a pattern generally increases contrast cues. General patterns -- like
the USA green BDU -- are a compromise to try to give some reduced detection in as many scenarios as possible. Specific
patterns, like tree bark, work very well in very specific locations, but not as well generally.
3.Avoid, AT ALL COSTS, being back lit. Do not allow brighter objects behind you, like sunlit patches, the sky (coming over a
ridge, or boulder, or log, for instance), or a lighter colored bush, rock, or field. In such a case the camouflage pattern simply
disappears to the human eye, and you appear as a human silhouette.
4.If you are not found, stay still, or move as slow as possible when advancing. Movement is a great give away -- equivalent (to the
human eye) to increasing your brightness about an order of magnitude. Of course, once discovered, this advice goes out the
5.If you mainly just run and shoot, pick camouflage that you like, and look cool in, because then none of the stuff I've discussed

What should be worn where?

In the U.S. and Europe, most deciduous forested areas will need a general pattern like the USA green BDU. Tiger Stripe in subtropical
areas (heavily forested with undergrowth, vines, etc) like the southeast and northwest. Grassy lands, use overall olive drab fatigues (live
grass -- California in winter) or, belive it or not, 3-color desert (dead grass -- like California in summer). Desert and rocky areas
(southwest U.S.) use the 3-color desert BDU (this is the new desert pattern-- not the the old 5-color 'chocolate chip' pattern). Tree Bark
patterns can be used anywhere there are large enough trees, but I think most of the patterns are for pine or oak forests (which mean they
blend in well in temperate and alpine forests such as in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

What about Tiger Stripe?

The camouflage pattern most familiar as Tiger Stripe was developed for U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam era (circa 1965) for
jungle fighting. It is an adaptation of an earlier British design developed during the Malyasian "difficulties" (1950's). It is for ultra-close
range (50 yards or less) fighting in heavily foliated jungle. Again, it should be effective in similar areas like the heavy subtropical areas of
the southeast U.S. and pacific northwest. If you have trouble walking through the forest, and it is impossible to walk a nearly straight line,
Tiger Stripe might be appropriate

What difference does the size of the "blobs" make?

The average size of the "blobs" (actually known as the predominate or average spatial frequency of the pattern) is directly proportional to
the expected range of engagement AND the expected envrionmental background. The spatial frequency of the camouflage pattern should
match the spatial frequency of the background at that range of engagement. It is possible, using fractal patterns, to match the spatial
frequencies over some span of ranges -- but no one makes a good fractal pattern yet -- and that is a hot area of pattern research.