ARCHAEOPTERYX for Everyday Camouflage
We review the Arc’teryx Atom LT and Alpha jackets for concealed carry
So, after the Christmas break it’s time to roll back into the topic at hand. In this “across the ocean” review, we will provide you with a direct test report on two of the Arc’teryx LEAF (Law Enforcement and Armed Forces) division’s most popular products: the Alpha Jacket (hard shell outer layer) and Atom LT Jacket (insulation). Both of these garments were tested to assess the ability to access a concealed weapon (CCW) underneath.
Most of you know Canadian-produced Arc’teryx for their state-of-the-art outdoor clothing and equipment for both civilian and on-duty users. This kind of association is understandable since the apparel delivered by Arc’teryx meets the requirements of even the most demanding clients. Basic features distinguishing their products from others are anatomically thought-out, aggressive design and high-tech raw materials specifically chosen to optimally perform in their particular layers of construction.
I’m quite a tall guy (6.23 ft) so my size of all Arc’teryx garments is always XL. Sleeve length is invariably perfect, the torso section fits me well and all pockets are easily accessible. The sizing table is clear and accurate, so anyone can quickly pick the proper size. The company is focused on athletes and modern warriors (who are athletes indeed), so remember that all the features of the products – such as the layering components ¬- have been designed based on athletic frames.
THE ATOM LT
The Atom LT jacket is an insulation jacket, designated to be used as a medium layer for cold environments or as a warm stand-alone garment in the type of temperature that doesn’t make your fingers stiff. Equipped with two hand pockets and one chest pocket, it is extremely compressible and can be wrapped and packed, even to the side compartment of my Camelbak Linchpin backpack, without any excessive force.
Atom LT features a simple, straight cut with little loose fit. Comprised of Coreloft™ insulation, water repellent outer fabric and with side panels of strengthened Polartec® Power Stretch®, this jacket gives the user wide freedom of movement, which is vital in any case of emergency that a concealed weapon user can face.
For the CCW test, I picked the Crye Precision™ Gunclip™and low profile soft leather holster. The Atom LT design kept my Glock 17 completely blended into the contours of my body shape when worn with the leather holster underneath. The jacket features a frontal zipper without a blockade, which enables rapid access to a carried weapon with one quick pull to the right or left. This movement will undo the jacket without even touching the zipper base.
Atom LT is available in two basic colors, characteristic to the Arc’teryx LEAF series – black and crocodile. Personally, I prefer apparel in colors other than black, so my choice was crocodile, but the black line of clothing will without a doubt look more casual and low profile during everyday use.
The Arc’teryx Alpha jacket is the most recognizable product of the whole Arc’teryx LEAF line of clothing. Widely used by Special Forces all over the world including a heavy presence in the US and Scandinavia, the Alpha is made of a three layer Gore-Tex membrane and was developed for use in hard conditions, with a focus on extreme abrasion and tear resistance. It’s available in three colors: black, crocodile and Crye Precision MultiCam®.
The jacket’s specific high cut (bomber length) was designed for efficient cooperation with first line equipment belts and various safety harness systems. The torso part is quite loose and it might seem a little bit bulky at first, but its construction is role-specific as an outer layer hard shell. The jacket accepts different insulation underneath for providing warmth adequate to a variety of environmental conditions.
The Alpha Jacket features 6 pockets: two bicep pockets with velcro fasteners, two internal pockets dedicated for documents and two large chest pockets with side access, which are still accessible while wearing a backpack or small plate carrier rig.
The Alpha Jacket is a perfect garment for practical CCW application. I had my duty belt equipped with a Gunclip™ holster holding my G17 with LAS/TAC2 flashlight and laser as well as my Extreme Ratio Shrapnel knife in a hard sheath right beside. Both stayed completely undetected during everyday activities. Carrying a full size handgun and fixed blade concealed is not an easy task! The anatomic cut with articulated sleeves pattern allow maximum ergonomics and extremely low exposure of underneath gear during rapid movements. With these effective features, the Alpha jacket has evolved from a simple military garment, to a specific tool for fulfilling demanding missions.
Arc’teryx garments are all-purpose pieces of equipment dedicated for everyday use in hard conditions. Designed to stand up to intense actions in unfriendly environments, this apparel won’t let you down. Fully compatible with tactical gear, this clothing offers a high degree of comfort without sacrificing breathability and efficient weather protection. On-duty or off, you will always find it ready to protect you from the elements in comfort and in style.