Much like real life snipers and dedicated marksmen, a big part of the Airsoft Sniping experience are concealment and field craft. But, unlike real-life not everyone needs to put massive amounts of time and effort into their personal concealment clothing as it largely depends on the site they regularly visit. More to the point, not everyone wants to. Looking at them from a critical perspective, ghillie suits (both natural and artificial) can be bulky, intrusive, and unnecessary if the local site you play at only has the odd bush or bit of foliage (however, this is just my opinion). Going on my observations over the last year, there has been a growing market for people who want a lightweight, effective and low-maintenance alternative.
Leshy suits are nothing new. They have been around for years, both in the civilian market (Realtree suits) and the military (the SPLAV Russian Leshy suit for example). And while there have been countless threads and websites to aid people in constructing a ghillie suit and how to tailor it to your local environment, I’ve been unable to find many helpful reviews in the way of fully artificial leshy suits. So what’s the best thing to do in this situation? Dive in at the deep end and hope I don’t get my toes bitten...
Last year at a market, I spotted the Jack Pyke LLCS a few weeks before it was widely released at retail, and immediately fell in love with it. The colours, the mesh, the disruptive pattern, the material, it was everything I was looking for in Airsoft Concealment; a lightweight disruptive oversuit that effectively breaks up the outline of my body. The moment I saw it on sale, I bought the whole kit and have been using it every two weeks for the last 12 months. So, without further waffle, here’s my review of the Jack Pyke Light Leaf Concealment System.
The Suit itself
The complete suit is made up of four groups of items, which are all sold separately. These are:
• Smock and trousers
• Baseball hat
• Full head veil / balaclava
PICTURE OF ALL PARTS HERE
At the time, I bought all of these from eBay. They can however be bought from several online retailers now, and is advertised in the Jack Pyke catalogue. Expect to pay £70-80 for the smock and trousers, £10-15 for the baseball hat, £10-15 for the full head veil and £7-10 for the gloves. Two different suit sizes are available: M/L (38-42 inch) & XL/XXL (44-58 inch). It’s lightweight, and completely rustle-free. Aside from the noises generated as a result of you moving through foliage, the suit itself won’t make a sound.
The gloves are one of the star attractions of this suit. Unlike the rest of the suit, the gloves are solid fabric and not made from mesh. The top of the hands are covered with the same LLCS material as the rest of the suit. The palms however, are dimpled with plastic dots to allow good grip on whatever you’re handling. Contrary to what you might think, the leaves do not post a problem when trying to work the action on rifles or pistols. The leaves are short enough that they won’t intrude into the palm of your hand. I’ve tried handling a variety of RIF’s with these gloves and have never had them catch on or in any moving part. The gloves are one size fits all.
The trousers come with a drawstring, and the smock has an elasticated waist and cuffs. The gloves also have elasticated wrists. Through experience, I have found that the arms tend to rise up the arm on occasion, exposing your wrists and potentially giving away your position. This only really happens when lying prone, so it is possible to adjust to it.
The smock has a hood with a drawstring build into it, so if you wish you can pull it tight around your face. Personally, I’ve never found any use for this.
The full head veil features an extra mesh layer that can be used to cover up your eye area. However, it’s not possible to have this covering your face in any comfortable way while also wearing eye protection. It’s also worse than looking through a standard mesh mask, and you loose a lot of visual clarity. My personal recommendation is to ignore it, or remove it from the head veil completely. The veil also has a drawstring at the back, which goes around the eyehole area. It’s possible to tighten it up so that it clings tightly to your head. Again, I’ve never found any need for this. The head veil is one size fits all.
The baseball cap, while claiming that it’s one size fits all, I doubt will fit those with a very large head. I don’t have any head measurements to compare it against, but through describing it I’d say it’s not a particularly deep hat. I find that it’s quite easily knocked off by a low hanging branch, for example.
The suit is designed to be worn over your normal BDU’s, but is lacking in the accessibility department. The trousers have pass-through pockets so that you can access pockets on your normal BDU’s, but the smock allows no access to your upper body whatsoever. So unless you start pulling the suit to pieces to sew in your own zips or pockets, you’ll have to wear your gear on the outside of the suit. As you’ll see in the pictures I’ve taken, this may or may not pose an issue to you.
The LLCS material and English Oak pattern
The Jack Pyke “English Oak” pattern is imprinted on both the leafy material and the mesh, creating a nice variance of colour across the whole suit. It ranges from light faded amber to deep brown. At my local site in South Hertfordshire, this colour blend suits the environment throughout the whole of the autumn, winter and early spring seasons. Due to the suit’s lack of built-in attachment points for natural foliage, this suit will be less effective in the summer months if you play on mostly green land. However, it’s quite possible to attach sling loops to the mesh of the smock and trousers for attaching natural foliage, giving this suit the potential to be used all year round.
On all parts of this suit, the leaf material is sewn on in straight lines. While the size and shape of the leaves do vary somewhat, it does create a noticeable linear appearance to the suit. From certain angles, it’s obvious that the suit is artificial when placed against a natural background. There is some dependence on the English Oak camouflage in the mesh itself to provide a continuation of colour. However, for the most part it’s not a problem. Judge for yourself from the pictures at the end of the review!
The leaf material isn’t present on the inner leg. It’s not exactly something that detracts from the suit, but it is worthy of being mentioned.
LLCS Material Strips
Coming back to how the suit’s design requires you to wear your gear on top of the oversuit, Jack Pyke sells the strips of leafy material on their own, to camouflage your rifle or any gear that you are wearing. These come in packets of five strips, and are available for £3-5 per packet. Each strip is about 15 inches long, and can be easily torn or cut to be attached / secured to any surface.
Only one side of the material is printed with the material. So, while the pattern is visible on both sides, one side is visually lighter than the other. This can aid in providing light/dark areas of contrast, but that’s just my opinion.
There are no direct ways of attaching this material to your gear / RIF’s, so you will have to use your imagination. I superglue the leaves directly to the camo tape on my Gspec, and for the most part this works to my satisfaction.
Suitability for Airsoft
Having used this suit for the best part of a year, I’m very happy with the way it’s performed. There are one or two issues that have cropped up. As you might expect, the mesh material isn’t indestructible, though surprisingly strong. I’ve been crawling through bushes, along open ground, and jumping into foliage in moments of adrenalin and the suit has mostly held its own. Sadly, rips will develop. The mesh is particularly fond of brambles and barb wire fences (in my case at least), leaving me with a nice rip down the side of one of the legs. However, an hour or so with a needle and thread and I’ve been able to repair the damage. Don’t let this story put you off; it’s something to expect and consider given the type of material it’s made from.
The head veil can be used quite comfortably with either shooting glasses or mesh goggles. An unexpected advantage is that the veil is loose enough around the head / mouth area to absorb some of the BB’s kinetic energy should someone aim for your head. It’s not as good as a full face mask, but it will offer you some protection.
As mentioned earlier, with the suit’s lack of pockets and access to your BDU’s underneath the mesh, the need to wear your gear on the outside (without modification to the suit) may put some people off.
The suit will definitely turn some heads in the dead zone, and let people walk right by you in the game zone. My personal favourite moment while wearing this suit is lying down on a relatively open path, and having the majority of the offensive team walk right alongside me without noticing my presence!!
Over time, the colour of the suit will fade. The pictures I’ve provided for this review contain a mixture of my year-old suit worn by me (carrying the LLCS camo’d Gspec), and of a team mate who bought his suit within the last two months (carrying the L96). My personal feeling is that the suit has dulled nicely, but others may have different feelings.
There are other leshy suits similar to this one available on the market, for example the X3M1 leshy suit. I’ve only seen this advertised in gun shops, and is roughly £50-60 for a complete set – roughly half the price. I also have this suit, and may do a review in the future for those who are interested. But I’ll say this – the Jack Pyke suit is well worth the extra money.
If you can justify the £100+ outlay for an extra set of clothing, then I highly recommend you buy this suit. Now for the best part so you can make up your own mind – the pictures!!!