ACU Fabric & Material Guide

Although the Army Combat Uniform (ACU) was originally developed for the U.S. Army in the early 2000’s, the uniform is currently worn by the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Space Force. The ACU is the successor to the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU), Desert Camouflage Uniform (DCU), and the Airman Battle Uniform (ABU).

Authentic ACU Coats are sewn to military specification GL/PD 14-04A . Authentic ACU Trousers are sewn to military specification GL/PD 15-05E .

Authentic Flame Retardant ACU Coats are sewn to military specifications GL/PD 14-04A and should meet or exceed ASTM D6413 flame retardant standards. Authentic Flame Retardant ACU Trousers are sewn to military specifications GK/PD 14-05A and should meet or exceed ASTM D6413 flame retardant standards.

Authentic OCP Uniforms (Operational Camouflage Pattern - formally known as Scorpion W2 Pattern) are only available through licensed U.S. distributors and are constructed under the supervision of the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Soldier Center (formerly the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center).

Uniform standards for each branch of the U.S. military do vary. Always check your branch's specific uniform regulations for the specific fabric and material requirements.

(At the time of this posting, items with OCP print can not be shipped to international addresses outside of military installations.)

Differences Between ACU Fabrics 

50/50 NYCO Ripstop 

NYCO is a 50% nylon / 50% cotton NIR-compliant blend fabric that resists fading, shrinking and wrinkling much like its cotton and polyester counterparts. 50/50 NYCO does differentiate itself by retaining heat slightly more than poly/cotton blends while also feeling a bit “heavier” or “stiffer” than other fabrics.

57/43 NYCO Ripstop

57% nylon / 43% cotton ripstop material commonly found in NIR-compliant IHWCUs (Improved Hot Weather Combat Uniform) is specifically designed to dry faster and allow greater airflow than its 50/50 NYCO counterpart. The ripstop weave of the breathable 57/43 NYCO adds strength to the material while still maintaining a lightweight feel. 

Battle Rip® 65% Polyester / 35% Cotton Ripstop

Propper is proud to offer Battle Rip®, our exclusive 65% polyester / 35% cotton blend manufactured in a ripstop weave. This all-weather fabric is comfortable, durable, and resistant to fading over time. From there, color integrity, quick-drying capabilities, and tear prevention make Battle Rip®  a consumer favorite.

NFPA Cotton Ripstop 

100% cotton ripstop fabric was once the military’s fabric of choice for the original hot weather uniforms because it is tear-resistant and lightweight. As a natural fiber, cotton will fade, wrinkle and shrink. Unlike synthetic fibers, cotton will lose strength over time. This 100% cotton fabric meets NFPA 1975 standards for flame resistance. The “NFPA” designation specifies this material meets the latest requirements for the design, performance, testing, and certification of emergency services work clothing as outlined by the National Fire Protection Agency.

ResQ™ FR Ripstop

Milliken ResQ™ RipStop fabric is 35% nylon / 35% cotton / 30% Milliken aramid fabric. This NIR-compliant blend is longer-lasting, more durable, and more breathable than other flame-retardant materials due to its blend of natural and synthetic fibers. Milliken ResQ™ RipStop fabric exceeds ASTM 6413 flame-resistance standards as outlined by ASTM International (formerly known as American Society for Testing and Materials).

About NIR Compliance

NIR (near-infrared) compliant garments are used by the U.S. Department of Defense to prevent detection by NIR image converters. These detection devices do not detect temperatures, but rather variations in infrared radiation. NIR-compliant uniforms allow the wearer to appear at the same radiation level as the surrounding terrain, making the wearer more difficult to detect.

About OCP (Scorpion W2)

In the early 2010s, the U.S. Army concluded that Universal Camouflage Pattern (UCP) did not adequately conceal soldiers throughout Afghanistan’s many regional environments. The Army's first pattern choice to replace UCP was the MultiCam® pattern developed by Crye Precision. Then, after negotiations broke down, the U.S. Army chose Scorpion W2 (now called Operational Camouflage Pattern or OCP). Scorpion W2 is a pattern created by the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center by modifying Crye Precision’s original Scorpion pattern - developed under a government contract in 2002. The U.S. Army’s choice to select Scorpion W2 ensures the Army is not subject to licensing fees and is able to maintain strict control over distribution and usage.

Authentic Army Combat Uniforms at

Propper started making military clothing in 1967 with a single contract to make the iconic white Dixie Cup hats for the U.S. Navy. That single contract turned into five decades of dedication and hard work as we grew to become one of the largest single providers of authentic U.S. military apparel in the country.