Doing stuff like tactical training in hot environments, especially when using bodyarmor, is always a challenge for your whole body. In the time where there were only BDU shirts you quickly experienced the heavy material of the shirt trapping heat and also getting wet. This is the logical consequence of wearing defacto three layers namely, t-shirt, BDU shirt and armor. As history passed on, clothing evolved and there were combat shirts. But even in the modern days you observe guys opting for more ventilation by shortening sleeves or wearing plain t-shirts. T-shirts are fine but some people experience them to be not rugged enough for duty and/, or training use, also a t-shirts collar doesnt protect you from the chaffing created by slings and body armor.
US based manufacturer Velocity Systems responded to this problem and designed the Operator Rugby shirt. The shirt offers the best of both worlds. Sleeve pockets and a protective collar, like a cut down combat shirt, combined with the pure breathability of a baselayer t-shirt.
Velocity decided to create a own proprietary material for the rugby shirt. It has some similarities to a basketball jersey with a mesh like structure. The material is thick and stretchy. But it’s non fire retardant. During over 3 years of testing it lasted combatives classes, SERE training and countless hours of range time. When you wear it with a plate carrier or backpack for prolongued time spans you will encounter a slight piling effect, but this won’t affect the shirts structure. The shirt is not only very moisture wicking, it also offers great ventilation, caused by the mesh structure of the material.
Talking about the cut, Velocity Systems managed to find just the right level between lose fit and compression. If you prefer a compression fit I would advise you to go one size down. The shirts body is cut very long, once tucked into your pants it will stay. Also the back of the shirt is slightly enlongatet to keep the back covered all the time, even when you, like I do, prefer to wear the shirt untucked.
Let’s talk about the shirts name giving rugby collar. Velocity Systems managed to create a very low profile, semi standing collar that actually protects your neck from chaffing. This is achieved by a reinforced V-neck approach. No matter if you wear just a rifle sling, a backpack or even full kit. It also looks sharp.
Lastly the shirt offers two shoulder pockets. They are small and fit your backup hearing protection, a can of dip, a lighter or similar sized items. The pockets are entirely made of stretch loop velcro, a great material choice, keeping the pockets flat when not in use, but mainly keeping the fit athletic. Naturally, the loop velcro accepts all your favorite call sign patches.
I don’t just speak for myself, but for the whole RBT team when I say that the Velocity Systems Rugby shirt is a really unique piece of tactical clothing which will fit into the lifestyle of every tactical athlete.
You can get the rugby shirt in several colors at Velocity Systems online store.
If you want to see more pics of the Rugby in action visit our Instagram account.