When visiting German retailer and HQ of badassery S4 Supplies, a few months ago, one of the biggest surprises was VIKTOS clothing. It was one of those situations when you just have to admit you had an absolutely wrong impression of a product or in this case a whole brand. Our impression was that of a wannabe brand (yes we knew that Dan Brokos is in charge, but everyone needs money right?!) that tried to promote operator lifestyle and offers no functionality in the field. I mean, they even offered tactical leather jackets.
We were proven wrong when we saw the products first hand. All products had a vintage and “straight in ya face” look to them but had no patches of velcro, ar15 images or other “tactical”, visual features to them. All products looked like vintage, military and work wear influenced casual clothing. This is important, because some other low vis brands look so clean that you look like having been dressed up by your mom, a fact that wouldn’t help reducing your signature in areas that aren’t well known for the clean dress code of their inhabitants.
One product that catched our eye was the “Contractor AF” jacket. To be precise, it’s not a jacket but a swacket. Similiar to a typical US workers shirt that also found its way to European streetwear.
The material is heavy cotton with a little bit of stretch. Giving the jacket some robustness and protecting you and your gear from sparks, rocks, and chaffing. It’s also very silent, making it also a choice for hunters. The colorway I chose was grey, but the other options (green and a very dark blue) are also great for low vis work.
The Contractor AF jacket features stretch panels on the shoulders, giving it even more freedom of movement. For comfort the jacket is lined with a light green fleece.
As you can see already on the materials, Viktos took the classic US workers shirt and changed some small features with big impact on functionality while keeping the look of the original.
The jacket is cut very very generously. If you want to wear the Contractor AF just over a shirt be sure to buy at least one size smaller! You can also shrink the jacket down by washing it multiple times at 60° Celsius if you want more of a tailored fit.
But the generous cut isnt without a reason. This jacket works great over platecarriers! Not only slick PCs, even full assault configurations will get covered by this jacket. I performed breaching tasks and CQB training wearing it over a slick platecarrier. Looking at the video and photo material we created during this training, I recognized that you can’t tell that I wear a platecarrier from distance, even when the jacket was open. This really helps when working in non permissive environments.
This is, again, archieved by the casual look of the jacket. You only find the VIKTOS slogan on one of the chest pouches, so getting your cover blown by brand isn’t a thing. The side zippers are covered, as in certain circles a side zipper means “gun” or “cop”. You actually see nothing tactical on this jacket, so we can really talk about “low vis” here. This is important because the words “Low-Vis” or “Low-Profile” get more and more abused by companies that create “tactical fashion” that, while retaining some civilian features, still look tactical.
The next feature I want to talk about is the jackets great zipper system. The zippers not only allow you to acess your gun but also allow you to reach the inner pockets of the jacket. They also add up to the ventilation as the zippers almost reach to the armpits.
So what about pocket layout? The jacket features two zippered chest pockets that fit a paper notebook as well as other similar sized stuff. There is also a zippered stash pocket just under the chest pockets. Its very spacious and you can perfectly hide documents there.
Inside of the jacket you find a pocket layout that is typical for most VIKTOS products. Every side features a big stash pocket that will hold a full IFAK or even a tablet. Those pockets also work great as dump pouches or to carry breaching charges.
You’ll also find zippered, almost similiar sized pockets just under the dump pouches. This is great for taking stuff through security perimeters. As you most of the time only get handscanned one time.
Closure is done by simple snap buttons, so you can quickly acess whatever you need. Cuff adjustment is also done with two snaps, so that you can roll your sleeves if you want to.
The cotton material isn’t waterproof but will protect you from light rain because of its thick and tight weave. For those who are in need of more weather protection, VIKTOS offers softshell and insulation Jackets with a similar pocket layout.
My conclusion on this jacket is that I really like it. Qualitywise it’s well made and doesn’t need to hide behind Carhartt or similiar brands. The Contractor AF jacket is one of the few pieces of equipment that really keeps what it promises when it comes to low visibility. To get it straight, this will best work in the US because work swackets aren’t regular streetwear in the EU. Perhaps VIKTOS should build something similiar with a more European look. But even the swacket style won’t blow your cover on first sight. All in all its a great concealment jacket that won’t rip apart just after looking at it. It will conceal you in full kit while you sit in a car or when viewed from afar. So will this jacket make you contractor as fuck? No! But it’s a great piece of kit for low vis work.
You can get all Viktos products at the awesome guys from S4 Supplies.
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