Thermal Suit vs. MVT Shield
People have been sending me links to various posts exhibiting the Brandon Smith/Oathkeepers thermal suit. This is no surprise to me because I was aware that they were attempting to develop one. There is a reason that when I developed the MVT Shield I stayed with the tarp/poncho concept. I explain that on the MVT Shield page (MVT SHIELD and details available HERE).
I am sure that you can find a use for this new cloak, a small niche. I chuckled when reading the article/watching the video because it appears that Brandon has studied the MVT Shield instructions and articles (i.e. hiding shape as well as thermal etc). Happy to have helped. The problem is that many of the answers to this solution are actually contained in the article itself. Such as when he recounts Eric Frein’s avoidance of capture in the woods.
The MVT Shield is mainly designed to deploy in a static location. However, it can be deployed and pulled over you, just like this cloak, under any situation. When in use, the MVT Shield gives you 100% obscuration/blocking of thermal signature. The problem is that with the concept of this cloak, much practical tactical experience is lacking. It is claimed that a tarp style product such as the MVT Shield can only provide protection in a defensive method of employment. I’ll cover that in a moment.
The main problem with a worn suit, as trialed by the military, is that it is so hot and bulky that it becomes impractical. It is worse than a ghillie suit, which has a very narrow scope of employment and is best avoided in general. You are simply not going to wear this when moving about. You are also not going to wear it in an assault.
So let’s look at that. The primary defense from thermal surveillance is the use of terrain and vegetation masking. That comes down to good fieldcraft. It is also true that thermal surveillance is not the ‘all seeing eye of Mordor’ – something I have covered in numerous posts. So it mostly comes down to your patrolling skills. To think you are going to patrol in this cloak is naive.
In fact, we see numerous examples during the recce patrol on the Combat Patrol class where students can defeat surveillance by both NVGs and Thermal simply by using fieldcraft (terrain and vegetation masking) – in similar way, we can often spot them just trailing across a hillside in open view to thermal. Basic mistakes. We would equally see them in this suit, moving in the same way – there is enough signature and movement for it to be visible even to casual examination,. The video appears to be using the FLIR scout and using the sensitive red heat setting simply picks up any areas of heat, such as the legs (even shape) and other areas with that worn suit. Better be on the backside of the hill, or behind some vegetation. You are either stalking an alert enemy armed with FLIR, or you are not. It’s a moot point.
So what about getting close to the enemy? Well, I have covered, and I do cover on the Combat Patrol class, methods of using the MVT shield and other forms of thermal masking to get into and hide an OP. You are simply not going to sit out in the open in front of an enemy base in this cloak: watch the video – as the the FLIR pans past the guy in the cloak, he is immediately obvious due to poor fieldcraft. The guys who are not thermally protected are just walking in the open, no fieldcraft at all, so of course they will be spotted. It simply isn’t comparing real tactical scenarios.
You are simply not going to wear this in an assault. Not only due to the practicalities of it (bring one to MVT and I’ll sand you up the lanes in it) but also – tactical common sense – because there is no need because you are now engaged in a close fight with the enemy. SO IT DOESN’T MATTER.
In fact, the MVT Shield concept is not simply defensive, because it can be used in a number of offensive roles. It can be used to hide positions / foxholes in a deliberate ambush. It can be used to conceal a support by fire position slightly distant from the enemy, separate from an assaulting force moving round close to a flank (using terrain and vegetation masking to do so).
In fact I cover numerous scenarios in the novel ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises‘ where the ‘thermal tarp’ (MVT original concept) is used in both the defensive and offensive manner, but according to tactical common sense. The beauty of a tarp is that it can be quickly deployed or even just pulled over you in an emergency, and will provide 100% concealment when using it. Not only that,it doubles as your actual field tarp/shelter.
The answers to all of this are actually in Brandon’s post itself. I will concede that there many be very specified situations where you may consider using one, similar to where you might consider using a ghillie suit. But any sniper will tell you that what you really want to be using is terrain and vegetation masking, because a ghille suit can simply be spotted by anyone with experience, if it alone is relied on for concealment alone.
In fact, we are currently working on developing a Reconnaissance and Infiltration (R&I) class, a follow on to Combat Patrol which will be run by Lee utilizing his training/experience in the Marine Corps and time deployed in a scout sniper platoon. We will be covering all this in real practical ways.
Oh, and the suit is over $1000 all up. Worth it? Snakebite tactical, or snake oil tactical? The MVT Shield is $185 and eminently more practical.
So if you have an MVT Shield, and need to move about , what is the answer? Good patrolling and fieldcraft using terrain and vegetation masking. If you have to move in and out of an OP, such as suggested in the video, you don’t want to have to put this suit on – and anyhow any OP should be sited so you can ingress/egress without observation by the enemy. Always act as if you are under enemy observation, and pay attention to your fieldcraft.
This post isn’t intended as an attack on Brandon and his efforts – I have had my attention drawn to many excellent posts on liberty that he has written. Each to their own area of expertise. In the same way that OathKeepers National asked for my help to refine their CPT concept, which I attempted to help them with along the lines of the CUTT concept, perhaps I could have been asked for advice, having done all the R&D with the MVT Shield?
Because we are all on the same side in our cause for Liberty, right?
Here is the info on the Shield, from the original page. You can purchase them via the gear tab (left menu) HERE:
The MVT SHIELD is a patent pending, commercially produced military grade thermal shelter. The MVT SHIELD is multi-purposed as a camouflaged thermally protected tarp designed to provide the user with a thermal shield to defeat FLIR/thermal imaging surveillance and targeting. The MVT SHIELD also functions as a lightweight, waterproof covering which also works as a rain shelter, ground cloth, survival shelter, sunshade, gear cover, emergency litter or overnight shelter against the weather. The MVT SHIELD is based on a high quality nylon design rather than poly-pro, so it folds up and packs away just like a military ‘poncho’ shelter or equivalent nylon tarp.
The MVT SHIELD has been a developing concept since writing about out the ‘thermal poncho’ concept on the Max Velocity Tactical blog and in the novel ‘Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises’ and the manual ‘Contact: A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival’. Max Velocity Tactical has moved away from the ‘thermal poncho’ name to avoid confusion over the utilization of the MVT SHIELD.
The MVT SHIELD is designed primarily for use in a static position, to be strung up like a shelter tarp, taking advantage of the air gap between the person underneath and the thermal shield properties of the tarp to defeat FLIR. Uses: rain shelter, thermal shield, emergency thermal blanket, primarily designed as static shelter but can be pulled over you in an emergency. The MVT SHIELD can be carried in a pack or pouch and deployed into a thermally shielded shelter as needed. The product is supplied with a stuff-sack pouch, with the packed size of that pouch being 12″ x 6″.
The MVT SHIELD is 68″ x 88″ (5.6′ x 7.3′), coyote brown on both sides, weighing 2.5 lbs. It is constructed using a double layer of two strong, lightweight nylon tarps. The tarps are rugged, 1.9 oz rip-stop nylon with a waterproof, urethane coating. To allow deployment the tarps are constructed with reinforced webbing tie-outs, three per side including corners. In addition to the perimeter tie-outs there are also three additional tie-outs across the center ridge-line to aid deployment.
Thermal Shield Properties:
Between the two layers of the nylon tarps is sandwiched a double layer of LDPE-4 heat-reflective material, each layer individually blocks blocks 97% of body heat emissions when held in contact with the body. Each single layer is 30%-50% thicker than a standard thermal blanket, making it more durable. It is also protected by the exterior sandwiching nylon tarps. The interior thermal layer is puncture-resistant and does not fracture if the edges are nicked, as metallized polyester blankets do. The layer is softer and quieter than products made from metallized polyester (“Mylar”), or the cheaper metallized polypropylene, which rattle with every movement.
Best use of the this product as a thermal shield and camouflage shelter will be attained when utilized with conventional camouflage and concealment techniques, in particular terrain masking and camouflage utilizing foliage and/or the tree canopy. The MVT SHIELD has been tested utilizing FLIR thermal imagers. When correctly deployed as a shelter tarp with an air gap between the person underneath and the MVT SHIELD, there is no body heat transfer through the SHIELD, making the occupant invisible to detection by FLIR/thermal imagers.
Deployment & Customization:
The MVT SHIELD is designed to be deployed in the same way as military tarps that are utilized as rain shelters; the additional of a thermally protected layer providing full shelter from FLIR surveillance. The MVT SHIELD can be deployed using bungee cord or paracord/string tied to nearby trees or objects, or pegged to the ground; it can also be used with tent poles and tent pegs, purpose built or temporary, and it can be set up against any structure, including fence-lines or similar, even to screen the openings of foxholes, bunkers or observation posts.
1) The MVT Shield will, at least initially, be made in coyote brown. This provides an excellent base color that can be adapted to your environment and/or season. More on that in the photos, below. The size is 68 x 88 inches, which is 5.6′ x 7.3′.
2) The MVT Shield, both this specific design as well as the general concept using less effective methods, has been tested and will block viewing of your thermal image, including all thermal bloom through the material. The outer sandwich layers are constructed of 70 denier rip-stop coated nylon with an inner double layer of thermal blocking material.
3) The MVT Shield is designed to be optimally used in conjunction with good fieldcraft, i.e. terrain and vegetation masking, as well as with an air gap between the user and the material. It is designed to provide you with a usable and serviceable tactical shelter tarp, as well as an emergency thermal blanket. It is therefore multi-use, being a weather and thermal shield as well as a casualty blanket. If you put this up as part of your standard shelter SOP, you have also masked your thermal signature.
4) The MVT Shield is made in the USA, literally by a cottage industry. They are made by the fair hand of the wife of a student who attended an MVT class.
Above: we are providing a stuff sack with draw-cord with the MVT Shield. Above is a test design.
Above/Below: standard coyote color set up as a shelter tent. There are many ways to deploy this shelter.
Above: a view showing the multiple tie-outs designed to allow you options to deploy the MVT Shield.
Above: a closer view of the design
Above: literally 10 MINUTES with 3 colors of krylon camouflage paint will allow you to customize the shield to your location and/or the season.
Above; The coyote color is blank canvas.
Camouflage & Concealment Information:
There are basically 3 ways you can customize the MVT Shield. Tips:
1) Keep it the basic coyote color, which will make it fairly nondescript and usable for any kind of backwoods activity.
2) Use camouflage paint such as krylon to adapt the camouflage pattern to your environment, as shown above.
3) Add a ‘ghillie-lite’ effect to the top of the shield. Use a spattering of materiel glued to the surface, such as cut up burlap and pieces of camouflage netting across the top of the shield, and also hanging over the edges. Keep it reasonable to cut down on bulk and weight. With or without this addition you can garnish the top of the deployed shield with local vegetation and/or leaf/tree litter to create an additional camouflage effect.
Why do # 3?
Because the potential weakness of deploying a shield in areas where you don’t have much terrain or vegetation masking is that it will be seen due to its shape. Good fieldcraft, siting and camouflage will help with this. If you deploy a shield, or any kind of tarp, in a relative open area there is danger that it will be seen due to SHAPE.
SHAPE is visible in both the visual and thermal spectrum, which means to the naked eye and also viewing through a FLIR. What you do to break up SHAPE in the visual spectrum will also break it up in the thermal. Two for one. To explain: when looking through a thermal device, the heat that the device picks up makes a picture, a camera image, that you can understand. You see trees and objects. Everything has a different signature, which is why you see a picture due to the thermal differentials. A living object will really stand out, unless blended into an object that is heated by a hot sun, such as a tin roof, or the ground. So if your Shield blocks the thermal image, but you have poorly sited it so it stands out as a clearly rectangular object, then it may be seen. Just like in the visual field.
So it is a case of camouflaging yourself even though your thermal signature is now not visible. You can use terrain and vegetation masking, natural camouflage, and also a ‘ghillie-lite’ effect on the shield itself. An example of this will be produced and photos added.
HERE for previous posts with details on the MVT Shield.
The MVT Shield is Patent Pending.