ACU, BDU, SFU, MCCUU respectively Army Combat Uniform, Battle Dress Uniform, Special Force Uniform and Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform are acronyms that describe the shape or cut of the uniform. The description of the uniform is then completed by the color and camouflage patterns (Pattern) such as the UCP, for “Universal Camouflage Pattern”, the gray digital camouflage used by the American army.
Back to cuts: what are the differences between the ACU and the BDU?
The shape of the BDU is characterized by large straight pockets, a jacket with a shirt collar and the use of buttons to close the jacket and trousers. It is the US combat outfit from the 80s until the 2000s. The jacket has 4 pockets, 2 chests, 2 hips, closed by buttoned flaps. On the arms, fabric inserts reinforce the sleeve at the elbows. These reinforcements are found on the pants at the knees. The pants, in addition to the 2 back pockets, have 2 large cargo pockets on the thighs and 2 on the back, always buttoned under a flap. The size adjusts with a tightening tab which allows you to gain at least one size. At the ankle, a drawstring completes the equipment.
The ACU was launched in 2004. More recent than the BDU, it uses Velcro and zippers to close pockets, jacket and pants. The main characteristic can be seen on the collar: a straight Mao-type collar, with a Velcro tab that closes it. Blend of cotton and polyester, maintenance is easy. We find on the pants, the thigh cargo pockets with an elastic that closes the pocket in addition to the buttons. The tightening tabs at the waist are replaced by a lace. On the jacket, the torso retains only 2 slanted chest pockets closed by a scratch with velcro that can receive badges. Pockets have been added on the arms, also at an angle, closed with velcro and covered with velcro. At the elbows and knees, a pocket has been provided to accommodate additional protections if necessary.
Respectively, ACU, BDU, SFU and MCCUU stand for:
Army Combat Uniform. And for the ACU, we can also find the FRACU (for “Flame-Resistant” which means what it means). This style dates from June 2004 and replaces the BDU. The ACU is made from 50% nylon and 50% cotton and is rated as easy to care for. The collar is special because it is of the “Mao” type with a Velcro tab that closes it. For the pants, there are thigh cargo pockets and a lace instead of the tightening tabs at the waist. On the front of the torso, there are two slanted pockets that can receive military badges. The arms also offer a few pockets as well as at the elbows and knees.
Battle Dress Uniform. So this is the old version used from the 80s to the 2000s. What did it look like? The jacket has a shirt collar and there are two large straight pockets on the front. The pants and the jacket close with buttons. The jacket has four pockets (in addition to the chest pockets) and the pants have two hip pockets, two cargo pockets on the thighs and two on the back. Reinforcements are placed around the elbows and knees. A drawstring is placed at the ankles and a tightening tab allows you to tighten the pants.
Special Force Uniform. This is the uniform worn by special forces often called “green berets”.
And Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform. It is worn by the soldiers of the Navy and the NAVY. The latter also replaced the BDU.
To these sequences of letters are added other references such as color or pattern. In these patterns, we can, for example, evoke the Universal Camouflage Pattern (or UCP) which offers gray, beige or green. This allows working in different environments like desert, forest or urban areas. The MCCUU offers a typical pattern, called “MARPAT”, dedicated to colors intended for the forests and for the desert.