Giving Head

Ok, giving the head proper camouflage would be a more appropriate title. Just a few thoughts on not giving it too much, and the reasons why.

The head is an important piece to camouflage. For many years, it has become accepted that the “omega” shape of the head and shoulders needs broken up because it’s very recognisable, and this is true, but 90% of the time it tends to be done by hanging a lot of camouflage off the head, instead of building up from the shoulders. The first point I’d like to raise is the issue with head movement. Think of the sniper’s head as the tower on a submarine;

As much as we can lay on the ground, behind ridges or embankments, logs or whatever other cover we can find, the head is always poking above. Always alert, watching and listening for targets. And some rifles force the head up even more, so it makes sense that we have to do an excellent job on the camouflage of it. The problem is, it moves. A lot. If you have plastic ferns or plants, or even real ones, sticking out of your head like a pair of antlers;

Getting creative with images today. It’s just to better demonstrate a concept.

When that head turns, even slightly, those protruding objects are going to catch the eye much more easily. Something like a plastic fern, to draw on previous experience hunting down other snipers, is a very sharp edged, bright green, positive space object. Sticking out of a hat or balaclava, it’s going to be waving to enemy players as that flat plane rotates with the head. Softer, rounder shapes (negative space particularly) and dull colours, closer to the head, aren’t going to be as noticeable. I know we think that distorting the head shape to something less human is important, and it is, but going to extremes to create a vast headdress that wouldn’t look out of place in the Rio Carnival is going to get you spotted much faster. You can’t avoid head movement, unless your plan is to go to sleep in a game.

Going back to the Omega head/shoulders outline, if you hang all that breakup material off the head, it will all move when the head turns. Much better to mount the extra materials around the shoulder area instead (to break up the flat shoulder lines) means that they’ll stay still as the head moves. One of the reasons I use a surplus smock, is that it has a rigid enough hood that bunches up behind the neck and holds extra camouflage well.

The second point on overcrowding the head area is that it can start to obstruct vision and hearing, so although we can as an example increase our head camouflage effectiveness by 50%, we then lose 50% of our hearing which affects our ability to identify incoming threats, and our vision by 50% meaning we can’t see targets across as wide a field of view, or clearly see what we’re shooting at. It’s a trade off, and I’d always choose senses over a few extra leaves.

Less is more.

2 thoughts on “Giving Head

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