Since October 2015, pattern p83 has been fully discontinued. What remains is our reconstructed battlejackets* and the rare few remaining stragglers recently discovered by our South African contacts.
These new battlejackets are not great in numbers, but are fantastic in condition. I never thought I would see South African surplus so new it still had tailor's chalk markings. The fact these markings remain is testament to it's condition, as these markings are easy to rub or wash off.
The Pattern 83 webbing system was produced to fill a very specific need in the South African military. In the later years of the Border war, the SADF was hurting for a comfortable, lightweight, and simple to use load bearing system. As with much of the equipment of the time, private sector commercial outfitters helped the military design and produce an effective solution. The resulting “battle jacket” (heavily influenced by Rhodesian fireforce webbing) is still in use today by the SANDF and has been featured as the go-to load bearing gear of various movie baddies (see Blood Diamond, District 9, and most recently Mad Max.)
The iconic “Nutria Brown” pouches on the vest are made of a waterproofed cordura nylon: inside each you’ll find a heavy wear resistant coating. The “body” of the vest is a padded nylon mesh which a allows a good deal of breathability while distributing weight evenly across your shoulders, back, and hips. In total there are 5 magazine pouches, each capable of holding two standard capacity mags (for a grand total of 10). Although originally intended for R4 (Galil) magazines, we’ve found the pockets are plenty roomy and will accommodate some battle rifle users.
On the sides of the vest there are 2 large pouches intended for canteens. In a pinch they can be used as dump pouches for empty magazines, but I’d recommend using them for their original purpose (dehydration is no joke.) Smaller pockets arranged around the water pouches are intended to hold grenades but work just as well for storing cleaning kits and other miscellaneous small gear. The large lower pouch in the front can fit even more magazines, or can be used to store bandages and other bulkier items. Finally, the backpack pouch features a roomy upper and lower compartment, with additional straps to secure a bed roll.
Waterproof, durable Cordura nylon with nylon mesh webbing
Nutria Brown color, designed to get dirty and build a natural camouflage
Padding along shoulders, back and hips
Webbing can be adjusted and secured with buckles to fit all sizes
Five double magazine pouches hold up to 10 30rd mags
One large front pouch
Two large “canteen” side pouches
Two small side “grenade” pouches
Large “backpack” pouch with two compartments
Unissued: So new there are still chalk marks from when it was sewn together
Collector's: Like new condition, no observable blemishes or damage
Great: Minor use and abrasion on the fabric
Great w/ Cosmetic Damage: Minor use and abrasion on the fabric, cosmetic damage
Good: mild use and abrasion on the fabric, minor dust and dirt (e.g. grass stains, water stains, dirt/dust pushed into webbing)
Serviceable: moderate use, potential cosmetic damage, stitching damage and small tears (fixed with needle and thread), Some back pouches have had the separator between the two compartments cut, turning it into one large back compartment. (however as a bit of a bonus, it fits hydration systems now.)
About a year ago the barrel of compete battlejackets from our source over in South Africa was empty. All that remained was a large pile of heavily broken and damaged vests. So we had the salvage scraped for good parts and reassembled into more battlejackets! These battlejackets are 100% genuine and structurally indistinguishable from their non-Frankenstein brothers.