The Special Ops Recon vest was designed to be a high-speed low-drag woodsball essential at a decent price. The SpecOps Team spent years testing vests and perfecting a design that would be comfortable, yet durable enough to meet the needs of the scenarioball and woodsball player.
The Recon is a low-price result of our testing and brainstorming. We placed an emphasis on breathability. Our biggest complaint about other vests are the heat they trap against your body. Spring, summer and fall scenario and woods play is usually pretty warm, so we’re often burning up in our vests. The Recon has open mesh in every square inch that we could spare. Even the hydration bladder sleeve is made of mesh.
Partnering with the great folks of Cops911 the design includes double-lock Velcro® feature for absolutely locked-tight Velcro® panels. It cost a few extra bucks, but it guarantees that your tank panel won't pull off during a game. The center-back tank panel comes separately and you can go on-gun or remote with your air setup.
The Special Ops Paintball Recon Vest 6 is newer, so it should be commonly available, both new and used.
Solid accessory and pod holders
Two Integrated Slings
Horrendous customer service
No shoulder padding
Well lets get the overall review of the vest out of the way. This vest has been put through its paces for walk on and scenario play. Without a doubt this is a solid vest. When playing it stays out of the way and there were no problems maneuvering with it. This includes sliding, diving, crawling and sprinting. The strengths are listed above. Other reviewers have hit on them as well so I won't repeat them here.
As far as weaknesses go Spec Ops has some oddball sizing. I wear a large in most casual clothing. Ended up purchasing a medium after reading reviews on this site and spec-ops. Side straps are cinched all the way down to get it to fit on me. The velcro waist band that goes around the stomach fits well though. Another thing is the lack of any shoulder padding on this vest. With a full 3L hydration bladder and four full 140 round pods the vest starts to dig into my shoulders. Not a big deal, just uncomfortable for long days of play. The zipper is a cheap plastic one which has a tendency to unzip on its own. Pretty unimpressed by that, especially since the rest of the vest has solid construction. The middle expansion slot allows you to put either more another 2 pod holder or a remote tank holder there. This seems like a good thing until you realize how much they charge for either item on their site.
I got the vest for $19 bucks during one of their slick deal promotions. Well worth it I would say. Wouldn't pay more than $30 for it though.
With the review of the vest done let me tell you about Spec-Ops and their customer service.
It doesn't exist.
That's right. Email them and count how many days go by. Give them a call before you order and get out a stop watch. They have really nice on-hold music. Check out their forums for product and order inquiries. There are many posts of back ordered items being shown as in stock and people receiving no word of it for weeks. When i placed the order for this vest and some pods I had to find one of the CS guys on their forums and email him to get a tracking number. The only email I receieved from the product ordering system was an indication that I placed the order. No further updates were received. The status on my account page for an order i placed AND received two months ago is still showing as processing. I find it hard to believe the guys who put together the Brigade website can't manage a decent tracking system for their online store. Over the last couple months I've ordered from a couple other internet paintball retailers and had zero problems.
Don't get me wrong. I think Spec-Ops does a lot for the paintball community. From videos to articles and forums they do support us. However, running a Facebook site for paintballers doesn't automatically disqualify them from running a somewhat competent online store. If you are 100% positive that the item you are ordering is what you will need and you won't need it before next weekend for the big game, use Spec-Ops. Good luck dealing with the customer service if you have to return or exchange an item. Things could have changed since I or others had problems with them a few months ago. At the very least I would urge you to investigate their current CS experience before ordering.
The vest is great. From reviews it seems like most of Spec-Ops products are great. In some cases they are the only choice for scenario gear. The overall problem with this is that the main retailer for Spec-Ops products is Spec-Ops. You can buy some of their Tippmann branded gear on other sites. For most of their custom gear, it is only sold on their site. So in my mind this deeply ties their customer service to their product and it reflects on the product itself poorly
Available Points - 10/10
-1 for small design flaws
- 2 for bad bad really bad customer service
Total - 7/10
7 out of 10
Last edited on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 at 9:03 am PST
No vests but i tryed on Other Spec Ops vests similar to this one
look at profl.
Has camel pack holder Pack not included
Very light weight
Mine didnt fit me as snug as i thout it wud
and straps didnt tighten
This is a great vest to purchas if ur into woodsball/Milsims
I used this for the tourny NJ Nam in jersey and it did me great.
did not hold me down was very comfy and had grenade pouches utility pouches and comes in the military ACU Digi Camo
on the back it has a velcro strap for a costomizable name tag or other accesory holder
All in all this is a great vest if your into woodsball
and like i said up above make sure if u want a sung fit u might want to get a size smaller so you dont have any tightening issues like i did
Pod Belt - I still use this; I shoot through a lot of paint
Harness - This has been dropped in favor of the vest; it is bulkier and holds less
Tippman A-5 with response trigger, A2 kit from Spec Ops Paintball and coiled remote
12" CMI Thunder Pig barrel
Pure Energy 72/3000 HPA or 20 oz CO2
AGD Minimag with 14" All American Barrel, custom hopper and coiled remote
Pure Energy 72/3000 HPA or 9 oz CO2
Access to paint and tools
Bottle pouch not included
I just got this vest, but I already love it. It fits very snugly, but isn't too hot to wear. It's also fairly light, so I can move through the woods at full speed again.
I used to use a harness to carry 4 140 round pods and my air, and it tended to get snagged a lot and bounce around. Not so anymore; the vest holds everything nice and tight, and in better positions. Now I can also carry a pair of grenades, a squeegee and my Allen wrenches, as well as a water bottle (can't afford the hydration pouch yet). Since this vest only holds 4 140 round pods, I still wear my pod belt (bringing my carry total up to 1060, including the hopper), but for many people, 560 extra paintballs is enough. If you need to carry substantially more, get a bigger vest, like the Sabre or Hammer.
I do lament the lack of bottle pouch and my lack of funds to purchase it; I currently make do with a homemade bottle pouch worn on my belt.
This vest is good if you need to carry more than just paint and air onto the field; for scenario games and serious woodsballers, it's great, and I highly recommend it, or any of the other Spec Ops vests, as suits your needs.
For just a day of recball close to home, save yourself the money; you don't need all the features of this vest.
Old Redz Flex Tech 4+1, different. Better fitting but fewer options.
Tippmann A-5 with Response Trigger
Lapco Snapshot Barrel .687
Palmer 12 inch Brass Barrel (Secondary)
Pure Energy 68cu 4500 psi Compressed Air
SpecOps A-5A2 Stock (Secondary)
Kingman Java Remote Coil (Secondary)
TechT Vortex Mod
JCS Redhot Powertube/ Hexadecagonal bolt
BT-4 Combat w/ polished internals and a lighter trigger spring
Comfortable, VERY durable, well placed pouches, displaces weight well, mesh doesn't trap heat.
You can't detach pouches. That's really it though.
Got mine in the mail today, along with a free pod and the tank pouch. When I first put it on, it felt ridiculous, it seemed WAY too high up. I put my BDU's on and it looked much more normal. The vest seems a tad backheavy, but I could walk around my house really comfortably with this on. Bending down is a bit harder than with the old 4+1, but thats reasonable, and it doesn't dig into your back. I'm going to test it out at West Point this weekend, theres a nice big game that's happening there, the E-Jam Red Raiders (my team) will be up there in force, fighting for the Japanese.
I don't think the tank holder will come off, in fact I think it'll be pretty hard to take it off when/if I want to in the future. I stuck a ton of stuff into this vest, even my weird-shaped homemade grenades fit in the 'nade pouches.
I'm giving it a 9 for now, gotta test it some more.
Edit: I just played with it for 2 days at the West Point - Battle of Guadalcanal '07 scenario. I have to give this vest a 10. Others were complaining how their vests rode up on them or were too hot, mine was perfect.
Things I liked during the scenario.
Radio placement - 10 - It was great, small things help a lot. My headset was bothering me, so I just played with the radio in the pouch, and it was great. With one hand, I would flip the radio pouch open, pull out the radio, talk, then stick it back in and Velcro it up. Nothing bad here.
Utility pouches - 10 - Large enough, yet small enough. I held my map and an energy bar in the upper right pocket, and a half-pint water bottle + pocket knife in the lower right pocket. In the grenade pouches I could actually fit 4 of my homemade grenades which have 6-8 ounces of paint in them - NOT small at all, which was great. Tight fit, but that's fine. Because it was very hot though, I kept a half-pint water bottle in one grenade pouch, and 2 grenades in the other.
Pod packs - 9.5 - Well placed, Velcro held up, very easy to load and reload. Minimally harder to do than my old 4+1, but they're easier to reach. Quite fine, I can't really complain about them.
Bottle pack - 9 - This was a bit annoying, it was much harder to stick a bottle in my back than with my 4+1 because it rides higher on my back. Not much to do about it though, because I alternate from remote to non-remote, I'll probably have to play with bottle on gun at scenarios, which is what I'm preferring right now. It is what it is...
Comfort - 10 - SO comfortable. Everyone on my team (E-Jam Red Raiders) who tried it on loved it. They couldn't believe it was only 80 bucks. The adjustment strap carries most of the weight, and it sits well on your stomach, not your waist, so no riding down. I did like how I could stuff a stick squeegee through the waist belt, and it would be completely covered for whenever I need it by the rest of the vest. At times I had to check to make sure it was still there (which it was) because I didn't even notice it. Also, the vest itself displaced the weight amazingly well, I could full out sprint with this thing, my only limitation was my own body. No matter how much it was loaded up, it always felt light.
Durability - 10 - I discovered that my grenade pouches are waterproof when one of my grenades leaked, which means that it's tight stitching. The main proof of durability is a complete lack of extra threads sticking out, and the best thing, the strong mesh. West Point has many, many thorn bushes, and I probably walked through all of them. At one point I walked easily 20 feet through thick thorns, pushing my way in. I could feel the thorns catching on the mesh, but when I came out, I checked my vest, believing it torn in places, but there was not a SINGLE hole! These weren't little old rose thorns either, these were BIG! If that doesn't prove that it's durable, I don't know what will.
EDIT: Just played the NJ Nam 2007 scenario with my team. We won again, and the vest was wonderful the whole way through. I stored small water bottles in the grenade pouches, because people were getting heat exhaustion right and left. Played in just a t-shirt and vest, on top, no BDU jacket, no thermals, no nothing. I got a whole bunch of bounces off the vest, which is good. Nothing to complain about, I back up all my statements that I first said. Great vest. Get it. Oh yeah, I forgot. I'm not running remote, but I'm actually using the tank pouch as a pod holder, because I'm too cheap to buy double pod holder right now. I only used it when we were pushing them WAY back, and when I knew I had enough air. I just discovered that my A-5 shoots a little bit more than 5 pods and a hopper off of a 68/4500. Nice!
Conclusion - Durable, comfortable, well made, all the right pouches, inexpensive, doesn't trap heat, what else could you want?
10 out of 10
10 out of 10
Last edited on Thursday, June 14th, 2007 at 10:04 am PST
Holds everything you need
Doesn't feel bulky at all
Doesn't come with a CO2 pouch
When I first saw this vest after I bought it, I thought, "Dang this is nice." This vest feels very light and compact. I just went paintballing with it on for the first time today and the mesh is awesome. I was probably out there for 5 hours in Louisiana weather and I didn't heat up any more than I did without it on. This vest lets you carry everything that you need for paintballing in it. It has a camelback pouch, an integrated gunsling, some nicely sized pockets, a radio pouch, some 'nade pouches, and a couple of D rings to clip your goggles on. It also has an elastic waist band which really makes the fit secure and makes the vest so that it doesn't bounce around at all when you make a run. Be careful when you velcro your waistband, though. If you leave some of the loops hanging out, they can get stuck on the mesh which is not good.
The only thing that I would consider as a weakness for this vest is that it comes with no pouch for CO2. I found out, however, that my Genx 4+1 pod pack (about $20) works perfectly fine in conjunction with this vest, which allows me to carry a total of over 1,000 paintballs at a time.
After playing with this vest about 3 or 4 times, there are a couple more weakness that I have found. I'm kind of small around the waist, so I have to pull the elastic waist band very far around me to make it fit securely. Because of this, the velcro is sticking to and tearing the elastic band as well as some of the mesh. I'm working on sewing a patch of cloth over this part of the velcro so it doesn't tear any further. As long as you make sure that no velrco is exposed to snag on your mesh and if you have a bigger stomach than me (I'm pretty skinny), you shouldn't have a problem.
Also, my vest has gotten quite dirty and, because I like my equipment clean, I've had to hand wash this sucker. It's not that annoying to wash it by hand, but it can be a bit of a nuisance.
I recently went to Oklahoma D-Day and I have yet to find a weakness with this vest. I was wearing this almost the whole time that I was there because of the camelback pouch. I played several 2 hour and one 8 hour scenarios in this time. In my case, the vest held everything that I needed the whole time. The big pouch practically saved my life out there when I stuffed it full of granola bars. This vest, along with my Ultralight jersey, kept me relatively cool the whole time.
This vest has got to be by far the best investment that I have ever made in paintball.
I still give this vest a 10/10
I got this vest for about $56. So far, I would have to say that that money was well spent. If you're looking to hold more stuff with you than a couple of pods, and you don't want to spend a fortune, get this vest.
10 out of 10
Last edited on Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 at 9:23 pm PST
Cool water holder type deal
Hard to wash
I have been useing this vest for woodsball for almost a year now. And its amazing, it dont even have one tear on it at all and the color isnt starting to fade. Only bad thing is it will get staind by paint a little bit and its hard to wash, cuz u cant just throw it in the washer u gotta hand wash this sucker. But besides all the hard scrubbing to get paint off its an extremely nice vest with 4 pod holders a radio holder and 2 misc pockets for pretty much any thing. I would suggest u buy this vest if your a hardcore woodsballer or jus a scenario player. O btw I'd suggest to get it in CRYE MULTICAM cuz its the most effective pattern.
I would buy this vest definatly its long lasting and great for woodsball
*J&J S2 ceramic Barrel
*JCS Blackpoint folding-stock
*32* spring kit
*Dark Horizon titanium hammer
*Bandit Bolts delrin LP bolt w/o-rings
*Bandit Bolts hi-flo valve
*NDZ valve pin
*Alamo Paintball hi-flo valve cup seal
*Check-it 15* Assault Block vertical adapter
*CP ASA on/off
*Kila magnetic ball detents
*Sundragon Paintball 50 gram spli-switch
*Sundragon Paintball magno-trigger
*Dye sticky 3 grips
2-'06 shocker sft w/ vision
*All American barrel
*Empire Re-loader B
*Crossfire 68/4500 N2 tank
*FBM locking feedneck
*Smart Parts HE bolt
*NDZ EZ-Turn Ultra-Lite Rail-ASA Combo w/ air bleed
All in one storage, breatheability, quality construction.
Weight distribution, velcro waistbelt,fit.
This is my first tac-vest so I don't have anything to compare it to other than pod belts and that's just not the same category. The positive points of this vest are the mesh body's breatheability and the amount of pockets & the lay-out of them. If you are out in the field and at a loss for something, it's your fault because you can bring the kitchen sink with this baby! I have the digi-camo and it blends in with your surroundings better than a black or woodland colored unit. Another plus is that the pod holders are on the back. Some other vests have them placed in front with a pistol holder- I couldn't see myself trying to belly crawl with bulky crap on the front of my vest. There is a hydration bladder pouch between the inner back panel and the outer back shell, very cooling on hot days. The zipper is large and seems to be of high quality. The pod pouches are in comfortable reach positions with large easy to grab velcro tabs. You can even buy a remote pouch and mount it between the 2 inner pod pouches.
Now for the downsides... I'm 6'1" 250 pounds, 38" waist & barrel chested. I first ordered the XL and when I got it I could tighten the side compression straps all the way down and it still was loose on my torso. I sent it back and got the L instead. This fit but the built in stretchy velcro waist belt(just like a pod belt only sewn into the vest) seems like a M size. If I pull it across itself far enough to cover the course velcro it's so tight I can't move, much less breathe well. When I loosen it enough to fit comfortably, too much of the catchy coarse velcro(not the fuzzy side) is exposed and catches the front vest mesh material constantly. I find myself just folding it together inside and not using the belt, which really makes load distribution wrong when all 4 pods are in place. You feel like you should have some more "ballast" weight on the front to even it out and stop it from riding down in the back. Another fit issue is length, it really should come in tall sizes also. I feel like I'm wearing a half cut shirt sometimes. I am thinking about modifying the waist belt or removing it all together.
Even with the fit issues, I've yet to notice them in the heat of battle and it rides nicely on me running, crawling, or praying in a bunker.
If you consider that there are pod belts out there that cost as much as this vest it really puts it in perpective as a good value. For me, the positives outweigh the negatives. Customizing gear to the individuals tastes are what make ordinary gear into "the stuff you can't play without" and this vest is a good place to start. I'd give it a higher score if it fit better, but I'm not the average joe size I guess. If you found this helpful please rate it.
8 out of 10
Last edited on Thursday, March 1st, 2007 at 4:04 am PST
Wish the tank could be mounted horizontally instead of vertically.
No elastic bands for pods.
Man I love this vest! The SpecOps Woodland Digi Camo looks great. While the stitching looks very durable, I'm going to re-enforce all the seams with my wife's sewing machine just for good measure. I was afraid it might be too big for my slim frame, (6'1" 165 lbs 32" waist, 39" chest) but it fits great (size is medium). I love the internal elastic waist band that keeps the vest from swaying when I'm sprinting. The pods holders are nice and roomy and are positioned near the edges of my back instead of the center for easy reach. In the center of the back is where the tank attaches. I'd prefer that the tank was mounted horizontally across the middle of my back instead of vertically against the small of my back. It's no big deal though. The hydration bladder pouch is a nice touch as are the d-rings near the collar bone to route the drinking tube into. While I don't carry grenades, the two grenade pouches are large enough to fit those mini water bottles so I can help keep my teammates or a new player hydrated. When you give a guy some water, it's funny that they feel like they owe you and will give you cover when you ask for it or move up when you tell them. The radio pocket fits my T5200 nicely. Unfortunately, the push to talk button on my radio is on the front and kind of hard to press down since there's two layers of fabric covering it. The upper right breast pocket holds my car keys, wallet, and allen wrenches. (I wrap my keys and allen wrenches together with electrical tape so they don't jingle around) The lower left waist pocket holds my 2 battle swabs, a pull through squeegee, and a power bar. The pockets are lined with a rubbery plastic material which keeps things from digging into my chest/waist. The radio and 2 accessory pouches stay closed with velcro while the grenade pouches use plastic clips. While you can't move the pouches around, for me they're already in the perfect position. On each shoulder are straps to clip your mask when not in use as well as your marker. This things is easy to clean too. Just hose it off with warm water and hang it upside down in the shower/sun for a few hours. Total capacity of this vest is four 140 round pods. If you choose to, you can buy a pod pack instead of the bottle holder and add 2 more pods. I wish they'd simply added elastic bands to hold additional pods like they do on every other vest on the market. While I've never run out of ammo, I have come close a few times. However, this vest was designed for people who want high mobility and a light weight setup. Speaking of mobility, low crawling through brush is easy with this thing. The mesh tends to grab small twigs and dry leaves but that just adds to my camo I guess. The mesh is fine enough that it won't snag on anything that wouldn't snag a paintball jersey. I love the heavy use of mesh especially in the high humidity of a forest on a hot day. The waist belt traps a little heat and sweat but not any worse than a standard pod pack.
One thing thing though, if you have narrow shoulders, the shoulder straps might be a little wide. While this keeps them from digging into your neck, players with narrow shoulders might feel like it's too loose. On my medium size vest, the distance between the straps is 8.5 inches and the distance between the outsides of the straps is 15 inches.
The vest saw its first 12 hour scenario game last weekend. I really came to appreciate the little things that are so great with this vest. The weather was 88 degrees and the forest was very humid, yet the hottest part of my body was my face inside my mask. The integrated mask and gun slings are sooo convenient. Being able to carry around food and water is awesome. I can just eat and drink in one of the dead boxes instead of walking back to the snack bar or my car. Having paper towels and anti-fog on you makes you very popular. I only have one complaint though. There's no way to add more pods. Since I'm running a remote, the maximum capacity of this vest is only 4 140rnd pods. I could buy the optional 2-Pod pouch, but then I'd have to remove my Tank Pouch and ditch my remote setup.(Not gonna happen as I love my remote too much) Including the 200 rounds in my hopper, 560 additional rounds barely lasts two or three bunker assaults before I'm out of ammo. It's enough for walk-on games or but not scenarios when I'm the main provider of suppressive/covering fire for my team. This vest was fine when I was the point man, but now that my position requires me to shoot a lot more, I need something that holds more paint. I'm leaning toward the Broadword vest since it's basically a Recon with adjustable shoulders, another storage pouch, and holds more pods.
Still a 10, but for someone who uses less paint than I do.
All in all this is a great vest. It does everything as advertised and improves on the original.
10 out of 10
Last edited on Tuesday, June 6th, 2006 at 2:29 pm PST
Tippmann A-5A2 E-Z air through kit
E-trigger w/ Double trigger upgrade
J&J ceramic 14"
Offset rail with scope(vision) and red dot(targeting)
4 pods capable
Useful, useful pockets
Fun to use
Doesnt come w/ bottle pouch!
shoulders can slip if not ur wide
some pockets unneeded
When i got this vest with my A-5A2 kit, i was really excited. I had never owned this cool of a piece of gear before! However, when i put it on, i had to use the shoulder straps like a belt to keep the actual shoulders from falling off! I also thought it jumped up and down alot, until i noticed that i can put the elastic belt around my waist (yeah im not the smartest person in the world). Then i realized that one of the pockets went a bit high and interfered with the stock. But i soon got used to it. I was mad that they didnt mention that you needed to buy the bottle pouch to use it, so i used the hydration bladder instead. It worked, but was a bit uncomfortable.
But as I went into a game with it, i was stunned at how much i needed it! The pods that went in it were absolute lifesavers and I held all my stuff that i needed to play with me as a good vest should. I am not ever selling this!
Buy it, Buy it, buy it! Its Special Ops quality vest at a price you can afford. It takes a bit of adjusting, but heck, its worth it!
10 out of 10
Last edited on Monday, May 1st, 2006 at 2:38 pm PST
Special Ops Easy Airthrough Stock
Breathable, Carries a good amount of paint, durable, Integrated Sling System
looks flimsy, bottle pouch comes seperate. Everything is sewn on.
When I took this vest out of the box, I was a bit surprised at the way it looks. At first glance, all the mesh on it makes it look flimsy and as if one snag of a branch will tear it apart (so far it's holding up good). If you order a bottle pouch, it connects to the vest using double lock Velcro. My first reaction to this was "Velcro? It's going to fall off in a game!" Not so! The way the Velcro attaches, the pouch will not come off unless you want it to. Another thing I noticed is all of the vest's components are permanently sewn on, unlike the broadsword vest which allows you to move your pockets around to where you want them.
A plus is the Recon's new Integrated sling system. It has two straps coming from the under-arm of each side of the vest which you can use to hang your gun or hold your mask while off field. When you're not using them, they clip up on the shoulder so they don't hang out in the wind.
Other odds and ends include 4 pod holders in the back for all you divers and crawlers(they fit 140 round pods), and a Name tag area in the back. In front there are two grenade pockets, two utility/tool pockets, and a radio pocket if you use a radio. Inside you have an Elastic belt for added support and a mesh sleeve to hold a hydration bladder for those long scenario games.
All and all it's an excellent vest. It's not as good as the Broadsword, but delivers what you need when you need it. I give it an eight.