Be aware that many websites and retailers are advertising: “Military Style”, “Military Grade”, “Mil Spec” and will use other similar military style wording.
This is designed to trick us consumers, to avoid letting you and me know that the items are simply not Genuine Military Issue.
For example, I had purchased a Military style GI cup from a retailer on Amazon. It claimed to be stainless steel, but when I got it, it was a suspicious metal with a sparkly grey powdery coating. Ok, not stainless steel, and I’m not sure it’s even safe to drink from.
Made in China and sketchy looking materials and coating, that’s 3 strikes. This cup in non-usable for me, even in a back yard camping situation.
Luckily for us there are ways to identify real military surplus.
Military products are identified by a label on some articles such as fabric (ponchos,etc,). The label is silk-screened directly on the fabric.
The label contains:
- The NSN # (National Stock Number)
- A description of the article.
- The name of the manufacturer.
- Other information such laundry instructions (not required)
If you don’t see at least the first three items listed there is a very good chance that it’s not military.
Now there are exceptions. For example, you can’t put a pretty silk-screened fabric label on a stainless steel GI cup that will end up exposed to heat and fire.
Military quality usually exceeds similar products of commercial quality. Military grade tends to look and feel very rugged. On “Army” boots you can see the thread stitching. You can tell that it’s military and will last forever. if the stitching on the soles appears to be molded into the rubber, it’s commercial grade and the stitching is only decorative, and probably won’t last nearly as long.
We’re not saying that anything that is not true military surplus is or is not good. I am sure there are “Military style” items for sale that are amazingly awesome. We are saying that if you are looking to buy genuine military surplus then be aware and do some checking to ensure you are getting legitimate military surplus!