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Fear & Loading: Remember That Ugly Holiday Sweater?

Fear & Loading: Remember That Ugly Holiday Sweater?

We all have at least one, or possibly a half-dozen ugly holiday sweaters. Tucked in the corner of the closet, they wear labels with the name of the person who gave them to you, a reminder to put it on before they make their annual visit to present you with that home-baked fruitcake del muerto—the same knife-dulling slab you tossed into the trash can last year before a stray mutt decided it was a buffet, resulting in animal cruelty charges that were only dismissed in October.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s thoughtful and a lovely gesture. As an added bonus, it does get the rest of the family in the spirit during your MMA-style grudge match with a turtleneck shrunk in the wash to toddler size.

Wear it to the store—even Walmart—and it’s the kind of fashion statement that’d make cell-block C proud. It increases your situational awareness, too, because brush too close to a candle and there’s a good chance the frayed ends will turn you into an instant Roman candle.

5.11 Tactical has the answer if your work, or family, has a mandatory ugly holiday sweater tradition. You won’t need to label this one, because you’re bound to remember the generosity of someone with this kind of taste.

The company calls it the “Ugly Holiday Sweater,” although it’s really a thing of beauty. The snowman is armed with an M-4 topped with what looks like an ACOG, tactical vest, helmet and comms. How he’s talking intelligibly on the radio with that pipe in his mouth is beyond me—cigar maybe, but a pipe? The color combo is ideal camo for those secret Santa parties in which you wish you were invisible. Simply stand up against the nearest fully decorated Christmas tree, and no one will know you’re there.

His six is covered by what looks like M-16-carrying silhouettes , and there’s air support just in case things get sporty at the office party. Snowflakes on the pattern will be a hit with some on your staff—you know who we’re talking about, not that there’s anything wrong with that.

5.11 Tactical also has an “Ugly Holiday Tee” for $24.99 for warmer climates, layering or casual wear. On both, the guy on point always stays frosty, even when things go from bad to worse. MSRP for the sweater is only $49.99, hundreds less than the average animal cruelty fine, by the way.

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