You shouldn't wear camouflage patterns because they make you stand out.
"What?" You say. "Has this guy lost his mind? The whole idea of camouflage is to blend in."
Yes, that is in fact the idea of camouflage. And in certain situations, you should attempt to camouflage yourself. However, camouflage is more than brown and green and tan. The true meaning of camouflage is to disguise something in its environment. For a tree frog, that might mean looking like part of a tree. For a person interacting with other people, that means looking like the other people.
For those in the military, camouflage uniforms do intend to hide the wearer in a field environment. But uniforms also serve to identify the wearer as a combatant on one particular side of a conflict. When not in a field environment, wearing a camouflage uniform doesn't hide you, it identifies you as something. Whether others would see you as a combatant in a military force depends on the pattern worn, but they would definitely pay more attention to you.
Of course, the gear you carry also makes a difference. If you sling an AR and walk into a bank, people are going to notice you even if you're wearing entirely nondescript clothing. But why draw more attention to yourself than necessary? And who are you hiding from - and in what environment - that you need to wear (or even own) a camouflage patterned uniform or gear?
I do not suggest that this is the case for everyone, but there is a definite attraction towards the newest and coolest camouflage pattern that is not justifiable. Playing tactical dress up at the range is quite pointless. Even some instructors get all dressed up for a range class - why? There is no need to hide at the range, and unless they are a member of some military or government unit, it is highly unlikely that they will be given the occasion to wear that uniform in a "combat" situation.
If you are "just a guy" like me - or "just a girl" - then camouflage has a different meaning than woodland, ATACS, or Multicam. I'll admit, I think ATACS looks cool and effective. So does Multicam.
However, I don't own anything in either pattern, because I have no need for ultra-effective camouflage. Solid grays and browns appear nondescript in a casual urban environment and are quite effective at the purely visual aspects of concealment, especially when you learn how to move effectively, whether that means low-crawling or adopting the mannerisms of a local populace.
At the individual level, successfully evading detection has far more to do with the manner in which you move from point A to point B than what you wear while doing it.
I'm sure I have managed to anger a few people with the title of this article alone. That's not my intention. As the saying goes, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar - although in this case, putting out carb-rich food wouldn't be the best course of action.
I don't know you and can't say what, if anything, you are preparing for. What I can say is that almost anything you might be preparing for by going to carbine/pistol training courses or taking an active interest in blogs like this one will be made substantially easier if you are in good shape.
Part of being prepared for adverse situations is knowing what you are capable of. Knowing how far you can run at certain altitudes, how effectively you can physically fight after moving for six, twelve, twenty-four continuous hours, how clearly you think through problems that present themselves during that same time, and so on.
I know a lot about my capabilities because I've gone outside and proved them to myself. As I've done so, I have not only improved my mental well-being, but I've become more fit. I've gone from being fat and out of shape to being proud of myself, not only the way I look, but what I can do.
Now, there are some guys who are really capable even though they're packing an extra ten or fifty pounds. I'm not saying that they aren't capable or that they're bad people or whatever. Some of them might be better than I am at some things. I am saying that they would be more capable if they shed a little weight.
On the other end of the scale are people who are skinny but weak or incapable of physical exertion. If they don't need to exercise to maintain a certain look, they choose to skip it. This is not good. A lot of the time, this applies to females - something I've learned is that if a girl does not have a butt, she probably won't be able to keep up with me on a hike. I've also learned that "LOVE PINK" is shorthand for "I'm a white girl who thinks she has a butt." But I digress...
If a capable but fat person gets injured...well, it will be easier for their friends or teammates to evacuate them if they weigh less. Because carrying fat people is hard.
In FMSS (Field Medical Service School), one of our final challenges was a dummy drag through an obstacle course. It was done in teams of three, but my two teammates were wimps, so I dragged and carried the ~180lb dummy through the whole course, and did it so fast that my teammates complained that they couldn't keep up. Naturally, this was a big ego boost to me.
Fast forward to Iraq, where I was practicing emergency procedures with guys from my platoon. One of my Marines was...well, fat. And when he was in full gear, I simply couldn't pull him out of a "disabled" truck. This was quite a change from my 180lb dummy drag champion days. After this, he lost a significant amount of weight; I don't know if the two were connected, but it was certainly eye-opening for me.
If you lead an active lifestyle - or maybe if you drew the short straw in the womb - staying fit might be difficult. Injuries and genetics play a role, to be sure. However, willpower is huge. I used lung problems resulting from my Iraq vacation as an excuse to not exercise for a long time.
Then I realized that I had gotten fat. Soon after, I decided to stop being fat. I still have lung problems (if I run too hard, I start coughing up blood), and sometimes severe knee and ankle issues. I can't do certain exercises because they cause too much pain in my chest and abdomen. I've learned to work around these problems - to minimize their impact on my life and the way I exercise.
Your issues might be more or less severe, but there is almost certainly a way for you to become at least somewhat fit. It starts with your personal decision to walk down that path.
I was in a gun store a while back, trying and failing to find anything exciting, when a friend suggested I look at the new Remington 700 SPS Tactical AAC-SD. I thought it was a pretty good deal for a factory threaded .308, until I saw the engraving on the barrel. It said "Tactical Rifling."
I handed the rifle back to my friend and moved on. Then I started thinking about what actually makes a "tactical rifle." Is it tactical if you engrave "tactical rifling" on the barrel? I don't think so. What about a threaded muzzle? Well, the non-AAC-SD "700 SPS Tactical" doesn't have that. So I guess the ability to mount a can out of the box isn't required to be tactical, at least according to Remington.
But what about the features of, say, the Mark V Ultra Lightweight I was recently loaned for T&E by Weatherby?
It has a blackened (fluted, hammer forged) barrel "to reduce game-spooking glare," the stock is a synthetic tan with black web, it has a really nice adjustable trigger, and it's in .308 Win - albeit with a slightly less tactical 1 in 12" twist rate. It weighs under 6lbs, or 7.5 with a scope and mounts, which would make it really easy to carry in the field all day.
In other words, it's a good hunting rifle. And nowhere is it described as "tactical" by Weatherby. But its features - and performance - would not look out of place if it was sitting next to purpose-built tactical rifles. It doesn't have a detachable magazine, but then again, neither do the "tactical" Remingtons.
If you want a rifle for "tactical purposes," don't just look at the ones that have tactical in the name, on the barrel, or in the marketing material. Many times, these are nearly identical to the non-tactical products from the same company, with minor finish, coloring, or laser engraving differences.
Their real-world performance might be identical, buzzwords be damned. Plus, it's rare for a tactical product to come at a lower price than the same company's non-tactical products, for tactical is apparently a premium these days.
In the end, a product is "tactical" if the user is skilled enough to employ it in a manner which helps them achieve a specific goal in an expedient manner. All the tactical rifles and gear in the world will not help you if you are clueless and incompetent.