A very well constructed training gi that offers lightweight comfort at a reasonably affordable price. The military themed logos and patchwork may appeal only to some, but I found this gi to fit very well and fun to wear.
As viral campaigns go, the Submission Sniper brand seems to have done very well indeed. When I first saw a picture of the gi up on Facebook I initially thought it was a joke. I mean seriously, who would make a gi with all those crazy military style logos and then place a machine gun as a prop for the photo amid a bit of rubble? It struck me as either a genius of parody or some very odd marketing. But I guess the fact that I (among a ton of others) took notice was the point. It did not take long for word among the gi-obsessed BJJ crowd to chatter about the Submission Sniper, chief topic among which was THAT logo. I'll talk about the logo a little later on, but it wasn't long before curiosity got the better of me and after a few cool emails between the Submission Sniper owner and myself, I got myself a review sample of the Competition model. So let's take a look under the bonnet...
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The jacket is made from judo style single weave fabric. It is the same type of weave used on the Storm Typhoon kimono and the Roy Dean Honor jacket. It's a basic but good strong weave type that is both light and comfortable. However it can shrink somewhat if used on a hot setting (the recommended wash setting is 30 degrees).
Judging by the website, this gi only comes in the colour black. I noticed that the sample sent to me was not actually a jet black, but a sort of dark charcoal. It faded a bit after several washes resulting in a semi-distressed dark grey. I usually dont like faded gis, but for some reason (maybe because of it's military Ops theme), the distressed faded look really suited this gi!
The most interesting aspect to the construction of the jacket appears to be the copious amounts of reinforcement tape adorning the seams. The tape runs along the entire length inside each arm sleeve, and also within each of the cuffs. If the tape holds true, then it's fairly safe to bet that this baby ain't gonna tear.
The fit of the jacket, for an A2 is pretty good on me after a hot wash and high heat tumble dry cycle. Shrink to fitting is an inexact art and doesn't always work out well for my dimensions. Luckily, the Submission Sniper gi shrunk just fine, perhaps a tad short on the sleeve length, but within acceptable boundaries.
The website states this the collar is constructed of a rubberized core, but it is noticeably less stiff than a lot of other rubber collars. The collar feels pretty flexible, very similar to the collars of gis made from fabric wadding so it is something to consider. I personally found the collar to be comfortable and durable enough to do the job, other people I notice do like a big fat stiff collar on their gis.
The trousers are made from fairly medium weight cotton twill. Patches adorn the sides of each leg and it is held together by a flat cotton drawstring and two belt loops. Some of the more expensive gi brands tend to use a rope style drawstring and four, or even six belt loops - which I personally prefer. Inside the trousers, it was reassuring to see that the gusset was again well reinforced at the joins - not every gi trousers have this, so worth checking as it is a common stress point:
We move on to the patch designs. This area, more than any other, has generated quite a lot of discussion. The patches are illustrated with quirky BJJ/military themed humorous icons that one person suggested was based on the computer game Call of Duty. The last time I touched a computer game was with the Legend of Zelda on the N64 back in the day so I'm afraid the cult of online war gaming eludes me. However I do find that the way these icons are used - silver grey thread embroidered onto black patches and sized very small - are quite neat and not too in your face.
The main logo that has caused some heated discussion is the silhouette of the man set inside gun target markings. It is in effect, the same logo as used by Braulio Estima and Victor Estima for their respective Gracie Barra academies. I asked the owner of Submission Sniper about this and he replied that he was granted permission and rights by Braulio to use part of the imagery for a limited run of gis having agreed affiliation terms.
I have to say I really enjoyed wearing this gi in class. After shrinking the gi, it felt very comfortable to roll in. this gi is not heavy, nor is it ultra light - very much in between. It felt pretty good after a really long hard workout, not too hot as some of the heavier brands can feel. And whilst the styling might put some people off, I discovered that it also drew quite a few admiring comments from team mates. This gi didn't stretch too much out of shape, as I find some goldweaves can, and it seemed to withstand even the most strenous of gi-gripping opponents.
The Submission Sniper gi is in my opinion, a fun brand. I don't think all the military themed icons, replica rifles and Black Ops imagery is to be taken too seriously. I actually do not think the logo work is too flashy and this gi could easily blend into any academy background without causing too much attention. But it's still novel enough to make you feel like you are not one of the herd. This gi strikes a neat balance between being tough in construction and comfortable to wear. If you like the adorning imagery, then this gi is actually a pretty decent offering. At £65 plus postage, I feel this gi is priced at the right level in the market.
CREDIT AND DISCLAIMER
Thanks to Submission Sniper for sending me this gi to review. I am not sponsored by any brand, nor do I endorse any one brand. This review represents my own independent and unbiased opinions. If you like this gi or what I wrote, hit me with a comment below. Thanks!