Recently, I ordered a USMC shooting jacket from Made by mcron. Those of you who follow this site will know I have had an olive drab shooting jacket ordered from Fred's M14 Stocks for about a year and a half. The trouble was, that jacket from Fred's was a XXXL, and I have lost over 80 pounds in the last year or so.
Today, my shooting jacket arrived in the mail. I ordered a khaki colored XL jacket. That's exactly what arrived. A number of people are familiar with Fred's jacket (which he only has been a distributor of, never the manufacturer), so I will write this review as a compare and contrast.
Link to pics on Facebook!
Currently, I stand 6'3" and weigh around 220 pounds. I wear a size XL shirt off the rack from most manufacturers (only size "L" in Carhartt). Currently, my chest measures 48" and my waist is 37".
This shooting jacket fits me as perfectly as a good Carhartt shirt (which happens to be my favorite).
The sleeves, though a little long, fit me perfectly (I have a "wingspan" of 81" - yes, 6'9").
Length is perfect.
The jacket is made from a 100% twill cotton. The material rather resembles an old karate gi I had that was a 10 oz. brushed cotton canvas. Very soft, yet at least twice as thick and durable as the material on the jacket from Fred's. This is my favorite material to wear.
The padding is softer and a bit thicker than the padding on the Fred's jacket. Mary at Made by mcron makes these by hand, and her workmanship is truly professional. I dare anyone to find an unprofessional stitch in these jackets.
The buttons, being sewn on by hand rather than machine, are actually ruggedly attached. With the Fred's jacket, the first thing I had to do was reinforce stitching on the buttons so they wouldn't fall off when hit with the first stiff breeze. Mary made sure these buttons will not be dislodged easily.
This is a shooting jacket... not a fashion piece. That said, as far as USMC style shooting jackets go, this one certainly looks neat, trim, and professional. A shooting jacket is a tool first, so form definitely outweighs function. But Mary has shown her true skill in blending the form into the function seamlessly (pun intended!).
Made by mcron offers these jackets for $85 plus shipping. Fred's charges $70 plus shipping.
On the surface, this looks like a win for Fred's... but read on!
This jacket, for $85 is a steal! With a more durable build than the one from Fred's, the nominal extra price is more than justified.
(and this is a big "but")
Made by mcron has fantastic service - and their representatives (read - their owners) will actually call you back and do this little thing called communication. And good customer service.
A quick Google search of Fred's on customer service will yield the ugly underbelly of the fact that so many people feel that "Fred" could care less once he gets your money.
Not only that, but Made by mcron also will make your jacket in different colors (I got khaki, not olive drab green - just like I wanted). Currently they advertise khaki, od green, desert camo, and a woodland digital camo called CADPAT.
Would I order from them again? YES. In a heartbeat.
Would I recommend them? YES, in a heartbeat.
Two thumbs up.
"Like" on Facebook
Please also note, as pointed out below in the comments by Glocker 21, 10% of the purchase price ($8.50 if my math is correct) is donated to veterans organizations by the nice folks at Made by mcron.
Post Edit 2:
In a Facebook conversation, one of the owners of Made by mcron stated that the khaki shooting jackets are indeed made of a 10 oz. twill cotton, and the Fred's jackets are made with a 5 oz. cotton. (seems I do know my fabrics from all of the karate and judo gis I've seen over the years).
However, he indicated that Made by mcron's OD green jacket is also made from the same 5 oz. material.
Still, given the customer service difference, the difference in attitudes, and the fact that 10% goes to veterans' assistance, my money is on the Made by mcron jackets... by a wide margin.
Post Edit 3:
Added link to pics on Facebook.
Highlighted company name "Made by Mcron"