The Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) were the fatigues that the armed forces of the United States used as their standard uniform for combat situations from September 1981 to April 2005. Since then, it has been replaced in every branch of the U.S. military. Only the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy currently authorize wear of the BDU uniform (the former until October 2011, the latter at locations such as U.S. Special Operations Command until a Navy-specific digital woodland camo uniform is available). BDUs are also still worn by officers of the US Public Health Service in dirty or austere environments, and is often the prescribed uniform for any deployment activities. BDU-type uniforms still see active use in other nations (most of them ex-US stocks transferred under US security assistance programs), while others are still worn by some US Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies or activities who may work in tactical situations, such as the DEA and SWAT. -- Wikipedia.
The Battle Dress Uniform, Woodland Pattern (BDU) has been the standard of most constitutional militia formations since the 90s. The reason: they were cheap and ubiquitous -- you could find them literally anywhere, from gun shows to thrift stores to yard sales to on-line and usually for a little bit of nothing compared to other patterns. Also, those members who were veterans already had them.
For any given area of operation's terrain and foliage you can find better patterns, and in militia circles "what's the best pattern?" ranks right up there with "what's the best caliber?" and "AR versus AK" as a source of vociferous debate. But the Woodland BDU, because it was cheap and it was universally available has predominated, and likely will for a while simply because so many units have standardized on it. But I have noticed anecdotally in our thrift stores and surplus stores around here that the supplies of cheap BDUs are drying up and thus, getting more expensive.
This is because the military has shifted out of BDUs to ACUs and to MARPATs. However, a post on Survival Blog points to a source (while the window is still open) that I had never tried:
Woodland pattern battle dress uniforms (BDUs) were phased out by the Army years ago, but the U.S. Air Force has allowed their personnel to wear them longer, even as they transitioned to other camo pattern uniforms. Final BDU phase out for the Air Force is reported to be November 1st, 2011, so the availability of this used gear will continue to taper off, even in base thrift stores.
Note that with two forms of identification, most Americans can access a base to visit a thrift store. Military base thrift stores are usually operated as private, charitable organizations and have limited hours and days. - W.J.
Now, I realize that this post will start another round of "Uneeforms? UNEEFORMS?!? We don' need no steenkeeng uneeforms!!!"
But consider, camouflage uniforms are not simply about concealing you as you lie in ambush behind a bush:
1. Uniforms are called that because they are, well, UNIFORM, that is, all the same. Initially military clothing was standardized to provide simple friend-or-foe identification on the battlefield. When all target acquisition was line of sight and all communication verbal this was important, especially on a battlefield obscured by drifting smoke. It still is.
2. In the militia context, uniforms announce not only who you are, but they suggest -- to the untrained eye at least -- organization, competence and authority. Working a roadblock into your community where you have to interface with total strangers who may or may not wish to kill you if they can, uniforms state to the potential Evil Bad Guy that there may be easier targets down the road.
3. When dealing with other authorities, the same suggestion of organization, competence and authority provided by the uniform can make it easier for them to grok that you are on the same side in a breakdown situation. Assuming, that is, that you ARE on the same side.
4. Finally, they do help camouflage you from easy detection while operating in foliage.
I invite discussion of this point. Please try to keep the volume down.