Broken Arrow Events

NVA Buyer’s Guide

Minimum North Vietnamese Army Kit

The purpose of this guide is to help you purchase equipment to pass the 10ft rule standards held by Broken Arrow Event’s staff at Operation Junction City or similar events. Please notice that this is based on a kit that meets the MINIMUM requirements to attend. We prefer and advise to buy original or high quality reproductions if your budget allows to do so. With creativity, the NVA kit can be completed fairly cheap.

Head Gear:

Pith Helmet:

After World War II, the communist Viet Minh and later the People’s Army of Vietnam of the North based their helmet design on the French pith helmet of the former colonial power and adopted it as their own. Pith helmets were issued to NVA soldiers so it’s just as common as a boonie.

Amazon Search: CLICK HERE

Soft Cover:

NVA Boonie Hat:

The style of the NVA boonie differs from other types and styles of boonie hats, especially the American styles of the era. They were built using panels that you’d see on a beach ball sewn into each other from the brim to the top. They come in all types of colors, tan, green and even some camo patterns. Moores and Combat Sports Supply have variants of this hat for $25.

Moores Militaria: CLICK HERE

Combat Sports Supply: CLICK HERE

Civilian Hat:

Conical Rice Hat:

Known as rice hats, farmers hats or coolie hat, these are worn by the populace in Asian countries to protect from the harsh sun. The Viet Cong and NVA as much as movies want you to believe, did not go marching into battle wearing them. If you show up wearing a conical hat, ready to fight, your cadre will ask you to remove them. They will have a use throughout the operation though.

Amazon: CLICK HERE

Uniform:

The cheapest and easiest options for an NVA soldier would be dickies work shirts and pants, in tan. They can be found on amazon for decent prices. With a little dirt they look pretty good.

Dickies Work Pants on Amazon: CLICK HERE

Dickies Work Shirt on Amazon: CLICK HERE

An honorable mention is this site called Vietnam Surplus. They sell a full Green NVA kit for about $38.99. We never ordered from them but the outfit looks pretty good. In fact they have a lot of nice items for an impression. CLICK HERE

Boots:

We don’t expect you to wear sandals. Though there are some hard core participants that have worn them, we understand wanting to keep your toenails. One option for NVA footwear are USGI jungle boots. A little history lesson reveals that the US did indeed drop these into the jungles for them to be picked up for the NVA and VC. This was intended to mask the tracks of LRRP teams operating in the area. Most economic options are post war boots since they haven’t changed much and aren’t too expensive, around $50 on eBay or surplus sites. The best answer for saving money though are Rothco’s or Fox’s repro. They do have a bad reputation about being flimsy and uncomfortable. They do the job and most people we know that do use them haven’t had a problem with them. They will run you about $30-$40.

eBay Search: CLICK HERE

Repros on Amazon: CLICK HERE

PLA or Paladium Boots:

The standard issue boot for the NVA were similar to Paladium boots. They are sort of look like Converse sneakers. You can also get the new and now trendy Paladium boots for about $40. On eBay for about $25 is a pair of Chinese PLA 65 boots. They are fantastic, comfortable and quiet.

Type 65 PLA Boots on eBay: CLICK HERE

Paladium Boots on eBay: CLICK HERE

Load Bearing Equipment:

A chicom chest rig costs anywhere from $15-$25. Make sure it is the 3-cell type not the type 81 four cell though. These were designed to carry AK47 banana shaped magazines. Depending on your rifle, an SKS rig could be more appropriate. Those are even cheaper than chicom rigs usually.

3-Cell Chicom Chest Rig on eBay: CLICK HERE

SKS Chest Rig on eBay: CLICK HERE

Rucksack:

There aren’t many choices when it comes to PAVN rucksacks. You could go with the NVA rucksack for anywhere from $20-$50. Or you can make something homemade. You could get creative and make something out of a basket or a canvas sack.

eBay Search for NVA Rucks: CLICK HERE

Rifle:

The PAVN forces had a wide range of weapons to choose from. From the AK47 to the Mosin Nagant to American WW2 weapons. Listed is the CYMA AK47 but there are more expensive options like Tommy Guns, MP40s or PPSHs. Browning BARs are a good choice as well. Again, this guide is for the cheapest possible kit and currently the CYMA AK47s are the best rifle for the price. Also as a streamlined unit, you’d most likely have an AKM or AK47.

AK47 or AKM:

One of the most produced weapons in the world. There are a few variants that would be found in 1960s Vietnam. CYMA AK47s are great shooters and can be found relatively inexpensively.

Evike link: CLICK HERE or CLICK HERE

 

AK47 Magazines:

The basic AK47 mags that are all black and not the newer orange/brown type are the ones you need.

Airsoft GI Magazine Pack: CLICK HERE

 

Basic NVA Kit Pricing

  • NVA Boonie Hat: $25
  • Tan NVA Uniform (Dickies): $35
  • PLA Type 65 Boots: $25
  • Chicom: $20
  • NVA Rucksack: $30*
  • AK47 Rifle: $100^
  • 5 Magazines: $40
    • Total: $230-$300

 

    • *homemade is free

 

    ^on sale for $69

 

VC Buyer’s Guide

Minimum Viet Cong Kit

The purpose of this guide is to help you purchase equipment to pass the 10ft rule standards held by Broken Arrow Event’s staff at Operation Junction City or similar events. Please notice that this is based on a kit that meets the MINIMUM requirements to attend. We prefer and advise to buy original or high quality reproductions if your budget allows to do so. A really well done Viet Cong kit is probably the least expensive impression when it comes to Vietnam loadouts.

Head Gear:

Pith Helmet:

After World War II, the communist Viet Minh and later the People’s Army of Vietnam of the North based their helmet design on the French pith helmet of the former colonial power and adopted it as their own. Pith helmets weren’t common among the ranks of the Viet Cong but they were used by the better supplied units. If you were looking for a hard cover for your Viet Cong kit, then a pith helmet is an ideal route.

Amazon Search: CLICK HERE

Soft Cover:

NVA Boonie Hat:

The style of the NVA boonie differs from other types and styles of boonie hats, especially the American styles of the era. They were built using panels that you’d see on a beach ball sewn into each other from the brim to the top. They come in all types of colors, tan, green and even some camo patterns. Moores and Combat Sports Supply have variants of this hat for $25.

Moores Militaria: CLICK HERE

Combat Sports Supply: CLICK HERE

Civilian Hat:

Conical Rice Hat:

Known as rice hats, farmers hats or coolie hat, these are worn by the populace in Asian countries to protect from the harsh sun. The Viet Cong as much as movies want you to believe, did not go marching into battle wearing them. They were used to blend in with the civilians in the area not to mention most VC acted as civilians during non operational times. If you show up wearing a conical hat, ready to fight, your cadre will ask you to remove them. They will have a use throughout the operation though.

Amazon: CLICK HERE

Uniform:

The most typical uniform for the Viet Cong would be civilian garb. That means the famous “black pajamas” that pretty much everyone in the countryside wore. The cheapest option for putting together a set of Vietnamese black pajamas are dickies work shirt and dickies scrubs, both in black. They can be found on Amazon for reasonable prices. Avoid the scrubs with cargo pockets and choose the drawstring style. About $15 gets you the pants. Another $20 gets you a shirt, rip the tag off and you have a set of black pajamas for $35.

Dickies Scrub Pants on Amazon: CLICK HERE

Dickies Work Shirt on Amazon: CLICK HERE

There are vendors on eBay and surplus sites that sell actual Viet Cong black pajamas out there for about $50-$100. The Dickies “Black Pajamas” will pass the 10ft ruling. Please don’t show up wearing all black tactical BDUs or clothes that makes you look like you’re about to rock out at a Metallica concert… You’re impression is to look the part of a local guerrilla fighter from 1960s Vietnam.

An honorable mention is this site called Vietnam Surplus. They sell a full VC kit for about $38.99. We never ordered from them but the outfit looks pretty good. In fact they have a lot of nice items for an impression. CLICK HERE

Boots:

We don’t expect you to wear sandals. Though there are some hard core participants that have worn them, we understand wanting to keep your toenails. One option for VC footwear are USGI jungle boots. A little history lesson reveals that the US did indeed drop these into the jungles for them to be picked up for the NVA and VC. This was intended to mask the tracks of LRRP teams operating in the area. Most economic options are post war boots since they haven’t changed much and aren’t too expensive, around $50 on eBay or surplus sites. The best answer for saving money though are Rothco’s or Fox’s repro. They do have a bad reputation about being flimsy and uncomfortable. They do the job and most people we know that do use them haven’t had a problem with them. They will run you about $30-$40.

eBay Search: CLICK HERE

Repros on Amazon: CLICK HERE

PLA or Paladium Boots:

The standard issue boot for the NVA were similar to Paladium boots. They are sort of look like Converse sneakers. You can also get the new and now trendy Paladium boots for about $40. On eBay for about $25 is a pair of Chinese PLA 65 boots. They are fantastic, comfortable and quiet.

Type 65 PLA Boots on eBay: CLICK HERE

Paladium Boots on eBay: CLICK HERE

Load Bearing Equipment:

This is something you could skip out on entirely and carry around a satchel or bandolier. Either way a chicom chest rig costs anywhere from $15-$25. Make sure it is the 3-cell type not the type 81 four cell though. These were designed to carry AK47 banana shaped magazines. Depending on your rifle, an SKS rig could be more appropriate. Those are even cheaper than chicom rigs usually.

3-Cell Chicom Chest Rig on eBay: CLICK HERE

SKS Chest Rig on eBay: CLICK HERE

Rucksack:

There aren’t many choices when it comes to PAVN rucksacks. You could go with the NVA rucksack for anywhere from $20-$50. Or you can make something homemade. The best part about being a Viet Cong is that you can get really creative. Perhaps make something out of a basket or a canvas sack.

eBay Search for NVA Rucks: CLICK HERE

Rifle:

A Viet Cong fighter has a wide range of weapons to choose from. From the AK47 to the Mosin Nagant to American WW2 weapons. Listed is the CYMA AK47 but there are more expensive options like Tommy Guns, MP40s or PPSHs. Browning BARs are a good choice as well. Again, this guide is for the cheapest possible kit and currently the CYMA AK47s are the best rifle for the price.

AK47 or AKM:

One of the most produced weapons in the world. There are a few variants that would be found in 1960s Vietnam. CYMA AK47s are great shooters and can be found relatively inexpensively.

Evike link: CLICK HERE or CLICK HERE

 

AK47 Magazines:

The basic AK47 mags that are all black and not the newer orange/brown type are the ones you need. If you wanted to save money, you can buy 2 mags as most VC were lucky to even be issued that many.

Airsoft GI Magazine Pack: CLICK HERE

 

Basic VC Kit Pricing

  • NVA Boonie Hat: $25
  • Black Pajama Uniform: $35
  • PLA Type 65 Boots: $25
  • Chicom: $20
  • NVA Rucksack: $30*
  • AK47 Rifle: $100^
  • 5 Magazines: $40
    • Total: $230-$300

 

    • *homemade is free

 

    ^on sale for $69

 

USGI Buyer’s Guide

Minimum USGI Kit

The purpose of this guide is to help you purchase equipment to pass the 10ft rule standards held by Broken Arrow Event’s staff at any Immersive Vietnam event. Please notice that this is based on a kit that meets the MINIMUM requirements to attend. We prefer and advise you to buy original or high quality reproductions if your budget allows to do so. We will also provide runner up ideas that pass as well as gear you could skip out on to save a buck. But doing so really hurts your impression so it is advisable to buy what is listed.

Head Gear:

Helmet or Hard Cover:

The M1 Helmet was the standard issue hardcover equipment every GI was given. That is why it is a required item. Originals can be very expensive but with patience and luck you can usually find great deals on eBay or facebook groups. You can also find real post war M1 helmets for fair prices that would be better than the repros. Prices for post war could be found for $40-$60. Prices for originals are found from $80-$150+.

eBay Search: CLICK HERE

If you aren’t patient or haven’t had the greatest luck, here are some alternatives.

Amazon has several repros for sale and honestly even though with a plastic liner and nylon chin straps they aren’t the worst. With a mitchell helmet cover that would pass. Without one they do look a little funny. Price usually runs between $40-$50 for these repros.

Amazon: CLICK HERE

eBay does have cheap repros as well. These look like they may be the same helmet as the Amazon option. Similar pricing as well, $40-$50 for these.

eBay: CLICK HERE

Helmet Cover:

Mitchel Helmet covers can be found on eBay or other sites for anywhere from $15-$30, original or repro.

What Can You Skip On?

Helmet Covers – You could go bare helmet if you wanted to as this wasn’t as common but done enough.

Softcover:

Boonie Hat:

Military boonie hats were first introduced to units in Vietnam around 1967 and were issued to replace the patrol caps used since WW2.

The cheapest option for a boonie hat that we have seen is the Rothco repro for under $15. Make sure you get the Vietnam War style boonie hat, there are many variants out there that wouldn’t be found in 1960s Vietnam. As we’ve said before though, you can find and we advise finding higher quality repros or originals.

Amazon: CLICK HERE

Avoid the Tru Spec brand with the velcro patch pads. Not only are they the wrong style but GIs weren’t issued items with velcro yet. Also avoid anything Tigerstripe as a regular GI would NOT be issued something like that.

Patrol Cap or Hot Weather Cap:

Patrol or Hot Weather Caps were often worn around camps when soldiers did not have the cumbersome steel pots on their heads. Even though boonies were starting to be issued in 1967, the patrol cap was worn until well after the Vietnam War.

We haven’t really seen any cheap repros out there. And that may be a good thing. Moores Militaria has a great option for $20, though it is post war issue. As with boonies, be careful of hats claiming they are Vietnam styled patrol caps, just because they are green and have a flat brim doesn’t mean they aren’t farby.

Moores Militaria: CLICK HERE

A search on eBay brings up some results: CLICK HERE

Uniform:

Jungle Fatigues or OG-107 Utility Uniform:

For this article the uniform consists of your top (shirt) and bottom (pants). There are a lot of repro choices out there if buying original is not an option. The most economic choice is probably the Rothco jungle fatigues. The Jungle Fatigue uniform was introduced in the mid 60s during the war mostly issued to front line troops. OG 107 uniforms are also a sensible option as well. These were still in use and had a similar variant issued up into the 80s. They are known as Utility Uniforms if you are searching.

A basic rundown of differences between the Jungle Fatigues and Utility Uniforms is the pockets. The Jungle Fatigues has 2 sets of pockets where the chest pockets are slanted. Utility Uniforms have one set of packes that are straight. The Utility Uniform jacket was also designed to be tucked in.

The Rothco version of Jungle Fatigues is modeled after the 3rd pattern rip-stop version.

A Rothco top goes for about $45 on Amazon: CLICK HERE

A pair of Rothco pants goes for about $40 on Amazon: CLICK HERE

The OG-107 uniform shirt could be found on Ebay for anywhere from $15-$50 for a top: CLICK HERE

A pair of OG-107 pants goes for about the same: CLICK HERE

PLEASE avoid the green modern BDU cut uniforms out here. Just because it’s green doesn’t mean it was in Vietnam. Modern cut uniforms will not pass the 10ft ruling, they wouldn’t even pass a 100ft ruling!

A uniform is something we suggest not skimping out on though. Search for originals or buy a high quality repro like Moore’s. The Rothcos will pass even though the color is off and they are a little baggier than the real thing. Plus for the $70-$80 you could spend a little more and get a nice uniform for about $130.

Boots:

Starting in the 60s, the M-1945 Tropical Combat Boot from the 40s was phased out and replaced by the iconic M-1966 Jungle Boot. We are going to sound repetitive and say go for original but we understand money restraints. You can go post war since they haven’t changed much and aren’t too expensive, around $50 on eBay or surplus sites. The best answer for saving money though are Rothco’s or Fox’s repro. They do have a bad reputation about being flimsy and uncomfortable. They do the job and most people we know that do use them haven’t had a problem with them. They will run you about $30-$40.

eBay Search: CLICK HERE

Fox Repros on Amazon: CLICK HERE

Rothco Repros on Amazon: CLICK HERE

Remember, do not get the all black option. You want to get the Olive Drab style. Do not settle for modern combat boots either. This style boot is really your only option for a Vietnam impression.

Another tip you should follow for these types of boots, especially the Rothco repros is wool socks. They will provide cushion for your feet as you wear those boots for a few days straight.

 

Load Bearing Equipment:

The M-1956 Load-Carrying Equipment is your best bet. We haven’t really seen any great repros out there so you’ll need to search for originals. Thankfully it really isn’t that expensive.

LCE or load carrying equipment can attest to most of the farby equipment we see people buy. That is mainly because ALICE or LC1 gear is wrongfully sold as Vietnam gear, it’s green, it must be Vietnam. In other words avoid ALICE gear. An ALICE canteen cover can be identified as being Nylon not Canvas, having horizontal stitching and has a side pocket for iodine tablets. ALICE ammo pouches would look to be in the same style as the canteen covers; Nylon, has a large plastic clip and has two side pouches for grenades. Please avoid these.

Not to be confusing, the M-1967 LCE looks very similar to ALICE with vertical stitching. Your best bet is to purchase the canvas M56 and maybe at most some pieces of M67 as most soldiers were never issued a full set of the M67 if you’re heart is set on Nylon goodness…

eBay will be your best source for a good price on a set of LCE. Some posts have a full complete set but at times they are more expensive than putting one together piecemeal.

    • A standard or basic set of LCE consists of:

  • Pistol Belt (Three holes not two)
  • H-Suspenders
  • Two Canteen Covers (Canvas)
  • Two Canteens (without NBC top)
  • Two Ammo Pouches (Canvas)

eBay search: CLICK HERE

What Can You Skip On?

If you really had to, you could skip out on having two canteen covers and keeping one, though you’d rarely if ever see that, as soldiers were issued two. You could also skip out on suspenders and just wear the belt, good luck keeping it up though.

Rucksack:

Field Pack “Buttpack”:

For the BAE events, a Field Pack or “butt pack” will suffice in place of a traditional rucksack. And this will be your most economic option given the price of Vietnam Era rucksacks. You can normally find one for about $30 on eBay and they often come included when buying a set of M56 Web Gear.

ALICE Pack:

An ALICE rucksack is reluctantly accepted for our events. It’s worth noting but we feel you are better off with using a “Buttpack”. They are reasonably priced and often sold as “Vietnam” rucksacks to trick the untrained eye.

eBay search: CLICK HERE

WW2 Mountain Rucksack:

You can also pick up a WW2 style Mountain Rucksack for anywhere from $40-$100 so it is worth looking for. These were used by frontline troops into the height of the conflict in Vietnam.

eBay search: CLICK HERE

Rifle:

M16a1:

The iconic rifle for the US forces was the M16a1. With the triangular handguard and non-removable carry handle, it was the most issued weapon mid to late war. A decent airsoft replica for the price is the JG M16a1 VN. Note that the carry handle cannot be removed and the rear iron sights can only be adjusted horizontally which is correct for the M16a1.

Evike link for JG M16a1: CLICK HERE

 

CYMA also has a decent looking M16a1 for $135 as of this writing. It’s all polymer but it looks to shoot hard as CYMAs usually do.

Evike link for CYMA M16a1: CLICK HERE

BEST DEAL! For a few bucks more at $150 you can get an all metal CYMA with the correct handguard and pistol grip. Probably the best option out there now for a decent rifle under $200.

Evike link for metal CYMA M16a1: CLICK HERE

M14:

The M14 is not preferred but is accepted at BAE Namsoft events. The ONLY M14 variant accepted is the wooden style not the EBR or Delta Force black. The rifle was used from the Korean War up until 1968 in Vietnam. Also, units were still issued it beyond that as well. You can get the correct M14 from evike for about $125.

Evike link: CLICK HERE

20 Round “Shorty” M16 Magazines:

The 30 Round magazines weren’t issued yet. Though not required, we feel the 20 round “shorty” magazines really make the impression. They sell mid-caps in boxes for decent prices.

Evike link: CLICK HERE

MAG Brand at Evike: CLICK HERE

Basic US Kit Pricing

  • Helmet: $40 without Cover
  • Soft Cover: $15
  • Uniform: $75
  • Boots: $30
  • M56 LCE: $100 (Pistol Belt, H-Suspenders, 2x Ammo Pouch, 2x Canteen Cover, 2x Canteen)
  • Field Pack (Buttpack): $30*
  • M16a1 Rifle: $150 – $189
  • 5 Short Magazines: $50
    • Total: $400-$529^

 

    • *may be included with M56 lot

 

    ^price based on a rough estimate, market values change frequently

 

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