Ghillie History

History of Ghillie Suits

The word ghillie is an old Scottish term for a special kind of game warden. Ghillies were tasked with protecting the game on their Lord’s lands from poachers. From time to time, the ghillies would stalk the game by hiding in the grass and lying perfectly still. They would wait for unsuspecting deer to amble by and then leap out and grab it with their bare hands. Ghillies would then haul their prize back to the keep so the Lord could shoot it in the castle courtyard in a “mock hunt.”

Using the same principles of camouflage, snipers wrap their rifles in canvas and create little sleeves that make them blend into the environment.

Ghillie suits are basically old military uniforms that snipers modify for their special purpose. The belly of the uniform is reinforced with heavy canvas to help pad a sniper’s torso during hours or days of lying on his stomach. Camouflage netting is attached to the uniform. This netting is used to attach shredded burlap and other frayed materials. Ghillie suits are usually painted to match the environment of the battlefield. Local elements like twigs, vines, and branches can be incorporated into the netting to further camouflage the ghillie suit.