The best morale patches are those that tell a story without having to say anything.
To me, they are like tattoos in a lot of ways.
They can tell a story of where you have been, what you like to do, or just raise eyebrows when people read them.
But they do have a long and strong history in the Military.
In this article we will go over the history and what they have evolved into.
The History Of Morale Patches
Patches are a strong part of military history and are deeply connected to soldiers and law enforcement agents.
Even before World War 1, the patch can be traced to the British Army who called them “battle patches”.
These were either sown on or an iron-on patch.
Mainly used to identify allies and enemy units; the distinctive designs would belong to each individual unit as a way to know who was who.
In the 1920s, the patches became so unique and individualized, that widespread popularity took over the patch and it became an item for trading and collecting.
This was a very successful way to bring the civilian population closer to the military population and make law enforcement agencies more approachable to the general population. (source)
In modern-day they have become really popular in the military and civilian outdoor and shooting community.
These of course have evolved from iron-on patches to a hook and loop velcro.
What once was a cloth embroidery style patch has become a durable PVC patch or rubber patch.
The PVC patch has fastener material sewn on the back for easy removal.
To the point, people actually collect them like baseball cards.
They make huge velcro panels to hang on your wall and display them like trophies.
They can display anything from serious topics to hilarious topics and anywhere in between.
The great part is they are velcro so if you are in a different mood one day you can easily change your patch out to display this.
Nowadays about all tactical hats, shirts, and other products come with velcro to make changing patches out based on mood can easily be done.
Military & Police Patches
The professional use of these can be seen by looking at most any law enforcement, security settings especially military personnel.
They also make traditional rank insignia patches or another military iconography.
Police can have huge identification patches displaying they are police or swat members.
They can be the United States flag patch featuring hook and loop displayed on their kit down to the blood type they are in cause they need blood.
These PVC patches are also seen on medical kits on their kit or belts.
Some show what critical functions an individual is capable of doing such as EOD or Airbourne for example.
These are usually on with hook and loop and can be rearranged on your person’s or kit.
Most of these will not be iron on any longer as the hook and loop allow for someone to not have to replace the uniform or try and cut the old off to add new.
The most notable mention of patches in the military was Navy Seal Commander Jocko Willink talking about his task unit bruiser and the patches they use to wear to boost morale within the unit. (see video)
The Civilian Patches
Most of the ones you see for people outside the military or police department on the other hand will be funny, political, or just satire-based.
They can have a catchy or funny saying for all different kinds of situations like the PVC patch you see above for example.
While most of the ones you see will be a rubber patch they still do have the traditional iron-on patch.
Iron on can still be added to storage duffels or another kit you might need a more permanent solution that stays on them.
Companies That Supply Them
- Milspec Monkey
- Tactical Distributors
- LA Police Gear
- Palmetto State Armory
- Re Factor Tactical
- Tactical Outfitters
- Biggest Collection On Amazon
Custom ones are usually one-off or limited edition patch runs for particular events.
Some of the companies do offer custom patches to people looking for something unique with a couple of days turnaround time.
These companies that make them still offering a wide selection of patches you might want to add to your collection.
Custom PVC Patch Company
If you are looking to order some custom PVC patches from a company in the United States there is one I recommend.
The company is called Flex Systems.
This is a USA manufacturer of PVC patches or promotional products
They do specialize in
- PVC labels
- Morale patches
- Patches with VELCRO® brand fasteners
- Keychains, and more.
The company is based in San Diego, CA, and services nationwide or worldwide.
You can get a free quote for your design on their website.
PVC Patch F.A.Q.
Are morale patches Velcro?
Yes most of them are all velcro but some can still be iron-on patches.
How are morale patches made?
Older style patches are embroidered or sewn while newer style such as PVC is made by creating a mold of the design.
They feature hook fastener material on the back.
What are Custom PVC patches?
PVC is a durable, soft plastic or rubber patch and come in an endless array of colors.
Why do soldiers wear the flag backward?
This is supposed to resemble a soldier running with a flag. In this case, it would be backward symbolizing running into battle.
If you are looking for a PVC Patch or iron on you can not go wrong with these companies.
Most of them will offer you a hook and loop that can easily be placed on your hat, kit, plate carriers, or duffle bags.
Pick your favorite funny morale patch or get something serious for your duty gear.
The choices are endless!
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