Buzz Rickson jacket from Gibson's Pattern Recognition is now an article of commerce


But that’s not the jacket…
The William Gibson U.S. MA−1 flying jacket from Buzz Rickson’s has been around for years now—mine is on the sofa next to me now and is showing signs of its age.

The coat in the picture, while probably very nice, is not the same one described in the book.

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It is 700 clams for a not-very-nice coat, at that. And that’s from someone with a wide selection of ludicrous coats.


uh, yeah, like, you picked the wrong link from their website.

try this one?

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Thank you!

That’s better!


I’m not sure on what grounds you consider it not very nice, but looking nice is distinctly not the point (though many would say it does).

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Punctuation helps readers. Try some in the headline next time.

You should open a store called Ludicrous Coats. I’d definitely shop there. Also, thanks for the laugh once again.


It really is rather an ugly coat, and yet in a way kind of nice looking. So ugly/beautiful, in fact, that I might consider buying one, were it a tenth the price.

While reading Pattern Recognition I surfed around about whether Buzz Rickson was real or made up by Gibson. Found it of course and read about their attention to details. But, the MA-1 was never originally manufactured in black, only a sort of gray/green color. The black is a “cool hunter” color.

I have quite the collection; a 1941-vintage Swiss Army Greatcoat, a (just) pre-perestroika Russian Navy pilot’s greatcoat (made of carpet underlay, judging by the feel of it), and an Alpha Industries parka that’s basically a space-suit. You could use the damn thing as a boat. Plus many, many ill-advised light jackets and a couple of blazers that only look good if you’re cosplaying as Pablo Escobar. I’ll spare you the pictures…


If you look at the featured photo of the front of the coat, you’ll notice they got the front zipper pull wrong.

From the historically accurate specs:

  • Heavy all-cotton zipper pull tab designed for easy functioning with gloves
  • Correct USAF spec. leather pull tab on sleeve pocket

Based on what you can see in the photo, it appears they used the same leather pull tab from the sleeve pocket on the front of the coat. I have one of these coats from 2005, and mine has the correct all-cotton zipper pull tab on the front. They must have screwed up with the recent reissues.

I was just looking on Apha Industries site, and they’ll sell you an MA-1 for a hunnerd-fitty dollars, which is more reasonable. Though this is $790 and I want it

Fuckin’ COYOTE FUR, yo.

Oh, I’m all for the beauty of function, but it’s a functional coat for a ridiculous price. You could walk into an army & navy store & buy a functional coat for less than the price of your evening meal out.

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Cory, Pattern Recognition was published in 2003, not 2005 as you state in the piece.

(I suppose there’s nothing quite like an item about Gibson to bring out all the otakus/nit-pickers–I classify myself among the latter.)

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They did, and sometimes still do, turn up a lot cheaper on ebay. I got mine for about $200 and it is an utterly marvelous piece, well worth the full price and a pleasure to wear. The only thing I have that could possibly shade it is a 1957 East German horsehide police greatcoat.

I noticed that too. On mine, the zipper pull is sort of like a section of a big shoelace, run through the zipper and tied.
Funny story on the zipper. A few weeks after getting it, the zipper came apart. The metal bits just fell apart as I was zipping it on a crowded Tokyo subway. Somehow I managed to get all of the parts and took it back to the shop in Ueno where I bought the jacket. When I showed them, they got on the phone to someone at Buzz Rickon’s, who explained that that was a design flaw, also common in the original US military version.
Since it was a flaw in the original, they kept it as a flaw in the reproduction…
While I can respect that kind of dedication, I don’t share it, so I went home and repaired the zipper with a spot of epoxy…


That is admirable, in a way that would be infuriating if I had acquired the thing as anything but an otaku purchase…

Am I right to guess you live in an area without a lot of coyotes?

Coyote fur is nice and all - but I’m pretty sure the choice for the original was based on what was cheap. Around here they’re one of the things you can hunt without a license (aside from any licenses for whatever weapon you’re hunting with). Some years they put a bounty on the things.