As part of its Fall 2020 outer wear line, the Bersherken Jacket by Viktos brings together the successful features of the previous Gunfighter outerwear line, with newer martials and a design that increases function and comfort.
The Bersherken is made from a waterproof three-layer outer shell, with an inner liner of synthetic Sherpa fleece. This provides for maximum warmth and breathability of the body’s upper torso.
At its front, the Bersherken has a medium collar roll with attached hoodie (without drawstrings) that provides moderate comfort against wind, and can protect the neck from chafe caused be rifle slings or other shoulder straps. On the rear of the hoodie is a branded nylon band that is stitched into several segments that allow for the Bersherken to be hung on a hook or carabiner.
At the chest are two upper torso, combat-style pockets that are intended to be accessible under a plate carrier.
The jacket’s lower front also includes the standard hand pockets that are secured via YKK zipper. The zipper’s pull-tab consists of a small, low-profile tab (with the Viktos logo) that is easily folded flat for minimal profile.
Both sides to the Bersherken include Viktos’ Gunvent™ design, a unique, dual-zippered side that allows for immediate access to range belt or holstered sidearm, all while wearing the jacket.
The front of the jacket is secured via YKK zipper with a nylon pull-tab that provides closure of the jacket from neck to below the waistline.
Both sleeves include a low-profile, non-elastic cuff with athletic thumb port, while the forearms are reinforced with Cordura to account for greater durability, or “brush bashing” through the field.
The interior lining of the Bersherken has the unique Viktos “Unconquered” logo on the inner right pocket.
Additionally, the left side of the liner also includes elastic cuffs for interior wire routing and a pass-through eyelet to the zippered left front pocket and the left combat pocket that allows for concealed communications or a headset/earbuds if desired.
The Bersherken Jacket comes in Coyote (featured) and Nightfall, and is available in sizes Small to 3XL.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): At an MSRP of $180, the Bersherken Jacket is another in the Viktos outdoor apparel for use at the range or in daily wear. Its construction echoes the Viking design of bearskin capes that kept warriors warm in the frigid Scandinavian climate. With multiple layers and a synthetic Sherpa fleece liner, the Bersherken can be flexible in any temperate or cold environment. Add in the Viktos elements of the Gunvent and concealed cable management, and the Bersherken can be adaptable on the range or in the urban setting, similar to Viktos’ Gunfighter Flannel Jacket ($195). Some comparable market alternatives would be the Ranger Jacket ($230) or Tracer Jacket ($200) by Triple Aught Design, the Hooded Twill Concealed Carry Jacket ($149) by Nine Line Apparel, or the Atom LT Hoodie ($269) by Arc’Teryx Leaf. And while many more inexpensive jackets do exist, ultimately they lack the design, materials, and features as the Bersherken Jacket. So, among its peers, the Bersherken was at a good price point to the consumer for what is included in the jacket’s design and function.
- Comfort – Good (4/5): Very flexible, and very warm—the Bersherken kept a comfortable temperature for the wearer in the early Missouri fall mornings at (or around) the 40-degree range. It is unlikely this jacket would keep the wearer warm for a long duration in the deep winter, with snow and wind as it is clearly designed as a mid-level jacket, but for the more temperate fall and early winter here in Missouri it performed nicely. The arm length and chest ran on the average length, so those with longer arms (such as the reviewer) may note a little tightness in the shoulders, but the cuff did still stop appropriately at the wrist bone. However, this did make using the thumb ports a little tight. Perhaps more of an elastic material for the thumb ports would make it a more applicable use for those with longer arms. Otherwise the YKK zippers all moved smoothly, all be it the Gunvent zippers still would occasionally open due to natural arm movement (discussed more in Functionality).
- Durability – Average (3/5): From a durability aspect, the three-layer Bersherken material was completely enclosed, with no option to remove the synthetic Sherpa fleece liner for a lighter jacket shell. This meant that there was less potential for frayed material or threading despite the thickness of the overall jacket making it a complete system. It was noted that the front pocket zippers are slimmer and smaller, and gave the pockets themselves a lower profile but frail feel. It can be concluded then that unless care is taken when moving the shuttle, it or the zipper line could easily snag, or possibly tear if forced too hard (although none was experienced in field wear). In contrast, the Gunvent zippers were of average size and more robust with double-line reinforcement stitching that reflected its intended hard range use. Otherwise all stitch lines were clean and straight with only one line on the thumb port having a missed stitch while the material edges were clean and properly tapered.
- Functionality – Good (4/5): First and foremost, as a temperate and mid-level cold weather jacket, the Bersherken functioned exactly as intended, keeping the upper torso warm despite dynamic temperatures. Light rain did bead and roll off, although it is likely that under heavy or persistent rain the material of the Bersherken (like most fabrics) would become saturated. This was of benefit on cold range mornings in the ongoing fall. It should be noted the Bersherken did not include Viktos’ Attackposture design and its included flexibility as in other apparel, but still had adequate articulation/material in the shoulders and elbows. The reinforced Cordura paneling did a good job at adding protection and durability to the material, and helped when leaning forearms against shooting platforms, the ground, or vegetation. The synthetic fleece-lined hood was not removable, nor did have a function to stow away, so when not in use it simply lay across the back shoulders and did bellow in the wind to a minor degree. Some recommendations for Viktos in future designs would be to have the hood removable or to be stowed/rolled-up into the collar. Elsewhere the combat-style pockets were a bit of a tight reach under a plate carrier to get bulkier items, such as a lens case or cell phone, into—but smaller items were easier. One last notable function of the Bersherken for discussion was the Gunvent zippers that allowed the user to adjust for wear of range belts with holster and mag pouches under the jacket. This made the Bersherken on the range adaptable, and allowed the wearer to remain comfortable while retaining easy access to an OWB sidearm without a great deal of bunched material. As with the Gunfighter Flannel, continual light friction of the hands passing over the bottom of the Gunvent while walking (zipped closed), caused the bottom of the zipper to open slightly (resolved simply by closing it again). Again, this is a common problem with other fleece and light jackets that have a similar side access opening, and one resolved by having a covering material (secured via snap button) over the bottom of the zipper to secure it as well as reinforce the closure. Viktos may want to consider that as an improvement in its next Gunvent design.
- Weight – Average (3/5): The weight of outerwear varies wildly, often attributed to a combination of materials, layers, design and hardware. The Bersherken Jacket weighed in at just 1.12 pounds which, given its multiple layers and lining, resulted in a very comfortable and light weight borne on the torso. This was of appropriate (or average) weight in comparison to the alternative jackets detailed above; the Ranger Jacket (1 pound) or Tracer Jacket (1 pound) by Triple Aught Design, the Hooded Twill Concealed Carry Jacket (1.5 pounds) by Nine Line Apparel, or the Atom LT Hoodie (13.2 ounces) by Arc’Teryx Leaf.
Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)
Product Link: https://www.viktos.com/products/bersherken-jacket
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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