Seen or hidden? 

Do you want to be seen or hidden?

How you answer this question will determine the choice of your IR reflective patch.

IR Reflective film is the foundation for 2 IFF patches worn for protection against friendly injuries. The film is made up of over 100K fitted micro-prisms that provide illumination for the detection of soldiers and police at work in the dark. The glowing patches are detected by the naked eye or a night vision device. As a result, communication is better and injury is prevented.

If you want to be seen, you will choose a Garrison IR reflective patch.

If you want to remain hidden, you will choose a Field IR reflective patch.

When your job demands your expertise in the dark, it is critical you are equipped with the correct protective gear. Knowing and understanding the why and how your gear functions brings you home at the end of your shift or deployment.

At first glance, the biggest difference is cosmetic. A Garrison IR patch appears white and the Field IR patch appears black. But there is more to an IR reflective patch than meets the eye.  

IR reflective patch: discover the difference 

Garrison IR – Exposes your location 

Base or street patrols are a couple of the non-covert jobs that will benefit from wearing a Garrison IR patch

When the light from a car or flashlight hits the patch, your eye detects the patch glow and you ID who and where personnel is. 

Although a night vision device will detect this patch, it is not recommended for covert operations. Because white light will give away your position and put you in harm’s way.

Your Garrison IR reflective patch is primarily worn for non-covert operations, reflects white light, and is visible to the naked eye. 

Field IR – Keeps you hidden 

 The Field IR patch is worn for covert operations.

This patch will protect you when you need to move about in a stealth position, and stay hidden from the enemy or a suspect. 

Bonus! White light will not illuminate your position if it hits the patch. 

Your detection is only visible with a Night Vision Device. The illuminator on the NVD will cause the patch to glow and only then is your position visible. 

You can be confident the others in your unit with an NVD will see your location and not harm you.  

Your Field IR reflective patch is worn for covert operations, reflects an IR illuminator, and is only visible thru a night vision device




This picture taken in the dark, shows how white light reacts when it hits a Garrison or Field patch. 


The Garrison patch on the top,

reflects the white light

and shines bright.


The Field patch on the

bottom absorbs the white light

and is undetectable.

Operations in the dark are dangerous!

Understanding how an IFF reflective patch works to expose or hide your position, protects you against life altering accidents. 

When the job calls, you answer … and we are grateful you do.  

Contact us. 443. 292.8885

We look forward to talking with you and solving all your IR protection challenges. 


 The Author

Tom Boyer profile picture

Tom founded IR.Tools™ in 2006. He has embraced manufacturing premium IR patches, panels, thermal markers, and thermal targets to better protect and train the military and law enforcement communities. Always the innovator, he is always thinking out of the box. Currently he has 21 awarded patents, and 14 patents pending. Tom received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Univ. of MD, College Park and his MBA from Regents Univ.