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Zakhariy

New in Town
Messages
10
Hi guys!

New to the forum, but for the last number of months I've been looking for 'the one' shearling jacket that I'll have for life and I think I've found it. The Cockpit U.S.A. AN-J-4 (link).

Only thing I'd have them change (if possible) is maybe going with a silver zipper instead of gold. Just not a huge fan of gold, but that jacket is almost convincing me otherwise...

I searched the forum thoroughly but I couldn't find any discussion about this particular jacket, so I thought I'd start a thread.

My questions for you all are:
  1. Do any of you have this jacket? Can you post some pics please?
  2. Any thoughts on Cockpit USA (formerly Avirex) these days?
I've had a look at all the other AN-J-4's on the market but none of them seem to have the subtle stylings of the Cockpit one.

Anyway, would love to hear your thoughts on this badass jacket!
 
Last edited:

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,698
I will front-load this: I would not buy this jacket.

The AN-J-4 is probably the coolest and most practical of all the military shearling jackets. It's an incredible design, without looking as obviously costumey as a B-3 or something.

But Cockpit has no particular reputation for good shearlings, and the price of this is very high. You'd be putting out a big financial outlay for an unknown, and considering the other options, it does not seem likely to me that this is worth its asking price.

In your position, I would strongly encourage you to check out Aero's version, which has been praised by experts on the jacket, like John Lever (who is a member of this forum). Aero's also comes in at a few hundred dollars cheaper, from their US dealer Thurston. With that one, you'd also be able to pick what color leather you want, and you will get the nickel-colored zipper you want.

They also let you choose between both the full length zipper version or the zippper with bottom buttons version that Cockpit is selling. Can't go wrong.
 

Zakhariy

New in Town
Messages
10
Thanks for the reply Aloysius!
It's an incredible design, without looking as obviously costumey as a B-3 or something.
Yes, I could not have put that better myself! I really like the styling of the Cockpit, though. The leather contrasts whereas the Aero one doesn't (although I see you can select oil pull or russet -- I'll have to look into that). I also like the much subtler collar and over-all thinner shearling for a nice tight fit -- I'm not living in Antarctica at the moment or anything and am really hoping to stretch this into spring/fall use.

You said that Cockpit doesn't have a good reputation for Shearlings, but I was under the impression that Avirex was the gold standard for Shearlings, and they've since just rebranded to Cockpit as they sold the Avirex name to some cheap Chinese company. Is this not the case?

Either way, thanks for pointing out that Aero retailer -- had not found them before. Nice prices, to be sure. I'll definitely write them asking for some pictures that show the different leather options, etc. It does look very well built.
 
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Fireflame

One of the Regulars
Messages
142
I will front-load this: I would not buy this jacket.

The AN-J-4 is probably the coolest and most practical of all the military shearling jackets. It's an incredible design, without looking as obviously costumey as a B-3 or something.

But Cockpit has no particular reputation for good shearlings, and the price of this is very high. You'd be putting out a big financial outlay for an unknown, and considering the other options, it does not seem likely to me that this is worth its asking price.

In your position, I would strongly encourage you to check out Aero's version, which has been praised by experts on the jacket, like John Lever (who is a member of this forum). Aero's also comes in at a few hundred dollars cheaper, from their US dealer Thurston. With that one, you'd also be able to pick what color leather you want, and you will get the nickel-colored zipper you want.

They also let you choose between both the full length zipper version or the zippper with bottom buttons version that Cockpit is selling. Can't go wrong.
Completely agree here. You should check out Aero.
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,698
Thanks for the reply Aloysius!

Yes, I could not have put that better myself! I really like the styling of the Cockpit, though. The leather contrasts whereas the Aero one doesn't (although I see you can select oil pull or russet -- I'll have to look into that).

Happy to help! Bear in mind that the Aero (despite being cheaper in this case) is actually a made to order jacket so you can get the contrasts you want, or none if you don't.

I also like the much subtler collar and over-all thinner shearling for a nice tight fit -- I'm not living in Antarctica at the moment or anything and am really hoping to stretch this into spring/fall use.
I would definitely not recommend one of these for spring wear– maybe a thin shearling like a B-6 or D-1 though that would still be pushing it.

You said that Cockpit doesn't have a good reputation for Shearlings, but I was under the impression that Avirex was the gold standard for Shearlings, and they've since just rebranded to Cockpit as they sold the Avirex name to some cheap Chinese company. Is this not the case?

Either way, thanks for pointing out that Aero retailer -- had not found them before. Nice prices, to be sure. I'll definitely write them asking for some pictures that show the different leather options, etc. It does look very well built.

That would be a mistaken impression, I'm afraid. They are definitely not the gold standard for shearlings. And when it comes to the AN-J-4, it's Aero that's the gold standard for certain.

I would actually also check out Five Star Leather (which I would recommend over Cockpit even if it cost twice as much as it does, but it's under $500 I believe). They make the M-444 and M-445A, which are essentially the sister jackets of the AN-J-4. Five Star will also do considerable customizations, and you could ask them to do the jacket with thinner sheepskin, for three-season wear.

There's a member on this server with a ton of jackets from both of these makes, including some amazing shearlings. Definitely take a look.
 

Zakhariy

New in Town
Messages
10
Thanks for the info, man! I really like that Aero is custom order -- maybe I can work something out with them.

The Five Star M-444 you linked is awesome, too: https://www.fivestarleather.us/products/men-aviator-us-navy-m-444-sheepskin-leather-flight-jacket

Too bad they're out of stock!!
There's a member on this server with a ton of jackets from both of these makes, including some amazing shearlings. Definitely take a look.
Any clue where to find them? I searched AN-J-4 but it doesn't give me good results on the Forum.
 

Bahabp100

Practically Family
Messages
809
Thanks for the info, man! I really like that Aero is custom order -- maybe I can work something out with them.

The Five Star M-444 you linked is awesome, too: https://www.fivestarleather.us/products/men-aviator-us-navy-m-444-sheepskin-leather-flight-jacket

Too bad they're out of stock!!

Any clue where to find them? I searched AN-J-4 but it doesn't give me good results on the Forum.
Five Star makes them to order with custom size and customizations contact shawn.fivestarleather@gmail.com
 

Bahabp100

Practically Family
Messages
809
Thanks for the info, man! I really like that Aero is custom order -- maybe I can work something out with them.

The Five Star M-444 you linked is awesome, too: https://www.fivestarleather.us/products/men-aviator-us-navy-m-444-sheepskin-leather-flight-jacket

Too bad they're out of stock!!

Any clue where to find them? I searched AN-J-4 but it doesn't give me good results on the Forum.
Five Star makes them to order with custom size and customizations contact shawn.fivestarleather@gmail.com
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,698
Thanks for the info, man! I really like that Aero is custom order -- maybe I can work something out with them.

The Five Star M-444 you linked is awesome, too: https://www.fivestarleather.us/products/men-aviator-us-navy-m-444-sheepskin-leather-flight-jacket

Too bad they're out of stock!!

Any clue where to find them? I searched AN-J-4 but it doesn't give me good results on the Forum.

Five Star’s website doesn’t tell you much. It’s largely a placeholder. Email them directly.

I would search on Vintage Leather Jackets as well. It has a much bigger flight jacket fanbase than this site.
 

Bfd70

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,079
Location
Traverse city
Aero are nice but I think eastman are better and lost world better still. Correct Anj-4 have LARGE collars and thick shearling. An Anj-4 is NOT a spring fall jacket. It is barely a winter jacket. I couldn’t wear mine above 20f. To my understanding aero/eatman/lw will not veer from authentic patterns.
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,698
Aero are nice but I think eastman are better and lost world better still.

This is true for some jackets, but definitely not the AN-J-4, where Aero really is just about tops. Potentially OP could ask for it to be made in the B-6 shearling, to get the design with less weight?

Eastman especially has been trying to 'glam up' their shearlings for the East Asian luxury goods market.
 

Bfd70

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,079
Location
Traverse city
This is true for some jackets, but definitely not the AN-J-4, where Aero really is just about tops. Potentially OP could ask for it to be made in the B-6 shearling, to get the design with less weight?

Eastman especially has been trying to 'glam up' their shearlings for the East Asian luxury goods market.
What are you basing the first assertion on? I’ve owned Aero and LW. Aero was more pliable and in the short term therefore easier to wear but the material and construction was soundly second best.
 

Bfd70

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,079
Location
Traverse city
03E2920F-0F4F-468F-911E-ECDDCD9211E7.jpeg

Best constructed jacket i’ve owned by far.

896A09BA-8097-4218-93EF-9EEACD9198B6.jpeg

Nice but not spectacular.
 

Zakhariy

New in Town
Messages
10
Aero are nice but I think eastman are better and lost world better still. Correct Anj-4 have LARGE collars and thick shearling. An Anj-4 is NOT a spring fall jacket. It is barely a winter jacket. I couldn’t wear mine above 20f. To my understanding aero/eatman/lw will not veer from authentic patterns.

Any suggestions for a light-weight shearling jacket I could wear for 2+ seasons?
 

Aloysius

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,698
What are you basing the first assertion on? I’ve owned Aero and LW. Aero was more pliable and in the short term therefore easier to wear but the material and construction was soundly second best.

The pattern. I'm not anti-Eastman; I've shopped with them, and there are jackets I prefer from Eastman, some from Buzz, some from Aero etc. I just think Aero's 1943 AN-J-4 pattern is fantastic>

That being said, I do think the idea of getting one of the beefiest jackets within an already quite warm category for warm weather wear is… ill-advised at best.

Any suggestions for a light-weight shearling jacket I could wear for 2+ seasons?

I would really strongly recommend against getting a fur jacket for warm weather wear, though as standard designs go I would look at the B-6 or D-1. Make sure to check out Mr Proper's links as well; he's had Five Star make him some great thin shearlings (that I don't think another maker would do) so those might be an option.

Do you live in a place that gets cold winters? Because if so I'd suggest getting a proper winter coat shearling, if so, and something like an A-2 or M-422A to wear in warmer months. You can go Five Star and get both at a higher quality by far than Cockpit, at considerably lower cost (for the total).

Frankly I don't wear my shearling collar jackets in warm weather, so I can't imagine wearing a full jacket.
 

nick123

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,367
Location
California
If you want to go with a sheepskin shearling jacket I say just go for it. They’re not as warm as they’re hyped to be. Depends on what one is layering over IMO.

yes, 80F the other night was far too much. But I can wear the B-3 in 65F and smile.
 

Bfd70

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,079
Location
Traverse city
If you want to go with a sheepskin shearling jacket I say just go for it. They’re not as warm as they’re hyped to be. Depends on what one is layering over IMO.

yes, 80F the other night was far too much. But I can wear the B-3 in 65F and smile.
Post a pick of the new GW!
 

powersci

One of the Regulars
Messages
289
Location
Chicago
Calling @powersci

i’d say a sheepskin trucker. I found my d-1 good up to 40f. After that, too heavy.
I’ve been summoned!

I agree with other posters: don’t spend your money with Cockpit. Aero and others will make one to measure with better attention to detail, quality, and care at a cheaper price.

I can attest to the quality of Aero’s ANJ4. I got mine in Fall 2019. Ordered in late July and got it in October.

The jacket is incredibly heavy duty. @Bfd70 is not joking when he says you won’t get much wear out of it. He’s tried mine on and I’ve tried his on. His jacket was thicker, heavier, and stiffer than mine. And that was on top of his being one size smaller!

I’ve worn my Aero ANJ4 maybe 10 times in the 2 years I’ve owned it. Zero complaints on that. It kept me warm on the coldest of Chicago days with only a t-shirt under it.

2 years into ownership and I’m still breaking it in. I’ll occasionally wear it around the house to try and soften the leather.

If you are open to other military shearlings consider the B-3, B-6, or D-1 (respectively heaviest to lightest). For awhile the Aero B-6 was my go to winter jacket. I loved it but my never-stops-eating self outgrew it. I replaced it with an Aero B-3 which I also love. That gets a ton of winter wear from me. The D-1 was also great. Just too short, by default, for my liking. I found the B-6 to be longer and more flexible. But to each his own. The D-1 I had I sold to @Bfd70 and you can see it in the pic he posted.

I’ve attached some pics of my jackets mentioned on this spot. Of the four pics, I only own the seal brown jackets (B-3 and ANJ4). The other two were sold.
 

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