By popular demand, today we’re bringing you more from The Backpack Gun Project. The original video from last August was about the “why” as much as the “what.” This time around, we’re mostly just looking at cool gear. Because that’s fun.
Watch the video below for details, or scroll down to read the full transcript.
Hey everybody, Chris Baker here from LuckyGunner.com. A few months ago, I showed you guys my backpack gun project. The idea was to set up a long gun that was compact enough to fit in an unassuming everyday type of backpack that does not look like it’s got a gun in it.
The combo I chose was a super-short-barreled 9mm AR build with an Evergoods CPL24 backpack. At the end of that video, I asked if you guys would be interested in seeing some of the other guns and backpacks that I had experimented with for this project. The answer I got was a resounding “yes,” so that’s what we’re going to do today.
I’ve got four more guns and four more backpacks to look at. These guns are all very different from each other. People have a lot of different reasons for wanting to own a backpack or bag gun and they have to fill all kinds of different roles.
In that first video, I explored the potential of a bag gun as a self-defense tool and when it may or may not be appropriate. If you’re thinking in terms of everyday carry of a long gun to supplement your carry pistol, something like that might be useful and legal in a very narrow set of circumstances. It’s still mostly theoretical at this point. It’s an interesting thought exercise, but the practicality is questionable.
If you’re looking for ways to stay safe in today’s climate, there are a multitude of training opportunities and gear that will probably get you a lot closer to that goal than buying a backpack gun will
But if you’re going to buy one anyway, you might as well get something good. And, of course, it’s always fun to learn about some cool gear you might not have seen before. Guns don’t have to be practical to be fun, and I think all four of these are pretty fun.
So this time around, I’ve taken some different approaches to the bag gun concept. There are lots of other use-cases, and they’re not all self-defense related. If you’re trying to come up with an excuse to justify that cool thing you don’t need, consider me your enabler today.
The one common theme is that we’re looking for everyday, travel to work, walk around in public kinds of bags that happen to be able to accommodate a compact long gun if we want them to. We’re not just looking for a dedicated rifle case disguised as something else. All the bags I chose have a spot for a laptop and plenty of storage space for stuff that you might want to carry on a daily basis or an overnight trip in addition to the gun.
Be aware that state and local laws vary quite a bit as far as whether it is legal to carry a long gun in public. In some states it’s fine. In others, it’s only okay if the gun is unloaded or in your car or when you’re engaged in certain activities. Long guns might be covered by your concealed carry permit in some states. In others, they are not. Be sure to read up on the laws that apply to your area and any place you might be traveling to or through.
One more quick disclaimer: there is no paid product placement here. All the gear you’re about to see is stuff that we either bought or borrowed. One of the guns was loaned to us by a distributor at our request. I’m under no obligation to say anything nice about any of these products. I haven’t necessarily had a chance to thoroughly vet all of this gear, but if I say I like something, it’s because I actually have tried it and liked it so far. So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the first alternate backpack gun setup.
The No Compromise Surprise
I’ve come up with dumb nicknames for all of these. This one I call The No Compromise Surprise. It’s a very generic-looking North Face Surge backpack, but inside, there’s a surprise! I’ve got a BCM 9” AR chambered for 300 Blackout with a LAW folding stock adapter. When you want to make as few compromises as possible to get a rifle that’ll fit in a backpack, this is the way to go. This one is for all of you guys who hated my 9mm AR. As far as short-barreled ARs go, this couldn’t be any more different from that one.
For the optic, we’ve got a Vortex Viper PST Gen II 1-6x scope on an ADM quick-detach mount. I’ve got a set of Magpul MBUS Pro backup iron sights. A basic Magpul MOE SL Stock. And the light is the Modlite OKW with the Modlite remote switch. Some of you might remember this light from the review I did of the Henry X Models. It makes a lot more sense on this gun, though. I’m using a 20-round Lancer magazine and I got some identifier bands so I don’t accidentally load a mag full of 5.56 in here. I’ve also got a Blue Force Gear sling. In this case, I’m storing it in a separate pocket in the bag to retrieve if needed rather than keeping it on the rifle.
The LAW folding adapter is what really makes this gun work as a backpack gun. These have been around for a few years now. It’s a clever system. It works with any standard AR lower receiver. The adapter attaches to the rear of the receiver. Then you screw a standard buffer tube on the other side of the adapter. There’s a hinge in the middle with a button to unlock the two halves. And you just stick this little plug into the back of the bolt carrier to make up for the extra length. It only takes a few minutes to install if you already have the correct tools to install a buffer tube assembly.
The only major downside to the LAW adapter that I’ve discovered so far is the weight. It adds about 11 ounces to your AR, which is definitely noticeable. It makes the balance of the rifle feel a little awkward. Of course, this rifle feels extra awkward because I’ve also got two pounds worth of optic and mount on the top, so all of the weight is at the rear of the gun.
Other than the barrel and the 20-round mag, everything on this gun is full size. I didn’t go out of my way to get any especially large or heavy components or accessories, but I also didn’t get any special compact or lightweight stuff for it.
I also kind of took the middle-road in terms of cost — I didn’t cheap out on anything, but I did try to avoid the super high-end “Gucci-tier” accessories. You could argue the Modlite is maybe an exception to that.
Either way, weight and cost add up quickly, so the end result is still heavy and not exactly budget-friendly. It weighs 10 pounds loaded, and the final price tag comes to just over 3000 bucks. Minus the optic, light, and tax stamp it’s more like $1700 and 7.5 pounds.
If I was going to use this long-term, I might try a different optic, optic mount, and stock. That could help shave a few ounces off the weight. On the plus side, it should be almost as reliable as a standard 16-inch carbine. Recoil is mild. And, for the most part, out to about 200 yards, it’s just as effective as any 16-inch intermediate caliber AR, both in terms of ballistics and in terms of how easy it is to get hits on target.
I think, theoretically, something like this wouldn’t be a bad general purpose do-everything carbine. You could run it in a carbine class. A lot of people use them for hunting and pest animals. It’s an ideal barrel length and cartridge to run with a suppressor. The fact that it’s only 19.5 inches folded makes it a lot easier to travel with, whether you’re throwing a backpack in your trunk for a road trip or you have to use a hard-sided case to check it at the airport. If you don’t want to register it as an SBR you could set it up as a pistol with a brace, at least for now, anyway.
A 9-inch barrel still gives you plenty of real estate on the handguard for a mostly normal shooting grip and stance. Compared to other short-barreled black rifles, it’s a nice balance of easy to store, easy to shoot, and ballistic efficiency.
But in reality, a 300 Blackout SBR doesn’t usually work out as a general purpose carbine as well as you might hope. That’s simply because of ammo cost and availability. Even when the ammo market isn’t completely nuts like it is right now, 300 Blackout can be difficult to find, especially if you’ve got a specific load in mind. 5.56 range ammo is always a fraction of the cost in comparison just due to the economy of scale. If you do a lot of shooting and you’re looking for something like this to be your One Rifle to Rule Them All, you’re probably going to end up getting a 5.56 upper to go with it.
Let’s take a look at the bag for a second. The other bags I picked out were recommended by backpack enthusiasts. They are made by companies that only make bags — that’s their specialty. They’re sleek and well made and thoughtfully designed. And they also tend to be more on the expensive side of the spectrum.
This one is not cheap either, but the North Face Surge is just a backpack. It’s a decent name-brand backpack, but it’s not exceptional. It’s a lot like any of the dozens of other small-ish backpacks made by The North Face and the other big outdoor companies. And that means it doesn’t stand out. It looks completely boring and normal. Nothing about this suggests there’s a gun in here, and that’s what we want.
I have made two small modifications. The first is the addition of these velcro cable ties to keep the straps from dangling freely. This is something I’ve actually added to all of these backpacks except for one that already has something similar built into the straps.
The bottom of the bag is not very well reinforced and it couldn’t handle the 10 pound gun resting on it without sagging on one side. So I cut out a piece of a hard rubber floor mat and stuck in the bottom to create a kind of platform for the gun to rest on. That definitely made a huge difference.
The main thing this bag has going for it other than looking ordinary is that it’s got a ton of pockets. That’s good because we can leave the gun in a pocket by itself and put our other stuff in the other pockets. You don’t want to have to expose your miniature AR to the public every time you get your sunglasses.
But it actually might have too many pockets. I used this bag for a couple of weeks and I kept forgetting where I had stored everything. It also seemed like the pockets and pouches were not as roomy as they appear to be. Or maybe it’s just because the material is kind of soft and limp compared to these other bags. It’s just fine if you’re packing clothes or electronics or snacks. When you start putting loaded mags and multi-tools in there, you kind of get the impression that it’s not exactly designed for that kind of thing.
I know that The North Face has not always been a friend to the firearms industry in the past and that’s going to turn a lot of people off. But as far as a decent quality, regular Joe, middle-class suburban camouflage kind of backpack that could potentially pull double duty as a gun bag, this is a good example.
The Cult Classic Plinker
Our second of four alternate backpack gun setups is The Cult Classic Plinker. This is the almost-legendary GoRuck GR1 21L — a backpack with a cult-like following. It’s holding a Ruger 22 Charger Takedown, which is, of course, the pistol version of the classic 10/22 rifle. I’ve got it set up with an SB Tactical folding triangle brace affixed via a FarrowTech picatinny adapter.
Since it’s based on the Ruger 10/22 there’s no end to the accessories and aftermarket parts available to customize it. But I’ve gone with a minimal approach here. I put this one together to have a more accessible option. It’s fun and easy to use for shooters of any skill level, and it’s a lot more affordable than the other options. Not including the backpack, the gun with all of these accessories runs about $850 total.
The Charger doesn’t come with iron sights, so I’ve got a basic Holosun red dot on the optic rail. This is an older model they’re not making anymore, but the current equivalent would be the HS403B. I’m using the mount that came with the optic, so no added expense there.
The Surefire G2X is the most affordable light in the Surefire lineup. Just 60 bucks from most places. It’s got a single brightness level and a momentary-only tailcap switch, and that’s just perfect for a weapon mounted light.
There’s not an easy way to put a proper light mount on this forend unless you go with one of the expensive aftermarket chassis systems for the Charger. Most Charger-owners probably won’t ever have any need to mount a light on the gun. But I know I’m not the only one who thought it would be cool if you could. So I came up with a little DIY solution here.
The recessed area in the forend just happens to be the perfect shape to nest a G2X in there. I just put some velcro tape on the light and the forend and then secured it down with velcro cable ties. It’s not exactly rock solid — it wiggles around a little bit, but it would take a lot for it to completely fall off. With the minimal recoil from .22 LR, it should stay in place for a while.
Today is not the day I will choose to make a case for .22 as a self-defense cartridge. If you want to carry a backpack gun just in case you need to go to war with terrorists at the company Christmas party, this is not the gun for you. But should you find yourself in that unfortunate quandary, you could do a whole lot worse than a 25-round compact semi-auto that can be fired from the shoulder.
But let’s think past the self-defense thing for a minute. Consider this setup to be the “in case of range or pest” emergency plan. Your buddy calls you while you’re at work. He wants to know if you can meet him at the range later. You can, but you don’t have enough time to go back home first and get your stuff. Good thing you’ve got your Charger already in your laptop bag!
Or what if you’re staying with some friends or family out of town. They’ve got a squirrel infestation that wakes you up in the middle of the night. Well, with a suppressor and your Charger, you can go take care of that without even waking anybody up.
This gun is super light — just 5.25 pounds loaded. It also takes up a minimum amount of space. Because you can both fold the brace and remove the barrel, it’ll fit just about anywhere. Now, you might be asking, “since it’s already got such a short barrel, what’s the point of the takedown feature? With a backpack, don’t you just need one or the other?”
That’s a good question. And the Charger will fit in this backpack without breaking it down once the brace is folded. However, if you want to actually use the rest of the space in this backpack to store other stuff, breaking down the gun makes that much easier.
Also, the takedown feature is great if you’ve got a suppressor. You can just leave that on the barrel all the time and the gun is still packable.
We actually bought this gun a long time ago. The backpack gun project is something I’ve been working on sporadically for a couple of years now. Since we picked this one up, three important things have happened that I think I should mention.
First, Ruger started offering a version of this gun that already has a picatinny adapter. So that’s now an option straight from the factory if you want it.
Second, the whole pistol brace issue has gotten a lot messier and its future more uncertain. I won’t go into that today — I did a whole video about pistol braces and short barreled rifles a couple of months ago if you want my take on that. I am, of course, not suggesting you buy one of these with a pistol brace in order to circumvent the National Firearms Act.
The third thing that’s happened since we bought this Ruger Charger is that the price tag has kind of gone through the roof. We picked this one from a local gun store for, I think, $340. The MSRP is $419. I checked a couple of days ago and I couldn’t find one in stock at any of the major online retailers. There were a couple of private sellers asking a whole lot more than MSRP. But that’s just how supply and demand works, and everybody has decided to demand a gun right now. The non-takedown version currently seems to be a lot easier to find, for what it’s worth. If you wait, Ruger will probably do another batch of these soon and the prices will go down, at least until they all sell out again.
So for the moment, this option is not quite the budget option I had intended to be. That said, even at 2021 prices, it’s still more affordable than most backpack gun setups you’ll see. Another alternative would be to get just a vanilla Ruger 10/22 Takedown model and then pick up one of the Magpul Backpacker stocks. It won’t break down as small as the Charger with a brace, but it’s still a super slick setup and it solves the problem of securing the two halves of the gun in storage.
GoRuck makes high quality, extremely durable bags and the GR1 is probably their flagship product. They used to only come in black, but they’ve expanded to other colors in recent years. Since it’s got this MOLLE webbing all over it, I wanted a color that would make it look less tactical. The blue — sorry, “Midnight Navy” — I think, accomplishes that well. There is a special non-MOLLE version that comes only in black and is only sold by one retailer. But the blue one was on sale for almost half price, so we went with that one.
As a side note, I’ve noticed this amusing trend where companies that aren’t marketing to gun owners and have no connection to that industry are putting webbing and all kinds of other “tactical” or military-style features on their bags and backpacks. Meanwhile, some of the companies that are marketing to gun people now have bags designed to look as innocuous and non-tactical as possible with no webbing or velcro or big logos.
For an everyday type of bag, I still think it’s best to avoid the tactical looking stuff whenever possible. In my experience, gun people are not nearly as good at blending into a crowd as they think they are. Fortunately, this bag has a place where you can put a morale patch. If anyone gets suspicious about the webbing, I’ve got Macho Man to throw them off the scent.
Anyway, I could take or leave the MOLLE on the outside of the GR1, but it also has the webbing on the inside and that’s actually useful in this case. I didn’t want to just stick the two halves of the Charger and the magazines in the bag where they could move around and bang into each other. The receiver half with the brace fits nicely into the built-in pocket.
For the barrel-half, I got this MOLLE-compatible water bottle holder. It’s just the right size to fit the barrel with the flashlight attached. And then I’ve got this large rifle magazine pouch from Maxpedition that fits two 10/22 magazines nicely. I’ve got one 25-round mag in there and the 15-rounder that came with the Charger.
The GR1 is a minimalist design. It’s the complete opposite of the North Face bag we just looked at. In the main compartment, we’ve got two zipper pockets. One small pocket on the outside and a laptop sleeve. It doesn’t come with a sternum strap, but it’s got webbing on the shoulder straps where you can attach one.
I actually don’t love this bag. It does seem extremely tough. It’ll probably last forever. But I don’t think it’s very comfortable. The shoulder straps are stiff. And when I put a laptop in the designated sleeve, it feels like I’m wearing a back brace. I know a lot of people love these, but the non-sale price is around 300 bucks. That’s a lot to spend on a bag you’re not 100% happy with. Before you make that commitment, my advice would be to find somebody who’s got one who will let you try it out first.
The Urban Cowboy
Number three on the list is The Urban Cowboy. No, it’s not Travolta on a fake bull. What we’ve got here is something much better. It’s a Mystery Ranch Urban Assault 24 backpack. Inside is a Chiappa Alaskan 1892 Takedown Lever Action in .44 Magnum. This gun was loaned to us by Taylor’s and Company. They are the sole importer of these guns in the US.
The barrel has interrupted threads, so you can just slip it in the receiver and give it a quarter turn. It’s kinda tight for that last little bit, though. Then you screw the mag tube into the receiver and secure it with this little locking lever.
I’m probably going to end up doing a full review of this gun for our lever action series, plus I don’t have a whole lot of trigger time with it yet, so I won’t go into a ton of detail on it today. As far as the basics, though, it’s based on a Winchester 1892 action. It’s got a satin Chrome finish, rubber-coated wood stock and a 16-inch octagonal barrel. For sights, it has a red fiber optic front with a Skinner rear peep sight and a picatinny rail.
I’ve got a Vortex Viper mounted on there for now. The ammo carrier is from Galco. That gives me a place to put six rounds of .44 magnum, but the tube actually holds eight rounds. So if I want to top it off, I’ve got this six-round pocket ammo carrier from Brown Coat Tactical that I can stick in the bag with the gun.
With these accessories, the Alaskan weighs just 7.4 pounds fully loaded. Takedown lever actions are just plain cool and there are a few custom shops that will convert your existing lever action to a takedown model. These Chiappa models that Taylor’s has been importing are some of the only non-custom factory takedown lever actions being produced right now. The $1500 price tag might seem a little steep. But keep in mind that it’s a lot more affordable than a decent custom job would be.
Obviously, this gun is far from an ideal option if you’re looking for something that can be deployed quickly. Even if you manage to put it together quickly, you still have to load it. You can’t store the tube loaded when it’s broken down. But it’s still a useful concept. It would be great for backpacking or hunting when you want a long gun but you don’t want to have to carry it on a sling all the time. Of course, those are some of the reasons takedown rifles were originally developed at least as far back as the 1800s.
I also know some people who travel a lot for work but they don’t always have control over whether they get to stay somewhere that’s especially safe or secure. They like to have a long gun in their hotel room if possible. Something you can break down that doesn’t have to go with you in a big rifle case is ideal, plus lever actions are legal in all 50 states.
Now, if you’re trying to fly below the radar, maybe buying a bag called the Urban Assault isn’t the best idea in the world. Mystery Ranch is a company with one foot in the military world and the other in the outdoor industry. But they did make this bag to be low profile and not draw attention.
There’s no extraneous webbing or velcro on the outside. This one did end up being a lot more like an Army-green color than it looked in the photos online. But they’ve got several other colors, and I think any of them would probably look less military-like than this one.
Honestly, the main reason I wanted to try out this particular bag was because not many of the other backpack recommendations I was getting included water bottle pockets on the outside. I think that’s a very useful feature.
I also wanted to try out the 3-zipper setup for the main compartment. After using it for a couple of weeks, though I could take it or leave it. But overall, it’s an excellent bag. It’s got plenty of pockets and inside organization, but not too many like that North Face bag. The pockets are well thought-out and usable. The material is not as thick and heavy as the GoRuck, but it does seem like it would be reasonably durable.
It’s kind of an unusual shape for a backpack of this size. It looks bigger at the top than the bottom. I think that’s so it distributes the weight better when you really pack it full. I’ve taken it on a couple of day hikes — not with the gun, but with plenty of other stuff in it — and it did seem to be a little easier on my back than the average small backpack.
I played around with a few different ways of securing the two halves of the lever action in here. Just like with the Ruger, I didn’t want the pieces banging into each other. The interior pockets were not cutting it, so I decided to try out a Rigid Molle Panel or RMP from Grey Man Tactical.
This is a thick, rigid, but lightweight plastic sheet with a grid cut into it. That gives you a ton of options for arranging your gear or pouches or whatever else you have in your backpack that you don’t want to throw in there haphazardly. This is really something that could compliment any of these backpacks we’re looking at, whether or not you had a gun in them.
You could also set up multiple RMPs with different gear so you could quickly swap them out depending on what you’re going to be doing. So you might have one that’s for everyday stuff and a different one that’s for hiking, and a third one that’s got all your emergency medical gear. You stick the whole thing in whatever bag it needs to go in that day.
You can secure your stuff with pretty much any kind of straps you might already have, like these down here. At the top, I’ve got a couple of quick-detach shock cords from Grey Man Tactical that work a little better for something that you’re going to frequently take on and off the panel.
The RMPs come in a wide variety of sizes to fit almost any backpack. They also make them to fit Pelican-style cases, and car trunk lids and carseat backs. This one is 10.75×15 inches and it weighs just under 10 ounces. There are several other backpack panels that accomplish more or less this same thing. This one from Grey Man Tactical is the only one I could find that was rigid enough to support something like this lever action.
The Half & Half
The last backpack gun setup I’m calling The Half & Half. It’s a Vertx Commuter XL Sling 2.0; it’s only got one shoulder strap so it’s like half a backpack. And inside, I’ve got half a shotgun: a Remington V3 Tac-13 semi-auto 12 gauge.
I haven’t done much to dress this one up. I’ve got a Trijicon RMR on the optic rail. The gun comes from the factory with a barrel clamp and short picatinny rails that attach to either side. So on the left side, I’ve got a Streamlight TLR-1 HL. On the birdshead grip, I’ve added a Demonstrated Concepts Recoil Strap.
The mag tube holds 5 shells. Loaded, the total package weighs in at 6.8 pounds. I’ve also got six extra shells here on a Vang Comp Shell Carrier. Normally, I would just throw a piece of Velcro tape onto the side of the receiver and stick the shell card there. In this case, I can attach it directly to the inside of the Vertx bag. It’s got this convenient hook and loop-compatible panel here.
I would actually be very reluctant to recommend this gun for any serious purposes. It’s got some merits, but its practical role is limited, even by backpack gun standards. And this is another case where availability has changed a lot since we bought the gun.
We picked this up a year ago for 850 bucks. Since then, on top of the huge demand spike for firearms in general, Remington declared bankruptcy… again. The gun manufacturing arm of Remington was sold to a new owner. Supposedly they’re going to keep things going, but I’d expect availability to be a little spotty for a while.
The Tac-13, in particular, is difficult to find right now and people are regularly paying over $2000 bucks when they do show up on the auction sites. I’ll just say that I already thought $850 was a lot to pay for any current production Remington.
It’s no secret that Remington has struggled with quality control for the last several years. The Tac-13 is based on the gas system from the Remington Versamax shotgun. By all accounts, that’s a solid and reliable design. The execution is not always great.
Fortunately, this one hasn’t given me any problems. It’s been completely reliable with all the birdshot and buckshot I’ve thrown at it so far.
Despite my misgivings about Remington, I wanted to try this out because I was curious to see if the semi-automatic stockless shotguns would be easier to run than their pump action counterparts. And the answer is a definite yes. With shoulder-fired shotguns, a semi-auto has some measurable, but not always huge benefits over a pump action in the hands of a skilled shooter. When you take away the shoulder stock, I think the advantages of the semi-auto are greatly amplified.
The recoil is easier to manage — this is a relatively soft-shooting gun as far as short barreled shotguns go. The recoil strap helps with that, too, especially using the technique suggested by Rhett Neumayer from Demonstrated Concepts.
Not having to cycle the action manually is also a big deal when you can’t shoulder the gun. The pump-action birdshead grip guns are a lot more prone to short-stroking and other user-induced malfunctions compared to the same guns with a full shoulder stock. So the Tac-13 definitely softens a lot of my criticisms of the stockless shotguns.
But even with that in mind and even if you set aside the quality issues, I still have some major reservations about recommending something like this for a backpack gun . A shotgun is a great self-defense tool inside the home at close range. Outside the home, the potential range for a defensive gun use is a much bigger variable. The longer the distance to the target, the more of a liability your shot spread becomes. It’s not so much a matter of “can you hit your target?” but “can you avoid hitting things that are not your target.” You’re accountable for every pellet and that’s something a lot of people seem to forget when they’re practicing with these things.
But if you’re in the minority who has done the work and you’re already squared away with your social shotgun skills, you might find some application for something like this. I could maybe see it filling the role of defense against dangerous animals on a camping trip. Or, like the lever action, it could be something you bring with you on a trip where you don’t want to freak out the front desk people at your hotel.
In any case, if you do decide to carry around a Tac-13 as you go about your normal business in polite society, the Vertx Commuter XL Sling is probably one of the best ways to do that without raising too many eyebrows. It’s an unusual shape for a backpack. I think if I saw someone walking around with one of these, I might wonder what they had in it. But I probably wouldn’t immediately assume it was a gun. It looks like it could just as easily be some kind of instrument case.
Vertx does cater specifically to the gun owning crowd. Their bags are made to carry guns discreetly. This big compartment here is just big enough for a 26-inch “firearm” like the Tac-13 and that is completely intentional.
As an alternative, it’s also just big enough for an AR-15 with a LAW folder and a 14.5-inch barrel with a pinned and welded muzzle brake. I tested that out and it does fit. So if you don’t want to mess with an SBR or a pistol brace or any of that stuff, this bag gives you a way to carry a “regular” gun.
It’s also got another large compartment for all of your other non-gun stuff. Or, I guess you could put your gun in here if it’s a little shorter than 26 inches. The outside pocket has some webbing and hook and loop where you could attach pouches or other accessories. Like all Vertx bags, the straps have hook and loop tabs sewn into them so you can roll up and secure the slack. That’s where I got the idea to add velcro cable ties to all my other bags.
I actually used the smaller version of the Vertx Commuter Sling as my everyday bag for about three years. It held up really well, but I discovered that sling bags are just not for me. Especially when it had more than just a couple of pounds worth of stuff in it and I had to carry it for any length of time. All of that weight on one shoulder gets to be uncomfortable after a few minutes.
If anything, this larger version of the bag feels even more awkward and uncomfortable. I don’t know if that’s necessarily a design flaw — it might just be the nature of sling bags. So I’m not trying to knock Vertx here. I’ve actually been very happy with their stuff in general. In fact, the Vertx Gamut or the Ready Pack would probably work as solid alternatives to any of these other bags I mentioned.
But if you want to use something as long as the Tac-13 for a bag gun, your discreet backpack options are few. Most of them seem to be bags disguised as instrument cases or some kind of sports equipment. The Vertx might be a little less conspicuous than something like that, but just keep in mind that the sling-style strap setup is not for everyone.
Okay guys, that’s the backpack gun project for now. I might revisit this topic again down the road if I come across something that grabs my attention. The Magpul/Zev FDC-9 looks like a good candidate, but there’s no telling when it’ll actually be released. Next time, I’ll be continuing our lever action series… or maybe we’ll end up doing something else, who knows. Stay tuned and find out.