The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Preview – A Case for Self-Defense – Off-Body Gun Bags

A Guide to Off-Body Carry Options

If you’re reading this magazine, it’s probably a safe bet that you already appreciate the benefits of carrying a weapon as often as you can. It’s also probably a safe bet that, given the choice, most of you also would carry your gun in some sort of holster on your person. By doing so, it’s always accessible and under your direct control.

But real life often intrudes on our ideal vision of how things should be. What if you’re in a swimsuit at the beach? What about when you’re playing sports, working out at the gym, or racking up miles on your bicycle? Perhaps your work situation and attire precludes on-body carry. Women, in particular, have a litany of issues with respect to CCW-compatible clothing, depending on the fashion requirements of their work, obligations, and lifestyle. Not to mention nonpermissive environments …

Isn’t it better to have your weapon with you — carried in a less-than-ideal method — than not to have it at all? That’s for each of us to decide, but it’s important to keep some things in mind:

Responsible off-body carry requires even more diligence and discipline than on-body carry. You must maintain control of your weapon; don’t put that purse down on the counter or dump your messenger bag on a shopping cart. Imagine your whole bag is a holstered gun, and act accordingly. By the way, the same requirement for diligence applies for holstered weapons, too — how many times have you heard about guns left in public restrooms by folks dropping some ordnance.

Training and practice are critical. Depending on the bag that you choose and how you typically carry it, your drawstroke will vary (and likely be quite a bit slower than on-body carry). To be able to retrieve and reload your weapon efficiently under stress will require training and a lot of practice to make it second nature.

Building on that point, most regular bags aren’t designed to make weapons easily and quickly accessible. Gear built specifically for this purpose provides a great advantage, and each has a different flavor to suit different requirements. Almost all utilize an expanse of Velcro to which you can attach any type of holster — universal adjustable holsters are cheap, but a dedicated Kydex holster with Velcro backing is more effective and makes reholstering much easier. Our focus for this article is handguns, but the larger bags here can also accommodate other types of weapons, such as subguns or AR pistols.

So take a gander at this sampling of products designed for off-body carry. There are many more on the market; this guide will help you hone in on the characteristics that are important to you and your specific needs.

5.11 Tactical COVRT18 Backpack

Colors: Asphalt/black, black, foliage, ice (shown), storm
Size: 19 x 12.25 x 9 inches
Weight: 3.1 pounds
MSRP: $131

pack3 pack2

411: The COVRT18 is a very discreet backpack that looks at home amongst all the other mindless backpack-adorned, smartphone-obsessed drones wandering the streets or campuses of America. The only 5.11 Tactical branding is very subtle — a small fabric tag (easily cut off) and small plus logos on the zipper pulls. Holding a total of approximately 30 liters, this pack is comparable to typical laptop backpacks you might see at the office. The CCW pocket with Velcro on the back side is sandwiched between the main compartment and front compartment, accessed via zippers (which open from bottom to top) on either side. 5.11 calls the large front pocket a Roll-down Assault Compartment — you can cinch down the front flap, exposing a field of Velcro and webbing molle where you’ve staged tactical gear. There’s also an admin compartment, additional smaller front pockets, padded sunglasses pocket, and water bottle mesh side pockets. The sizable main compartment zips completely open and features a padded laptop sleeve and zippered mesh pockets, with a compartment behind it to hold a hydration bladder. There’s hefty Aero Space mesh padding on the back and a removable stiff plastic insert. Made of 500D nylon with YKK zippers and Duraflex hardware, the COVRT18 is a great, full-featured backpack.

Grey Ghost Gear Stealth Operator Pack

Colors: ATACS FG, black (shown), black/black diamond, brookwood transitional, coyote brown, Kryptek (Highlander, Mandrake, Typhon, Yeti), MultiCam, LiteLok MultiCam, ripstop gray, ripstop smoke green
Size: 17.75 x 10 x 5 inches
Weight: 1.5 pounds
MSRP: $109

pack4 pack5

411: Designed as a low-visibility recce pack, the Stealth Operator Pack from Grey Ghost Gear is lightweight, compact, and easy to keep on hand (as compared to larger, bulkier packs) with a total volume of about 14.5 liters (888 cubic inches). The front compartment opens from top to bottom with a single vertical zipper — in the back behind some other pockets is a top-opening Velcro pocket to hold your weapon (a universal holster is included). As a result, the pack works very well for deep concealment, but the drawstroke is more of a hassle. Note also the single zipper is not easily lockable. The main compartment opens almost entirely, with a zippered mesh pocket and two Velcro pouches that can hold rifle magazines on its front flap. There’s mesh padding on the back, with a hydration pocket behind it. Shoulder straps are pretty slim and have a removable, adjustable sternum strap; there’s no waist strap. The pack is available in a multitude of colorways and in 500-denier Cordura, LiteLok, and ripstop nylon material; the LiteLok material makes this handy pack even lighter.

Enter Your E-Mail to Receieve a Free 50-Target Pack from RECOIL!

NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL

For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included).

Get your pack of 50 Print-at-Home targets when you subscribe to the RECOIL email newsletter. We'll send you weekly updates on guns, gear, industry news, and special offers from leading manufacturers - your guide to the firearms lifestyle.

You want this. Trust Us.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to the Free