Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tactical Tailor Concealed Carry Sling Bag Review

In today's world it's smart to carry a firearm for the protection of your family, friends and yourself.  If you're like me and are a person with a slim build or if you live in a hot climate where dress doesn't always make carrying your trusted sidearm the best option, then you need options.  There are several offerings out there on the tactical market, but the one that has intrigued me most is the Tactical Tailor Concealed Carry Sling Bag.  There's also the possibility of being in a situation where the weapon given to you isn't the easiest to conceal (M9), and a bag option is ideal.  It can not only allow you to carry a full size weapon concealed easily, but also allow the option of carrying extra goodies such as signal devices, medical supplies, or your favorite book.

The bag has a "civilian styling" to it so as not to be a dead giveaway that it may contain a firearm.  It does not have the almost prerequisite MOLLE attachment webbing on it and it's not offered only in military specific color schemes.  One thing I like about it is that although it doesn't look "tactical", it also isn't flashy or over the top in trying to be covert.  You also won't find a Tactical Tailor label on the outside as a giveaway.  It is constructed from lightweight cordura fabric that is durable and will ensure the bag will hold up for a long time and through plenty of abuse.

One thing that might catch you about this bag is that it's a "sling bag".  The sling can be set up to carry over your right or left shoulder.  It's a nice thick, padded sling.  The bag carries well.  The sling set up is nice because it allows you to swing the bag around and draw your pistol with just a little practice.  Here is a video below of me doing just that with little practice.  I wasn't moving very fast in this video, but I've since practiced more and have gotten faster.

One thing I like about this bag is that it allows you to carry a firearm or whatever items you might need without having to ruck up with an assault pack.  Some bags look awkward when you carry them without out enough "filling" in them.  This particular bag will work well when you only need to carry a few items.  I've used it on a beach trip for example.  I was wearing trunks around with a t-shirt and sandals, so my dress wasn't conducive to concealed carry.  That type of dress fits in nicely at the beach as we all know though, so having the ability to grab the sling bag and now I can carry was great.   So the bag works great for everything from conducting low-vis missions to vacation with the family.

From here I'll break down the components of the bag one by one:


Again, this bag doesn't immediately jump out at you as being a tactical bag.  The only thing that might lean towards that is the webbing on the front compartment.  It works great for attaching a small snap hook and hanging stuff if you need.  I've only used it to hang a hat as I was traveling.  The use of paracord for zipper pulls is the only other thing that may present a tactical appearance, but I doubt many people will pay attention that close.  This particular pack is grey in color, even though the picture doesn't look it.  Unfortunately I'm my own photographer and this is the best it gets with my cellphone.


The back of the bag has a foam padded cell so that whatever items you may be carrying in the rear concealable compartment won't dig into your back.  This padding is also on the sling portion, which helps with comfort.  The sling can be unhooked and attached to a strap on either side of the bag so that it can be set up for carry over either shoulder.  Notice in the bottom left corner of the bag, the extra strap on the side you're not using can be tucked away.  Also on the sling portion is the carrying handle, and the black portion towards the bottom of the sling is actually for attaching MOLLE compatible items if you're not going for the covert look.  You could also hook whatever you wanted on it or pass a hydration tube through it.  I personally haven't used it for anything.

Front Compartment:

This compartment is not very big, but it can pack a lot of punch.  The back of this compartment is lined with velcro, which holds the panel with the elastic loops I'm showing in the bottom picture.  This panel can be removed and you can add whatever you like that may attach with your tacti-cool patches.  On this panel you have the black smaller elastic loops, the green larger loops, and then underneath the zippered pocket you have even larger elastic sections.  You could use this to hold commo items, trauma kit items, pistol mags or whatever you need.  I was a little disappointed here that none of these would fit an AR-15 magazine.  I would like the ability to stow an AR mag or two.  In my opinion that would make this more viable as a "go-bag".  All that being said, this is a nice compartment.
I like the versatility and ability to be configured or carry whatever you want however you want it.

Main Compartment:

The main compartment of this bag isn't overwhelming, but it's just big enough.  I put the magazine in this picture so it will give you some perspective on just how big it is.  I measured it out at about 9" wide and 4" deep.  This compartment is just an open one.  There aren't any "bells and whistles" to this one, which is just how it should be.  Like the front compartment, it zips all the way to the bottom for full access to whatever you're carrying.

Rear/Gun Compartment:

This compartment will zip on both sides so that you can draw the gun from either side based on which shoulder your'e carrying over.  As you saw in the video, being able to draw from either side is critical since some people may want to switch shoulders they are carrying from.  This compartment isn't deep, but it doesn't need to be.  The back of it is lined with velcro, and it comes with a nylon adjustable "holster".  It hooks onto the velcro, so you can move it around and you can also adjust the loop that the gun fits into based on the size of your carry weapon.  It also has a slot for carrying an extra magazine.  Once you practice bringing the bag around in an efficient manner and pulling the paracord at the same time, you'll find employing your weapon from this bag is very easy.  It may not be quite as fast as carrying on your hip, but with practice it can be very fast.

I don't believe you can have one bag to fit every situation, but this one is quite adaptable to many situations.  It's compact, convenient, and it just works.  It's effective for what it was designed.  You can stand easy knowing you can carry in this bag and you won't look like "Tactical Waldo" in a crowd of civilians.  It's obvious Tactical Tailor and the folks that designed this bag put lots of thought into it.  I don't find many faults with it.  Personally I would like the elastic portion be large enough to hold an AR magazine.  I would also like the sling to not be quite as wide up to or quite as long, but that's mainly due to my slim build.  This is a sling bag that's built to fit even the largest of airsofters.  It retails from Tactical Tailor for $130, so it may seem a little high when you compare it to other packs as far as size, but it's packed with features.  I would say it's well worth your money to have one of these in your kit bag.  It definitely has it's applications for those who like to have a weapon on them at all times no matter where you're at or what you're doing.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Original Strength: A Military Perspective

I have known Tim Anderson of Outstanding Personal Training since about 2008.  At the time I was getting into Crossfit and training at what was known as Crossfit Fort Bragg.  I've since gotten smarter and fallen off the Crossfit cult train, but I am thankful that it helped expand my workout horizons from what I had learned in the Army.  One thing I was introduced to and particularly interested in was the kettlebell.  Unfortunately, like most Crossfitters/Gyms I have come across, no one could really coach me up on the technique of using a kettlebell.  I had also gained interest in Battling Ropes and spoken with John Brookfield about doing a certification.  Knowing of my interest in kettlebells he suggested I attend one of his sessions where he had some trainers showing up.  This is where I met Tim.

I quickly started going up to Tim's gym in Fuquay Varina and quickly realized what a great trainer he is.  Tim has been an absolute pleasure to train with, challenge, talk shop, talk life, and just be friends with.  He trains you with a positive outlook and has what you might consider "good bedside manner".  He's a man of God and not afraid to let you know it, which is a great quality in my book.

Through the years I have been privy to some of Tim's ideas and concepts as he's developed as a trainer and practitioner.  It has been great to take the ride with him see how he's grown and how everything has come to fruition in what is now known as Original Strength.

Original Strength is much more than I will explain here, but I would mainly like to explore what he calls "resets" from a military perspective.  As someone who's been in the military for almost 16 years and half of that being infantry, the other half in the Special Operations community I know very well about destroying your body.  From my full career of being Airborne Qualified and jumping out of airplanes, to the hours and sometimes months of wearing a heavy load that doesn't lend itself to good posture or a healthy back.  The unfortunate part as well is that the further along you go in your career you tend to find yourself behind a desk more often sitting in a chair for hours.  Let me say also that I've been diagnosed as having compressed disks in my lower back and am currently awaiting results on what may or may not be wrong with a shoulder.

I do about the same "resets" everyday and after any activity I've done from an airborne operation to a 12 mile road march it always feels good.  I will typically do rolls to the left and right utilizing upper body only and then lower body only followed by rocking, nods, and cross crawls or just crawling.

As I stated before I'm in the latter part of my career having already had 7 deployments, I truly wish I had known about these resets my entire career.  Being deployed and spending so much time in "kit" or just sleeping on the ground or a cot can take a toll.  Just something simple as a reset routine probably would have paid dividends with some of the aches and pains I now endure.

As for crawling, I have been a long time fan of crawling as a workout ever since Tim challenged me with it.  For someone in the military, it's an excellent workout.  Most people shrug off the thought of doing crawling as a workout.  Most won't even attempt it with me.  Once they do though, their sentiments about shrugging it off are not the same.  While simply crawling is a challenge itself if done properly, you can employ many techniques to enhance the challenge.  Add chains, weight, or my favorite....crawl backwards up a hill.

I credit crawling with helping me through bulged disks in my back.  It may not be directly related, but I will say that I managed my own workouts and rehab after being diagnosed and one of the few things I did was crawling.  Coincidence?  Maybe.......but I don't think so.

While I would recommend Original Strength for anyone, I would prescribe it for any military member and especially those in combat arms.  As a 1SG, my company will have no choice but to be exposed to it during physical training.  These simple movements that can take less than ten minutes out of your day will add years to your mobility.  Best of all, it works for any age or ability.  If you have limitations, just adapt it and drive on.  Your body will reward you.  So head on over to Original Strength and sign up through email and receive your FREE reset guide.  Start your new year off right.