By: Officer Kevin Smith as told to Dr. Jim Clary
Let me preface this by saying, I have more bags sitting in my gun room, than I care to admit (or my wife knows about). What I will admit, is that all of these bags appeared to fit my “list”, prior to purchase. I’m sure most of the readers here have their version of that “list” for a range bag (or duty bag). I’ll bet more than most have a "must have" list of, it must be spacious, organized, comfortable, and durable/dependable, was I right?
Let’s be real here, these are not outlandish quantifications, these are true necessities. They are what most of us look for in a range bag, but, it seems, the industry is normally quite lackluster on the north front of the issue, providing sub-par stitching, cheap zippers, poor storage capacity, and generally a cheap and uncomfortable product with a high resale. This is what I assumed, until I was introduced to the “G.P.S. Tactical Range Backpack ‘Tall’” (formally known as G-Outdoors). Apparently someone finally came, and stole the “list” from all of our heads, for their design. This bag has truly proven to me that some, if only a few, companies still care about quality, over quantity. G-Outdoors is at the top of the list.
As I stated before, there have been plenty of times I found a new range bag and thought “this is exactly what I was looking for”, only to find out the material, the zippers, the support, or the stitching are simply not up to par. But after using the G.P.S. Tactical range backpack “tall” for a few weeks, I have realized, there are too many companies placing quantity and aesthetics above true quality these days.
G-Outdoors pulled out all the stops with this backpack, using YKK oversized lockable zippers with Para cord silent pulls to assure longevity and security, as well as using DuPont Teflon coated, 1000 Denier H.D. material for the shell and straps (easily the toughest material I’ve seen to create a backpack). This backpack is built for some serious longevity, and if you’re a law enforcement Officer like I am, you know how to put products through the wringer. Even after abusing this backpack for weeks, I have yet to stretch a stitch or fuss with a zipper. G-Outdoors even decided to go the extra mile for their customers, adding an item I had never considered (mainly because I live in New Mexico), a built in, pull out rain cover (just in case you don’t live in a desert like I do).
All of this is important, but how does it feel when you put it on? Honestly, I put as much into this bag as I could fit. Thanks to the internal honeycomb frame and padded waist straps, even with an extreme load, the backpack feels very stable and comfortable. This backpack fits almost as if it is part of your body.
I don’t know about you, but I have had my share of bags, which work from the truck to the range bench, but that’s about it. I took this backpack one step further and decided to carry it for a few hours. Now, I will not say the results will be the same for everyone, but I will say for me, this bag was extremely comfortable on my neck, back and shoulders, even at an extended period of time. The padded waist strap really helps distribute the load throughout a person’s center mass, while not causing discomfort in the area of the straps. I do feel the need to mention, that because of this bags size, it was a little large for my wife to carry (she is only 5’4” and 115lbs), though it was possible in her instance, or if you have a small stature as she does, it may be best to look into the more compact version of the backpack, the original Tactical Range Backpack (GPS-T1612BPB BLACK, multiple colors available on manufacture website)
The final check mark on my list is storage/organization. More than once, I have thrown a bag into the junk pile, simply because it does not have the organization or storage I require for work, or the range. This can be caused from, not having individual compartments for pistols to keep them protected, to not knowing what part of your range bag has your eye-pro.
I have to say, I was completely astonished when I found out that G-Outdoors decided to dismiss the “more pockets, more organized” philosophy. Instead of simply adding endless amounts of pockets for users to lose items in, they used the trusty MOLLE (MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) for external carry capacity.
For visual storage their patented “Visual ID” system is one-of-a-kind in the industry. This system tells users where items are accommodated in the bag, such as eye pro, ear pro, ear muffs, and tools. This system is so simple; yet, it covers targets, target tape, target staple gun, rain cover (built-in), flash light, keys holder, lockable zippers and even round cups.
I took this backpack to both indoor and outdoor ranges to see how it would fare. To my pleasure, thanks to the internal honeycomb frame, this backpack stands perfectly stable on its own even while fully loaded. Another added bonus is, because of the “tall” aspect of the backpack, users are given access to their range items without having to leave the bench to access items, or cluttering the bench if they want to keep everything with them.
The last little bit that was just a cherry on top, was that the front compartment folds open 90o to allow use of the Velcro placed round cups. A nice little feature that made keeping track of those loose rounds very convenient.
I have one more feature to add, which was the deal maker for me. The G.P.S. Tactical Range Backpack “Tall” is equipped with 8 outside, zippered pockets, 2 of which are used to hold the 4, padded internal Pistol cases with magazine storage (which make great truck gun pouches when not in use, if I do say so myself). Because of the spacious design of this backpack, I found it quite useful on and off duty. All of these features ensure that you, your weapons and your sanity, will be healthy for years to come.
The G.P.S. Tactical Range Backpack “Tall”, simply put, has taken its place, and it is not in the pile of range bags.
To purchase your own Tactical Range Backpack “Tall” please contact G-Outdoors at:
Or visit them at the 2018 “Shot Show”, booth 3221