BLACKHAWK! Discrete Diversion Carry Bag

By Todd Burgreen

Recent experience working with AR pistols had the unexpected benefit of becoming familiar with different means of discrete transport of weapons larger than a handgun. A weapon like the AR pistol has its own advantages in terms of handling, ease of concealability and increased portability that is hard to resist when compared to a rifle. For individuals that have no legal access to a NFA Class 3 Short Barrel Rifle (SBR), the AR pistol may well be the closest they can get to achieving rifle firepower in such a compact package. Many of the lessons and techniques explored with the AR pistol are easily transferrable to certain full size rifles as well when it comes to discrete carry.

The expansion of states honoring “shall issue” concealed carry permits has had the side benefit of having a multitude of companies involved in producing supporting personal protection items and accessories. This was not always the case with consumers paying the price both literally and figuratively. This business competition has not only spurred R&D, but also lowered the cost of items making them available to a wider range of clients. Most individuals struggle with the balancing of a weapon carried versus discreteness. This is why handguns are the prevalent choice of weapon carried. This is not because handguns are the most effective choice; just the easiest to have around at all times in most social settings.

One way of maximizing the AR pistol’s capabilities is as an “off body” weapon candidate thanks to its relative compactness and potential firepower. Here the pistol designation is important for anyone with a Concealed Carry Permit. Potential gear enhancers in this role would be the new discrete carry bags offered by BLACKHAWK! such as the Diversion Carry Board Pack and Workout Bag. Both BLACKHAWK! products offer “hide in plain” sight utility with enhancements to accommodate a weapon and ancillary gear. Many frown on “off body” carry due to not always being attached to one’s weapon. Individuals will have to come to their own understanding of what is acceptable to them in this regard.

The BLACKHAWK! Diversion Carry Board Pack and Workout Bag offer a discrete way to carry a rifle. AR pistols are not the only platform that works with the BLACKHAWK! products. The Diversion Workout Bag is larger and can accommodate two full size rifles ala AK, FN FAL, etc. First, the details on the Diversion Carry Board Pack will be discussed. The BLACKHAWK! Carry Board Pack is designed around accommodating a collapsible stock M4, though other weapons can fit. The Tavor bullpup is one excellent candidate considering its 16 inch barrel in a profile much shorter than a collapsible stock M4 with a 16 inch barrel. ARs with longer barrels or fixed stocks can be separated into lower and upper halves for easier storage and transport. The Diversion Carry Board Pack has internal Molle tabs for connecting magazine pouches or critical accessories while remaining inconspicuous. Molle tabs on the exterior would defeat the purpose of discrete carry. A foldable padded panel divides the Carry Board Pack keeping the weapon segregated from prying eyes away if pack is unzipped. Internal foam padding at the top and sides, a padded muzzle cup, and integrated weapon retention straps ensure safe, stable, and secure carry at all times. The Carry Board Pack is constructed of 500 denier nylon. It has a couple outside pockets for storing water bottles or other typical pack items. This kind of attention to detail helps the BLACKHAWK! Diversion Carry Board Pack to blend in better without screaming out “rifle carrier.”

The BLACKHAWK! Diversion Workout Bag is designed with the appearance of an everyday gym bag. The Workout Bag lets you carry multiple firearms and even gives you room to store additional items. It is constructed of 420 Velocity Nylon with the 29 inch divided main compartment that can expand further into the end pockets. The panel ends can be zipped open allowing for the carrying of rifles beyond the main compartment’s 29 inch length. BLACKHAWK! has designed the Workout Bag’s main compartment divider so that a rifle can be inserted into the dividers fold keeping it out of view when opening and accessing items out of the Workout Bag. This is where the accessible end panels come into play allowing for access to a rifle under the divider fold. If more than one rifle is desired then the rifles can be placed on either side of this fold and accessed from the top of the bag and/or ends. The Workout Bag has internal Velcro sections for hook back pouches, holster, and other accessories. The BLACKHAWK! Diversion Workout Bag offers a user a "more than meets the eye" way to carry a rifle. The Workout Bag gives off a minimalist exterior with a feature rich interior. The Diversion Workout Bag gives someone who wants to carry a full size weapon or multiple rifles a means to do so without broadcasting their presence.

It was mentioned earlier in the article the utility found in using an AR pistol in lieu of a full sized rifle in conjunction with discrete carry practices. Of course, the SBR option exists in squeezing down size with a shorter barrel. Frankly, the compliance requirements and onus of using a Class 3 weapon in a personal defense situation is not worth it. The big question is what purpose does the AR pistol serve? It is certainly not the most practical handgun in the traditional sense considering size and weight. The fact the AR pistol is classified in legal terms as a handgun offers users who have a concealed carry license a certain amount of flexibility compared to a true rifle or NFA classified weapon. The AR pistol is just as compact as a SBR and with training can be operated as a very effective personal defense weapon (PDW). Here is where the AR pistol’s true asset in one’s inventory becomes evident when combined with the BLACKHAWK! line up of Diversion Bags. We are talking about carry options based on handgun label. Nothing in this article is to be construed as an advocating of violating any laws. This is presented for those who may be interested in the academic nature of such studies and for stimulating thought only.

No one can be all knowing in every facet of a subject as broad as weapons and personal defense. A highly recommended site for keeping informed about using an AR pistol as a PDW and incorporation into a personal defense plan is Suarez International (SI). Gabriel Suarez is the owner and CEO of One Source Tactical, Suarez International, and TSD Combat Systems. Mr. Suarez is a controversial figure within certain circles for various reasons; some of which are his “out of the box” unorthodox thinking when it comes to personal defense methods and tools that best serve this mindset. Readers are urged to visit the various Suarez sites, including Warrior Talk forum, to gain a better understanding of how to deploy the AR pistol with greater efficiency. Agree with him or not you are sure to come away with a better appreciation of the AR pistol’s potential.

Many would agree that a more potent weapon such as rifle compared to a handgun would better serve in a variety of personal defense situation. The key in making this approach work is finding an effective way to carry a rifle without drawing undue attention. First of all, be low profile. Try to fit into your environment. Do not dress like a wannabe Navy Seal or Delta operator. The entire idea is to dress or carry items in a way that blend in. Discreteness can be found in camouflage. Camouflage is the use of any combination of materials or coloration for concealment, either by making objects hard to see or by disguising them as something else such as done with the BLACKHAWK! Diversion bags. The BLACKHAWK! Diversion Carry Board Pack and Workout Bag provide superior tactical utility in a broad range of personal defense situations, especially when compared to being confined to a handgun only approach.

Events around the world such as 2008 Mumbai or recently in Kenya with the mall attack are not unfathomable here in the U.S. A weapon other than a handgun would be much appreciated if trapped in such a nightmarish scenario. Certain questions need to be addressed ahead of time with a basic plan formulated. A pertinent question is what do you do in terms of upgrading personal defense items? This is a very important question that BLACKHAWK! Diversion Bags are designed to help answer. There is no one way to predict how or when an attack will develop. There is no way to know the number of assailants ahead of time. Therefore the absolute necessity of having a plan and being prepared as much as possible for the unknown. The ability to tailor your defensive carry needs to worse case scenarios is crucial. There are so many variables to consider. Flexibility is key. The more options you allow yourself the better your odds for success will be, especially in terms of firepower upgrade that a long arm represents versus handgun only.


This article first appeared in SmallArmsReview.com on February 28, 2014


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