Slings and Arrows

By Aaron Brudenell

The styles of yesterday were perhaps more forgiving than those of today. The “day pack” and the “fanny pack” were both accepted equally, messenger bags were becoming the new briefcase, and even a fancy “European man-purse” (though viewed with slight suspicion) was otherwise not shunned by the public at large. These days, unless you’re a student, air traveler, or a balaclava-clad protester, a normal-sized backpack is at least mildly suspicious and out of style. Fortunately, there has been a resurgence of a diminutive example that still carries more stuff than the average person can shove in their pockets but doesn’t stand out in the urban or suburban public sphere.

The “sling bag” seems to occupy the happy middle between an unfashionable waist pack and a college student’s book bag. Also, unlike the most tactical Maxpedition™ Active Shooter Response Bag™, a sling bag looks more like the kind of thing “Dad” would have at Disney World to keep track of his kid’s graham crackers and baby wipes than what a plain clothes SWAT team member would drag from his surveillance van on a raid. The capacity of the new class of sling bags is big enough to manage all sorts of daily carry items and some might even accommodate an iPad or small tablet, though most are in the same category as a small- to medium-sized woman’s purse.

Sling bags are essentially smaller-than-average backpacks intended to be carried with a single shoulder strap crossing over the front to the opposite side. This mode of carry allows the pack to be worn securely (free from the easy snatch of a thief) and still permit relatively rapid access by tugging the strap up or down to bring the storage compartments to the front of the wearer. A number of sling bags are available today, and while some are particularly crafted with the concealed carrier or plain clothes cop in mind, those that aren’t still offer resources and options for the defensively minded consumer. In either case, the principal advantage to the gun carrier is that it eliminates the necessity of a...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N7 (September 2017)
and was posted online on July 21, 2017


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