Review by Syd
There are some great automobiles that are designed by drivers for drivers. The Lotus comes to mind. When you get behind the wheel, you immediately know, without needing to be told, that the designer of the machine understood the problem. The feeling is the same when you open up the Shooters Connection Tournament Series Range Bag. Chuck Bradley of Shooters Connection has been shooting IPSC since 1993. He understands the problem. He designed a bag that would get you through the IPSC Nationals or a week at Gunsite, with enough guns and gear to make sure you finish the courses of fire. This range bag, in brief, is the most thoroughly thought-out and best built range bag I have ever seen. Here’s why:
While someone else might have looked first at the multitude of compartments for guns, magazines and gear, my eye fell first on the buckles that attached the shoulder strap to the bag. A shoulder strap buckle on another bag by a big name maker failed on me shortly into the life of that now discarded bag. The strap buckles on the SC bag are steel. These are buckles that will not give way. No matter where you look on this bag, you will find this same, almost obsessive attention to detail. Even the water bottle holder has a grommeted drain hole to allow condensation to escape down rather than soaking into the bag. The brass bag includes a belt clip and a drawstring with clasp like those found on camping gear, plus a screened bottom which will allow powder residue and other crap to shake out of the bag.
The Bag is really three nested bags in one: the larger outer bag, the inner “hand bag” which lifts free of the large bag, and the brass bag. The main outer bag has 6 separate compartments, three pouches for guns, 8 magazine pouches, hand and shoulder straps, and water bottle and holder. The hand bag has 6 magazine pouches, two pistol pouches and space for the brass bag. The inner bag has its own handles and rings to attach the shoulder strap to if you wish to do that. The brass bag lifts free from the “hand bag” and will clip to your belt or any equipment connector. This modular design allows you to take everything you need for a tournament, but then lift out the inner bag and carry just essential items from stage to stage. The inner bag also has dividers attached by Velcro like a photographer’s bag so that you can change the spacing of the padded dividers to fit your own liking.
Except for the lining pieces, the bag is built out of very heavy nylon and seams are double and even tripled-stitched where needed. Padding is strategically placed to protect the contents of the bag from impact and abuse. This bag is strong. Chuck has a photo of one of these bags with four cases of .45 ACP, roughly 170 lbs., sitting on top of the empty bag and it doesn’t crush.
If I had a criticism of the bag, and it would be an extremely mild one, it would be that it’s almost too large. The tendency is to want dump every piece of gear you own and a thousand rounds of ammo into it. When you do this, it gets really heavy. As someone recently recovered from a bad back injury, I’m more sensitive to weight than I once was. Of course, just because you can load 5 guns, 16 magazines, and half dozen holsters and headsets into the bag, doesn’t mean you have to. If you’re not weight sensitive and need to pack a lot of gear, the bag is ideal.
If you’re the kind of shooter who goes to the range with one gun every eighteen months “to keep his eye in,” this is probably more range bag than you need. If you’re a serious competition shooter with two tricked-out high-caps and a boatload of magazines and speed holsters, this bag is the ticket.
At $139 one might initially think the bag is a bit pricey, but once you examine for construction, quality and features, it becomes clear that it’s actually quite a bargain and well worth the asking price. This bag is quality construction and quality thought. To me, it has become “The Bag.”