Gear Review: 5.11 Rush Delivery LIMA Messenger Bag

Since I started writing for TTAG I’ve been traveling more and more each year covering gun-related goings-on in the world, and as a result I’ve needed to figure out how to best carry the gear I need to get the job done. For the last year I’ve been using Optics Planet’s OPMOD PAC, and while it worked great for a while, it just didn’t have the capacity I needed to carry all of my day-to-day gear. Then I saw 5.11’s Rush Delivery Messenger Bag, and it looked like a home run in terms of organizing and carrying all of the things I need . . .

On the outside, the bag has all the trappings of the modern military chic look. There’s enough Velcro straps to slather on all of your morale patches, and they double as MOLLE webbing if you feel the need for yet more pouches. The trend continues around to the side, but the back is Velcro free. The bag also comes in your choice of four militaristic colors: grey, black, OD green and tan.

5.11 Rush Delivery, c Nick Leghorn

The front of the bag also sports two small zippered pockets, which are the perfect size for a set of earbuds or some small electronic devices. There are two Velcro strips that keep the front flap in place when down, but there’s also a pair of buckles that will hold it down more securely if you need. Along the top of the flap there’s a line of MOLLE straps that are quadruple stitched into the bag, and the center has a handle for easy carrying.

5.11 Rush Delivery, c Nick Leghorn

Open the front flap and you’ve got instant access to a rather well thought out array of pockets. There’s two long pockets on either side, a slot that’s the perfect size for a flashlight, a couple pen holders and a card holder pocket for business cards. These are all things that you’ll need on a regular basis, so popping them on the front panel is a nice design feature. A little further up there’s an open pocket, another one that’s held closed by Velcro, and a further full-length pocket that is closed by a zipper. So no matter how you want to contain your important gubbins there’s a way.

For larger things, there’s yet more pockets on the inside.

5.11 Rush Delivery, c Nick Leghorn

On either side of the main compartment is a large, full-length pocket that is secured closed by a Velcro strap. One pocket is made of a thin material, and the other is padded and designed to hold a laptop. I use it to carry a level IIIA body armor panel, but whatever. Interior to those pockets are four smaller pockets, two on each large pocket, that can hold things like books and small tablets. I’ve got a Nexus 7 and Moleskine notebook nestled in the front small pockets in my bag and they fit just about perfectly. On the front side, interior to those smaller pockets are yet more pockets, but zippered this time and made of a mesh material, perfect for small objects like quarters.

Yeah, this bag is basically the Inception of pockets. Or perhaps the Xzibit of bags.

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Right. Moving on.

5.11 Rush Delivery, c Nick Leghorn

The back of the bag is mostly plain, but there’s a double sided zipper at the top that opens into a Velcro lined pocket, which would be a nice place to stash a gun if you can’t carry a holster (see RF, it’s gun related!).

The bag comes in three sizes, the Mike, the Lima and the X-Ray for Medium, Large and Xtra-large I assume. The version I ended up with is the Lima, which clocks in right around $100. And I hate to say it, but I feel like there are too many pockets. Especially on the front side of the bag, I feel like that first full-length inner pocket is completely redundant. Either have the full length pocket, or the two smaller pockets, but both of those sets plus the pockets on the front is just too much material wasted.

Specifications: 5.11 Rush Delivery Messenger Bag [LIMA]
Size: 11” H x 17” L x 4” D, 748 Cubic inches
Price: $99.99

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ease of Use * * * * *
It’s a bag. Everything is pretty self explanatory.

Utility * * * *
Saying it has too many pockets makes me feel like a crotchety old man, but that’s how I see it. Works great otherwise.

Overall * * * * *
If you’re looking for a “tactical” style messenger bag for your everyday use, this is the best you’re gonna get. Hazard 4 has something similar, and the Tactical Tailor also has an offering, but none so aesthetically pleasing, spacious and inexpensive.

comments

  1. avatar B says:

    Speak of the devil, I just ordered one of these the other day in Xray OD.

  2. avatar Hkfan says:

    Avoid Chinese crap. Buy Berry compliant. LBT, tactical tailor, Eagle.

    1. avatar Theilla Asber says:

      Avoid blatant nationalists like this knave above, and handle the product before being overly guttural.

  3. avatar William Burke says:

    Lima the bean, or Lima, the capital of Peru?

    1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

      LimaLife?

    2. avatar B says:

      I’m guess phonetic Lima, like Peru. I’m considering using it for a low profile pistol range bag. Stick some velcro safe holsters (Acorn or Hazard velcro) in the main section, some velcro magazine pouches in the other, some ear plugs, and a speed loader and I’m good to go if the range makes me buy ammo there.

    3. avatar Mike says:

      I believe it’s Lima for “large”…i.e., Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, etc. They have two other models, the “Mike” (medium) and “Xray” (x-large).

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        Got it.

    4. avatar Fox says:

      Mike, Lima, and X-Ray for M, L and X(L) sizes. Just got that. Which makes it Lima as in Peru.

  4. avatar William Burke says:

    And I do not understand why you, Foghorn, the gun writer, didn’t photograph it with a gun inside… Seriously, are you all right?

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      Looks like Murse to me.

  5. avatar Swarf says:

    “Am I the only one around here who thinks that “tactical” bags are asking for unwanted attention?!”

    You all know what picture I would post if I could.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      I go in for LL Bean tactical. Perfect camouflage. Everybody will think you are preppy gun grabber. It’s perfect for covert ops. The downside is that the bad guys will think you are an easy mark and you will be trying to explain to the DA that, “no, you weren’t pulling a Bernie Goetz so you could shoot someone.”

      I may have to comprise and get a 5.11 “travel vest” when I replace my LL Bean model. The lining is not up to the wear and tear of a carry gun.

  6. avatar A-Rod says:

    Nope, that just screams ‘Shoot me first’. Go incognito.

  7. avatar JeffR says:

    A bag review? A messenger bag, no less. Where’s the post on the Remington 51? Focus, people. Focus. (J/K)

    1. avatar TX says:

      Hey, the bag is already out! :-). The new Rem 9mm will be the S&W Shield of 2014, I suspect.

  8. avatar Robb says:

    Check these out for a less “Shoot me first” option. http://www.mountainridgegear.com/products/Tactical-Messenger-Bag.html

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      What’s better about it? And now, everything remotely about a weapon is “EDC” now. This is “EDC” AND “tactical”!

  9. avatar Tommy Knocker says:

    Brought to mind the logo of the company that former Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver formed after he came back from exile. Manufacturing pants that had 5 pockets. That fifth pocket was the charm. The logo was “the pants with a pocket for everything”…LOL.

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      Stop featherbedding it; he didn’t. It was a CODPIECE, the most obscene bit of apparel ever invented. It didn’t “hide” anything; rather it was designed to enhance and exaggerate the “piece” it held….

  10. avatar MD Matt says:

    First time I’ve seen one of these with too many pockets…usually I have the other problem.
    I’m partial to scottevest wear and maxpedition versapacks…but to each
    their own.

  11. avatar William Burke says:

    I dig my OPMOD bag. First week I had it, one of the zipper pulls broke, but it’s not important, and it’s been a champ in the year or so I’ve hauled it everyday, albeit mostly just upstairs to beside my compute, and back up at night. It holds my EAA Witness w/compensator well, and that’s no small gun, at all.

    1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

      Which one? I’ve been looking at some of those OPMOD messenger bags and a few other brands. Would it fit a digital SLR camera and a few lenses (assuming I provide the partition insert)?

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        It just says “Limited Edition”. Robert would know; he reviewed it here, maybe a year ago, maybe not quite that long. The review prompted me to buy one; I’m a ballistic nylon freak.

        Yeah, if it’s one of the newish smaller-sized SLRs, I remember thinking it would be a pretty good camera bag. It’s got OODLES of pockets. But I had other plans. I put away my the Canon DSLR, and now work exclusively with the iPhone camera. I enjoy the challenge of the limitations, and the camera is quite good. I bought a little lens that re-purposes in fisheye, wide angle and macro. The macro is really fun.

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          You might want to look at a Panasonic Lumix camera. It’s a Leica sized camera with interchangeable lenses that takes up much less room than a DSLR. It’s not the number of megapixals that determines image quailty it is the lense. You can have 41 megapixals and if your lense only resolves 10 mega pixals than all that extra density doesn’t matter.

        2. avatar William Burke says:

          This is mostly untrue. Modern lenses have ample resolution for the job. IT’S ABOUT THE MEGAPIXELS.

        3. avatar tdiinva says:

          I must be doing something wrong because my 8mp camera phone is not as sharp as my old 8mp DSLR.

      2. avatar William Burke says:

        It’s this one:

        http://www.opticsplanet.com/opmod-first-responders-utility-bag.html

        But I swear, when it’s filled with stuff, it seems to look much different. I life the full look, but it’s been full since day one…

        1. avatar Marcus Aurelius says:

          Ahh, I just noticed the opmod PAC, which is the one I’d been looking at, was linked in this article. Right at the top. That’s ADD for you.

  12. avatar Steve says:

    I have this Rush Delivery bag and it is awesome. Holds everything I care to cart around, and keeps it all organized. Best bag/briefcase I ever owned.

  13. avatar Gunner442 says:

    Spec Ops Brand. Veteran owned, all gear made in Texas USA. Quality belts, bags, rucks slings, etc. Top notch kit.
    http://www.specopsbrand.com/tactical-gear/backpacks-rucksacks-tactical-bags/t-h-e-messenger-bag-xl.html

  14. avatar Jonathan says:

    I have the HSGI bag and its great.

  15. avatar Kirk from Ak. says:

    Ironically when I worked as a bike messenger CCW wasn’t at all practical. Another irony I wouldn’t buy that bag now that I can CCW. I’d rather deal with someone like Dank Bags out of Seattle, it would cost three times as much at least but besides having the gun stuff set up to order it would have room for a case of beer and/or ammo and last for years.

    1. avatar Kirk from Ak. says:

      assuming you intended to use the messenger bag while riding a bike that is. My instincts tell me the 511 won’t hold up to daily use for very long.

  16. Where is that fine line between a man purse and a “messenger bag”?

    : )

    1. avatar William Burke says:

      If you’re hung up about “masculinity”. The hang-up is yours and yours alone.

  17. avatar Ronaldo_Ignacio says:

    Nick,
    Do you carry a level IIIA armor plate just for fun, or is it to protect the nexus 7?

  18. How does this compare to the Armordilla?

  19. avatar Martin says:

    Thank you for nice review. Can you upload photos of the bagwith you (no need to show face) I just would like to see how big it is.

    Can yo utell me if you can put for e.g. a sweatshirt if needed intothis bag ifyou alredyhavesome items in it?

    1. avatar sophia says:

      I’ve had this bag since 2012. In 2013 I carried a laptop daily and other stuff while commuting which included walking 5 miles a day. This year I’ve been commuting by bike for the past month and so far it’s held up pretty well even though it’s not really designed to be a bicycle messenger bag. Zippers and buckles have held up well. Still looks new.

      I do use it occasionally for off body carry. It has a big pocket lined with velcro and even with a Glock 23 and a couple of mags, I could probably fit a couple of 30 round pmags. My EDC includes a Leatherman, flashlight, a travel powerstrip, earbuds, USB sticks, two hotspots, phone, tablet, USB/Lightning cables, bike cable, etc. All those pockets come in handy. It can hold enough clothes and a second pair of shoes for a 3 day weekend (including a laptop), so it can hold a sweatshirt or hoodie easily.

  20. avatar Richard Proctor says:

    My question is out of the three sizes which one would work best for an 11.6 inch lap top/ occasional school bag? Are the compartments large enough to hold a few textbooks and the laptop and keep them seperated?

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