The world is an unpredictable place, these days more than ever. One thing that we can do to try and tip the odds in our favor is to have the right tools available, make sure we are well trained in their use, and try to keep all of our options open as long as possible.
That’s where the Hazard 4 Grayman Takedown pack comes in, providing a way to package and transport that potentially lifesaving equipment in a format that won’t raise any eyebrows or make you a target.
The concept of a “bail out bag” is nothing new. Whether they have been called jump bags or E&E kits, the idea of having a single bag you can pull from your home or vehicle that has all the necessary tools to keep you alive and get you through any conceivable scenario is appealing. It simplifies things, and when second matter being able to grab everything in one hand is much better than trying to root around your trunk for that bag of spare magazines while trying to juggle a first aid kit and some loose bottles of water.
The problem is that many these bail out bags are decidedly…tactical. You know the look: black, FDE, or ranger green, with magazine pouches on the outside, and covered in MOLLE webbing. It practically screams “this guy is carrying some cool stuff you should steal.” They shine a bright spotlight on you, probably when you are just trying your best to blend in and get away from whatever threat has materialized.
Imagine a scenario where you’re downtown in a big city. Maybe there’s some protesting going on. And then, all of a sudden, there’s a terrorist attack. A large explosion goes off, streets are blocked, and now you need to quickly abandon your vehicle to get to safety.
With a traditional bail out bag, there’s every likelihood that the “tactical” appearance will make you seem like more of a target than one of the crowd. That could either draw the attention of law enforcement, who may try and apprehend you, or the bad actors who may try to attack you as a potential threat, forcing your hand to draw and engage rather than just getting out of Dodge.
This isn’t that outlandish of a scenario. At least not any more. The Westgate shopping mall attack, the Mumbai 2008 attacks, and the 2015 Paris attacks . . . all examples of coordinated attacks on civilians by armed terrorists that have happened this century which disrupted transit and forced people to immediately seek shelter and try to find their way home. All those attacks happened overseas, but there’s no reason something similar can’t happen here.
Or, let’s try a more likely scenario. You’re heading out on a family vacation to a cabin in the woods away from the madding crowd. You want to bring your home defense tools, but the wife would flip her lid seeing you stuffing a Pelican case into the trunk of the car. You need something a little less obvious that you can pile in with the rest of the luggage.
So the choice boils down to either trying to repurpose a normal backpack (which probably wasn’t designed for weapons storage), or trying to camouflage your bail out bag.
Hazard 4 thinks they have a solution to this problem with the Grayman edition of their Takedown sling pack.
This bag started as every other bail out bag, namely covered in MOLLE and with large velcro areas for morale patches. That’s great as a range bag, but sucks as a covert bail out bag. The idea was to have a pack that could accommodate a full size AR-15 that had been taken down (lower and upper separated) with some space to spare, along with some good pouches on the front for gear storage.
That sounds like a great bail out bag, if only the “shoot me first” advertising were removed. So that’s exactly what they did.
In this version, the MOLLE is completely gone. Their traditional stiffened and rugged material has been replaced with something softer and more civilian-y. They went with a nice neutral gray for the color instead anything that looks military.
Even basic black has a tendency to scream “tactical” in some situations, so a neutral gray is probably the least attention-grabbing color they could have chosen. The velcro patch areas have been covered over with a removable strip of material that matches the rest of the bag. That lets you can stay “hidden,” but still have the option to fly your operator flag if you want.
Overall, they did a smart job on the pack. The color is great, and the construction and style fit in with other non-gun-related gear. It feels like they actually spent some time thinking this one through.
The main compartment, as promised, fits a disassembled full size AR-15. Or, a folding brace AR-15 pistol with an 11 inch barrel and attached Sandman S silencer. The carry compartment runs the entire length and width of the bag, with the other pockets basically being bolt-on attachments to the front zipped cover of the bag.
The zipper for this compartment goes all the way around the bag, has two pulls (so it can open either way), and has attachment points for a small cable lock if needed.
There isn’t a whole lot going on in the main compartment, since it’s pretty much expected to just hold the disassembled AR-15. There’s a padded divider in there to keep your upper and lower from grinding and marring each other, with buckles and straps to help keep everything in place.
One thing I will note is that if you (like me) have gone for the side folding pistol option, you should only put a 20-round magazine in the gun when it’s in the compartment. Even with just a red dot, the firearm is just a touch wide for comfort and having a smaller magazine absolutely helps. Also, the nifty folding pistol grip is a great way to keep the whole package as compact as possible.
On the front of the bag are three handy pouches, two big ones and one small one at the top.
The bottom most pouch has some organizers inside for administrative items like pens and paper, which is handy. But in my case I just filled this completely full of first aid and survival gear.
I was honestly surprised by how much I could cram into this pocket. I’ve got CAT tourniquets, foil blankets, CELOX pressure bandages, multiple triangle bandages (the best of all bandages), road flares, and even one of those LifeStraw water filtration things in here with room to spare. So much room for activities!
The middle pocket is filled with (surprise, surprise) spare ammo. Two AR-15 magazines, two GLOCK 17 magazines, and that’s it. The contents need to be easy to identify and grab in a hurry, so it’s best to keep the pocket tidy and uncluttered.
The magazines fit with room to spare. I probably could have shoved two more AR-15 mags in there if I tried.
Up top was a smaller pocket I used for odds and ends. Small toolkit, multitool with a knife, lockpick set, compass, and a Geiger counter. Because if we’re being paranoid, why not lean into it and go all “dirty bomb explodes in a city center” level of prepping?
Again, everything fits nicely and snugly in the bag without any problem. Easy-to-close pockets and room to spare if I need it.
I haven’t needed to put this bag to the actual test yet, and frankly I hope I never will. But I have spent some time carrying it around, and I’m pretty pleased with it in general.
I’d have thought that the fact that this is a sling pack and not a backpack would be an issue, but in reality it’s fine. The weight is distributed over a rather large and padded single strap, and there’s some nice, comfy padding along the back of the bag to keep any of your gun’s poky bits from digging into your back.
The single strap sling also gives it the benefit of being able to be moved around quickly from your back to your front, so you can access all your pouches when you need it or to grab your gun and get into the fight. You don’t even need to take the bag off to get in there. It also allows for a much more slender and streamlined design, which lets you slot it into your car more easily and pull it out in a hurry with the oversized grab handles on the top or bottom.
The long and the short of it is that the Hazard 4 Grayman Takedown bag fills a very specific niche, but it’s one that needs filling. I love the flexibility it affords, being able to either stay covert and blend in with the crowd or quickly access all the gear I’d need to directly confront an issue. Self defense is all about having as many options available as possible, and this one piece of gear opens up more doors than others I’ve tried in the past.
Specifications: Hazard 4 Grayman Takedown Sling Pack
- Overall size ~28.3″ L x 8.75″ W x 6.25″ D
- Main compartment ~27.3″ L x 7.9″ W x 5″ D
- Weight ~3.5 lbs.
- MSRP $199 (about $145 retail)
Overall Rating: * * * *
The only thing I ding this bag on is the price. It’s just a touch on the high side. But honestly, even at that price tag, I found the features and usability more than enough for me to plop down my hard-earned cash and pay full price for one of these puppies.