Reader Akira posted the following review in the Free Fire Zone, which we sincerely appreciate. So much so, in fact, that we thought it should be posted here for general consumption:
I’ve always had bad experiences with products made by companies that are deviating from their normal area of expertise (i.e., knives made by gun companies, whiskey made by beer companies, etc.). So I was a little unsure about this Ka-Bar TDI Law Enforcement Fanny Pack (although I’m guessing it was manufactured by some other company and just stamped with the Ka-Bar name in some kind of joint venture). Whatever…$28 on Amazon isn’t a bad deal and it looked to be the highest quality out of all the gun fanny packs I’ve looked at. Plus, it was one of the only ambidextrous ones I saw, which is always a major selling point for a left hander such as myself . . .
The main compartment looks deceptively small. When I opened the package and saw how small it was, I thought they had sent me the wrong item, because the description clearly said that it can accommodate a full-size handgun. Turns out it does. Part of the internal “holster” actually extends outside of the pocket and into the belt portion of the pack. My Taurus PT92 fits in there just dandy (although trying to zip it up with my Ruger GP100 stuffed in there did cause the zipper teeth to separate). It’s a little trickier to draw with a large handgun in there, as the bottom of the grip seems prone to snagging on the pocket. “Compact” pistols (but not sub-compact or pocket pistols) such as my CZ-75 Compact seem to be the optimum size for carry in this pack.
But just to demonstrate how much room is in this thing, here’s my PT92 in there along with a spare mag, my flashlight, and Leatherman. It’s not really convenient that I have to open the big pocket and possibly expose the gun to get to that other stuff, but it’s still pretty impressive that it can hold all of it neatly.
The gun pocket is closed with two zippers. This holds it securely, but makes it a little slow to draw the gun. What would have been great is if there was the normal zipper closure, but then a velcro or snap-button opening on the side so you can draw the gun quicker. If you’re comfortable leaving a small opening between the zippers through which you could squeeze your hand, opening the zippers as you go, you might be able to get to the gun just about as quick as with any other carry method. I find that a good way is to put one zipper just below the top corner of the main pouch, then put the other zipper about two inches away from it, on top of the pouch. This enables you to “slice” the first zipper open with your hand and access the gun.
On the front “flap” which forms the main pocket, there is a zipper pocket which would be great for storing ID or a CCW license. There is also a smaller open pocket in front of that, which my cell phone fits into perfectly (even if sticking out the top a little bit). And finally, there is a mesh pocket in front of all that stuff. All that pocket space is nice, but be aware that if you actually put stuff in every single pocket, it’s going to be pretty hard to zip the pocket shut. Especially if there’s a full-size handgun, spare mag, multi-tool, and a flashlight in the main compartment. That thing is gonna be bulging at the seams.
There are two more rectangular pockets on either side of the main compartment. The packaging had a picture of a flip phone in there… But last time I checked, it’s not the year 2000 and hardly anyone uses flip phones anymore; we all have giant smartphones. It’s kind of a tight fit, but the one on the left can hold a spare mag from my CZ-75 Compact (14 rounds). My Leatherman OHT multi-tool also fits in the right side pocket perfectly. I actually put my wallet sideways in one of those pockets, so that if I’m stopped by a cop for some reason while jogging, I don’t have to put my hand anywhere near the gun pocket.
The zippers on this thing were pretty noisy. When I went out for my test jog with it, the jingling and jangling sounded like sleigh bells; neighborhood probably thought Santa was coming early this year. I tied some short lengths of para-cord around the inside loop of the zippers and that quieted them down. There are two metal loops on the main compartment also. Not really sure what those are for.
Another problem I had is with the pack wanting to self-orient so that the main pocket is in the front-center position. The belt is angled upward to facilitate this, apparently, as that’s probably how most people would wear it. However, since I take it jogging, the up-and-down motion causes the pack to flop around and bust me in the groin. Not tolerable for very long. Furthermore, I like to wear it with the main pocket at roughly a 10 o’clock position for an easy left-handed draw (righties would put it at 2 o’clock). The solution I found for this is to wear the belt low and tight. It’s somewhat less comfortable, but adjusting the thing every five paces is annoying as hell. This might not be such an issue if one were to use a lightweight pistol in there rather than my all-steel CZ-75 Compact, but I don’t have one to test it with so I don’t know.
The pack is a little “tactical” in appearance and may be a giveaway to any gun saavy people you might pass on the street. Maybe the manufacturer should offer it in some more innocuous color schemes, rather than just “Evil Babykiller Black” (the same color as an AR-15! THE HORROR!) I thought about putting on a pair of headphones and just running the wire down into the main pocket, so it just looks like my MP3 player is in there.
So what about non-joggers using this pack? Well it would definitely be convenient to carry a gun, spare mag, cell phone, and billfold in the same pack, but it would look pretty out of place. It’s fairly common for People of the Run (Get it? Get it? Like People of the Gun???) to have fanny packs of some kind, as we need to carry all that stuff as well, and pockets on athletic pants are uniformly shitty. So people probably wouldn’t give a second glance to a jogger with a fanny pack. But someone in normal clothes walking around the grocery store with this thing? Might be a giveaway.
While there is room for improvement in a few areas, I think this fanny pack is a great option for concealed carry while jogging. Anyone who exercises knows that athletic clothing is often problematic for those who concealed carry. I don’t think this should be the first choice for casual carry (just walking around town, going out to dinner, etc.) as it will look a bit conspicuous on someone who is not doing some kind of physical activity. But if for some reason you cannot utilize any other carry method, this is a good one. This pack would allow you to carry a full-size handgun completely out of sight, even if it’s a little slow on the draw. Just get that belt nice and snug to avoid repeatedly being smacked in the cojones by your gun.
If I were asked to redesign this thing, I would say:
– Use short loops of para-cord or rubber-coated zippers instead of the all-metal ones to reduce noise
– Give a little more room depth-wise in the main pocket so that if you put a gun, spare mag, wallet, and cell phone in the many layers of pockets, it’s not bulging at the seams
– Make the side pockets bigger to accomodate the large, flat design of modern smart phones
For some reason, Amazon pairs this fanny pack with a heavy-duty “tactical” belt (one of those “buy both together and save” deals) The thing is, the fanny pack itself already has a belt of it’s own (like most fanny packs). I have no idea why Amazon would do that. I assumed that because they paired them together, you needed to supply your own belt. My fault for not reading the product description thorougly; now I’m stuck with an extra belt. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
I’ve used “fanny packs” to tote my CCW, they are convenient when riding horseback or ATVs but for street carry I’m not as enamored
I wonder if a semi-auto would cycle properly if you fired it from inside the fanny pack? It would be a little awkward shooting sideways but I’ll bet it wouldn’t take much practice to be pretty good for engagements at a few feet. This would be an advantage if you had a good indication that a threat was approaching since firing from the pack is about as fast as firing a snub-nose revolver from a coat pocket.
Just do not call it a fanny pack in Great Britain. It will get you slapped as “fanny” means something else over there.
New Zealand too.
Like the great Kieth moment in The Office (the real one):
Word of warning, then: out there they call them fanny packs. ‘Cause fanny means your arse over there…not your minge.
See that guy over there? He’s fanny-packin’ some serious heat.
“Maybe the manufacturer should offer it in some more innocuous color schemes, rather than just “Evil Babykiller Black”
This is one of my minor pet peeves – why do most of the makers of supposedly “inconspicuous” gun transport devices make them only in “HEY THIS A COOL TACTICAL BLACK GUN CARRIER” black?
Couldn’t they try a blue, or green, or even red? You know, something that doesn’t shout “gun-gun-gun”?
Blackhawk has a fairly pricey “deception” line of gun cases in a variety of colors and shapes – one that I considered is an AR case that looks like a generic tennis racquet bag. Unfortunately, it is $65 plus shipping, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to hide the gun that expensively. So I had this semi-brilliant idea, and took a look at the actual tennis racquet bags sold at WalMart for $14.97. Perfect fit for my rifle when folded, plus it has “WILSON” in 4″ script, big red letters, on the side. Not quite as heavy duty or as well padded as the Blackhawk bag, but it sure looks like I am carrying a tennis racquet in it.
Another option for a low-profile rifle case is the Bulldog brand cases at Brownell’s (http://www.brownells.com/shooting-accessories/gun-cases-racks/gun-cases/ar-15-m16-ultra-compact-discreet-rifle-case-prod41025.aspx). They come in navy and tan, and go for $30. They’ve got plenty of room, and also have pockets for four mags.
Those look good – wasn’t aware of them when I started looking for a carry case. Note to self: always check Brownell’s.
Have had one for a couple of years. It’s my favorite gun bag. Begs for abuse, and takes it well. And a ar pistol/sbr fits great with another section for your stuff…
5.11 has their “COVRT Gear” line of not-as-obvious bags including a pistol pouch that looks like a small camera bag and a fanny pack that wouldn’t look out of place next to a Nalgene bottle – both less than $40 and in several different non-black colors. Unfortunately their carbine bag is $140. http://www.511tactical.com/All-Products/Bags-Backpacks/COVRT.html
I’ve carried daily in a DeSantis fanny pack since 1989. It solves 90% of my carry problems. I’m on my 5th one. (life of the Velcro is about 5 years). I’d like to see it with a one-handed zippers-joined-with-paracord open/close for quiet opening. You really can’t open a Velcro fastener stealthily. Otherwise I’ve found ideal for most daily wear. When people comment, I just reply, “Oh, a guy called me a sissy once, so I hit him with my purse!”.
Men over 65 frequently wear fanny packs when not jogging AND still use flip phones. I think that’s the target market. 🙂
And is 65 “over 65”? Youth wants to know.
I’m not over 65-yet-and I have this same pack. I’m not a jogger, but I use this when I’m walking and don’t have my normal EDC rig. I also wear it at the gym and have my iPod in the front pocket. So far no one’s given it a second look, and I’ve had it for about a year.
I normally carry a Glock 19 in it, but it will fit a G21 if you want.
Something like this would be great if Im on my bike. Used to do EMS bike patrols back home on the beach and used a fanny pack for basic medical equipment and my radio, it worked out pretty well.
Something I would change though is stitching in a flap between the front an back of the main compartment so whatever tools you stick in there arent scratching the hell out of your gun. I know some people treat their gun as a tool and dont mind dings and scratches. Thats fine but regular wear and tear is different to me than tossing stuff on top of it.
Good review, thanks.
A flap separating the gun from the other stuff would be great. Not only for the cosmetic reasons that you mentioned, but because there is the possibility that some other object in the pocket *could* switch off the safety if you’re carrying a gun cocked and locked. I know it’s unlikely but still… I don’t like the possibility. That’s why I don’t carry anything else in that pocket.
This is JUNK – the zippers will fail in no time, probably when you are in a public place, and you will dump your gun onto your toes….. You can buy a very high quality Tommy’s Gun Pack that has a lifetime warranty for not a whole lot more if you wait for one of their excellent “50% off everything” sales. Add your email to their mailing list to get a notification. I have been carrying a full sized semi-auto for many years and these Packs hold up incredibly well. You can order a bright color and wear it over one hip so it doesn’t beat your gonads into submission when jogging or riding a bike. I’ve carried a Ruger SRH Alaskan in a size Large – it fits but you won’t be able to get anything else in the other pockets. Any small framed revolver or any semi is no problem, with lots of room for mags, knife, light, spare keys and a checkbook.
Spokane WA USA
I love it when people who have no experience tell you how something’s going to be.
The $28 price tag is one clue, and this statement from the review: “trying to zip it up with my Ruger GP100 stuffed in there did cause the zipper teeth to separate”. The zippers are too small, a common problem with low end junk packs like this one. John Davies
Spokane WA USA
“i.e., knives made by gun companies, whiskey made by beer companies, etc.”
Hot sauce made by whiskey distillers also?
And who could forget that one time they ordered a steak at a mexican restaurant!
I have this same pack. Bought it last spring from Wal-Mart.com (site to store). $25 or less, tax included.
Compared to the old Bianchi pack I wore for a decade (everyday, rain or shine) here in IL (thank you pols for “fanny pack carry”), this Ka-Bar (KB) pack is discrete and tiny.
Holds my G19 and two spare mags nicely. It doesn’t scream gun. 99% of sheeple don’t look at fanny packs as gun carriers. Hell, even cops who don’t know me don’t give it a second look (or they think I’m off-duty).
I haven’t really noticed the zippers being noisy. It’s been remarkably durable. The only failure after 18 months of use is the web mesh on the exterior has worn away in places.
I carry a spare EagleTac flashlight in the rearward external pouch and in the frontal one I’ve got a little multi-tool. I carry the pouch at 9:00 or slightly forward of that. It doesn’t turn itself around to try to hit me in the nuts.
As for accessing it, if things are going squirrelly, I’ll put my thumb between the zippers to give me a head start to accessing the gun should things continue to go south.
The pack’s front has a pouch for documents, etc. I keep a copy of the Illinois State Police brochure “how to transport your gun legally”.
I *really* like this pack.
I really don’t like needing to carry my gun in a fanny pack, but I’d rather have it and not need it than the other way around. And thanks to IL law, this is the only way to lawfully carry a gun in this state.
You’re going to scratch the piss out of your gun carrying that particular setup.
Carry a glock instead. the plastic mags won’t fubar your gun’s finish.
I suspect that picture (the one with the mag, flashlight, and Leatherman) was intended to illustrate the capacity of the thing. Akira does say in a post above “That’s why I don’t carry anything else in that pocket.”.
Own and use one of these; highly recommend it. It’s not for every day, every occasion use, at least for me, but fits the bill some times like no other carry method. It is one of my carry methods. It looks pretty stealth if wearing dark color clothes. The way it hides barrel in the belt with rather small square pocket, breaks up the shape of gun. My other carry in order is (guns G26 or CM9):
Side Leather Pancake Holster
Vest with Breast Pocket for Gun
Pocket Carry (for my Kahr CM9 only)
K-Bar TDI waist pack
Being last is not an indication of good it is. There are pros and cons of each carry method. However having this option in the drawer when I am wearing clothes that cannot conceal easy or don’t feel like wearing a vest, this is great. I just recently got a gun small enough to pocket, a 9mm Kahr CM9 which I use with a DeSantis Nemesis. That is a little easier than the TDI waist pack, but pocket does not work for any gun. My Glock 26 is too big and there for the K-bar Pack is great for that, if the other options are out.
Last people worry about what people in the know will think. I don’t think this screams gun. It screams look at the nerd with the fanny pack. BTW I call it a waist pack because I would not wear it with pack on the back… You need it up front to assure no one takes it from you. As far as making it more discrete try putting your car keys or cell phone in the outside mesh pocket or get a camera patch sewed on, “Canon”. Really I don’t worry about. Like I said if you wear darker clothes it blends in.
Mother of God … why are grown men discussing fanny packs?
What has this world come to?!
The only flaw I see with this type of conceal rig is the only peiple who wear them are abviously wearing a gun. I have never seen anyone wearing a fanny pack outside of 10 years ago. All of a sudden they turn up again when CHL has started to boom. When I see one of these I know there is a gun there. Why else would you wear one???
Depends on the part of town. At our new place you see lots of 20-somethings with fanny packs whose bikes are the primary mode of transportation. Around the office, however, no one wears a fanny pack.
I don’t like light guns, but have been thinking of getting something like this for my pepper spray and other stuff when I go to the gym.