I have hope in my heart. Hope that, one day, I’ll see something advertised on Instagram as I’m scrolling through gun photos (only lightly drooling on the phone, mind you) that is actually as cool in real life as it looks online. I think I know deep down that’s a foolish hope, but nevertheless that’s where I first saw the Stealth Anti-Theft Crossbody Sling Bag and decided to actually pay real cash for one. Oh man, that was a mistake.
First, before we get to reality, let’s talk about the fantasy.
I like the idea of a cross draw holster. I know, roast me if you must, but there’s something appealing about the comfort I imagine comes from carrying a firearm under the arm instead of attached to your hip. Especially as I was getting ready to do a long cross country road trip with the wife, the idea of having a holstered handgun the entire ride didn’t seem appealing. But if that gun was slung under the shoulder, easily accessible while driving, that would be a whole new ball game.
Which brings me to the Stealth Anti-Theft Crossbody Sling Bag.
As advertised, it seems to be a “covert” option for a cross draw holster. It’s pretty much the same idea as the European man purse that’s ubiquitous overseas. Not something you typically see carried here in the States, but then again, not entirely unheard of. Something that might pass without a whole lot of attention.
The bag is designed to not only hold your handgun, but also be a functional carrying pouch for things like your cell phone, wallet, and other small items. Again, I had a long cross country trip planned: the fewer things in my pocket, the better.
It sounded OK. And for ~$30, I was willing to take a gamble. The bags are only available on their online store, and listed them as in stock.
I ordered one bag on September 28th.
It shipped nearly three weeks later on October 21st, too late to actually be used during the cross country trip as I had intended.
What arrived was disappointing on almost every level.
The material used for the bag feels cheap, like it’s made of plastic. The zippers get stuck easily, nowhere near the gold standard YKK zippers you’d expect on something on which you’re betting your life on the ability to open it in an emergency. And there was no reinforcement of the bag — it was just a soft, floppy piece of fabric sewn together.
None of that bodes well for long-term use.
While the main “concealed” pocket is, in fact, big enough to hide a GLOCK 19 with a weapon light — once you have it canted in position — but it barely fits. There’s no guide inside the bag to keep the gun in position, so the muzzle droops down to the bottom corner and the whole thing seems to get lost in the pocket. Anything bigger and you’ll start having issues closing the zipper.
Speaking of which, I hate that there’s a zipper here. Based on the nature of the product, you are probably are going to need to access this pocket in a hurry. The folks at Eberlestock did it right with their EDC bags using a set of magnets to keep their handgun pocket closed. They’re guaranteed not to jam so you can quickly open it when you need to.
With this thing, I think I’d be lucky to do an El Presidente in under a day and a half.
So getting the gun out of the pocket is difficult, and that’s made even more so by the nature of the fabric used. There’s no reinforcement to the pouch, so it easily deforms and can trap your handgun inside. A stiffer material on the back of the pouch would have gone a long way toward helping the bag keep its shape.
That shapeshifting only gets worse once you actually add other items to the bag. At most, expect to be able to carry a small cell phone and a few dollars. There isn’t any room left once the handgun is in there, and cramming in more stuff just makes the deformation problem worse.
That doesn’t even begin to get into the problems involved with using this as a carry bag, let alone a concealed carry bag. I tried carrying this thing under a jacket, I tried it while biking, I even tried it while just sitting in a chair.
It always seemed to swing to an awkward position and get in the way, never staying where I wanted it to be. And the entire time, the rough, coarse material on the strap kept irritating my neck.
So, at the end of the day, I’m $30 poorer, 30 days older, and have a hunk of plastic-y fabric that is practically useless. Maybe I’ll learn my lesson some day and stop buying crap off Instagram. Especially when it turns out to just be a re-packaged version of this ~$14 sling off Amazon.
Recommendation: DO. NOT. BUY.