Allen Company Recon Tactical Backpack

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

Technically, all backpacks could be considered tactical. After all, tactical means "of or relating to a maneuver or plan of action designed as an expedient toward gaining a desired end or temporary advantage." Having an efficient storage solution that can easily be carried on one's person is a pretty distinct advantage over say, a plastic grocery bag or just your pant pockets. Heck, even a bindle (picture the classic cartoon hobo with a sack tied to a stick) is a human invention that could be considered a distinct advantage for carrying your stuff. What I'm getting at, is when a product is marketed as "tactical" I try to focus on what it does that provides a distinct advantage over the other products in it's category. 

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

There are plenty of "tactical" backpacks out there, and typically the quality and capacity improves the higher the price point. If you are looking for a dependable bug-out bag or EDC bag that will outlast the zombie apocalypse (heavy sarcasm) then you may be in the $200+ range. There are some of us who are just looking for a fairly inexpensive bag that has expanded useful features, as well as looks cool. After all, the first rule of Tactical is if you aren't looking cool, you are doing it wrong. Or so I've been told! In shopping for an inexpensive tactical backpack that would serve well during day outings or travel, I found the Allen Company Recon Tactical Backpack. For only $25 it seemed like a decent pack that was casual but looked the part. Black: check. MOLLE webbing: check. Hook & Loop panel for the sweet PVC morale patches from Patriot Patch Co.: check!

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

It has 3 zippered compartments ranging in size. The largest main compartment has a partition sleeve that holds either a laptop or tablet device,  textbook or magazines (the reading kind) or even a hydration bladder, with a covered port in the top where the bladder's drinking tube can come through and then be secured to the strap. Outside of the aforementioned sleeve theres room for loosely putting anything else, a small jacket or several ham sandwiches. There was clearly room to accommodate more pouches, pockets or an interior MOLLE system but Allen left is pretty minimalistic and bare here, which I guess is why it's under thirty bucks.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

The second compartment has more to offer as far as utility, and short leashed keyring, admin/paper pocket, and some smaller stitched pockets for pens or smaller items. The third forward most zippered pocket located directly behind the front MOLLE webbing is completely bare, just  big enough for a small book or two magazines (the shooting kind). Once again, pretty bare minimum and really not useful as a range bag, bugout bag, or survival bag.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

The exterior has MOLLE webbing on the front, sides, and sling of the pack so you can expand the pack with your own tactical accessories. A dump pouch or admin pouch would go along with the whole traveling student role. You could be "that guy" and put pistol mag pouches on the sling and sides, but it wouldn't earn you many credibility points at the gun show. There is a synch-able net pouch for a water bottle on the wearer's right side, and a slim, narrow zippered pocket on the left that will hold a couple energy bars.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

The comfort of the Recon Tactical Backpack is what's the real hero of its price point, as the back panel and the single sling are padded as well as slightly aerated for reducing sweat spots after wearing it all day. It is a single sling design like a messenger bag / backpack hybrid, so if you weigh it down with heavy contents (ie: dozens of manufacturer catalogs from SHOT Show) you will definitely feel it in your left shoulder after awhile. The downside to hybrid single strap bags like this is the inability to switch shoulders to reduce that fatigue if your pack is too heavy. There is a smaller strap with plastic M-buckle  on the right side which snaps into the main shoulder strap to keep the bag from shifting around, and that helps stabilize the load.

Allen Company Tactical Recon Backpack

In all honesty, I bought this bag from a local gun shop the week before SHOT Show 2015 because I didn't have the time or budget for a more expensive and comprehensive backpack, and I thought a more minimal pack would be useful with all the other camera and recording equipment slung over my shoulder. I quickly found out how overloading the pack with heavy magazines and catalogs lead to pain at the end of a whole day spent on the showroom floor, and I really wished I had anted up for a more conventional double shoulder strap bag with better use of its interior space. If it had better use of internal space with more pockets or pouches on the inside, you wouldn't need to snap on more MOLLE pouches on the outside. Admitting all that, I would still vouch for the Recon Tactical Backpack for a student or just someone on the go looking to travel light but still have some "tactical" features. If you are looking for a full capacity backpack with more features and double straps like a 5.11 pack but more affordable, don't hesitate to check out Allen Company's other tactical backpacks.

Firearms Insider Reviews – 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The Recon Tactical Pack is ready for the field, the range, or duty use. The single should sling is nicely padded for comfort, while the interior pockets and exterior MOLLE loops allow for easy organization and the ability to add MOLLE compatible accessories.

Target Market:  Day-trippers, Casual Hikers, Students

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • 600D cosntruction
  • Single, padded shoulder strap
  • Exterior MOLLE web system
  • Interior organization compartments
  • Water bottle pocket, plus hydration bladder sleeve
  • Air mesh padded back
  • Hook and loop patch for adding name tape or logo patches
  • Padded compartment for laptop
  • Dimensions: 17.5" x 11" x 7.5"

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black only

What others are saying?: "The Recon Tactical Pack is ready for the field, the range, or duty use. The single shoulder sling is nicely padded for comfort, while the interior pockets and exterior MOLLE loops allow for easy organization and the ability to add MOLLE compatible accessories."

Price point:

I need it now! Availability: Amazon

Our Rating:


  • Minimal price, minimal footprint
  • Hydration bladder compartment and hole
  • MOLLE webbing for expandable capacity
  • Stitching holds up for light - medium use
  • Strap and back panel are padded and comfortable
  • Price Point is low for minimal features


  • Lack of internal pouches / pockets
  • Design limits carry to left shoulder only
  • Did not include hydration bladder

Score: 5.5 Mediocre



Featured FFL:

For FFL services I choose Promised Land Firearms in Toulon, IL.

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Blue Ridge Overland Gear Molle Seat-Back Panel Review

molle 1

The Blue Ridge Overland Gear Molle Seat-Back Panel is a clever and yet simple design to customize how you carry gear in your vehicle.  The panel design takes into account the full advantage of how Molle webbing allows you to carry the gear you want in the way you want it.  Made in the USA, this panel is constructed of mil-spec webbing, 500D Cordura and has a plastic core for rigidity.  Blue Ridge Overland offers this panel in a variety of sizes to match your vehicles seat-back.  The only problem that you are going to have with his product, there are soo many great Molle pouches and accessories to choose from.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: An easy and customizable way to organize gear in your vehicle.molle 2

Target Market: The organized and prepared.

FNB's:  (Features and Benefits of this product)

  • 12" x 22" panel
  • Velcro strip at top
  • Mil Spec MOLLE webbing
  • 500D cordura
  • Plastic core for rigidity
  • Tons of MOLLE accessories from a variety of outfitters
  • Made in the USA

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Available in black and coyote brown.  Also, the panel is offered in larger sizes. Blue Ridge Overland Gear

What others are saying?:  FI could only find reviews that were posted to the Blue Ridge Overland Gear site, but all reviews were 5 out of 5 stars.

Price point:

  • MSRP = $37.99
  • Retail = unavailable

I need it now! Availability: Readily available on-line at Blue Ridge Overland Gear.

Our Rating:

+ Mil spec MOLLE webbing + Customizable + Tons of accessories to attach + 500D Cordura + Made in the USA + Great customer service

Score: 9.0 Amazing


Jared prefers Simon Peter Sport Company for all his FFL needs.

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Fox Tactical Advanced Tactical Hipster Review




51398You read correctly, I bought a Fox Tactical Advanced Tactical Hipster. No its not a bushy bearded, shmegah & skinny-jean wearing, Pabst Blue Ribbon sipping bodyguard that follows me everywhere I go (that would be hilarious though!) It's actually a messenger/shoulder bag thats quoted as being "designed for law enforcement use but works just as well for everyone." You could call it a very tactical man purse, and I'd be hard pressed to argue with you. This bag consists of everything from a concealed weapon compartment, to MOLLE straps for attaching additional pouches, to multiple storage pockets to use for your everyday items you carry around with you on a regular basis. This back of the bag is padded with mesh cushion backing and an adjustable padded shoulder strap to provide all day comfort.

The key features include one main compartment with a large flap with quick release buckle, one large dump pouch with mesh pocket, one 'concealed' velcro-lined pocket with zippered closure, one mesh pocket for radio or flashlight storage and one accessory pouch on side. There's a place for everything, and also places for nothing. What I mean, is it probably has more compartments than your mother's purse.

I picked this bag up for only $30 locally on a whim, knowing that with summer travel and warmer weather concealed carry will be a bit of a challenge with my preferred firearms. I don't like pocket guns, and wanted to be able to stow a full-size pistol, extra mags, water, sunglasses, cellphone, and really anything that won't fit in my speedo. So far my only real complaint is the 'holster compartment' only has two strips of velcro and a very rudimentary velcro / strap / loop thats mean to hold your barrel. It's sloppy and not ideal for keeping foreign objects out of the triggerguard as it's completely exposed. Something like a velcro-backed holster chassis or pocket holster that can be secured to the inside of the pocket would be ideal for keeping the gun oriented correctly after running/shifting the bag. Crossbreed makes velcro backed holsters that would work well in this application. Unless that's too mainstream for the Advanced Tactical Hipster.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: Keep everything within easy reach for the mission with pockets galore.

Target Market:  Tactical Hipsters (Law Enforcement and Civilian)

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):

  • Constructed Of Rugged Tactical Polyester
  • One Main Compartment With Large Strap Secured With Quick Release Buckle Containment
  • One Large Dump Pouch With Mesh Pocket
  • One Concealed Holster Pocket With Zippered Closure
  • One Mesh Pocket For Radio Or Flashlight Storage
  • One Accessory Pouch On Side
  • Cell Phone Pocket
  • Extra Attachment Points For Adding Other Modular Accessories

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black, Coyote, Olive Drab, Red, Safety Orange, Digital Woodland, Multicam, and Terrain Digital

What others are saying?: “Had one of these bags (black) for over two years now. Bought it to replace my fanny pack which I used to haul family stuff when we're out and about or as a field bag. Quite comfortable to carry all day as long as you don't over load it. Description says the mesh pocket is for a radio or flashlight. I use it to carry a 20 OZ water bottle. It's fairly water resistant, but I tuck a couple of half gallon ziplock bags for additional waterproofing in heavier rains. Much handier then the butt pack it replaced. After two years of hard use there is no discernible wear to the bag." Kelly Keefe - Amazon Review Price Point:

  • MSRP = 56.95
  • Retail = $40.95

I need it now! Availability: Fox Outdoors, Amazon, Optics Planet, eBay, Military/Tac shops

Our Rating: + Main dump pouch has synch to secure loose items + Seams and plastic buckles seem well made/secure + Velco strip on outside to stick all those elite operator moral patches, sweet! + Shoulder Strap and Backing mesh pads are comfortable and breathable

- Personally do not like tiny mesh netting, prone to stretching and eventually holes - Included 'holster' is actually just looped velcro strap for barrel - No MOLLE webbing on inside or enough velcro to insert an actual holster - Screams "I may have a gun" with all the unnecessary tactical outer webbing, would be nice if instead of extra pouches with MOLLE webbing, pouches themselves were removable from entire bag to minimize pockets

Score: 7.0 Good


Eagle Industries Chest Rig M4 Molle LE Style


Whether you are a competitor or a first responder, you need a way to carry magazines and essential gear securely and in a position thats quickest and easiest to access.  For me, I need a chest rig for competitions that require multiple guns. Where I live, the matches are usually scheduled for the spring or summer with a desert environment, so its hot and dry. Full molle vests are a bit overkill I've found, as they tend to hinder range of motion, and some stages only require 2-3 carbine magazines and 4-6 pistol magazines.  I've found that using a simpler M4 chest rig is best.

photo 2-1

Some call it a recon-style harness, others may refer to it as a "Rhodesian" chest rig. The one I use is an Eagle Industries Chest Rig M4 Molle LE Style (currently discontinued but newer models are available) and it is just enough to get me by.  With molle strapping on the left and right sides as well as over the top of the carbine magazine pouches, its perfect for adding handgun mag pouches. The pouches themselves are rigid, reinforced with some kind of thin composite board and then lined with a softer material for magazine retention without surface wear. The straps are adjustable and use large M style buckles.  They go over the shoulders and cross at the back and attach to the bottom of the rig on both sides. There is a single strap that goes laterally across the back and attaches via a smaller buckle.  I let it hang just below my pectorals. and am able to have 3 carbine mags with a pair of pistol mags on each side via molle pouches for a total of 4 mags. Alternatively you could attach 3o round carbine mag pouches on either side to increase to capacity to 7 mags, and attach pistol mag pouches to the front of the rig's pouches.

The advantages to this style of chest rig are lightness of weight, ease of mobility, and simplicity of use. Another perk is the kangaroo pouch with a wide hook-and-loop mouth that is easy to access even with carbine mags holstered.  Its wide enough to stow more magazines, loose rounds, papers/documents, or a couple packs of beef jerky. I often will stash a couple of Glock 33rd magazines in the pouch for the longer, no-capacity limit stages.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame: The Eagle Industries Chest Rig M4 Molle LE Style is designed for active shooter scenarios that require your equipment to rapidly adjust to the unfolding events.

Target Market: Competitive shooters or Law Enforcement

FNBs (features & benefits of this product):

  • Three open top 30-round M4 magazine pouches
  • Two large side release buckles
  • Full length interior pocket
  • MOLLE webbing for custom rigging
  • Fully adjustable for height and girth
  • Lifetime Guarantee

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?: Black, Khaki, Ranger Green, & Universal Camo

What others are saying?: 

  •  "I love this product. The mag pouches hold the mags very well in their Kydex liners. No need for a flap. I bought 2 more pouches for 2 more mags. My only complaint is the harness straps could be longer for big guys. I may have problems with a coat on. I'll just get another harness. GREAT product."  Optics Planet Review

Price Point:

I need it now! Availability:  Used online, in Army Surplus stores or find close alternative from Eagle Industries

Our Rating:

+ Lightweight and simple, no unnecessary bulk. + Inner pouch pocket is full width and makes for extra storage. + Pouches are open-top with no flappy covers, mages speedy mag changes easier. + Sits high enough to no interfere with a belt and holster, no issues with carrying a carbine with single point sling.

- Kydex lined mag pouches may be tighter fit for certain mags, PMAGs and other polymer bodied mags until expansion with use. - More "ample-bodied operators" may need longer straps.

 Score: 8.080


Voodoo Tactical 42" MOLLE Soft Rifle Case

Voodoo case

The Voodoo Tactical 42" MOLLE Soft Rifle Case is an excellent product for numerous applications. It is useful for trips to the range, 3-gun matches or even hunting trips.  With enough storage for many accessories including rifles, pistols, ammunition, hearing and eye protection, magazines, or anything else one might want to take with them.  The case is well padded inside and out, even having padding around the edges where the heavy duty zippers are located.  Inside the case you will find a padded divider between the two rifle/shotgun compartments.  In each of these compartments are two velcro straps to hold the firearms secure.  On the exterior you will find three large pockets to hold magazines, ammo, etc.  Behind these pockets is a large zippered pouch that holds two pistols in their own padded pockets that velcro closed.  Every time I take a firearm or two anywhere, I find myself taking this case.  It is exceptionally built and just a great all around case.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  A useful all around case for transporting weapons and gear.

Target Market:  Shooters that need to transport multiple firearms and gear in one case.

FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):Voodoo case 2

  • Holds two rifles up to 40.5" and two pistols
  • Three large adjustable accessory pouches
  •  Adjustable straps on all accessory pouches
  •  Comes with Backpack straps
  •  Extra MOLLE attachment points
  • Zippered compartment behind accessory pouches has built in padded pouches for pistols

What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  Black, Multicam, Coyote, ACU, Pink, and Purple

What others are saying?:Voodoo case 3

  • Amazon reviewers rate it 4.8 out of 5 stars

Price point:

I need it now! Availability:  Readily available online at retailers like Brownells and Amazon

Our Rating:

+ Comes in a variety of colors + Durable + Hold tons of gear + Backpack straps + Removable shoulder strap + Place for velcro patch

- Shoulder strap adjustment and installation

Score: 8.5 85


Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack Review

Fatboy Versipack Main

Maxpedition’s Fatboy Versipack is a high-quality, heavy-duty EDC shoulder bag. I decided to purchase mine one day when, on my walk from my car to the office, I dropped every single thing I was trying to carry in that day. It has many pockets, pouches and compartments to accommodate an endless variety of items. There is a wide, well padded shoulder strap to keep it from digging into your shoulder when you’re carrying it. It’s main pocket is big enough to carry my Kindle Fire HD tablet and a hybrid IWB holster (for when I’m not wearing it), along with a few other odds and ends. This compartment has a nylon cinch-sack type top thatFatboy Versipack Pocket keeps debris out. Behind the main compartment is a large, zippered pocket. This pocket is to store a handgun separate from the other contents of the bag. It has the soft side of hook-and-loop on it for attachment for holsters. Maxpedition sells a universal holster for just this task and another called the SNEAK that allows you to carry a spare mag alongside the pistol. It is large enough to hold a mid-sized handgun, like a Glock 19. In front of the main pocket is a smaller, zippered pouch that is the perfect size to carry a smaller notepad and more miscellaneous items. On one side, there is a magazine holder with a large hook-and-loop flap that has plenty of coverage to adjust to many different size magazines. The other side has a zippered pouch that is a little larger than the magazine pouch, which could probably hold at least 2 double-stack mags. The outside of this pouch has MOLLE webbing to attach even more gear. On the shoulder strap, there is a large buckle that allows you to easily put the pack on or take it off. Just below the buckle is a pouch with a buckled flap that is the perfect size for a large multi-tool with a pen sleeve on either side of this pouch. On the end of the shoulder strap that faces the rear, there is a HK style hook that can be used to hang keys or any other small tools. There are many color options, left and right handed versions and a model that replaces the side magazine pouch with a water bottle holder. The Fatboy Versipack is a very durable pack that I doubt I will ever wear out.

Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points

Claim to Fame:  Seemingly compact exterior with a surprisingly ample interior. 

Target Market:  Concealed carriers that need more storage. 


Key Features

  • Heavy duty construction
  • Many useful pockets, pouches and compartments
  • Many color options
  • Holds a lot of stuff
  • Wide shoulder strap for comfort
  • Exterior MOLLE webbing

 What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?:  The Fatboy Versipack comes in many colors and color combos, like black, blue, red and pink. Check Optics Planet for all of their colors. There is a G.T.G. model that replaces the side magazine pouch with at water bottle holder. There are also left-handed versions of both models called the S-Type.

 What others are saying?:  “If you want the best compact everyday carry bag you can find, you want the Maxpedition Fatboy Versipack.”  - Survival News Online

For a good review and to see what all this bag can hold, see Sootch00 at Sensible Prepper.

Price point:

 I need it now! Availability:  The Fatboy Versipack is available from many retailers like Amazon and Optics Planet. Optics Planet has many more colors available than Amazon.

Our Rating:

+ Sturdy construction + Ample storage +Concealed-carry compartment +Comfortable strap

 Score: 9.090