Off-body carry is something that I swore I’d never take part in. Why? I had been told it was slow. I had also been told it was unsafe. And I stuck with those opinions up until very recently. So what changed my mind?
The Vertx Transit 2.0, a highly regarded EDC bag. Once I began considering it, I also began considering the benefits of this mode of carry. One potential benefit is a more concealed, discreet carry. Also, not needing to adjust the sizing of your clothing to accommodate your carry gun and magazines is another plus. In addition, you can carry a larger pistol and more ammo.
Let’s lead with the good stuff first. Why did I get into off-body carry? I’m at a season in life where I have a young son who likes to frequently play in the park or go on simple, short hikes. All the while I’ve been carrying a backpack, so I figured I could opt for carrying a larger gun while wearing a more comfortable ensemble. Meanwhile, I look like any other dad with a young kid who carries a daypack for their kid. Carrying a bigger gun, more discreetly, and having some more athletic clothing on seemed like a nice idea.
Now here is the bad stuff. Off-body carry has some safety concerns that all stem from the fact the gun is not on you and in a bag. When you conceal carry using this method, you can never be separated from your bag. If you are, it poses a risk to threats or unintended users getting their hands on the gun. So, if you are going to carry off the body, you better keep the bag on your person at all times. The other big drawback is speed. I can draw and fire out of my appendix carry set up very quickly. Drawing from my bag is fast for a bag no doubt, but it’s not as fast as appendix carry.
The bag I have been using is the Vertx Transit 2.0. The Transit is identical to the Commuter bag, also sold by Vertx, which is the larger of the two. I opted for a smaller bag so I purchased the Transit. The Transits dimensions are as follows:
|Outside Dimensions||16.5″H x 10.5″W x 4.75″D|
|Concealed Carry Compartment Dimensions||16.5″H x 10.5″W x 2.5”D, 16.5″ Diagonal|
|Main Compartment Dimensions||16.5″H x 10.5″W x 2.25″D, 17″ Diagonal|
The bag is lightweight, and it lets you carry a large gun (by concealed carry standards) if you want. I can carry my Hellcat to keep the bag extra light. Or, I can opt for the XD-M Elite Precision, which is a very large handgun with a total length of 8.3”.
The Transit is a sling bag that has a singular shoulder strap and an additional strap to secure the bag, should the wearer choose. This additional strap can also be taken off as well. Both straps have quick sliding adjustments so that you can loosen or cinch down the straps across your chest.
So why did I choose the Vertx? Namely, because this one enables you to draw very quickly. The back compartment, which looks like a laptop compartment, is intended to house your gun. By using the oversized pull tab for the back section, it allows the user to whip the bag from their back across their chest and, with a fluid motion, unzip the pouch. This gives the wearer quick access to their firearm. From there, I can draw my pistol from the holster and be set to fire.
My back concealed carry compartment is outfitted with a hook and loop Vertx Tactigami holster, which houses my firearm inside the pack. The Tactigami holster sold by Vertx lets you take some hook and loop nylon and fold it into a holster that can fit nearly every gun on the market. This holster can be purchased for subcompact and full-size guns so that you can carry big or small. In the same line, you will also find other pouches for spare mags and other carry items.
These days, the Vertx Transit 2.0 is my daily companion. I don’t always carry my gun in it, but I do always carry the bag. I’m a more prepared individual because of it and I’m even trying to get better and better at being prepared. Currently, I carry medicine, a multi-tool, a knife and a combat application tourniquet. I also have commonplace items like chargers, headphones and snacks. This bag gives me plenty of room to carry some tactical/medical preparedness items, yet still leaves me room to throw in extra things I carry for my young son, like the ever-important apple juice.
While the bag is excellent, there are a few things I would change. The bag padding that goes against your back is not breathable and allows no airflow. My second issue is with the round buckle that lets the main strap swivel. That buckle, once the bag has some weight in it, will squeak as you walk and the joint swivels.
If you do choose to off-body carry, a bag like the Vertx Transit 2.0 can be a great option. Whatever you do, pick a good bag like this one and have your gun in a secure holster in the bag. I position my holster so close to the zipper that with the bag zipped there is no way the gun has room to slide out of the holster. Lastly, wear the bag. Don’t leave it sitting somewhere as you venture away. You are responsible for the gun, so keep that bag on your body — always.
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