Gear Review: BlackHawk Diversion Range Bag hidden in plain sight

range bag

Guess how many mags you can fit in this range bag. (Photo by James Grant)

Who would want to steal dirty gym clothes from a locked car? No one. That is the idea behind BlackHawk’s line of Diversion bags and packs: to transport firearms, ammunition and accessories in one inconspicuous protective bag.

If you are a gun enthusiast and plaster your car with Browning, Ruger and Colt stickers that is your prerogative. However, some people prefer to keep their love for firearms discreet. Whether it’s media hype about a school shooting, inexperience or bad experience, the majority of people get anxious at the sight of guns and ammo. Modeled to look like an innocuous gym bag, the BlackHawk Diversion Range Bag is the perfect way to carry two pistols, ammo and all of your shooting equipment.

Crafted from 420-Denier velocity nylon the range bag has two hidden handgun compartments, both of which can accommodate a Desert Eagle. The shoulder strap is nice and thick to distribute weight evenly. I had no issues carrying a dozen magazines, 1,000 rounds of 7.62×39 and two handguns. The strap is also generously adjustable; in case you’re Andre the Giant’s big brother or of the Oddjob lineage.

Lockable zippers on a range bag

Lockable, two-way zippers. (Photo by James Grant)

You can tell a considerable amount of care went into the invention of the Diversion Range Bag (even the zippers are efficient). The exaggerated plastic loops are outstanding for gloved hands and fat fingers alike. Additionally, when cold weather hits and your fingers are numb you don’t have to fumble around with trying to grasp a tiny pull tab, just loop your fingers through and tug.

To test the durability of the Diversion Range Bag I stuffed it with 600 rounds of ammo, an Eotech mounted on a Midwest Industries side rail, a dozen steel AK magazines, two sets of ear protection, a half dozen Glock magazines, a Glock 17 and a Colt 1911. I then lugged it down my brick steps and heaved it into the trunk of my car on top of my Spartan Tactical Reactive Target. To make sure the Diversion Range Bag was secured properly, I rolled it over a few times — the bag, not my car.

Tons of fun. (Photo by James Grant)

Tons of fun. (Photo by James Grant)

When I arrived at the range, I parked roughly 50 yards from the shooting bays and carried the Diversion Range Bag using the supplied shoulder strap to the shooting tables. Before I unloaded the contents of the bag, I inspected the exterior of the bag itself. There were no rips in the seams and no punctures in the nylon. Other than some cosmetic scratches, it suffered zero damage. Moreover, the dividers kept all of my valuables in place and unscathed.

Everything sans the kitchen sink. (Photo by James Grant)

Everything sans the kitchen sink. (Photo by James Grant)

As a member of the NRA I get free range bags all the time. Since I pay membership dues once a year I viewed them as disposable. The fact that they were flimsy, uncomfortable to use and held very little didn’t bother me. Humans, however, are reknown for their ability to put up with thousands of inconveniences and marginalize them until they seem trivial. This marginal inconvenience became rather large when I had to grab three-plus range bags in addition to firearms cases. I didn’t think grabbing three range bags in addition to firearms cases was out of the ordinary until I tried the BlackHawk Diversion Range Bag. It’s one of those items that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it.

The BlackHawk Diversion Range Bag retails for $149.99 and is the perfect facade for a bag filled with all the shooting essentials. And an innocuous gym bag is little easier to explain than starting a new hobby. It’s also a great way to fool the missus. Going to the gym again honey, I really need to work on my upper body strength today.

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