BLACKHAWK! Chris Laack Interview SHOT Show 2015

| February 11, 2015 | 3 Comments

Out of everyone we talked to about discreet EDC bags at SHOT Show, BLACKHAWK!’s Chris Laack understands the subject the most. As far as we know, Chris was the only person we talked to in both 2014 and 2015 who carries and trains with an AR15 pistol carried in a discreet bag. He also has a stocked emergency bag in his car, with AR pistols for himself and his son.

Sound familiar?

Chris gave us a lot of time at SHOT Show 2015 to talk about their latest products. He was particularly proud of the new waxed canvas line, which is a premium product (at a premium price). We also discussed the new Diversion! Rolling Load Out bag and some accessories.

Waxed canvas bags

Before I write more about the new waxed canvas bags, let’s all acknowledge the high price. With the satchel retailing at over $100 and the messenger bag and rolltop rucksack priced at $235 and $255 respectively, these are not inexpensive items.

The She Shepherd and I were put off by the prices until we researched similar “fashion” bags, that weren’t built to hold guns, magazines, and withstand rugged use. The fashion bags were as expensive or more expensive, without all the great touches Chris and the BLACKHAWK! team put into them.

If you work in an environment that frowns upon nylon or if you have a different sense of style, the waxed canvas line may appeal to you more than the traditional nylon bag options.

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Common Features

All of the waxed canvas bags are made from Martexin canvas. Martexin is a US company that has been making waxed canvas since the process was invented. Keep that in mind when you consider the pricing of these bags as well as the durability and quality of this waxed canvas versus competing products.

The waxed canvas bags use magnets for closures. The buckles have a side-closing magnet system that is really unique and interesting. I would be interested to see if there is a speed and/or ease of use difference in these buckles versus typical pinch buckles. Some of the bags also have magnets sewn into the flaps and bodies so that you can stuff the bag full of crap and still keep it closed.

All of the bags have brushed nylon straps and handles. This gives these straps a softer, cotton-like feel without the mildew and durability problems associated with cotton bag straps.

I really like the zipper pulls. I think they fit the “fashion” strategy very well, while at the same time retaining the need for a fast, quality zipper.

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The seams are all waterproof, and if you wanted to you could attach a longer pull cord via the steel grommet. Nice touch.

Satchel

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At $109, the Satchel will fit a small laptop, tablet, or MAC10 easily. I feel like BLACKHAWK! should drop the price on this guy to $80 or $90 to compete with the similar “Claymore” bag from Combat Flip Flops.

Out of the three bags, the Satchel is by far the most “gray,” and if you are looking for something for a very small PDW or a handgun this is going to be your best option.

Messenger Bag

The Messenger Bag is my favorite of the waxed canvas bags. With an MSRP of $235, the Messenger bag features a large flap suitable for deploying a vSBR or AR15 pistol. You can also use the wide pass through zipper to access the contents of the bag without struggling with the flap. In my experience, dealing with the flap of a messenger bag is the biggest drawback of this style of bag compared to others, and I am glad BLACKHAWK! included this pass through.

I also liked the more aggressive strap included with the bag. It has a really good cinching buckle system. You will definitely want to use this strap when carrying a heavier firearm inside. It also comes with a padded, less adjustable strap.

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Rucksack

If there’s an active shooter situation, I hope that a disheveled, skinny jean wearing hipster shrugs off his Diversion! waxed canvas rucksack and provides cover fire for me with an SBR PPS-43C (because, you know, they shot 7.62×25 before it was cool).

The Rucksack is the largest, most feature-filled bag from BLACKHAWK!’s new waxed canvas line. In my opinion, it’s too big for most body frames.

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The She Shepherd could probably live in this thing. It has a lot of storage capacity, and could fit my 6.75″ barreled .300 Blackout AR15 pistol inside without a problem. However, just like the Messenger Bag and the 5.11 Boxpack, you won’t be able to easily secure the contents of the bag. This may be an issue if you have kids around or live in a state with storage laws (like I do, in both cases).

Overall Thoughts

The style and price of these bags won’t be for everyone. I do think they have a place for those with a particular sense of fashion, or for those who work in a more trendy / professional environment where a bag made out of nylon may seem out of place. I’ve worked in a few ad agencies and “trendy” corporate headquarters before, and I would have much rather carried the Diversion Messenger Bag in there instead of my Mountain Hardware Agama or Adidas Rydell bags.

Whether the price premium is acceptable to you is a personal choice. The bags do feel really nice, and I like the small touches that Chris and the team put into each of them.

I would really like it if they could drop the price of the Messenger Bag to $180 and the Rucksack to $200.

Rolling Load Out Bag

This bag is a neat idea, and I could definitely use it. I have a trauma kit and disabled vehicle bag in my Jeep right now. Since it’s winter, I also have a duffle bag with items in case I get stranded in cold weather. I also have a heavy, hunter orange coat in the Jeep. I don’t keep any firearms in my car, but have considered keeping a chest rig with ammunition and a personal first aid kit inside.

This is a lot of stuff.

The Rolling Load Out Bag would bring order to the multi-bag chaos that is the back of my Jeep. I could consolidate all of the bags into one. For those of you who have “truck guns,” this beats putting your blaster in a rifle case. I know some of you use the Diversion racket bag to store rifles / pistols in your cars, but that bag doesn’t allow for much more than a spare mag.

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The biggest drawback is the price. $400. That’s a lot of money for any bag, no matter how cool the rifle storage area is, or how nice the rubberized zipper pulls are, or how smartly the interior compartments are laid out.

I think this bag will be great for law enforcement departments, or people who spend a lot of time in their cars but I just can’t wrap my head around the MSRP.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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3 Comments on "BLACKHAWK! Chris Laack Interview SHOT Show 2015"

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  1. Kyliewyotie says:

    The messenger bag looks sexy. The more I can blend in the better.

  2. JG says:

    You cracked me up with that hipster comment. I don’t typically laugh at this blog, but you got me with that one.

  3. Jim says:

    Would love to see more pictures of the Messenger Bag with either Chris’s or your loadout, how the accessories work, and especially how the 300 pistol rides.

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