Hands On Review With the BLACKHAWK Diversion Waxed Canvas Satchel

| August 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

I believe there are four stages of learning something: theorizing (thinking), practicing, training, and doing.

For most of us, self-defense never reaches the “doing” phase, so we spend most of our time theorizing, practicing, and training, in descending order.

Most people spend the majority of their time theorizing, fewer practice at home or at a static shooting range, and even fewer train under pressure with live ammunition or against partners in non-consensual drills.

The BLACKHAWK! Waxed Canvas Satchel bag is a great example of needing to train with your gear, even after you think you’ve practiced enough.

I was very excited about this bag at SHOT Show 2015, and was happy to get one for testing and evaluation from BLACKHAWK!. I did a lot of practicing at home; drawing my still-a-pistol MasterPiece Arms 930SST from the bag, moving, reloading, etc. I did a brief overview of the bag in June, but due to issues converting my MPA 930SST into an SBR I didn’t have a chance to really train with it until earlier this month.

Aspects of the bag that I thought were manageable turned out to be significant obstacles. The biggest strike against the bag is that it is too narrow. The bag is low-profile to begin with, but there are two dividers in the satchel, which divides an already small area into thirds.

The largest “compartment” was in the center of the bag. I had to use the center pocket in order to quickly deploy the MAC10. I tried putting the magazines in the other two pockets, but the result was the same: deployment was hampered by the lack of space.

I would prefer to either have two sections, or a divider(s) that could be customized via hook and loop. We have a few range bags with these types of dividers and they work well.

I didn’t have anything else in the bag during class. Things would be worse with a trauma kit inside, or other everyday carry items.

Magazine management was also more difficult out on the range than in the house. Getting mags out of the bag was pretty easy, even during stressful situations like an extended stoppage during a drill, or during the “100 round drill” where 400 – 500 rounds were fired by students in less than four minutes.

However, putting spent magazines back into the bag was much more difficult in training than in practice. I “train to retain” when there are rounds left in the magazine, so the extra time expended by fighting with the bag and trying to put the mag into the “correct” pocket was difficult.

I don’t like to put partially loaded mags in the same compartment as fully loaded mags. The narrow compartments of the Satchel made this difficult to discern while moving and under stress. I think this could be partially addressed by redesigning the interior, but I think the overall size of the bag may be an insurmountable problem.

The bag was fairly easy to manage once movement and shooting started. If the Satchel stayed behind my hip it was great; trying to get the bag away from the front of my body was more problematic.

I added a Timbuk2 padded strap and that helped a lot with comfort. The bag weighed about 10 pounds when loaded with three STEN magazines and the 930SST. I wore the bag continuously for the eight hour class.

Conclusion

Overall, I think the Satchel is best left as a pistol bag, with pistol-sized magazines. If you are interested in trying this bag out for your vSBR you may want to either cut out one of the divider walls or spend some significant time optimizing the interior of your bag and then training with it under live fire and force on force conditions.

I feel a little guilty beating up on this bag for something it was probably never designed for, but I wanted to give an honest review of using this bag with my 930 SST. I will continue to practice with this bag to see if some of the shortcomings can be addressed.

Disclaimer

BLACKHAWK! provided this Satchel for testing and evaluation.

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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