How to handle your bag in public

| July 14, 2014 | 6 Comments

One of the things that concerns me the most about carrying a firearm in a bag is keeping the bag from being stolen. I’m also concerned with the bag being tampered with, but I’ve already covered that.

Here are a few things you can do to keep track of your bag in public and reduce the chances of it getting stolen.

  1. Don’t ever surrender your bag to anyone. If an establishment asks you to “check” your bag at customer service or wherever, turn around and leave.
  2. If I am standing in a public place, I try not to take the bag off. This is one of the many reasons that smaller, lightweight rifles are important. As a test, wear your EDC bag with a firearm in it the entirety of your next firearms training class.
  3. If I sit in public, say at a restaurant or movie theater, I put the bag in between my feet. I do this for several reasons:
  4. This is the same position I use to discreetly open my bag at work, and familiarity will result in faster speed if you need to open the bag under duress.
  5. My legs and feet partially obscure the bag from view. It’s getting to the point where about 25%-75% of my peer group carries an EDC bag with them. Getting a few bags out of sight helps with concealment; for example for brunch yesterday we had 11 people and 3 bags with firearms in them.
  6. I always keep in contact with my bag. I can put a foot or calf against the bag at all times.


I’m actually making contact in two places here: along the side of the bag with my left foot, and along the top of the bag with my right foot.

You need to think ahead of time if someone attempts to steal your bag. Are you going to let someone run off with a gun? What are the laws in your city and state about pursuing a robber? What are the laws about using force to stop them? Do those laws trump your sensibilities, and are you willing to deal with the consequences?

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.

6 Comments on "How to handle your bag in public"

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  1. Tom says:

    I’ve seen you talk a little bit in the past about locks on bags being a MN law. Is that regarding NFA items only?

  2. Ndjinn says:

    We are pretty much in agreement across the board. I have never had a serious issue with places that state they want all pack to be left at the counter and I say “no”. I nicely explaine that I have expensive items in my pack and if they want my business they will let me keep it. I always carry and almost always have a DSLR and iPad. I usually carry something low profile. My Arcteryx RT 25 (fully waterproof) in black, a Hazard4 Tango (tablet shoulder pack) or if I am out for a good bit of time or working an outdoor medic shift I’ll have my Arcteryx Khurd 30 (a LEAF pack) if you get the chance check those out, they were in part made to carry a HK MP7 with a modular internal system like Statpacks.

  3. B R Kurtz B R Kurtz says:

    Keeping the bag with you is a no brainer. All sorts of friendly excuses can be used when someone “requests” you check your bag; personally I like “NO”. If that sounds to abrupt, you can always say, “It has medical and life saving equipment, that I may need instantly….”

    I carried a bag on a recent white water raft trip, to prevent its loss, I dummy corded to me. That’s a pro-con issue on the water and dry land; but I felt it was good idea at the time. For work or mall trips, I personally prefer a leather briefcase/laptop bag with a shoulder strap. I can wear the bag just over my strong side shoulder OR cross body if more retention is necessary.

    The leather case provides better cover in provisional areas plus its stiffer for better coverage. I typically carry a SMG/PCC (Sterling, MAC, Skorpion, etc), so the smaller bag works for me. The gun is in a rear (body side) compartment not accessible from the inside. Its not visible from the inside and its not immediately recognizable as a access point from the outside. The bag does not lock; but since its always in my control, there are no “access to minors” issues.


  4. Dan says:

    What bag is in the picture? Been looking for a EDC bag that fits my ar pistol.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Hi Dan, it’s an inexpensive High Sierra hydration bag I bought at Wal-Mart years ago. It is too small for an AR, unfortunately.

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