Masterpiece Arms 30DMG and the Concept of the Weapon System—Part Two: Transport and Carry

| October 5, 2015 | 4 Comments

This is a guest article from CR Williams, firearms instructor and author of several books on self-defense and firearms use (see our reviews of his book Facing the Active Shooter and Gunfighting, and Other Thougts About Doing Violence). You can follow him at In Shadow In LightShepherd

As I said earlier in the first part of this writeup I will sometimes break the Weapon System concept down into a Gun System and a Transport/Carry System to help organize my thinking. In that  respect the first part discussed the 30DMG Gun System. This part is going to discuss the Transport and Carry System part of the equation.

It is also going to illustrate the fact that, while looking at prospective purchases using Weapon System concept does not guarantee that you get all the choices right the first time. To

expand on that theme:

The 30DMG was meant to be primarily a bag gun, which implies that I have a bag to put and carry it and things like magazines into. I want that bag to preferably be not any larger than I need it to be while still able to handle the weight and bulk of what I put in it. I also want that bag to as much as possible not look like it’s something that has a gun in it.

With that in mind my first choice for carrying the 30DMG was the Fox Tactical Euro Messenger Bag. It is a small and well-constructed messenger bag in a style that doesn’t look ‘tactical’ (whatever that means) to most observers and it had enough room for the 30DMG when the brace was folded and an outside pocked I could use for a dump pouch for expended magazines (assuming I had time to get them there in a fight). I liked the style and size so much that I actually bought two in different colors. (More than one gun needs more than one bag. Right?)

Here’s what the first choice for carry system looked like:

01 Fox Tactical Messenger Bag unloaded combo-001

One of the problems I’ve experienced with soft-side bags is that they don’t always stay open the way I need them to for best placement and access of the firearm inside. I’ve tried a couple of DIY fixes that helped but nothing I’m yet ready to standardize on. While I was looking at what I needed to get to go with the 30DMG I came across this offering from the NRA store, the Instant Concealment Converter Holster Kit:

02 NRA Instant Concealment Kit combo-001

You put this in the bag so that the ends and back form a rigid structure for the Velcro pad which can be tilted and used for attachment of a universal holster or mag pouch(es) or both. I found this and the universal holster/mag pouch set on sail at the time I was looking and thought this might be a solution to keeping the 30DMG placed in a consistent position with the trigger covered so that I could keep it in the bag with a round chambered. That way I’d be faster to the first shot in an emergency.

The first issue I ran into with this was that the ends would not expand far enough as it was to reach the sides of the bag. A bit of Duct Tape resolved that quite handily. The holster was then mounted and the gun fitted in. This was the result:

Original bag setup combo-001

When placed in the bag the way I wanted it this is what it looked like:


That looked like it would be just what I wanted. Room for a G18 magazine in the gun, room for spare magazines in the inner pocket and/or bottom of the bag, covered trigger.

Until I tried it, that is. That’s when the problems with the cocking handle and the placement of the finger-stop became evident. With the brace folded there is no fast or easy way to pull the holster open enough to draw the gun from the bag. I tried changing what I could but it became clear that this wouldn’t work. I could not even use the holster to keep the gun oriented for a consistent grip and draw whether I wanted to chamber a round or not. Another solution was required.

Fortunately one was easy to hand in the form of another failed experiment. I had obtained an Adidas Rydel Sling Backpack after seeing the write-up Shepherd did about it here. The original idea with that one was to carry the Aero Survival Pistol in it, but that wasn’t an optimal solution due to the overall length of the ASP. But the ASP doesn’t have a folding buffer and the 30DMG does. So:


I have an empty shell box, a plastic one, that I put the teeth of the breeching tip on when I put the gun in the bag to protect the material against tearing a bit. The main compartment has the gun and three SMG-size magazine pouches for me to put on any time I need or think I might need to move without the bag. Additional magazines are for now loose in an outer pocket of the bag. The gun is ‘loose’ inside though it will tend to fall as it does in the picture when I pull the bag around where I can open it for access.

For the present all that is in the bag is the gun, additional loaded magazines, and the magazine carriers. More will be added in time. And I still have a bit of work to do with the bag as regards getting the gun into action out of it as quickly as possible. For now, though, the Rydel is the main part of the Transport and Carry subsystem and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Carry and Transport doesn’t stop with the bag, though. I also wanted a way to carry the gun hands-free when it was not in the bag. The initial arrangement of the sling attached to the arm brace you see in some photos in Part One didn’t work well—it suspended the gun in too low and when not worn the weight of it unbalanced the gun in my hand.

Another solution was required starting with how the sling is attached to the gun. Since I knew I would be getting a MagPul MS4 sling I also wanted Quick-Detach points for it. I also wanted to when in two-point configuration have one attachment farther forward than I did with the original configuration.

Forward attachment was provided by a Kley-Zion Dual QD sling attachment. I have one on another rifle so knew of it already. What I like about this specific picatinny rail attachment is that it has QD sockets on both sides. That gives me flexibility as to how and where I want the sling to go and fits ambidextrous use of the weapon better than other models do.



Because of the length and position of the rails on the 30DMG the forward QD sling mount was set on top of the gun just behind the red dot. I tried a couple of different positions along the top and this one works best for now. There is still room in the back for some sort BUIS to go when I do obtain one.

That left the rear QD attachment point to be set. Blue Force Gear provided that in the form of the Molded Universal Wire Loop. I was familiar with the standard one as I had used it on an AK I used to own. I was pleased to see this one offered that included a QD socket in it.

This is the way the UWL was shipped to me:



Pretty kewl, I must say, as is how it works when put on the 30DMG:



Adding the MS4 gives me this:


30DMG with sling attached combo-001

Having a sling on the gun gives me options for carry and for shooting beyond just the ability to have my hands free without putting the weapon down. And how I set the sling changes those options further. For example:


30DMG Combo 2-001

30DMG Combo 4-001



By just changing the length of the sling and/or folding the buffer tube you can make the gun easier to both carry and conceal. As you see in the photos this will change some of the options you have for mounts and grips when shooting or making ready to shoot, but this is part of both having options and the compromises that any given setup on a weapon involves.

With the sling and the addition of submachinegun magazine carriers I can if desired or necessary carry the gun without the bag and with a fair chance of keeping it out of sight under a jacket or windbreaker of sufficient length.



Final thoughts

All weapons are niche weapons. There is no true Jack of All Trades where guns are considered. Because of that understanding what you want the gun you get to do or be doing can very much help you to make good choices about what has to go with it. At the same time, the right choices about what is added to a given weapon can sometimes expand the capability outside of the niche you originally wanted to fill with it. The concept of the Weapon System applied to current and future choices (and to what you already have) is something that I believe can help you save time and money and maybe even keep you from having to get a bigger box to put your unused accessories into. That alone makes it worth looking at, right?

You be safe out there. And if you can’t be safe…you be dangerous.

About the Author:

CR Williams is the author of (so far) four non-fiction books: Three volumes of the ongoing "Gunfighting, and Other Thoughts about Doing Violence" series and "Facing the Active Shooter: Guidelines for the Armed Citizen Defender". He has also made entries into the fiction arena with recent releases of "Live Fire" and the first volume of the "An Even Break" series. He currently runs classes from either his home-base area in Central/South-Central Alabama or wherever anyone wants to host him for a class. An active and ongoing student of the fight in all its aspects, he continues to work toward his goal of making you the very best defender of life and loved ones that you can be.

4 Comments on "Masterpiece Arms 30DMG and the Concept of the Weapon System—Part Two: Transport and Carry"

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  1. B R Kurtz B R Kurtz says:

    I started with a side cocking full size/STEn mag “MAC” from MasterPiece Arms. I SBRd it by adding a VZ58 folding stock. The VZ58 stock is much thinner than any of the AR buffer tube alternatives BUT it was still too fat because of the side cocking knob. The “fixed” knob is a real flaw on the MasterPiece gun (a folding cocking lever as on the L1A1 could fix this, sadly its not available).

    Some will argue the that the side cocker makes the gun able to use an optic; but I would counter that it comes at too high a price on what is essentially a SHORT RANGE Weapon. Yes I know it may be capable of longer range with an optic; but if it can’t be easily carried then it won’t be carried. So I switched to a Top Cocking upper and now have a slim gun that carries well in a laptop bag.

    My carry style involves a stiffener to keep the bag’s “square” shape and using “breakaway” Velcro straps to hold the gun “horizontal” (barrel forward). In that position the gun can be fired from inside the bag (think HK Briefcase), then ripped out of the bag for follow up shots. The bag is worn slung cross body, like any other laptop bag. With the flap still “closed”, a hand can easily reach inside and grip the gun for firing.

    Other Velcro straps secure spare mags and a pepper spray grenade. Its nice to have options…

  2. CR Williams says:

    Where does short range end? And if that threat is beyond your short range limit, do you still engage? The building I work in has hallways that go something like 35 yards. Sure I can do that with irons but I’d rather have the dot-sight for it. Faster and faster accuracy with it.

    I can run out to 100 yards with this setup and some areas of the city I’m in allow that. It would be a very Black Swan kind of event that made me feel like I should do that, mind you, but the capability is there. I’m prepared to do the same thing with an Glock with an RMR on it.

    The optic allows for faster pickup and faster precision shots than I can get with irons. Others, that’s not a problem. I personally like the advantage I get with it.

    Side-cocker arrangement doesn’t bother me. The bag hides it. I don’t get the gun to fit the bag, I get the bag to fit the gun.

    • b r kurtz b r kurtz says:

      I think the optic would be great IF there was some way to mount it and still keep the gun flat. A folding cocking handle would likely fix the problem, especially since the side cocking knob doesn’t reciprocate (unlike the top cocking knob). Before I switched to the top cocking upper I ran a RMR. It was the perfect size optic for the “MAC”

      ***On a side note, I wish the MasterPiece guns could be modified to use the original MAC type stocks. If that was possible, it would keep the gun slim and the side cocking knob wouldn’t be as much if an issue.

  3. CR Williams says:

    I like the addition of the OC grenade. I still need to add some doo-dads and you’ve just put another one on my list.

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