The Search For The Perfect Discreet Carry Case


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Bartholomew Roberts
August 26, 2006, 01:52 PM
For a long time now I have wanted a discreet carry case that did not advertise its contents to the world every time I took it out of the car. Two things kept me from acting on that desire though - budget and the fact that I had a perfectly good non-discreet rifle case that did everything I needed it to do.

As I continued to get more involved with AR15s, the non-discreet case started to be a problem. It was a short 34" case. Many of the accessories had to be dismounted for the rifle to fit into the case. Further, the case only worked with collapsible stocked ARs that were fully collapsed. I needed a case that was both taller and a little longer.

Having made the decision to purchase a new case, I knew I wanted something more discreet (the rifle case cut and the 5 mag pouches on the exterior of the previous case were just more attention getting than I was looking for); but the price of these discreet cases was tough to swallow. However, after looking at all the cases and seeing what was available I decided to go with the i-SHOT SERT case.

As those of you who have searched the archives know, the i-SHOT was designed with input from THR members (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=61335&highlight=i-SHOT). It is unquestionably a top-of-the-line case with all the features you could desire; but it had a top of the line price as well and for the longest time this kept me from purchasing the case. The details of the i-SHOT are already adequately covered in the thread above and in an excellent review by Techbrute (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=106159) (which was a big help in making my decision) so I won't go into the i-SHOT case in more detail. I'll just say that i-SHOT's decision to make the TCC available at a lower price but without mag pouches convinced me to finally take the plunge. Instead, I thought I would talk about the cases I didn't choose and why:

The Tactical Tailor Discreet Carry Case was my second choice behind the SERT TCC. The prime motivator here was cost and I also got the briefest of the brief opportunities to actually look at one firsthand. The Tactical Tailor 36" was $85 which was by far the cheapest of the discreet carry cases. It also came with magazine pouches already sewn into the outside accessory pocket (albeit pretty cheap mag pouches). The TT came very close to getting my dollars but in the end, two factors did it in. One was that while the SERT case came with four adjustable tie downs and enough space to secure two rifles without magazines. The TT came with only two tie-downs that were sewn in. This meant that even if you could fit two rifles into the case, both would have to be put in to the compartment unsecured where they could bang against each other because A) there weren't enough tie downs to secure two rifles and B) the tie down was sewn to a spot where you couldn't use it with two rifles anyway.

In addition, the outer accessory pocket of the TT bag did not have the closed cell foam or plastic sheeting of the SERT bag or the PALS webbing. Because I already had spare MOLLE pouches I wasn't using, the cheap but effective mag pouches that were sewn into the TT weren't a plus for me. Looking at the $35 price difference, I decided to go ahead and buy the case I knew would give me everything I wanted instead of hoping that the compromises I might have to make for the TT would be acceptable.

Next on the list was the Eagle Discreet Carry Case based on reputation. At the time, the Eagle version I looked at was very similar to the Tactical Tailor case except that it ran about $100, had foam over the accessory pouch, had better quality magazine pouches (but put the magazine pouches INSIDE the rifle compartment?). So basically, it had all the shortcomings of the Tactical Tailor bag; but was more expensive and rubbed magazines against the rifle too. Eagle has since redesigned their discreet carry case by moving the mag pouches to the accessory pocket and adding PALS webbing to either side of the mag pouches. In addition, they have removed the velcro tie down so you can wedge two rifles into the case (still loose though). They also increased the price to $119. Quality product; but I felt like I was getting more from the SERT.

TAG Discreet Carry Case - Great case. Good padding. Subtle. PALS webbing inside the accessory pocket but no magazine pouches. The tie downs can be adjusted horizontally; but not vertically. The issue of two rifles isn't really relevant to this case since it doesn't appear to be tall enough to hold two AR15s anyway. The price is $129 which is $10 less than the SERT. For the $10 discount you lose - a taller bag, PALS webbing on the interior compartment, two extra tie downs and a shoulder strap.

Finally, I managed to evaluate the Blackhawk Discreet Carry bag firsthand. First, let me say I am not a Blackhawk basher like some. I like and use several items of Blackhawk gear. The problem here though is that the product just isn't a great product for the price. Like TAG, they figured out that adjustable tie downs beat sewn-in tie downs. Improving on the TAG, they added a second row so you could even adjust vertically. However, the case doesn't appear tall enough to hold two AR15s (though it does appear taller than the TAG). In addition, the case has a pretty cheap feel to it compared to some of the other cases. Like the TAG and the SERT, the outer accessory pocket is empty. However, instead of PALS webbing, Blackhawk chose to use velcro so that you could only attach Blackhawk proprietary velcro pouches inside the pocket. Why someone would want to spend $20-30 extra on a pouch that can only be used inside a Blackhawk rifle case, I am not real sure; but I didn't care for the feature. At $109, I felt the case was way overpriced.

Also, one problem many of these cases had was the label. I understand the manufacturers are proud of their product and want recognition for it; but it doesn't do me much good to have a discreet carrying case if the label on the outside says "ASSAULT SYSTEMS DISCREET SUBGUN CASE" or "TACTICAL DEATH DEALERS INC." in 5" high bold lettering. The Blackhawk label was particularly obnoxious in size, though since it was a black label on a black bag it blended in better than some. You wouldn't want the khaki or OD version though. The i-SHOT bag has a medium tag with the words "SERT System" in large type and "i-SHOT" in smaller type. As such, it was more discreet than some of the manufacturers and required a bit of inside knowledge to recognize it as a gun case.

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Car Knocker
August 26, 2006, 03:04 PM
How is the tag on the i-Shot bag fastened? If it's sewn on, it can easily be removed for an even more discrete look.

Telperion
August 26, 2006, 03:11 PM
Thanks for the review. I've been looking for something similar for a long time, and I am pretty partial to i-SHOT's gear, since I own one of their range bags. I have been hoping that they would start selling a non-PALS setup at a lower price, but everytime I've talked to Helmie about this, he says it's a few more months out. :(

Tactical Tailor's bag looked OK, but I was uncertain whether the 45" bag would fit a full-length M14 (44" OAL), and their customer service wasn't helpful. I didn't like the color choices either; for me, both tacticool black and OD green are not the best urban camo.

Glad you found something that works for you, but my search shall go on...

Bartholomew Roberts
August 26, 2006, 03:21 PM
Yeah, if you don't like the Tactical Tailor then the Eagle and Blackhawk both offer the non-PALS setup; but their price really isn't that much lower than the i-SHOT.

I'm guessing the SERT tag is just sewn in and probably could be removed pretty easy with a knife - though it hadn't occured to me to even try that :o . Thanks for bringing that up.

MisterPX
August 27, 2006, 11:04 AM
A good discreet case for an AR is a plastic toolbox. Ppop your rec. pins, and it'll fit inside, looking much smaler than a rifle.

grislyatoms
August 28, 2006, 01:39 PM
MisterPX

I did the same thing with a Bushmaster XM15. Got the toolbox at Home Depot.

I would wrap the upper and lower in the legs of a pair of jeans I cut off and place a foam block in between them to protect them.

Don't have the rifle anymore but the toolbox is now my range box.

ocabj
August 28, 2006, 02:45 PM
I've had this bookmarked for some time:

http://www.quarterbore.com/ar15m16/toolbox.html

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