Blackhawk Products Diversion Workout Bag
Pat Cascio 07.31.13
Blackhawk Products has been on the cutting edge of military and law enforcement gear since their founding by a retired US Navy SEAL, Mike Noell, back in 1993. Blackhawk was formed by Noell because he had a very serious equipment failure in combat — one that could have cost him his life. He determined that he would never have that problem again, and he set about designing and manufacturing some of the best combat gear you can find any place.
I live out in the boonies, and everyone in my neck of the woods has firearms; we aren’t afraid to be seen with a gun in-hand, or one in the rifle rack of a pick-up truck. Whenever I want to go out shooting, I just grab whatever guns I want to shoot, walk out my front door, and put the guns and equipment in my SUV and head out to the range up in the mountains. No one gives a second thought if they happen to see me in my driveway with a rifle, shotgun, or handgun in my hand. But it’s not like this everywhere.
Back when I lived in Chicago, you simply couldn’t afford to be seen carrying a firearm openly for a number of reasons. The neighbors would, without doubt, call the police on you, and you’d have to explain at gunpoint what you were doing “carrying” a firearm — even if you were only going to the range for some practice. You also didn’t want anyone knowing you even owned firearms, for fear that they’d break into your house and steal them.
I always figured that there had to be a better way of transporting a gun, especially a long gun, from my house to my car, without it actually looking like a rifle.
Enter the Blackhawk Diversion Workout Bag.
When my Diversion Workout Bag sample arrived, it looked, for all the world, just like a plain ol’ “gym bag” — albeit a very nice looking one — not a cheap one. I elected to get the black/grey colored bag, but it also comes in black/red and grey/blue as well. The stitching and construction is top-notch, and I expected as much from Blackhawk. I’ve been testing their products for many years, and have yet to be disappointed in anything they produce.
The bag is constructed out of 420 velocity Nyon — tough stuff, and it has a little bit of “give” to it. There is a main compartment that extends into a pair of end pockets, and it fits M4-sized rifles or receivers, or other similarly-sized long-guns. There are also multi-compartment dividers for carrying multiple firearms or separated upper/lower receivers, up to 29″ long. The bag sports loop sections for additional hook-back pouches, holsters and accessories. Hidden panels in the end pockets allow you to extend the main compartment for longer items, and the main compartment fits several additional items, like spare magazines and boxes of ammo.
Enough on the technical stuff, how does the Diversion Workout Bag function? Good question.
The bag won’t carry an M4 with the stock extended, that’s the bad news — the stock has to be fully closed, or it won’t fit in the bag, even with the end pockets extended. I tested the bag with my Sig Sauer M400 Enhanced rifle, an M4-ish long-gun, and found it to be a tight fight — a real tight fit. Yes, I could get the gun in there, but it took a little work, with no room to spare.
I also tested a DPMS M-4 type rifle and it fit a little bit better, with more room fore and aft. The Sig M400 is a little bit longer with the MOE butt stock on it than some other M-4 rifles, but it still fit. I could also place spare magazines and plenty of boxes of ammo in the case, using the divided areas on either side of the M400. In my humble opinion, Blackhawk can afford to manufacture the Diversion Workout Bag about an inch longer in length, in order to accommodate the slight differences in length between various M-4 style rifles.
Tossing the bag in my back of my SUV, along with a couple of my German Shepherds, it looked like I was off to the gym for a workout, and anyone looking into the windows of my SUV — assuming they were brave enough to get that close to my German Shepherds — would simply see what appeared to be a gym workout bag. And, for another decoy, a person could put a dirty t-shirt or workout shorts on top of the bag, to make it look like you might have forgotten to put all your dirty workout clothes in the bag, and just tossed it on top. If you get stopped by law enforcement, a police officer would naturally assume it’s a gym workout bag, and not a long-gun carrying case, which is what it really is.
I haunt several gun shops, it’s an addiction, to be sure. And, I took the Blackhawk bag with the Sig M400 rifle in it into the gun shops, to show them it was actually a gun case They really were impressed with it. In one shop, I took the bag in and told them it was a gun case, and the manager had to prove it to himself, that the bag was capable of carrying an M-4 style rifle… he grabbed one off the wall, and he amazed himself that he could store the gun in the bag, zip it up, and it looked for all the world, like a gym workout bag.
So if you live in the big city, and you go out shooting to a high-powered rifle range, this bag is a great idea because it won’t draw the attention of your neighbors. If you’re a police officer, this is the way to carry your M-4 to work with you. And if you’re in a SHTF scenario, you could have your M-4 on the passenger seat next to you in the front of the car, in the Diversion Workout Bag, and no one would know it — nice idea!
I remember when I’d see the fancy “guitar” cases in gun shops, that were actually designed to carry Thompson sub-machine guns, with a spare drum or spare mags. This was a great idea, but they were extremely expensive, and if you left one in the back seat of your car, someone would break in and steal it, thinking they were stealing a guitar. If someone saw this Blackhawk bag in the back seat of your car, with some dirty gym clothes tossed on top of it, they’d probably leave it alone.
Quality doesn’t come cheap, and Diversion Workout Bag I tested is $174.99. I think it’s worth the price for such a cleverly camo’d, long-gun carrying case. Check out the other Diversion bags that Blackhawk offers; I’m betting you’ll find one to match your needs for discreet transport of your firearms.