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EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to “Bag Drop” — a new column all about bags, and what we fill them with. We’ll be covering a variety of bail-out, bug-out, get-home and go bags. All of these terms are thrown around willy-nilly in the preparedness community with little time taken to define the intent and purpose of each type. What you put in your bags depends entirely on your needs and wants, but we hope to provide you with a little food for thought about what’s possible and how to pack effectively for the unforeseen.
For our inaugural installment of “Bag Drop,” I’m going to talk about a bag that’s been with me for years. It has literally traveled the world and was built for a clear purpose. I learned a long time ago that equipment selection is a form of mission analysis. In layman’s terms — a well-packed bag should fill a specific need and do so with a minimum of bulk or excess. This particular bag can also be seen in “Trick Your Truck” in RECOIL OFFGRID Issue 33.
In a previous lifetime, I worked in Afghanistan as an independent contractor, providing facility security and close protection services to government personnel. Part of this job required driving or riding in armored SUVs, often as a single-truck element, in areas where IEDs and ambushes were a very real risk. In many cases, if a vehicle is blocked in or disabled during the course of an attack, you may have to bail out of it (possibly under fire) and leave the area on foot. Because of this, I wanted a lightweight low-profile bag to hold extra supplies I could bring with me if I was ever forced to exit my vehicle during a fight. This bag also stayed with me while manning static posts in the event of an active shooter or large-scale ground assault against our perimeter.
The bag itself is a Terrorist Interdiction Bag from Suarez International. Measuring only 10 by 12.5 inches, the overall design is flat and lean. I found it perfectly sized to tuck under the driver seat of my vehicle or the drawer of my desk while working various duties in Afghanistan. The bag also includes a waist strap. With the shoulder strap slung across your chest like a seatbelt, and the waist strap clipped around your torso, you can fight directly from the bag with minimal bouncing or flopping while you move. In effect, this turns the TIB into an oversized holster, with all on-board supplies easily accessible on the go. On their website, the folks at Suarez International say this: “The TIB is the answer for the man that needs to carry a full high intensity-short duration fighting kit 24/7/365, but in a very compact and ultra-discreet manner … We suggest you do not overfill it with non-essentials. Quick and dirty. Fill it with weapons, magazines, weapon accessories, and medical stuff. That is all.”
To this end, my personal TIB would be a dedicated fighting bag. There would be no long-term survival provisions. I didn’t keep any actual guns in this bag, as my duties required weapons be kept on my person while on duty. The main zip compartment includes a removable “kangaroo pouch” that holds three rifle magazine with bungee-cord top retention. I filled all three slots with spare 30-round magazines for my carbine. Behind the magazines is a large pocket, divided down the middle that I used for extra trauma medical supplies: hemostatic gauze, an Israeli bandage, and chest seals. Since the rifle mag pouch is covered with loop-side Velcro on the outside, I added a small placard with elastic loops that I filled with small chem lights for signaling or room-marking in a CQB scenario.
The front-flap of the bag is held closed with a Fastex buckle and covers a shallow pocket lined with elastic loops. I used the loops in this compartment to hold a flashlight, tourniquet, folding knife, and multi-tool.
Finally, there are two small end pockets on either side of the bag. In one pocket, I kept “personnel control” supplies — flex cuffs and pepper spray, in the event that hostile or unknown personnel needed to be subdued or transported after the immediate fight. In a pinch, flex cuffs can also be used to help secure doors or gates. Opposite this, I kept fire-starting supplies. This is the closest I came to including actual survival gear. A Zippo lighter, bottle of lighter fluid, and several waterproof fire-starting wicks were just enough to fit in this pocket. The only things in this bag without a direct and immediate application in combat, this inclusion was simple personal preference. In retrospect, a personal GPS beacon or satellite phone would’ve been an excellent substitute. Most small-to-medium phones or pocket beacons would’ve fit perfectly in the same pocket.
That’s it. I carried this bag, in this configuration, for several deployments. Fortunately, I never needed to use it. But I always felt better knowing I had the extra muscle in case I did. Even if Uncle Sam never sends you on that all-expense-paid trip to the Mid East, a dedicated fighting bag is a worthwhile consideration in any preparedness plan. Even if you can’t — or don’t want to — carry a firearm on you, this bag will hold even a full-sized handgun with ease. Stashing a government-sized 1911 or Glock 17 with several extended magazines gives you an all-inclusive solution to go from unarmed to fight ready. Having a bag like this cached in your trunk, hall closet, or desk drawer gives you a strong alternative to hiding and hoping for the best if faced with armed assailants.
Suarez International Terrorist Interdiction/Active Shooter Bag (TIB)