A few years ago a company called Sneaky Bags introduced an entire line of bags that were designed to allow discreet carry of various firearms and, in some cases, even serve as second line gear to support the fight. Sneaky Bags had tremendous ideas but they struggled to meet demand. Now, the company and name has been resurrected with support from an established manufacturer – SERT. The Sneaky Bags CRB (Covert Rifle Bag) is the first product from what I hope will be a lasting and productive venture.
The Covert Rifle Bag is designed to carry rifles without looking like it is carrying rifles… hence the name. Its rounded shape and purposefully non-tactical color scheme help to disguise its contents. The CRB features padding throughout and stiff plastic reinforcement where necessary to prevent any telltale shapes or bulges from betraying the contents of the bag.
The 36” version that I have to review can hold two 16” barreled AR-15s or similarly sized rifles. The large interior compartment is slick to allow the rifles to be withdrawn easily and features an integral padded divider to keep the 2 rifles from beating each other up during transport.
The exterior of the CRB has several organization features including a small zippered pocket at the top, a deep Velcro flap secured pocket, a daisy chain, a shock cord (bungee) grid, and a roughly 10”x10”x2” pouch with internal PALS/Velcro organization. The carrying strap can be configured in a number of different ways to allow for backpack carry or multiple modes of side or quiver carry.
Observations from Use
The very first thing that I wanted to do was establish whether or not the CRB is effective as a covert bag. I showed the bag to some family members and gauged their impressions about what they thought it was for and what was inside. They know about the blog and my interests and they still thought it was some kind of sporting equipment bag. Baseball and tennis were both mentioned specifically. I also gauged a few other acquaintances’ reactions and even among shooters, their initial impressions weren’t of a gun case but rather some kind of sporting equipment bag. These tests were far from scientific but they are encouraging – to me at least.
I should point out that I also showed the bag to people who are familiar with Sneaky Bags. They, of course, immediately knew what it was for which points out the limitations of any form of covert carry. If your method of covert carry isn’t one-of-a-kind and it is for sale in the public market place, there is a chance that someone is already familiar with and even trained to look for your covert carry method. This can be a big deal for the armed professional but it is mostly a non-issue for me since I won’t be taking the CRB on any covert missions. (It should also be noted that wearing your best desert tan footwear, 5.11 tactical tuxedo, and “operator” cap will probably cancel out any gray man points you may earn by using the CRB.)
I just wanted bag would allow me to move a carbine around outside of my home without making the neighbors raise their eyebrows. All I need is a bag that lets me lay it on the backseat of a car or carry a carbine and some range gear to and from the front door of my house in a reasonably discreet way. I think the CRB is certainly capable of that and more. I think there could be tremendous value in having a bag that allows you to carry a carbine (or 2) without the so-called “sheeple” (I hate that term) noticing.
The CRB’s main compartment is very well designed in large part because of how simple it is. The interior is so slick and simple that there is absolutely nothing for your carbine to snag on when you are inserting or removing it. It has heavy padding and HDPE stiffeners in all the right places. For instance, the bottom of the bag has an HDPE stiffener to prevent the muzzle from bulging and the back of CRB is also stiffened to prevent your carbine from digging into your back.
I was able to fit 2 of my bulkier carbines (with larger Aimpoints, inserted magazines, free float rails, etc) without much trouble. It is a tight fit but it is very doable. If you need to carry 2 carbines and you want to maximize ease of access you can do a number of things to make the fit a little less tight. I found that using 20 rounds mags or only keeping a magazine in one of the carbines freed up some space. If you are just carrying one carbine, you will probably have plenty of space regardless of how the carbine is configured. I found that the main compartment is also large enough to carry some support gear along with a single carbine.
The front compartment is very versatile. It has a PALS/Velcro grid so that you can use either MOLLE compatible or Velcro backed pouches to organize it. It is large enough to fit a full size handgun and at least 3 magazines. It is also a great pocket for carrying some of the extra stuff that comes along with a trip to the range like eye protection, ear protection, oil, tools, and similar gear. This pocket is also large enough to carry full range session’s worth of loaded mags.
The smaller zippered and flap pockets are useful for smaller, mostly flat items. There isn’t a lot of room for items with a lot of bulk but you will find uses for them.
I have a lot of bags with daisy chains and I rarely use them. I am sure some people do but to me the daisy chain on the CRB is more useful for making it look like a sports bag than for carrying gear.
The bungee cord organizer is great for securing something bulky like a softshell or rain coat just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse at the range. I have also used it lash my lunch bag to the CRB. You could also use it to secure something like a shooting mat or chest rig but that might spoil the covert appearance of the bag.
The CRB can be carried in a number of ways. It comes with a long strap and 2 shoulder pads that can be used in various configurations. I use it most often in backpack configuration (which uses both shoulder pads pads) but it probably looks even more like a sports bag when carried with the strap in a single shoulder configuration. The way that the strap can be configured is very clever and it works reasonably well though you will never confuse the CRB for a dedicated hiking bag with a proper suspension.
There is a single grab handle on the top of the bag. The handle can be secured out of the way of the main compartment’s opening with Velcro. It can be useful for controlling the CRB as you withdraw a carbine from the main compartment. I wish that the CRB had grab handles on the sides as well. This would make carrying it horizontally or quiver style with a single strap over your shoulder more convenient and would be fitting for a sports equipment bag.
This CRB appears to be very well made. All of the stitching is pretty much impeccable and there are no visible cloth edges to fray. I have spent quite a bit time with this bag loaded with 2 loaded carbines, a handgun, and spare mags. This load is, as you can imagine, quite heavy. The shoulder straps, hardware, materials, and construction have been more than up to the task. Even the interior bottom of the bag, where the muzzle devices of the stored carbines rest appears to be holding up very well. I suspect that it would take you a long, long time to wear one of these bags out.
The bag is quite heavy even before you add rifles (5.4 pounds). This is largely due to the necessity of the foam and HDPE reinforcement to hideits contents. It would be nice if some weight could be saved somewhere in the construction of the bag. For instance, 500D nylon would probably be more than sufficient for the exterior of the pack and even some of the internal areas. Additionally, the interior combination of PALS webbing and Velcro in the front pocket could likely just be replaced with Velcro to save weight. There is a wealth of Velcro backed pouches on the market and I wouldn’t miss the PALS compatibility. Both of those modifications would probably represent a fairly small weight reduction but anything would be welcomed.
The CRB and a sturdy sports duffel might be the ultimate gray man range kit. I wanted a bag that could pass the first glance test and I think I found it in the CRB. A lot of care went into the subtle rounded design and material selection to make this bag about as covert as any dedicated firearm case can be – especially one that lets you carry a carbine without breaking it down. I would like to see the CRB lose some weight and have some handles added to the sides but this is a very useful bag for me. It is great to see Sneaky Bags back in the marketplace again!