The Tactical Bag/Purse
Tonight I wrote a blog for my "Armed and Pregnant" blog that was geared mostly toward making a diaper bag into a tactical bag but almost everything in that blog can also be translated into purse/bag carry as well.
For the ladies or those with wives/girlfriends, etc, who choose to carry off body there might be some things to consider and if anyone has anything to add I'd be happy to hear it.
It's quarter to 2 am here and while I think I covered all my bases I might read this in the morning and shudder.
The Tactical Diaper Bag
I hate diaper bags. I hate them so much I never really had a true "diaper bag." I was gifted one before my son was born, used it for about a week and ditched it in favor for something lighter and smaller.
Most of the time, barring extenuating circumstances (such as medical conditions, etc), your child does not need a built-in 1/2" thick, folding changing pad just to change a diaper. He doesn't need six changes of clothes for every clime and place. He doesn't need two blankets and six bottles. If you need all those things you are going on a trip, not just out and about and you might as well be taking a suitcase, not a diaper bag.
And who needs to be carrying BOTH a diaper bag and a purse? I know some women who work need to have the diaper bag to drop off at the baby-sitter or daycare and the purse to go to work with them but for the rest of us it's perfectly acceptable to combine the two AND make sure we have all of our self defense tools at hand as well.
I have put together what I have considered to be my "tactical" diaper bag (no matter how much I despise using the term "tactical").
A tactical diaper bag is more than what is carried in the bag but here are some things you might find if you were to search such a bag:
medical supplies (beyond just a few bandaids and neosporin)
Some people (men and women alike) think that just because they are carrying a certain tool (whether that is a knife, gun, pepper spray, Taser, etc) they are ready if they should need to use it.
Often, when I get to talking to other women about self defense they will chirp proudly, "I carry pepper spray."
To which I respond, "Great! Where is it?"
At which point I watch and silently count off the seconds as they retrieve their purse off the floor and dig through it while mumbling, "Well, it's around here somewhere."
We're lucky if they can gain access to it in less than twenty seconds.
That, my friends, is far too long.
A tool is only as good as its accessibility and even if you can't carry on body or choose to carry off body in a purse or bag it doesn't mean that you have to sacrifice that accessibility and security.
Maxpedition Versipack Jumbo
A tactical bag takes the carrying of the defensive tools to a whole new level of security and accessibility. There are bags out there that are specifically designed to be "tactical" and they make it very easy to put together in a configuration that works for you both as a kick-ass mother and as a warrior woman.
I have one of these such bags which I have often used as a diaper bag/purse. It is a Maxpedition Versipack Jumbo bag. When I got mine they only came in a very limited number of manly colors as they were originally marketed to military and police but when mothers like myself started to catch on to their potential in the civilian sector they added many more color options.
The greatest thing about these types of bags is that they assume you will be carrying defensive tools and/or weaponry of some sorts and they make provisions for such tools.
All the goodies I frequently fit into my Versipack.
The back pocket of the bag is designed to hold a gun if you wish. There is a holster accessory you can purchase separately that you attach to the inside of the pocket to secure your firearm. The shoulder strap (which is designed to be carried cross-body) has a quick-release snap but also small loops and hooks for anything you might want to attach to the strap like a pen or pepper spray or even your car keys. In addition to that there are many more pockets and pouches that allow for reasonable placement of items by level of importance.
There are other "tactical" bag companies out there that make bags specifically geared towards the carrying of weaponry, but, let's face it, most of them look like.. well, tactical bags.
Some people don't care. In fact, as long as they can get a tactical bag in baby blue or pink with their child's name embroidered on the front it's good enough for them. But, some women do care what their diaper bag looks like and want something that is both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional as a tactical bag.
Before we talk about how to make or change your average diaper bag into a tactical diaper bag I want to talk about some rules to having and/or using a bag as a duel tactical/diaper bag.
Remember, a diaper bag is to aid you in caring for your child and is going to be around your child. If you plan on carrying a defensive tool of any kind in your diaper bag (whether it's a gun, knife, pepper spray, etc) you have a responsibility to make sure yours or any other child cannot gain access to that tool. It is your responsibility to have control of the bag at all times; be vigilant of your bag at all times for both access and security; be responsible for the items contained in the bag so that you never hand over the bag to someone else who is either unauthorized or uneducated in the tools within that bag; always have a way to secure your bag or your tools in the event you need to leave the bag, etc. Be safe and responsible.
You and your baby (and therefore your diaper bag) go a lot of places. Some of these places do not allow specific defensive tools like guns and knives. Check the legalities of your tools in the places you are about to go before you go and have a back up plan for storage of your tools in the event that they are not allowed.
With that in mind, let's talk about how to choose a bag and set it up in a way that is both optimal for you as a mom, and as a defensive tool bag--a tactical diaper bag.
Have a shoulder strap that allows for cross-body carry.
There really is no negotiating this point. If you are going to carry a defensive tool in a bag it should be able to be attached to your body in such a way as it cannot easily slip off or be taken. The most secure way to carry a bag is to sling it across the body. This protects you from losing your bag and from someone doing a quick run and snatch.
A gun gets its own pocket.
This is another non-negotiable point. Every couple of months I read a story about a gun that goes off in a store because it was carried in some woman's purse and something got inside of the trigger guard causing a discharge. This should never happen. If there is going to be a gun in a bag or purse it should ALWAYS have it's own pocket (preferably with a zipper, snap or velcro for concealability and to keep little fingers out). That pocket should be equipt with some sort of a holster devise holding the firearm in such a way that the trigger cannot be accessed and so that the firearm can be gripped and drawn quickly and safely by the legal carrier. If you have to modify a pocket in your bag to do this then do it, but just accept the fact that if there is going to be a gun in the bag it's going to have its own designated pocket.
Prioritize placement of products in pockets.
Ask yourself this question when considering what you are putting in your bag and where in your bag you are going to put it: "When am I going to need this?"
Even if you are going to need something several times a day (diapers or a change of socks, let's say) you don't necessarily need them IMMEDIATELY. Typically, you wait to change a diaper until you are in a place where you can lie your child down in a relatively controlled environment. You may be better served reserving the most accessible pockets and locations of your bag for items that you are may immediately need--such as a defensive tool. As stated before, the bottom of a purse or bag is no place for a defensive tool. If you can't access it it is no good to you.
Put priority on the things that can save your life and the life of your child and put those in a dominant, easy to access place while also considering safety and legalities.
Modify your bag.
If you want a place to hook your pepper spray, keys or tactical pen on a strap or external pocket, get yourself a D-ring, S-biner, key ring, some heavy-duty thread, a needle, a nylon strip or other other attachment method and modify! Or, have that friend of yours who sews rig something up for you. If you feel your bag would better suit your needs if it had this or that modification, then do it. Make it quality work and make sure it's safe and responsible, but modify!
To show you just how easy it is to make even the most non-tactical diaper bag into a tactical diaper bag I'll give you an example to consider.
Coach Diaper Bag
This Diaper Bag made by Coach has "tactical diaper bag" potential written ALL over it (in addition to all of the "C"s). It has a shoulder strap capable of cross-body slinging. The pockets on the ends are perfect for things like tactical pens, pepper spray, knives, spare magazines/speedloaders and tactical flashlights in addition to a bottle or water bottle on the one side. The large pocket on the front is a zipper pocket that is perfect for something like a gun which could be retrofitted with a holster like a Remora that will keep the firearm both protected and in place. The heavy D-ring hooks on either side of the bag could be modified for keys with the addition of a simple S-biner.
Not all bags have "tactical diaper bag" potential but with these guidelines you should be able to shop smart and find a bag that works both for your needs as a mother and for your needs as something to tote around your tactical gear.
Thanks for the post.
My girlfriend is one of those who has pepper spray (that I gave her) but the chances of her finding it in time are slim to none.
If she ever decides to carry it would probably be purse carry (I know, not the best method) but I would do my best to at least have her get a purse specifically designed for concealed carry.
I agree with almost everything you wrote, except for this...the probability of a bag that large and heavy (with all those items inside) NOT getting set down somewhere, is about ZERO. There is not a woman I know that will "wear" such a bag for any length of time, especially when chasing a child around. It's just not going to happen - and that is the problem with off-body carry.
Much better to have a separate diaper bag that you CAN set down, and keep the weaponry on you - preferably on-body, or if not, in a smaller purse specifically designed for carrying a gun. That purse must be on you all the time, especially if you are around kids.
It's a similar concept to having a ruck sack (for life support gear) and a separate assault bag which is smaller and carries what you need for fighting.
Nice idea Lima, but I don't see it working for most armed women in the real world. Too many eggs in one basket.
But what do I know - I'm a guy. :wink:
This is true.
Originally Posted by 10thmtn
And perhaps I should clarify that when I think of a "tactical" diaper bag (especially with a firearm in it) I think of a bag you would be using for a time that you WOULDN'T or couldn't put down.
For instance, yesterday I took this set up with me to the zoo and mall. My son isn't in a stroller anymore (I took one with me but he doesn't use it) and I do run around after him and instead of carrying a purse and a diaper bag and because I'm getting too pregnant to carry around my waist anymore it's much easier to carry off body in a bag but because there was no place to put the bag it did stay on my body.
I agree that using a bag like this exclusively would be unrealistic because kids get dropped off places (nurseries, day cares, friend's houses) or bags are put down, but if there is a trip you are going to make that requires consolidating where you are going to be carrying everything on you and not putting it down you can do so this way without carrying multiple bags and having everything at your finger tips... including defensive gear.
Congratulations on the baby on the way. I pray that everything goes smoothly with the pregnancy and the delivery.
From the dad perspective, I agree 100% with what Lima wrote about what should really be in a db and about the Maxpedition, though I went with the Mongo so I could drop my iPad into it.
I see "where to carry?" as being an "and" instead of an "or" as I still carry on-body while also having a Glock in the diaper bag. And yes, I put the bag down when we're at Starbucks. Not doing so would look weird and drawing from a bag hanging on my chair is about as fast as drawing from a bag hanging on my shoulder.
BTW, one giant pink kid's cup in the water bottle holder will completely de-tacticle a black Maxpedtion, not sure about cammo.
Ah, the joys of chasing two kids around. :biggrin:
I would strongly caution against putting a firearm in a diaper bag. When you have more than one kid, you will find yourself distracted while changing junior, only to find senior rummaging around in the bag, looking for toys and treats. You can bank on it - it will happen. If he finds the gun, I shudder to think what could happen. You will NOT be able to keep your eye on both of them 100% of the time. It's impossible. And if there are other kids around, the mayhem gets exponentially worse. I have two kids of my own - trust me on this.
Sorry Lima, but I have to vehemently (and respectfully) disagree with this concept. One bag is for baby support gear - the other bag with the gun is separate, smaller, and glued to you.
In the scenario you described, you could use the stroller to carry the diaper bag, even if he does not use the stroller anymore. If you need to chase him, you can just leave the stroller. You can move faster that way, too - rather than trying to keep up with a kid (soon to be two) with that boat anchor of a bag tied around you. Oh, and then he's going to want to get picked up, too. That's a lot of weight to carry. And when he gets tired of walking...that stroller will come in handy.
I'd actually recommend a fanny pack for carry purposes before a gun purse - less likely to get set down. And when you're pregnant, hopefully practicality takes precedence over fashion. :smile:
Sorry to disagree, but it comes from a good place. Stay safe, and all the best.
I think lima intends this as a supplemental holster that carries diapers, because she is too far a long in size to wear a conventional holster. Its not a diaper bag carrying a gun. She sound slike she intends to wear it all the time when using it, in the limited role she has it designated for. It like some of my varied styl of holsters. Soe I use very very seldom, but when I need them for the purpose they are designed for, I need them.
I think with proper care and due diligence it is a great idea.
Everybody has to figure out whats best for them and I will tell you about a friend, she chose a purse for CCW and about 3 months later her purse was grabed she hung on for awhile but the strap broke. She lost her purse gun and the rest and had to give the info to the cops, now she won't say where she carries the weapon and she is ticked that she paid $175 for the purse and the strap broke
I've been struggling to figure out an EDC scheme that works with a varied lifestyle. Going shopping, to the pool, gym, restaurant, in home carry.
What's difficult is having the right tool when you need it, at the right time. The other day I had my camera on the belt using a clipped velcro case at about 8:00. Some guy rides down the street in a 15mph zone at >40 talking on his cell phone. Could I get the camera out fast enough to take the picture which might give a slim chance of getting a license plate? No way, not even close.
It seems to me there are two scenarios. You are in a situation where you feel you suddenly need your firearm. Often it's a feeling of being 'naked', unprepared, or just wanting reassurance.
The other is being in a situation where you need your firearm NOW and it's behind a couple zippers.
As the police have shown you need two things to be successful when going INTO danger:
1. Your Sam Browne duty belt with your gear where you expect it without looking;
2. A partner trained to work in tandem.
Trying to plan or do anything while using a variety of CC holsters, hidden gawd-knows-where, I'm starting to think (as a practicing newbie), is a losing proposition.
Its hard if not impossible for a man not used to wearing Kilt and Sporran to put themselves in your shoes.
Still, I've stood helplessly by at checkout counters while Mrs H dug around for a wallet or checkbook; roasted in the sun while she dug for the car keys; watched her panic as she failed to find the bottle of pills; and in general the idea of having all that stuff in one bag--- appealing as it is--- does raise the issue of ability to rapidly retrieve precisely the device you want. Reaching in for pepper and coming up with lipstick won't do.
I am starting to see more people carry messenger bags. I received one as a gift and thought it was something I would never use, but am having a change of heart after this past summer. Osprey and Mountain hardwear both have options that would work for CCW. Warp - Osprey Packs, Inc :2011: Official Site
The tan Maxpedition Jumbo is exactly the bag I used for my twins, and my wife uses a black one. Best bag ever. We carry enough stuff in it to get by, and keep a bag with stuff to handle big disasters ( think total change of clothes x 2 kids) strored in the car.