This is the Gryphon EDC pack from US PALM (Primary Armament Logistical Manufacturing). We got it from Robert Anderson and Brandon Finch (the Jay and Silent Bob of the LBE/armor world) late last Summer and have used it extensively since then. Photos courtesy of US PALM, Greenside Training, Firelance Media, Bobby Harris and some homeless guy lurking on the outskirts of Tucson.
Although justly known primarily for their AK magazines, US PALM is no stranger to “tactical nylon”. In fact they build a lot of armor and nylon gear for both man and beast. Among that gear are the Draco HBP, the AK Attack Rack V2, the AGILE Combat System (more on that soon) – and of course the Gryphon. Their particular specialty is catering to small “niche” end users like the US Border Patrol’s BORTAC (we’ve also seen their packs in use by Texas Rangers).
“I love people with very specific mission sets. That’s what gives me input into my grey matter.”
Finch waggles his eyebrows in agreement.
Bottom Line Up Front: this is a great pack, and we like the way E-2s love strippers on payday, but it will be easy to misuse and overload it if you’re not careful. Not overload it like you’ll bust the seams (that’s pretty unlikely, given US PALM’s construction and QC standards), but rather over-estimating what you can comfortably carry (the same way young Joes always seem to, or young LEOs on their first rural counter-DTO operation). At around 2300 cubic inches total internal capacity the Gryphon has plenty of room for everything you’d need in an EDC (Every Day Carry) or “3-Day” pack, but it also provides ample opportunity to be that dumbass who humps so much he slows everyone down.
This is, of course, a danger with any pack. But the Gryphon tiptoes right along the edge of being slightly too big, making it even more likely.
The Gryphon (also Griffin or Griffon depending on how nerdy you get) was a heraldic/legendary creature made from parts of many beasts (lion and eagle at a minimum). The Gryphon EDC pack echoes the monster; it is named for miscellaneous mélange of miscegenated features (check it out: alliteration) including many inspired by military parachute containers. It’s built of 500D Cordura and weighs 2.5 lbs (a little over 4 lbs. with the armor insert).
Unlike some of its competitors, the Gryphon is not separated into numerous pockets and hidden compartments. There are 2 zippered side pockets along the insides of the slightly tapered main compartment and a large Velcro utility pocket rides high center on the outside. Beneath that is a padded, half-moon shaped pocket and a side-accessed armor compartment in the back (where you can have US PALM load a proprietary 3A armor panel if you are so inclined). That half moon pouch down below will hold a mid-size handgun securely, which is a nice counterpoint to the armor (and is located in an excellent spot should you decide to reverse the pack and put the armor forward without actually drawing or brandishing the weapon). That’s great news for those of you who carry a Glock 19 or Commander size 1911, not so much for you crayon-eaters carrying a Desert Eagle, Hi-Point or Beretta 92 series.
Just kidding. You could put lots of different Hi-Points or Berettas inside. You’re just a dumbass if you do.
There’s a somewhat anemic “hanger” for a hydration bladder inside the primary compartment (the only feature we weren’t really impressed with) and a routing for the drinking tube on the pack straps (which are themselves backed by Hypalon for grippety-grip). On top is the obligatory drag strap/carrying handle, beneath which is a long narrow Velcro strip where you can throw a nametape, ID patch, etc. The drag strap is plenty tough and sewn down like a champ, but we would still rigger-tape a 4″ piece of old garden hose to it if we were going to carry it into harm’s way (same as a couple of our minions do on all their armor or packs that aren’t meant to look pretty). That’s counter to the whole “low profile EDC” vibe the Gryphon strives for, of course, but since there will be some who like this pack for field use we thought we’d mention it. Padding on the back is generous and well formed, making the Gryphon extremely comfortable even when packed with Too Much Stuff. There are also jump loops on the bottom and PALS webbing on the flanks (not immediately obvious from directly behind and color-matched, but there if you need them).
The one thing that is arguably missing (it will depend on what you like) is a Velcro field on the back of the main compartment. Most of our guys use a haphazard collection of Velcro backed pockets from a number of manufacturers (the Blue Force Gear DAP stuff is an example) and it would be nice to have a place for them – though as for additional compartmentalization and modularity, US PALM offers some pouches of their own.
One particularly interesting feature is the top “valuables pocket”, which is actually about twice as large as you’d expect (or as you’d find on other packs in this genre) and covered in hook and loop. If you fold it in half and crease the bottom seam down it seems like it’s only half as deep as it really is—this provides a great location to conceal stuff. During a training evolution Anderson used it to get $600 in cash, his driver’s license and passport through an inspection. Since the search was conducted by members of an LE agency used to looking for smugglers and people trying to hide stuff away, that’s no mean feat. This is largely because of the way the walls are constructed; you can’t really tell anything is in there. That wouldn’t necessarily be the case with anything bulky, of course. Caltrops, 9-bangers and Fleshlights would almost certainly stick out like the balls on a bulldog.
Is it truly covert and
discrete discreet? Define discreet – discreet where? At the mall? On campus? At BLIZZCON? At the SHOT Show? Some guys will look like an obvious threat to someone paying attention even if they’re wearing Daisy Duke shorts and Alan Garner’s satchel. The Gryphon EDC doesn’t look like a ruck, but it does look like a tactical pack—but these days that could mean a lot or nothing. Thanks to the GI Bill, MilSim and First Person Shooter games there are “tactical packs” from a wide array of manufacturers are all over the place. PALS webbing and Velcro fields are no longer the predator warning they once were any more than a good beard is. Even if you’re humping a SCAR-L in a tennis racquet bag, your ability to blend in is always going to come down to environment and how you comport yourself—though your selection of gear will absolutely help.
This is an excellent EDC or truck pack, but like so many “low profile” pieces of gear it might actually be more “grey man” suitable if built in some different color ways and possibly without the PALS webbing on the side (which as we said is by no means a dealbreaker for any of us now that MOLLE is become ubiquitous). This could be as simple as 2-toned grey or some approximation of local “favorite team”colors. Live in Tucson? Use a Gryphon EDC pack in cardinal red and navy blue, and throw a Wildcat patch on it. Live in Tulsa or Oklahoma City? Get one in black and orange and sew Pistol Pete on there. Do something similar in black and green in Boston, etc. etc. –except of course, that’s not practical for the manufacturer.
Final tally? At $200 it’s worth the ducats, although you’re really going to spend $325 if you also want the armor plate that fits it.
Note: do not confuse the US PALM Gryphon EDC Pack with the Grey Ghost Gear Griff Pack (another good pack); they’re different pieces of kit.
Note also that the Gryphon is currently undergoing some sort of revamp – we’re not entirely sure what changes will be made, or how long away they are, but here’s a picture of a prototype in the field with Greenside Training (Yaesu VX8DR with GPS module radio, light and modular pockets mounted). We’ll have another review after another couple of minions play with the new one soon. Don’t let that stop you from checking out the Gryphon currently in production. It’s plenty nice.
Get yours here: https://uspalm.com/product/gryphon-edc/. They’re currently available in ATACS-AU, Black, Coyote, Multi-Cam and Ranger Green.
Emergency: Activate firefly, deploy green (or brown) star cluster, get your wank sock out of your ruck and stand by ’til we come get you.
Swinging Dick Approved.