Traveling back and forth to Vegas again has me thinking about EDC in a new way and the potential for off- body-carry, but not for guns. For armor. And Vertx and Premier Body Armor have partnered on a solution that is subtle enough to avoid looking out of place, yet versatile enough to provide robust protection.
Is it time to break those old habits?
For me, it is the airline travel that has me thinking. In the last year, I’ve logged enough airlines miles to have flown all the way around the planet—and then some—and I tend to travel light. Some of those trips have been into enemy territories, like California, and others are short hops for which I’ve not needed to check bags (so I go without so much as a pocketknife).
Why shouldn’t I be running around with armor? That’s a rhetorical question, really, and I’m a bit of a dumbass for not carrying the extra protection. When the bags are as versatile as this, and the armor is as light and protective as it is, and all of this is TSA approved—well, I have no legitimate excuse.
The actual answer is that I’m lazy. I’ve got a Mountain Smith messenger bag that I’ve worn for more than 25 years. It is beat to hell, but it is as much a part of my EDC setup as anything. I’m way past the time for a change.
The Vertx Commuter Sling
I ran across this combo at SHOT Show 2022. The Vertx Commuter series has a proven track record. It is a robust sling that is perfect for use as a carry-on on planes or for running around town.
There’s an XL version that is long enough to carry an AR pistol or SBR. If you’re into the off-body-carry of rifles, this would be ideal. I’d rather have something that I could fit under the seat of a plane and still have room for my size 13s. The normal Vertx Commuter would work well.
And I’m still undecided about the off-body-carry of guns. Don’t get me wrong—I do it sometimes, but there’s always a nagging doubt about issues of safe storage and control. These bags are built for ease of access and have multiple ways that you can configure you’re preferred method of carry.
The internal configuration is done with the Velcro Tacigami inserts. These are good for inserting med kits, guns, holsters, phones, magazines… just about anything you need to lock down inside the bag itself.
This one is in MCB, but there are less conspicuous options. The Multi-Cam options, though, are so mainstream now that even the black version could pass as mainstream fashion.
Vertx Commuter Sling 2.0 FEATURES
- Rifle-compatible concealed carry platform with loop lining, a sling attachment point, and a Rapid Access Pull tab
- Concealed carry platform accepts ballistic panels
- CCW compartment has retention G-hooks to prevent unintended opening when accessing gear
- Convertible front flap stows behind loop-faced MOLLE webbing panel to provide ready access to items mounted there and to rapidly change the bag’s appearance
- Snap-on front flap zipper pulls prevent accidental opening and G-hook straps enable the front flap to convert to a sling for larger items
- The main compartment has an adjustable laptop retention strap, zippered pocket with key lanyard, four gear slots, and large loop panel for Tactigami and other hook and loop-compatible accessories
- 3-D molded foam back panel enhances airflow and comfort and has a pass-through for rolling luggage handles
- Multiple strategically-located and Tactigami-compatible loop panels
- Adjustable padded shoulder strap with 1919 webbing attachment points for accessories
- Adjustable waist belt can be concealed comfortably behind the molded back panel when not in use
- Hydration bladder compatible
- Front compartment opens wide to easily load and access gear
- Light-colored interior improves interior visibility
- Padded satchel-style side carry handle
- Loop ID patch at bottom of front panel
- Accommodates up to 15” laptop
- 18” H x 13” W x 6” D
- Capacity: 23 liters
- Bonded nylon thread throughout with critical seams and attachment points bartacked for extra durability
- VELCRO Brand loop for top-of-the-line retention of Tactigami and other hook and loop-compatible accessories (accessories sold separately)
- YKK self-repairing nylon coil zippers throughout
- Quiet positive-grip zipper pull-tabs
- 3-D molded foam back panel and laptop insert
The price for a Vertx Commuter is somewhere north of $180.
As for armor, there are options. Premier Body Armor makes insanely light Level IIIA and Level III panels that are tailored to fit into the armor panels of the Vertx bags.
The IIIA panels are flexible and can be used singularly (as in just one). Or you can pair them by putting one in the front of the bag and one in the back, so that it folds open to double the protective area provided by just a single insert.
Premier Body Armor Level IIIA Insert
- Tested to meet the NIJ ballistic standards for Level IIIA
- Just .22″ thick
- Constructed of only the finest USA made Kevlar and features a rugged 500 Denier CORDURA outer shell
- TSA Approved!
- Body Armor is legal to own in all 50 states (but we cannot ship to the state of Connecticut.)
- Commuter Sling 2.0, 10″ x 17.5″ | 1.66 lbs
Each of these sells for $209.
For an increased level of protection, the Level III panels are built to withstand most common .308 and .223 rifle rounds. While these panels are more rigid, they’re not as heavy as you’d think and just one makes for a compelling addition.
Really, there’s no excuse
Consider all the random footage you’ve seen of shootings in this country. In almost all of them, the assailant has a weapon drawn before any of the victims or bystanders are aware there’s a problem. Those of us who carry guns have an advantage of sorts, but we’d still be at the disadvantage in most of these encounters.
A sling, though, allows you to spin protection around to your core. You can block with it. The addition of armor makes it even more protective against knives and blunt force weapons. And armor may buy you the time to get into the fight.
I’ve been carrying one back for a quarter of a century. It still protects my laptop from rain, but that’s about it. And I can fix that problem for less than the price of a new Glock.