By: Serena Juchnowski
I resorted to attempting to hold it in front of me – the bookbag I had only used once now almost less effective than a plastic grocery store bag. It was only partway into the first match of the day when the zipper on the largest pocket broke – putting all of its contents at risk and leaving a gaping space for Camp Perry’s June mayflies to enter. Thank goodness it was just one day.
With Nationals approaching, I knew I had to do something. Two weeks of shooting, dragging around equipment, taking photographs, and doing interviews – I could not afford to lose anything. REALLY – I could not. This past May, I found out I am Type 1 Diabetic. Along with other trials, it makes it a necessity for me to carry blood glucose monitoring supplies and insulin at all times. If I were to lose my insulin, or if its container should break, it would be much more than an inconvenience.
Flying Circle Inc., out of Boerne, Texas makes tactical and military bags and luggage. I had the pleasure of meeting some of their staff at the 2019 SHOT Show, and upon investigating their brand and their story, I found that they are family founded and owned with a commitment to veterans. I was thrilled to have the chance to be a part of their story, albeit small.
While I competed in and photographed the 2019 National Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, the Brazos Concealed Carry Backpack kept all my gear and medical supplies safe and organized. I never thought there was much one could say about a backpack, but in using it, I have found that not all backpacks are created equal.
Though on the larger size for my five foot three frame, I truly love it. I had the utmost trust in the product, and it has served me well. It showed no signs of wear after two weeks in the hot sun and dirt and came with me on all my adventures – riding on golf carts, journeying across base, taking the trek between yard lines and to the pits. (During the National Trophy Rifle Matches, with the exception of the CMP Cup, competitors are obligated to spend time in the “pits” pulling targets. The pits are essentially a ditch below the target carriers in which competitors mark and score targets.)
Though at times I will admit that I loaded it too heavily, I was very impressed with all the bag can hold, all of the pockets, and most important to me, the strength of the zippers. In every one of the dozens of backpacks I have had over the years, I have had to put everything in one of several pockets, digging frantically when I thought I lost my camera lens, hearing protection, or the keys to the military base housing I was staying in. With the Brazos, I had none of these issues. Small zippered pockets, molle straps, and mesh were scattered throughout the bag, making it easy for me to organize everything I had – saving time on the range and the stress of misplacing something.
The waist strap eased the weight, but at times I found it in the way. It is very secure, with Velcro on the inside, making it hard to remove and replace, so I opted to fasten it around the front of the bag when I was not using it.
The only thing I found slightly lacking is that I wish the carry handle had been just a little bit larger so that I could more easily hang it on my shooting cart. For many others, this is not a concern, the low profile of the handle being more important. The bag itself has a bit of weight to it, but that really only speaks to the strength and ruggedness of the material. Though the material is water resistant, I still sought out a rain cover for it just in case.
A comparison between a bag of the Michigan Army National Guard and the Brazos Concealed Carry Backpack; there was almost no comparison besides the color. The Brazos pack is built to last, built to endure, and built with pride.
While for some adventures I may opt for a smaller bag, for long days of shooting matches and to protect my gear and medical supplies, I trust the Brazos pack. I will never hesitate to look to Flying Circle in the future for similar products.
Though I used it primarily as a camera/range/pit bag as a competitive shooter, its uses do not stop there. It is a quality product that can store practically whatever someone wants/needs to carry. Great gift for boy scouts, shooters, military, travelers…I have had several people see it during the summer and inquire about it in the time since!
Serena Juchnowski is a high power service rifle competitor and regular contributor to Junior Shooters magazine, writing from Ohio. Contact her at [email protected].