TFB Review: G.P.S “Handgunner” Shooting backpack

    Go Outdoors Products is a Chino, California-based gear company that focuses on the shooting accessories and gear that make range trips that much more enjoyable and hassle free. The company has been around for a little while now, and much of their line of products has been out on the market, online, and in numerous gun stores across the nation and possible internationally too. So although they aren’t the next new awesome device or brand, they make products that in my opinion are very well thought out at the budget price you are getting them at.

    This particular review is about the G.P.S Handgunner Shooting Backpack. I first saw the gear backpack some years back at an IDPA competition and was very impressed with the amount of storage space, pockets, and options shooters can use it for. Now, just to press home a point, the point of a range backpack is to hump everything you need at the range and have it quickly accessible, in addition to still being somewhat mobile. These backpacks really seem to have been pushed by the numerous action shooting matches that have swept through the country over the previous two decades. The necessity for the packs was because competitors had to bring all their equipment with them, through multiple stages of an event, and have it mobile enough so as to not hurt them during the competition. Of course, the packs have made their use to people beyond competitions now as well.

    With that in mind, remember what this pack is for. This pack is designed for a day (or many consecutive days) at the range or a competition. Period. It isn’t in Tactical Timmy’s war room for when Armageddon rolls through, nor is it going to accompany a hunter on a Safari. That isn’t what it is for. On the other end of the spectrum, of course, it probably isn’t for a casual shooter who gets to the range perhaps once a month or even once every couple of months. In that scenario, there is nothing wrong with having a simple cloth bag to put range supplies in, or even just bringing the bare minimum of eye/ear protection and a box of ammunition to an indoor range where the rest of the material is probably already there.

    But for my specific purposes, I needed a decent range bag, and I needed it to carry a lot. I needed a place for all my instructional materials for classes I teach, tools that I need at the range when a firearm goes down, spotting and target materials, a large pocket for ammo boxes because of the amount of shooting I do. And on that note, when I’m at home and not traveling somewhere or busy with work, I’m usually at the range every week, if not multiple times a week. Whether that is training on my own, reviewing a product for TFB, shooting a TFB TV episode, or teaching a class. Thus I got very tired of using a converted tackle box bag as my range bag and needed to find something else.

    Of the range bag backpacks on the market, you’ve got a number to choose from. Double Alpha probably makes the highest quality, specifically for the IPSC market with the CED/DAA Rangepack for $160, Oakley has one called the Chamber Range Pack for $190, and Tenzing Tactical has theirs for between $320 and $170. Then you have G.P.S with the Handgunner at a mere $100 to $140 depending on the model.

    Which I got for $74 in October of last year, used on Ebay. When I say used, the seller must have just not liked it and pitched it as soon as they could because it was practically in the plastic wrap when I received it at my house. For the price I got it for, I think it was essentially a steal compared to the other bags. In addition, realize that unlike an actual backpack that you’ll wear every day or in really rough conditions, this one is simply an admin pack. All you do with it is take it to the range and back. As long as you don’t put too much weight on it through ammunition and don’t rip it, it should hold up well.

    The specifications on the measurements of the bag can be found on the internet so I’m not going to list them here. Either way, I just knew I needed space and wasn’t too concerned over the exact specs. Photos do a much better way of explaining this sort of thing so I’ll initially show every single item that I packed in the bag, with it completely empty. Notice I’ve discarded the handgun storage slots as I actually found out I didn’t need them at all and could use the extra space. The material, padding, support, stitching, zippers, in my opinion, was excellent in every way, and it has held up for numerous range trips since October.

    Pocket by Pocket

    Rain cover that zips into the top pouch. It isn’t the best rain cover in the world, but it does work. Again, you isn’t hiking the AT here, you simply need a cover at the range.

    The front pocket is great for small items. I have extra foam ear pro for students, eye protection (could be a bigger pouch), dummy rounds (clearly marked), target pasties, and tape. The front velcro panel could be larger for all of those “moral patches” out there though.

    I use the top most pouch for ammunition storage. The bottom one is better for larger, bulkier items. About 6 fifty round boxes of 9x19mm Luger fit great. However, once you start getting to 10 or more, it starts to sag a bit. Not too much, but just a bit that it is noticeable.

    Left pocket are gloves, rifle cable lock.

    Right compartment is my laser range finder. Infinitely useful. 

    Right I keep spare handgun magazines of the handguns that I most commonly go to the range with. Mainly Glocks for my primary, Shield mags for my sub-compact carry pistol, and a .22 LR 1911 magazine for teaching beginning shooters. At the bottom is a Uplula loader.

    Behind that pouch are spare rifle magazines.

    Another side is the tool side. Boresnakes for various calibers, wrench/bit set, Shoe Goo, lubricant/solvent, Leatherman multi-tool tucked in the center bottom.

    More tools, wrench, heavy duty stapler, spare staples, cleaning supplies.

    Admin pouch for chamber flags, copper punch rods, writing utensils, hand sanitizer, scissors, charging wires, even an Aux cable to hook to my over the head ear protection to talk on the phone while waiting for my turn during competitions.

    My ear protection, that back blue folder is full of targets and visual aids. Spray paint as well. Sometimes I stuff a spotting scope in here (black material on right), other times if I need the space I’ll simply take a set of small binoculars.

    The rigid board that holds the base of the pack.

    Pistol storage unit. I threw it away.

    This is supposed to be a target holder, but it is a terrible one. Either the rolled up paper targets fall out, or they just get crushed in transit. Either fold them up and put them inside, or hand carry.

    The back has some decent support. But don’t expect this to be comfortable for several miles or more of walking because it was never designed for that.

    Whistle for safety at the range, Karabiner because it comes in handy at times.

    In conclusion, I find myself telling shooting buddies all around that they need to get this pack. It has absolutely made things phenomenally better at the range and during competitions when I need to fix a specific firearm-related problem.

    Miles

    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]


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