Best Concealed Carry Bags

by Travis Pike

May 28, 2024



There are a number of popular ways to carry a firearm. We can toss it on our waist, in our waistband, under a shoulder, or just toss it in a bag and go! We always use a holster when we carry it in our waistband, on our ankles, or under our shoulders, but what about when we carry it off our body? Are you just tossing your gun in any random bag and calling it a day? That’s never wise. In fact, there are tons and tons of different concealed carry bags available just for this purpose. 

Today, we’ll tackle the idea of concealed carry bags. We’ll talk about the various different types, the advantages, disadvantages, and best practices for concealed carry bags. Oh, and of course, we’ll give you or take on the best concealed carry bags on the market.

Why a Concealed Carry Bag? 

The reason you’d pick a dedicated concealed carry bag over a standard option comes down to the ability to properly carry a firearm. Your average bag isn’t built to accommodate a handgun, spare mags, and similar necessities. A dedicated concealed carry bag comes with a method to equip a holster and allows for rapid access to the gun. 

These bags often hide the compartment to better hide the firearm and ensure total concealment. The reinforcement of the bag prevents sagging from the weight of the gun. The durability of the bag prevents the weapon from rubbing, grinding, and damaging the bag. These bags are designed from the ground up to handle a firearm and to provide a stable platform for daily carry. 

A normal bag makes it tough to carry a firearm. Normal bags aren’t designed to safely carry firearms. They aren’t rigid or strong enough to support the firearm, and they aren’t designed to attach or support a holster. Concealed carry bags are purpose-built for a reason and are designed to provide an alternative off-body carry option that emphasizes access, security, and safety. 

Four Types of Concealed Carry Bags

There are four main types of concealed carry bags. This might not be all-encompassing, and there are certainly other bags out there in alternative configurations. However, these four tend to be the most common options for concealed carry bags.


The basic backpack is a popular option. It’s easy to add a compartment for a handgun, and it’s easy to carry daily far and wide. Backpacks tend to be large enough to be quite useful when it comes time to carry your daily stuff from a laptop and tablet to a change of clothes for the gym. It’s also tough to beat the two-strap support a backpack offers if you’re the type to walk rather than ride or drive. 

As far as concealed carry bags go, that support tends to be nice when you strap another couple of pounds of guns and ammo. Plus, they tend to offer compartments large enough to carry great big guns like the Glock 34 or SIG XFive series, as well as spare magazines, medical gear, and other prepared citizens.

Messenger Bag

The crossbody messenger bag gives you that sweet Indiana Jones look and the convenience of a bag without the bulkiness of a backpack. I actually really love messenger bags and find them to be the most comfortable and convenient option for carry. When I’m weaving my way through a crowded environment, the bag isn’t hitting anyone or anything or getting stuck and caught on something. 

I have plenty of room for the essentials and easy access to my firearm. I can place the bag in front of me instead of behind me and easily and very covertly access my firearm. Messenger bags can be as small or as large as you want them to be, and there are plenty of concealed carry options.

Sling Bags

Sling bags tend to be one of the more popular options for concealed carry bags. It’s likely due to their small size and convenience. The single strap makes them easy to take on and off, and their smaller size presents more convenience than the backpack. Sling bags are also a little more stylish than a book bag, and personally, I’m a single strapper with backpacks, so I might as well utilize a sling bag. 

The single band of the sling back also tends to make it easy to grip and rip across the body. Pulling it from the back to the front makes it easy to access the gun or Skittles, ya know, whatever the situation requires.

Fanny Packs

Last but not least is the famed fanny pack. They are making a comeback. I promise you they are! Fanny packs rule. They tend to keep your firearm on your waist but in a bag rather than in a holster. It’s a solid option for concealed carry when you might be in an outfit that doesn’t accommodate a belt and holster. 

Fanny packs designed for concealed carry are perfect for the gym, the beach, and similar situations. They often offer you plenty of carry options, including the ability to carry your regular stuff, like a phone, sunscreen, headphones, etc., and a hidden compartment for your firearm. 

Before The Bag – Critical Requirements 

I’m only going to delay you one time before we dig into the world of concealed carry bags and packs. Let’s talk about a few necessities prior to purchasing a bag. It’s not always just as simple as buying a bag and tossing a gun into it. 

You still need a holster. Don’t get too excited. You don’t need the same type of holster you carry inside your waistband with. This is one of the few times where quasi-universal holsters are nice to have. The holster still needs to cover the trigger guard and properly secure the firearm in the bag. A lot of bags come with adjustable holsters that allow for the fitment of several firearms. Other companies may sell them separately. For safety and security, they are still required for inside the bag carry. 

With your holster and bag, you need to experiment with your setup. You need to make sure the gun is properly oriented for an easy draw. You’ll be surprised by the difference between what you expect will work and what actually works when it comes to inside the bag carry. This includes experimenting with holster positioning, height, cant, and more. 

Outside of experimenting, you need to train with your setup. You need to practice the draw and retrieval, and you need to do so in various situations. Can you draw standing? Great, what about inside a vehicle? Or what about practicing with the bag on the ground and you positioned in a chair? You have to practice shooting, drawing, and accessing your firearm in a wide variety of positions.

The Best Concealed Carry Bags 

Best Concealed Carry Bags Reviews 

1. Vertx Commuter 

Vertx Commuter 

One of the largest sling bags.

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Vertx Commuter Bag Review

The Vertx Commuter was my first dedicated concealed carry sling bag. It remains one of my favorite bags, and it’s a flagship option for Vertx. The Commuter is a large sling bag, one of the largest sling bags, and it tops out at small backpack capacity. It might be larger for some, but it’s just perfect if you want a simpler daily carry option with the capacity of a small backpack. 

The Commuter is big enough to accommodate a 15-inch laptop, and it packs a ton of pockets. Total storage capacity evens out to 22 liters. You get a front hidden pocket that breaks away quickly to reveal whatever you’re hiding. Beyond that, we have a larger pocket with internal pockets for organization. Then we have a big pocket for your laptop or a similar large item. We aren’t done yet, and at the rearmost section, we get our concealed carry pouch that’s hidden and expandable. 

The concealed carry pouch is huge, and you can fit a folded-up KelTec Sub 2000 in it! There is plenty of room for a holster and plenty of space to orient the holster and gun at nearly any angle you want. Internally, it’s covered in hook and loop compatible material to make adding a holster, mag pouch, and whatever else easily. 

The Vertx Commuter comes with a huge padded strap that’s plenty comfortable and provides a good bit of support to your big, heavily loaded bag. A second, smaller cross strap can wrap around your body to provide more support and keep the bag in one position rather than allow it to move freely. The backside of the Commuter is also padded, which provides a layer of comfort between you and your heavy, pokey firearm. 

The size of the Commuter might be a turn-off for some, but it’s a heckuva bag. Little features like the Rapid Access Tab and ballistic panel compatibility make it a cut above most other options. 

Vertx Commuter Bag Pros and Cons

  • Plenty of Room
  • Tons of Pockets
  • Supportive Strap System
  • Somewhat Large

5.11 Tactical LV10 2.0 Review

If the Commuter is just a little too big for you, let’s take a step down in size and embrace the 5.11 Tactical LV10. This medium-sized sling bag is 10.5 inches tall, with 13 liters of capacity. The LV10 keeps a low profile look with plenty of non-tactical color options, like grey and blue, to ensure the bag isn’t drawing a ton of attention. The LV10 still packs a thick and wide support strap with a second point of contact for security and stability. 

The LV10 has a number of pouches and pockets. The main pouch features an internal mesh pocket, as well as a tablet pocket, and a series of small pockets for small gear storage and organization. The front zippered pocket is small but convenient for quick and mission-essential items, like chapstick and tissues. There is lots and lots of space for your crap without the bag being overly large. 

The concealed carry compartment is the star of the show. It’s located to the rear of the bag and uses a hot pull for easy access. A hot pull is a tab that the dual zippers close against. When it comes time to draw, the user grabs the hot tab and gives it a yank. This opens the pocket instantly without the need to try and mess with zippers. It makes the draw quick and easy. 

Inside the CCW pocket sits hook and loop compatible material. There is also a holster retention strap. This allows you to use a standard OWB-style holster in the bag. The retention strap goes through the holster’s belt loops and secures it to the bag. It’s not a bad design and allows you to use the holster you might already have. 

Other than that, the LV10 offers you a means of expansion with the ability to attach gear to the outside, like a jacket and a water bottle pouch. The LV10 offers multiple carry straps for convenience and a quick-release tab to remove the LV10 on demand. 

5.11 Tactical LV10 2.0 Pros and Cons

  • Awesome CCW Pouch
  • Included Holster Retention Strap
  • Nicely Sized for Daily Carry
  • Holster Retention Strap Cannot be Repositioned

Blue Alpha CCW Fanny Pack Review

Blue Alpha is well known for its belts and premium-tier gear. Their expansion into a concealed carry fanny pack is most certainly an interesting one. The Blue Alpha CCW Fanny Pack is a small, rugged, but well-made option that also remains low profile. There is no MOLLE or visible logos, and there is even a multi-color option that looks like it stepped out of the early 1990s. I think the kids call this being grey, as in grey man. 

It’s not massive in size and tends to be on the smaller side of fanny packs. This keeps the profile low. The CCW pouch doesn’t print even though the overall package is fairly small. The design is also very clever and allows us to attach most AIWD or IWB holsters inside the fanny pack. A simple hook and loop attachment known as One Wrap slips over your holster’s belt clips and then attaches inside the CCW pouch. 

This makes it easy to convert your carry holster to your fanny pack holster. It’s not a bad setup and makes things fairly easy to install, use, and draw from. The CCW pouch is somewhat small and designed for subcompact weapons. At most, it can fit the SIG P365XL or Glock 48. 

The Blue Alpha CCW Fanny Pack isn’t just a holster but a fairly useful fanny pack. The front pockets make it easy to carry your daily stuff while you workout, hit the beach, or just ditch the need for a belt. Of course, it does work pretty well as a gun-toting belt-free option. 

The Blue Alpha CCW Fanny Pack provides a low profile, but very convenient option for daily carry. It’s small but well-made and comes from a company that’s quite well-known for making awesome belts. 

Blue Alpha CCW Fanny Pack Pros and Cons

  • Low Profile Design
  • Clever Holster Attachment
  • Supportive Design
  • Limited to Small Guns

Erberlestock Undercover Brief Review

Let’s slide into the messenger bag. As I cruise around crowded areas, I tend to prefer messenger bags. They are easy to carry and convenient to access, and I can carry them in front or behind me without drawing attention. The Eberlestock Undercover Brief provides a soft padded bag with plenty of room for all the daily stuff you may need. The Undercover Brief is divided into three big pockets. 

The first pocket offers you substantial space for your stuff, as well as several pockets for organization of whatever crap you might be carrying. Lots of room for pens, phones, external batteries, a medical kit, and whatever else you might need for daily use. On the opposite side, we have a tech pocket that can accommodate a laptop up to 15 inches with plenty of room for extra gear, documents, notebooks, etc. 

Finally, in the middle, we get our hidden concealed carry pouch. It’s smartly dropped right under the carry handle. The pouch is secured with magnets. While it remains closed and hidden, it’s still quick and easy to open with a tug. You can fit a full-sized handgun in the pocket pretty easily. I suggest something like a MIC to cover the trigger and have it tied to the bag for safety purposes. The only downside is that the internal CCW pocket can get tight when fully loaded. 

Externally, there is some room for minor expansion. You can shove a light coat or sweatshirt into the two front-facing half pockets if it gets a bit warm. The Undercover Brief does have a sleek modern look that might appear tactical but is not overtly so. 

Erberlestock Undercover Brief Pros and Cons

  • Magnet Sealed CCW Pouch
  • Room to be Useful Beyond CCW
  • Easy to Organize
  • CCW Pouch can get tight

Viktos Counteract 15 Bag Review

The Viktos Counteract 15 is downright clever in every way. The Counteract 15 features a very laid-back and even old-school appeal. There is some hipster-ish design to it. It looks far from the bag most expect to conceal a gun. The Counteract 15 is a moderate-sized backpack with the ability to squeeze in a larger 17-inch laptop if needed. The pack is 18 inches tall and 12 inches wide. 

The cleverness starts at the low profile design, but as momma always said, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The Viktos Counteract 15 was designed with the aid of a team of CCW instructors. It shows in the little ways. For example, the CCW pouch is brilliant. The front pouch of the gun is secured in a roll-down type design. When you unbuckle the roll-down top point and pull it up, a velcro-equipped panel slides upward. 

That panel is where your gun sits. It comes with the Viktos Hookie Holster. This loop and bungee cord-equipped design can be the holster, but it also allows you to attach your own holster. Drop your belt clips around the Hookie holster’s strap, and you can use your EDC holster as your bag holster. The sliding panel presents the grip for an easy draw, and when the tray is slid into the bag, it makes the gun disappear. 

The Counteract 15 features a smaller front pouch with room for four mags and a micro-sized medical kit. An internal pocket allows you to carry an IIIA ballistic soft armor panel to give you an up-armored option for your bag. It’s developed to be a complete fighting bag disguised as a hipsterish retro bag. It’s also fairly affordable, which is a nice touch from Viktos.

Viktos Counteract 15 Pros and Cons

  • Sliding Concealment Tray
  • Including Hookie holster
  • Retro Low Profile Look
  • Male-Focused Colors Only

Maxpedition TT12 Convertible Backpack Review

If you have a tough time choosing between a sling bag, a backpack, or a messenger bag, then Maxpedition has you covered. The Maxpedition TT12 Convertible Backpack allows you to swap configurations and carry the bag as a backpack, a sling bag, or a crossbody bag. The trick to doing so is the easy-to-move and configure shoulder strap and varied attachment points around the TT12 convertible bag. 

The TT12 is the smallest in the field of TT bags and is 12 inches tall and 7 inches wide. It’s compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry. The bag can hold a good bit of stuff, and internal organizational pockets make it easy to rearrange and stash everything from your daily carry gear to your dad gear should the mission call for it. The front pouch is accessible through both the top and front, which is clever and makes it easy to access your gear. 

The external appearance is sporty and not tactical, which is always valuable for those wanting to keep a low profile. The concealed carry pouch is hidden at the rear of the pack and provides access for either the right or left-hand side. The pouch hides behind the padding of the bag and is tough to spot unless you closely inspect the design. 

The pocket on the TT12 is fairly small and limits you to fairly small guns, so keep that in mind. You’ll also need a hook-and-loop type holster to secure the gun and keep it locked in place for an easy draw. The TT12 provides people with a very convenient bag for multi-carry options and a hidden stash pocket for their firearm. 

Maxpedition TT12 Convertible Backpack Pros and Cons

  • Multi Use Design
  • Low Profile Design
  • Well Hidden Gun Pocket
  • Gun Pocket Is Small

Vertx Ready Pack Review

The Ready Pack and I are new friends. I got the bag right before SHOT 2024 and immediately put 30-something miles on the pack over the course of the Show. I didn’t use the Ready Pack for CCW because that’s completely against SHOT Show’s rules. However, I got used to carrying the backpack and seeing how it performed over a long tour of duty. 

The Ready Pack features a ton of pouches and slots for carrying goodies. The compartments are mostly lined with hoop and loop material. and several have organizing pouches, as well as mesh pockets for goodies. The Ready Pack provides an awesome laptop pocket that fits up to a 15-inch laptop. The sides feature very handy side pockets that are great for a water bottle, ouch kit, or bag of M&Ms. 

A huge pocket in the very back of the pack is your CCW option. You can fit nearly any sized handgun in this pack. The inside is covered in loop and hook compatible material, and a hook and loop style holster or holster adapter is required to attach a gun. I attached the Rapid Access Pull Tab to the CCW pouch, and it’s rapid and easy to open and draw your weapon from. The massive amount of space makes it easy to carry numerous attachments, including spare magazines. 

Externally, I appreciated the rear padding of the pack that allowed for increased airflow to keep my back a little less sweat. The straps are also thick and supportive, which is great for a backpack that I loaded down to walk the miles of aisles at SHOT. The Ready Pack offers a classic backpack look with tons of hidden features. 

Vertx Ready Pack Pros and Cons

  • Huge CCW Pouch
  • Low Profile Appearance
  • Comfortable to Carry
  • Expensive

The Pros and Cons of Concealed Carry Bags 

Before we depart, let’s take a minute to discuss the pros and cons of concealed carry bags. 

In terms of advantages, you can carry a fairly large firearm very easily. You can strap on a 2011 with Surefire Uboat and RMR and not have your concealment compromised. The bags are comfy to carry and quite secure. Retention issues aren’t a problem here. Concealed carry bags offer an alternative option in situations where concealment is tough, like at the beach, in the gym, or on a hike. 

The bags can be used to carry a full concealed carry loadout, including magazines, medical kits, and more. Plus, you can carry all your other dad stuff without a big problem. The bag can be taken off and used as a support, can carry armor, and do a few extra tasks you can’t do without a bag. 

Downsides include a slower draw. You also can never leave the bag behind or even put it down and walk away, which might be a pain at certain times. If there is a gun in the bag, it needs to be under your control. Another issue comes down to accessing the gun in odd scenarios. If you’re driving, accessing a bag-toted firearm might be tough to do. These guns are also harder to access with your support hand when needed. 

Toss It In 

A concealed carry bag can be an excellent tool to have in your carry arsenal. I see it as more of an alternative option when carrying a gun in a traditional manner isn’t available. A bag isn’t enough. You also need to train on how to use it and train a lot. Dry fire, live fire, and multiple scenarios should be considered. Don’t approach it casually. Treat it like any other holster and act accordingly. If you do that, then you’re bound to be successful.


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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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