Vertx A-Range Bag Review

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A few years back I received the 5.11 Rush 24 backpack in multicam as a gift. It is an awesome bag and I really need to do a review on it. To say it has stood the test of time is an understatement. We are probably 4 years in and it really shows no wear other than the cordura is softer and the bag is as dirty as can be.  I didn’t really have a use for the bag at the time and I needed a new range bag so I swapped all my ranger gear over to the Rush 24.

I bring up the Rush 24 because it can carry a lot of range gear and ammo. It has full length zippers so it is easy to work with on the range. The yoke strap system is excellent for heavy loads and it has a ton of compartments so you can separate out your tools, batteries, and lube. Really the only flaw was that it was multicam. I actually started to get comments which I don’t really give a crap about but it was a red flag in terms of trying to be as low profile as possible. I have a few covert rifle cases for my rifles and SBRs that are solid colors like blue or black. Those mixed with a multicam backpack is kind of a dead giveaway. So I started to look for a new range bag.IMG_7944After looking around at the current options, it seemed like nothing had changed with range bags. They were all the same until I came across the new Vertx A-Range Bag. I did some research, watched the video below, and thought that looks innovative, and then saw the price and laughed out loud. I threw it in my amazon wish list hoping someone would get it for me. Looks like they all had the same reaction, as it never came in the mail.

I have wanted this bag for a while but $200 for a range bag is a little steep to say the least, especially when you can get the Midway special on sale a few time a year for $25. That being said, I have had two of those Midway bags and they only lasted about a year.

So to back up a little bit, Vertx last year came out with a line of bags for concealed carry and everyday use like the Gamut which I have owned for about a year and will review very soon. The Gamut is a great bag quality wise and lead me to more of Vertx’s products. If you are not familiar with Vertx, they make some awesome clothing that has all the tactical bells and whistles but blends into society nicely. Matt Jacques from Victory First worked with Vertx to come up with their line of bags. One of the bags in the line is a range bag called the A-Range Bag – great name right. The bag has some very unique features for a range bag; check out this video walking you through the bag:

I looked around to see if I could find any deals to be had on this bag and there were some but by no means anything under $150. Optic planet has a deal site called DVOR. The everyday deals are a little weak but there are smoking deals from time to time. I got one of my RMRs from them for $385 and a Aimpoint H1 for $400. Deals like that don’t come up all the time but if you watch the emails it’s generally about once or twice a year. DVOR also allows you to earn credit on purchases. So they may be selling something like a Benchmade knife that is not really a deal (a few dollars less than amazon) but they will give you store credit. I purchases a Benchmade knife a while back and got $70 of store credit.

DVOR was having a sale on Vertx gear and the A-Range Bag was one of the items for sale for $130. So that buy itself is a deal and add the $70 in credit and now were are in a good price range. I purchased the bag, examined the quality which was excellent and proceeded to move all my stuff over from the Rush 24.

We can start off by saying that this is strictly a range bag. I can’t really come up for another use case for it. The bag is broken into two levels as outlined in the video above. The top is you typical range bag with a nice wide opening and the bottom is for ammo storage. You get to the bottom by one of the side panels that opens flat if you want to use it as a table. The bottom has two bins that have mesh bags that velcros to the bin allowing you to pick up your brass if you reload (cool feature). The bag has one side panel that just opens from the top that is good for targets and NFA paperwork. There is not a ton of room there but I have never really pushed that space.

The first thing I will say about the switch to the A-Range Bag is that I had to rethink all my stuff. I was using the Rush as a range bag but also as kind of a grab and go bag with mags and tools. The A-Range Bag is not really made for that. I needed to get rid of a lot of crap and organize my gear better as there are not as many pockets as the Rush. Once I got over this, I have come to the conclusion that the A-Range Bag is a great bag and does what is supposed to do very well. I would add that I don’t think this bag is for the guy that goes to the range one a month. This bag was designed for the shooter or trainer that needs its unique features.

After the reorg I am carrying eyes and ears, a tool bag, a blowout kit, magazine holder that comes with the bag (not as useful as I want it to be), lube, batteries, shot timer, gloves, extra barrels, and a ton of BS accessories like O-rings for my pistol suppressor. It runs all that very well. The upper part has easy access and there are some small pockets in the side panel for batteries and miscellaneous gear.

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I could go on about all the features but the Vertx video does a good job of showing you all it has to offer. So for the sake of making this review somewhat easy to read lets break it down into the good, bad and ugly.

The good

The upper part is easy to access and you don’t need to zip it all the way up as it has a flap with Velcro – great design and easy to work with.

The ammo bins / bags on the lower level are awesome for holding ammo and magazines. You can easily get 500 rounds of 5.56 in the bin along with a few AR mags. You can then use the other bin for pistol rounds or more ammo if you were taking a class. The bags work great for picking up your brass and it allows you to have four containers if you need grab and go.

The side panels’ work well with one zipping all the way to the base (this is how you access the lower level) and the other just opens up the top. You may want to swap out some of the pull ties to a different color as this can be easy to confuse at least with the black colored bag. I rarely buy targets. I shoot so much it would cost me a fortune. So it’s nice to have a place to put targets and paperwork so they don’t get all beat up. The more I use the bag the more I like this option.

The upper and lower part is divided by strong plastic so the bag has a lot of rigidity. This is helpful as the upper part does not sag down into the bins allowing them to be pulled out easily. I also see the bag lasting a long time with all its built in support. It should for $200!

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I have ended up being more organized which makes getting things from my bag at a class or at the range much faster. I know where everything is and I am not rummaging through one massive compartment searching for something.

The Bad

These aren’t really all that bad but just little nitpicks.

You lose space because so much is being devoted to the ammo compartments. This can be a good thing if you haul a lot of ammo but if you just grab a 100 rounds or so to go to the range you will end up losing a lot of space.

The zippers are good YKK zippers but everything looks the same. So if you are at a class and on a break you run over to your bag to get something you have reorient yourself and I always feel like I am searching for the right zipper. I have since changed out the pull cords to better identify the compartments.

The pistol magazine carrier is nicely made but it is too small for the bag so it moves around a lot and I always feel like it’s in my way. I have since ditched it and carry my pistol mags down below in one of the bins on top of my pistol ammo.

The Ugly

So this is why you should not purchase this bag. The shoulder strap SUCKS! I don’t mean the actual shoulder strap because that’s actually quite nice and up to the task of lugging 500+ rounds around with all your other crap. It’s the way the solder strap connects to the bag. It is such a massive engineering fail. The shoulder strap attaches to the top of the bad next to the openings for the upper portion.

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The attachment points for the shoulder strap are right in-between the top compartment zippers and the side compartments.

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The attachment points for the shoulder strap are right in-between the top compartment zippers and the side compartments.

Because of this it is always, and I mean always, in the way! I don’t see how someone can use this bag and not be completely frustrated with the design. You will constantly be fighting the strap to get into different portions of the bag. Plus the way it is engineered, the strap always falls under the bag on a diagonal and is a pain in the butt to bring into it original position, especially when the bag is loaded down with ammo. It is a dumpster fire disaster. Few design elements on all my gear bugs me as much as this stupid shoulder strap. I met a guy at a GSSF match that had the same bag and we were chatting about the shoulder strap. He said he threw his out because it’s not worth the frustration. He just uses the handles now. I may go that route, it IS that bad.

Conclusion

If you need a new range bag and you reload or shoot a lot of ammo, this may be the bag for you. You lose a lot of space with the ammo portion of the bag but if you use that space it can work out perfect. Because they are open bins you can reload a few hundred rounds and just dump them into the bins. You also have convenient bags to grab you brass with. Because of this I think the bag has a unique use case and you need to decide if that use case is for you.

Do I think it’s worth $200? – yes and no. There was a lot of thought that went into the bag that makes my life a lot easier and the materials seem like they will last for years. I have only had mine for about 5 months so I can’t comment on the longevity yet but it seems more robust than the 5.11 Rush 24 which has stood up to the test of time.  $200 is a lot of money for a range bag. I don’t think I would pay that much for one but if you use it everyday it could be worth it. $130 – $150 is more in line for a bag of this quality and I don’t think it should be hard to find this bag in the range with streety pricing. I ended up paying $70 and it’s been totally worth it but I am not joking / exaggerating about the shoulder strap issue. It’s a disaster and Vertx needs to fix it. If they do, the bag would be 5 stars all day. All that being said, I really like this bag, it’s a keeper.  At the end of the day if you fit Vertx’s use case for the A-Range Bag it may be an awesome solution.

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