Eagle Industries is familiar to many of our readers. They make high-end web gear for military, police and civilian use. Their catalog is quite extensive and right up until the current war on terrorism, most of their products were in stock and ready to be shipped. Of late, it has become very hard to procure items from their catalog in a timely fashion, but in many cases, the wait is worth it. One such item is their HSRC, or Hybrid Sniper Rifle Carrier. This carrier is a combination drag bag, backpack and shooting mat that will serve police marksman, civilian competitive and tactical shooters very well. The idea is not new and Eagle has carried items of a similar nature in the past. What is different is how much better the HSRC is suited to real world urban and suburban use. The Eagle Industries SMRA was a shooting mat that doubled as a gun case. It was popular with law enforcement but it didn't do it all like a real drag bag does. It was a shooting mat that doubled as a gun case. The HSRC is a fully developed drag bag but serves as a shooting mat, as opposed to the other way around. Like most real drag bags, it comes with the now expected reinforcement webbing belts on the bottom to assure long term wear when being dragged and it has ties and patches on top for affixing ghillie material if needed. It has pockets and attachment points for gear and some very interesting design features.
The bag has not one, but TWO very heavy-duty drag loops for use during a sniper crawl. One loop is located at the traditional point at the head of the bag. The other is on the side about a third of the length down. These loops even come with a stowage pouch in which you can slip the loops when not in use. I'd like to see this item added to every drag on the market. It's a simple touch that makes a lot of sense. Also on the top-side you will find plenty of attachment points and tie downs for adding burlap or even equipment. However, the HSRC does not have full-length parachute cord on top, as you would find on other Eagle drag bags. I believe they created this primarily for law enforcement use and the need may not be as great for full coverage ghillie material. One can still add material. But the obvious market for this product is law enforcement, not military use. Also on this side you will find what, for the lack of a better description, appears to be 25 flat sewn loops that can be used to affix any number of pieces of gear via the same clips you'd find on magazine pouches and canteen covers.
On the flip side, almost invisible because of the excellent way they incorporated it, is a pouch which stows the two fully adjustable back pack straps one can use for cross country portability. The straps are heavily padded for comfort and this also makes a lot of sense. If you've ever humped a drag bag loaded with gear for any distance you soon appreciate the ones that carry more like an ALICE pack than a gun carrier. It's a little awkward, like all drag bags that by their nature, stand a bit above your head once mounted to shoulder, but these straps have been a godsend to any a troop or police officer required to move a great distance. Carrying a fully loaded drag bag by its suitcase handles for anything but a short distance gets old REAL fast.
As is typical of most gun carriers and drag bags, two handles are provided for a suitcase type of carry. These are sewn in a continuous loop that fully encases the bag from one side to the other and back like a cradle. They will be able to withstand even the most fully loaded situation. A pouch is provided at each handle to stow these out of the way when unneeded. Nice touch. In a sniper crawl, these handles could become entangled and these pouches eliminate that issue very nicely!
Four Fastex buckles and a very heavy-duty zipper keep it all closed and secure. A rain flap is provided to cover the zipper and one can also tuck in the ends of the zipper, which extend beyond the bag to assist in unfolding, for extra security. To open the mat, which measures 12x50 inches when close, one simply unsnaps the Fastex buckles and unzips the zipper. Unfold the sides (it's a three panel design) and you have a 36" wide shooting mat. Overall length of the padded area is 50" in length and you can stow a rifle up to that length securely in the bag. In addition to the padded length, an additional flap is attached to the mat so that one's knees and legs will be protected. This extends the mat for an additional 18" meaning the total length of the unfolded carrier is 68" long! Any officer stuck on a day or night long call-out will greatly appreciate the comfort features this mat provides. It won't keep you totally safe from the elements, but it will go a long way toward keeping the cold of the ground at bay and the additional non-slip elbow and chest padding will further soften the discomfort. The elbow pads measure 10x10 inches and the chest panel measures 13x14 inches.
Additional non-slip 8.5x10 inch panels are stowed under the internal data book pockets and can be affixed to several areas on the mat. The two pockets measure 6.5x9 inches and will hold data book, range card, dope sheets, maps and other relevant material. One can also stow gear under these pockets because they are retained in a manner that will allow you to remove them. One pocket has 10 loops for .308 sized cartridges.
A heavily padded muzzle cover is sewn into the leading edge of the mat. You will not need additional muzzle protection once your rifle is secure in the bag. It is held in place by the padded muzzle cover and by an elastic cord with a plastic snap at the wrist area of the stock. I would prefer tie downs here, like one finds in the London Bridge Trading sniper drag bags but I have also used Eagle bags for some time and never had the elastic lose tension or the snap break. My personal preference though would be to have web tie downs instead, and more than one. Overkill I guess. I keep remembering the day my rifle slipped out of the DB-BS I once owned. That can NOT happen with the HSRC however, as it's a totally encased system once secured, unlike the DB-BS.
Finally, Eagle has provided what appears to be a cleaning rod sleeve inside the bag. It's a nice touch for range work! I would not however use it in a stalk as one could easily bend the rod. For field use I'd leave the rod at home and affix one of the OTIS M40 cleaning kits to one of those handy attachment points mentioned earlier. For range use the rod sleeve is a great idea and surely beats just laying a rod into the carrier.
One thing missing on the HSRC is large pockets for gear such as a spotting scope, small tripod or binoculars. I was a little disappointed in this but to counter my complaint, there is so much room inside the carrier that any and all of these items can be placed into the bag before you fold it closed and zip it up. To this end, I would certainly like to see more tie-down straps randomly placed inside the carrier, but one can simply lay items like this inside with good result. I used to do the same thing with my old DB-BS before I owned a dedicated drag bag with pockets. It works fine in fact and with the large suitcase-like nature of the HSRC, additional pockets were probably thought unnecessary and redundant. Once folded closed, padding is sufficient to surround and protect anything you place in the carrier. As I said, a few more tie downs would round this carrier out perfectly, but other than that it is hard to find anything to complain about. Tie-downs can be added by the user if, like me, it just bugs them till they do.
Overall, the HSRC looks to be a genuine winner for the law enforcement sniper looking for a way to not only transport all his gear, but to take it to his final firing point in comfort and style like a well designed suitcase. The shooting mat aspect of the HSRC has me thinking evil thoughts about the mat I use for high power competition. That mat is little more than a bed roll with elbow and knee pads and doesn't allow anything to be carried. Looking at the HSRC I can easily see how it could easily be loaded with all my gear including my shooting jacket, which would certainly make the schlep from the 200 yard line back to the 600 yard line a bit easier! With the service rifle, scope stand, scope, score book and sundry equipment tossed into the HSRC, the only thing left to carry would be my shooting stool! Now if I can just convince the spousal unit that Christmas will just not be the same if she doesn't spring for one!
The Hybrid Sniper Rifle Carrier retails for $295 and is usually out of stock at Eagle. As a military supplier Eagle Industries is on a wartime production cycle and turnaround will take roughly four to six weeks to fill an order. Its worth the wait however and one should point out that during this time of war, you really need to plan ahead if you want specialized military grade equipment that in 2000 was easily found via mail order. Most major military suppliers that have civilian sales are back-ordering their entire catalog and patience is the name of the game.
For more information on the HSRC go to Eagle Industries' website. You may also find this product on Sniper Country's PX. Stock comes and goes though, so again, patience and luck help when placing orders through either source.