The evolution of the sniper's drag bag has seen it progress from a simple sock used as a means of protecting the rifle to an elaborate back pack capable of hauling the essentials of the trade. The first drag bags were nothing more than a cut off and padded BDU leg or rectangular case made of canvas material, usually procured via nefarious means from the motor pool. The number of irate pool mechanics is unknown, as is the number of military vehicles missing their tops, but one thing is certain; love it or hate it, this useful piece of gear is here to stay.
Drag bags today come in a variety of flavors. All serve equally well in their primary role -- to protect the expensive sniper rifle during the crawling phase of a stalk while freeing the hands of the sniper. Clipped to a drag line and attached to the sniper's body, a good bag will allow the sniper to navigate rough terrain on his belly, pulling his body inch by methodical inch over, under, and through some extremely unfriendly vegetation. The bag must be sturdy in construction, able to withstand briars, jagged rocks, and foul weather. It must provide a measure of protection to its contents so that when arriving at his final firing point, the sniper can make that one decisive shot. Until recently drag bags were fairly simple. In light of their main goal, nothing more was needed than a good fabric tube with sufficient padding. As the sniper team found hauling their increasingly complex load afield becoming more problematic, the bag soon became a new way to secure this essential equipment. By adding pockets, one could now move gear out of the ruck sack and into the bag. With the addition of shoulder straps, the bag itself could become the ruck on missions of short duration not requiring a large amount of gear. A mission, whether military or law enforcement in nature, is tough enough without having to hump a loaded back pack, drag bag with Sniper Weapon System, food, water, ammunition, personal combat rifle and all the various and sundry items that make the mission a success. In short, a well designed bag can help spread the load and ease the burden.
Into the market steps London Bridge Trading Company, Ltd. with its Bag, Drag, Sniper, Light Weight, model LBT-1655. At 48 inches long this bag, constructed of Cordura Plus (a DuPont product) will accept most 26" barreled sniper systems with room to spare. The bag is 11 inches wide at the seams, tapering to six inches at its narrowest end. From seam to seam, the main compartment is four inches wide, but can bellow out quite a bit more to accommodate larger items. The main compartment has an integral padded muzzle protector for the rifle. Guiding the barrel into this small tube-shaped sack will assure that the all-important rifling crown will not suffer any damage during a rough stalk. There are three tie down straps in the main compartment. There are no noisy plastic clips to contend with or to give the sniper away by a breach in noise security. The rifle is simply tied securely in place with these 3/4" wide straps. They are of sufficient length that items may be tied in parallel to the rifle if you are so inclined. A 4.5" x 6.5" pocket with nine elastic loops for ammunition is also affixed to the interior toward the rear of the compartment. My only complaint is the size of this pocket. I would like to have seen a pocket about twice this size on the interior for storing your data books and smaller items. There is no means of closure and I am sure its intent is purely to protect those nine rounds of ammo. A larger pouch would be nice. Nevertheless, this is somewhat of a non-issue as there is storage aplenty on the exterior of the bag! Old habits die hard. I like to put my books on the inside. LBT can hardly be faulted for this!
All external enclosures are sealed via nylon zippers with two YKK type fasteners per pouch painted to match the color of the bag. These zippers are quite large and strong. Loops of 550 cord serve as a convenient means for pulling the zippers open or closed. I would suggest touching these up with a little flame. 550 cord is magical stuff with many uses, but it has a tendency to untie itself. By melting the knot ends together you will avoid losing these loops in the field. Another suggestion would be to remove the 550 from the zipper and pull the core out. Reinstall. Once flattened in this manner, the cord is less prone to unravel.
Two external cargo compartments are located on the outside of the bag. The first measures 10.5" x 15" x 2.5" wide with two tie down straps inside. The pocket can bellow out to accommodate wide objects up to about 8 inches. This compartment has quite a bit of internal volume. The second compartment is 25" x 6" x 2.5" wide. It has four internal tie down straps. Between the two pockets one can just about store everything needed for the actual mission in terms of optics and support gear. By experimenting with the load I found that my spotting scope, small tripod, and an MRE would be tied in the rear pocket. Binoculars, shears, shooting sticks, field cleaning kit, sock or bean bag, some more ammunition and the proverbial kitchen sink would go into the forward pouch, all this WITH ROOM TO SPARE! This placement seemed to balance the load so that when needed, the bag could be carried via the two web strap carry handles located just aft of the mid section near theoretical center of gravity. The upper surfaces of each pouch have three rows of Para-cord (550) for tying off ghillie material or vegetation. Spaced evenly across the surface and strung the full length of the bag, these cords should allow sufficient camouflage to be added to break up the outline of the bag when prone.
The tip of the bag has a tow loop made of one inch nylon webbing. It is secured to the bag extremely well and once attached to a drag line, the odds of this loop ever coming loose are nil! Add your drag line with a snap link and you are ready to make like a worm. The bag also comes with two padded shoulder straps on the "bottom" to facilitate a carry method similar to the ALICE pack. These straps can be removed easily if the shooter is so inclined. This allows the operator to use various harness systems as well as remove the straps for the stalk. A protective flap covers the D-rings at the top of the straps and should keep the origin of the straps relatively safe in a stalk should the straps be left attached. The underside of the bag (that portion which would make direct contact with the ground), does not have any reinforcing strips as per the request of one of LBT's customers, the Navy SEALs, nor does it look like they are needed. Cordura Plus is an extremely strong material.
In summation, the LBT-1655 lightweight drag bag is an excellent choice for the military or police sniper looking for a moderately priced bag capable of holding all his related gear in one well thought out package. For a police officer, this bag seems ideal as everything he could possibly need on a callout can be stored in the bag, ready to go at a moment's notice. With this bag, there is little reason to rely on several carry-alls, vests or BDU cargo pockets. A lightweight hunter's grade ghillie suit could even fit in the rear cargo pocket as well as medical supplies. The bag, when worn as a back pack, would allow an officer the freedom of movement one can only find when one's hands are totally free. Fully loaded, this bag sits well on the back and is quite comfortable. As in all bags of this type, moving under overhanging objects can be problematic as the bag will stick above your head, but awareness of this should preclude any problems. Of course for the military sniper, carrying a bag in this manner presents an enemy sniper with a fine target indicator, but that is a cross every sniper has to bear. The bag can be ordered in Olive Drab or the basic black so enamored of our modern day Ninja turtles. Desert Tan and Woodland camo can be special ordered on request.
Sniper Country is proud to highly recommend the London Bridge Trading Company's Lightweight drag bag model LBT-1655. At the retail price of $149.95, you will be purchasing a top quality item that should last you a lifetime. The workmanship is just outstanding.
LBT is a military and police contractor that sells an exhaustive and complete line of tactical web gear. Their factory is quite impressive and there is little in the way of tactical gear that they do not make. Their assortment of tactical vests alone could take ten articles to cover! Civilian sales are unrestricted except on some small and rather limited use items. Most of LBT's vast inventory is available to the public. You can learn more by visiting their web site, or at: