While growing up, I somehow developed the urge to have a long gun close at hand to deal with any trouble that showed up unannounced. Along with a gun came the need to have adequate ammunition in a similar "grab and go" status. As a teen, I hung a surplus pistol belt and M-1 Carbine mag pouch full of shot-shells alongside the 20-gauge in my bedroom gun rack. I felt as ready as any American boy filled with images of a "Red Dawn"-style commie attack could hope to be. A military career in rapid-deployment units and regular trouble spot "vacations" further burned this mindset into my psyche. While working overseas a few years back, my sniper element's SOP was to always have guns and gear ready to grab at a moment's notice. That practice came in handy, as each of the current theaters provided us no shortage of opportunities to head out the door in fight mode with little notice.
This is not a new concept. Our forefathers had to have life-sustaining gear handy at all times. Minutemen, militia troops and pioneers carried the bulk of their possessions in haversacks and bedrolls, but still needed to retain mobility in a skirmish. Slung over one shoulder, the appropriately named "possibles-bag" was the solution, carrying everything a flintlock or cap-and-ball shooter needed to fire and maintain their arms on the fly. While today's surplus market is full of yesterday's nylon and cotton load-bearing equipment, you only need one long walk to realize those old LBE systems are akin to wearing a suit of red-hot coals against your bare skin. Fortunately, we now have the modular tactical vest as the prime mover of critical individual equipment. Unfortunately, vest capacities are approaching that of medium-sized rucksacks. Standard loads usually include spare magazines, medical gear, survival kit, GPS, night vision, comms, gloves, signal kit, knife or multi-tool, water and energy food. These mega-rigs are needed when living and working in harm's way on a daily basis, but are impractical for shooters who need minimal gear or who are in situations that prohibit rapid access to a bulky vest.
Thankfully the folks at US PeaceKeeper Products provide today's shooters with a modernized possibles-bag in the form of its Rapid Deployment Pack (RDP).
The RDP is a compact, multi-pouch satchel that holds enough gear to get you out of trouble without sacrificing agility. It carries four, 30-round 5.56 NATO or two, 20-round .308 Win. magazines in flapped pouches. Additional pouches provide room for a trauma kit, handheld radio, handgun and either a folding knife, flashlight or spare pistol magazine. The RDP's padded single strap allows easy hanging on a wall, in a closet or behind a door. I find it very convenient to grab and sling across my body in a hurry.
Other single-strap gear bags provide similar storage capabilities with prices ranging from $15 to more than $100, depending on quality and configuration. The RDP's MSRP comes in at $43.99, but a quick web search will turn them up in the $35 range.
What makes the RDP really stand out is its heavy-duty workmanship and design. Where many satchels are marketed with some warped version of concealment in mind, the RDP makes no pretense about its intended use. Magazine pouches are out front for rapid access to reloads, heavy nylon is used throughout and backside padding protects the body from gear-induced hot spots. All zippers are robust enough to deal with heavy use and are truly self-repairing. The cargo pouch closest to the body is Velcro-lined, allowing a holster to easily be attached within.
In my younger days, I learned from carrying Claymore mine bags (packed with magazines) that satchels like to bounce and slide around the body when you move quickly. A couple of years ago, I contacted US PeaceKeeper and recommended it place an easy-attach loop on the back of the RDP to allow it to be secured to a belt. I'm guessing other folks made the same request, because the next RDPs I bought arrived with that modification. When moving rapidly, the RDP can be secured just behind the weak-side hip or held against the body with the support arm. Running with one loaded to capacity is still not ideal, but it is easier than running with a full LBE or tactical vest.
In the end, I think the RDP provides the modern day Minuteman with a fine method to carry short-term, critical fighting gear when the need arises, enabling him to deal with threats to home and hearth.