If you’re looking for a tactical bag that’s not too bulky, we encourage you to take a look at these single shoulder bags also known as messenger bags.
What is a Tactical Messenger Bag?
We’re all familiar with the tactical backpack. Make a backpack smaller and remove one strap – that’s pretty much what a messenger bag is. Tactical messenger bags make perfect EDC (Every day carry) bags because they are very efficient to carry. Because these bags are worn as a sling, the contents are very easily accessible. People who use their bag to house their CCW know how important it is to have your firearm close by – and these bags perfectly allow for that. Most business messenger bags are black and made mainly to carry a laptop. Not many of the bags on this list can carry a laptop – but they can carry many important items that you will want close by on a daily basis.
What should you keep inside your bag?
Since they’re not as big as backpacks, you will have to be a little more selective with your contents. The short answer is to only keep the essential items you’d need from day-to-day. Some of these bags could be used as a get home bag, but we’d strongly suggest a backpack for that, which can fit a lot more than most of these bags. Below is a list of our top 7 tactical messenger bags, which are perfect for you if you’re looking for something very light and easily accessible.
Main: 8×6.5×3” | Front: 7x5x1.5” | Rear: 8×7.5”
This bag tops our list because it has proven to be amazingly durable as reported by many happy users even years after purchase. If the dimensions listed above seem a little small, the Fatboy is also offered in a jumbo version we’ll just call “The Obese Boy”. Between these two bags you’re sure to find the ultimate one that suits your needs. This is the premier every day bag that can carry your typical everyday items including your firearm. We usually like to stick to modest colors – but for those who want to select from a wide range of over 10 different colors will be pleased with the selection offered here.
Main: 9x9x4” | Secondary: 7x6x2” | Side: 6x3x2” | Top: 6x3x2”
We aren’t the only ones who love this bag, there are currently over 1,000 reviews on Amazon averaging a whopping 4.5/5 stars. With that many reviews, it’s a solid choice all around. This bag can be closely compared to our #1 bag above, the Fatboy. The reason why we love the UTG is because it is normally about half the price of the Fatboy. If money is an issue, you really don’t sacrifice much quality when deciding to go with the UTG over the Fatboy. The bag itself is pretty versatile and can be used for a variety of things including, of course, your EDC firearm.
Dimensions: 8 x5.5×11.5″ (WxDxH)
Another great and affordable option is the Red Rock ambidextrous sling pack. Double-stitching really helps give this bag solid durability. The compartments are pretty roomy in this bag, but you won’t be able to fit a full-sized 8×11” notebook – however, you can easily fit a tablet (probably the biggest item you can fit in this one). One owner stated in an Amazon review that he loves this bag and was able to fit the following items inside at the same time:
A flash light
A pair of sunglasses
A book or tablet
You don’t have as many color options as the above Fatboy bag, but we usually prefer the usual tactical colors anyway – hopefully you can find a color you like from the available selection. Great bag – amazing value.
Main: 15x8x4” | Top-Front: 4.5×7.5×2” | Bottom-Front: 8.5x8x2”
Made from heavy-duty nylon, another great pick is the 3V Outlaw bag. Unlike the above Red Rock ambidextrous bag, this is meant to be worn on the left shoulder. It is specially constructed to house a hydration bladder, with output in a hole in the top. One example of a compatible hydration bladder is the Camelbak 70oz. A small laptop MAY fit, but you’ll want to double check the dimensions with the dimensions of the device you’re trying to fit. Generally a 15” laptop may fit but will most likely be very snug, anything smaller will definitely fit. Space for a CCW is a little tight, but you can get away with keeping a gun in the area designated for the hydration bladder. If you need any more reasons to go with the VVV then check out the 150+ reviews on Amazon, or anywhere else online – there are thousands of satisfied customers.
Main: 10.5x9x5” | Front: 9.5×8.5×2”
Any tactical gear enthusiast is very familiar with the 5.11 brand and knows that it is of the highest tactical standards. This bag would be classified as a “midsized” tactical messenger bag. Below is an example packing list that one owner was able to fit.
-Samsung 10.1 tablet
-1 large water bottle
-A Basic first aid kit
-A Multi tool
-1 combination lock
-A rolled up extra change of clothes
-His wallet, cell phone, set of keys, pair of sunglasses
This is a perfect “not too bulky” EDC bag that we fully endorse.
Main: 12x8x4” | Front: 8x8x1” | Front-Slip: 6×4” | Rear: 6×8”
3V has made our list once again with the Gear Posse messenger bag, which is slightly smaller than the Gear Outlaw. This bag allows for a 2 liter hydration system that will typically hold ice for around 4 hours in 90 degree weather per one Amazon reviewer. Keep in mind this really isn’t the biggest bag available so you would only want to go with it if you don’t have a ton of stuff to carry around. A number of owners have said that they were a little disappointed with how small it was, so be warned and pay attention to the dimensions listed above.
The ambidextrous shoulder strap has 2” integrated webbing, and buckles. The carry handle is 1” wide and has webbed with neoprene padding. If you’re looking for an EDC bag that’s not too bulky but still has padding where you want it, this is the bag for you.
Overall Dimensions: 14x12x6.5”
This Rapdom bag comes equipped with one large and two medium sized compartments with 2 expandable side compartments. The shoulder strap is adjustable and comes with a removable pad. People typically use this bag as a right-side carry. You definitely have more room with this one than a few others on this list, allowing for items as large as a 3-ring binder or even a legal pad of paper. You are able to carry this by the top handle, however that handle is a tad thin so we’d suggest sticking with the shoulder strap. The nylon that it’s made of is super water-resistant which is nice. That along with its size makes this a great pick for a smaller-sized get home bag.
Overall Dimensions: 8×17.5×12.5”
Here it is – the biggest tactical messenger bag on our list. We call this an official tactical laptop bag because of its large size. There are a ton of pockets just waiting to be discovered (we’ll give you a hint – there’s 12 total), but ideally you’ll get the most use out of the main pocket. This is the only bag on our list that legitimately will fit just about every laptop. So if you’re looking for more of a typical laptop messenger bag, but with tactical features like a CCW area, this is your best bet. It’s not the most “business casual” bag in appearance, but we are huge fans of the ACU color option.
Although this is technically a messenger bag – there is an extra strap which could turn it into a backpack if you’d prefer that. This is hands down the best tactical messenger bag for laptops and gets our seal of approval. The extra padding probably makes this bag a safer bet for laptops than most flimsy laptop bags that only come in standard black.