A range backpack is something every true shooter needs. If you’re constantly and consistently training to become a better shooter, you are no stranger to the equipment drag out on the range. Like most people though, I’m the kind of guy who likes to get all of my groceries inside in one trip. On the range, that habit sticks true. There’s nothing I dislike more than making multiple trips back and fourth to my truck when I could be training.
That’s precisely why I picked up the Big Bertha Four Pistol Range Backpack from Hackett Equipment. I’ve had it for a number of trips out to the range in the past month, and I think it’s time she gets a review. (Special shout-out to TNT Guns and Range for helping me keep my ammunition supplies up through all of this COVID-19 madness.)
Range Backpack Essentials.
There’s a ton of new shooters out in the world right now. For the sake of them, I’m going to make a brief section on what kind of things you need in your range backpack or bag. If you’re an experienced shooter who has already been through this process, feel free to keep on scooting to get to the meat of the review. This is specifically for you new people, and can apply to any range bag.
When it comes to your range kit-bag, you’re going to want a few features. First, a place to hold your smaller handguns or firearms that aren’t in long-gun cases. You’re also going to want some general purpose places to store things like ammunition, magazines, cleaning supplies, emergency equipment, general purpose tools, and targets. Last, you’ll need a dedicated place in this bag where your ear and eye protection live. If your range backpack can do all of this, and do it without falling apart, you’ve found a winner.
Up at the top of this section is a very in-dept video from IraqVeteran8888 explaining what’s in his range bag. If you’re totally and absolutely brand new, then I highly recommend watching this.
Meet Big Bertha from Hackett Equipment.
The Big Bertha Four Pistol Range Backpack is a highly organized, discreet, easily carried pack that improves your trips to the range. It’s constructed from high-quality 900D polyester materials, and doesn’t absolutely scream gun-bag. On top of the bag having the ability to carry up to four full-sized handguns, it also has lockable pouches that will keep unwanted individuals from easily accessing your firearms. Here’s a complete list of what it can hold.
- Four full-sized pistol holsters.
- 12 pouches for 100 round boxes of ammo.
- 15 magazine holders.
- Divider compartment to carry Standard Competition Pistol Targets.
- Pouches for your; eyes, ears, tools, and cleaning kit.
- Lockable compartments.
- Water bottle holder.
In practice, I’ve found that the pouches for boxes of ammunition double up for fitting a lot of extra gear. For example, one is dedicated for my tool-kit. Another is dedicated specifically for extra range gear for some of the new shooters I take out with me. If you’re even remotely creative, you can stretch this bag to do a lot of pretty awesome stuff.
Range Trips with the Big Bertha Range Backpack.
Generally speaking, I make around two trips to the range every week. A lot of the time, these trips consist of carrying a ton of stuff either inside with me, or out to the shooting line. Big Bertha has changed that arduous initial process for me completely. Instead of needing to make three, sometimes even four trips back to my truck, now I can usually get it done in one trip. Of course, sometimes I have too many long guns to make that the case, but when I have several handguns I need to test out or train with, Bertha has been a huge time saver.
I no longer need to make one trip for targets and handguns, one trip for ammo and extras, and one final trip for long guns. Now, I just strap Bertha on my back, grab my rifle cases, and head to the firing line.
Organizing my shooting space is important to me. With Bertha, I’m ready to go as soon as you get to the range. I simply unzip and unfold the bag, and everything is ready to go. When finished with my initial set-up, I zip everything up, and store the bag on the ground. Just like any normal backpack.
Comfort and Usability.
This range-bag easily trumps any other bag that I’ve tried in the past. I’ve used regular backpacks, kit-bags, and even tool-bags in the past, and honestly none of them can even remotely compare to the usefulness of Big Bertha out on the range. On top of this, the bag looks like any ordinary backpack that you would see on a day-to-day basis. She doesn’t scream “Hey look at me, I’m the tacticool bag with a bunch of expensive gun stuff inside,” which is a huge bonus when you live in urban areas. I’ve never once thought twice about leaving the bag inside of my vehicle at a gas station or lunch-break after the range.
Let’s talk about comfort for a second though. Bertha can hold a ton of stuff inside of her. With four handguns of varying caliber, all of my cleaning supplies and range tools, and a full-days worth of ammunition, this bag can get heavy real quick. Now, I haven’t weighed the bag fully-loaded, but I would imagine I’ve had it close to fifty-plus pounds on more than one occasion. Under no circumstances is it ever going to be fun to have over fifty pounds on your back. That said, Bertha carries the load well and distributes the weight pretty evenly. The extra padding Hackett has added in the shoulders, and on the back adds up to a relatively high amount of comfort under a heavy load.
More Than a Standard Range Backpack.
Now, when I was doing my research to choose a range backpack, I spent a lot of time looking at customer reviews. In all of that, there was one review in particular that stuck out to me in regards to Big Bertha. A user said that he built out his Big Bertha to be used as his bug-out-bag, and this really intrigued me considering the current on-going situation in the world with COVID-19. While I haven’t had the opportunity to do this myself just yet due to the bag being used primarily as a range bag, I could see this being possible.
In the second to largest pouch on the bag, there are large slots that are intended to be used as ammunition pouches. This portion of the bag would actually be amazing for storing basic and advanced survival gear. The two pouches on the outside of the bag also make for a great location to store medical equipment and extra clothing. In practice, I think this bag could actually be used to build a decent bug-out or bug-in-bag. It certainly has the organizational space for it.
We’ll have to test this bug-out-bag theory later down the road. I think it’s definitely a solid idea. Maybe we could get the experts over at Readyman to lend us a hand with it.
Final Thoughts on the Big Bertha Range Backpack.
Coming in at $99.99, honestly this bag is a no-brainer in my opinion. The time and frustration saved through the use of this bag has paid for it twice over already. Add on top of this the possible extra uses the bag could find for itself, and the bag’s overall ability to keep me organized means it easily gets my recommendation. If you are looking to pick up a new bag that will make your range trips go a lot smoother, the Big Bertha Four Pistol Range Backpack from Hackett Equipment is exactly what you need in your life.
You can pick one up for yourself on the Hackett Equipment web-page here.
As always though, that’s just the opinion of one reviewer. Let us know down in the comments section what you do to make your range set-up go smooth. Are you the guy that needs to buy targets every time you go to the range? Or are you the guy who comes prepared with everything on-hand plus an extra set of eyes and ears?