Review: the Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag makes shooting trips easy
Glen Eberle’s biography sounds less like that of a real person and more like the running tally of what a 5-year-old says they want to be when they grow up. Eberle is probably best known for competing in the 1984 Winter Olympics where, while he placed 33rd in the biathlon, he invariably changed the sport with his invention of the ultra-light “Eberle Stock” that set the still-standing weight limit for biathlon equipment at 3.5 kg. Eberle has also been an F-4G ‘Wild Weasel’ fighter pilot, A-10 Thunderbolt II ‘Warthog’ pilot, forward air controller, airline pilot, big game hunter, inventor, and CEO, but that name for his stock stuck with him; combined with his other affinities of hunting, cross-country skiing, and military military man, and he eventually settled on ‘Eberlestock’ for the name for his company. Today, Eberlestock is one of the bigger names in the outdoor and tactical backpack market, often mentioned alongside Mystery Ranch and High Ground Gear as examples of well-engineered and quality equipment.
Today’s outing from Eberlestock has nothing to do with the biathlon or hiking. Instead, I’m going to be reviewing something described as a range and medical bag which has one of the most, er, “interesting” names I’ve seen applied to tactical nylon: the “Bang Bang.” Despite sounding like a euphemism for sexual activity, this range bag aims to provide a fully-featured solution for carrying all your supplies for a day at the range, but also possibly entire firearms, and all with the form factor of a slightly aggressive gym bag. The questions are, though: Does it succeed in this endeavor, and is it worth the $200 retail price? I’m here to answer both of those.
For my usual disclaimer, I’m not sponsored by Eberlestock and have never owned one of their products, so I’m going in totally blind.
The Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag comes totally unwrapped in the box that it ships in, unmarked except by a company tag on the handle. It makes sense considering that having a bag for your bag is very Xzibit, and it means that there’s no setup needed out of the box. This bag comes in black, light gray, blue, multicam, or tan, and features a number of features like main compartment dividers, a polycarbonate base, and MOLLE webbing. All of these features aim to make it a capable range or medical bag, and one that fits whatever purpose you have in mind for it.
The exterior of the bag is made entirely out of 1000-denier Cordura fabric, barring the bottom tray. It features MOLLE webbing on all sides, as well as on the lids of each of the end pockets, which allow you to mount sustainment pouches, velcro panels, or specialized magazine carriers if you’ve got an unusual firearm. All compartments are closed with durable zippers, and the main pocket has two buckled straps securing it as well. The straps do double duty as a mechanism to strap tripods, shooting mats, and other supplies. In terms of carriage solutions, there’s a very comfortable carrying handle and a less comfortable shoulder strap. The strap is not a bad one, but it’s not remarkable, unlike the carry handle which is a foam core handle that did a great job of preventing any sort of hand fatigue even when carrying several hundred rounds of ammo, weapon attachments, spare magazines, PPE, and an entire Daniel Defense DDM4V7.
There are four major compartments, three of them featuring smaller pockets to further segregate different types of equipment. The main compartment is 14 inches long and 10 inches wide, with a depth of 10 inches. Inside, it features an open pouch that’s great for things like my target stapler, a mesh pouch on the inside of the lid that I used for things like batteries and tools, access to the two pouches for the stiffening panels, and a main compartment that’s lined with velcro and that features movable dividers for you to organize whatever you need. I personally used the dividers for ammo boxes, gloves, three separate weapon-mounted lights, and magazines, the pockets fitting 3-4 STANAG magazines each depending on how forceful you feel about fitting them in. Right below the opening to the main compartment, the side of the bag features a zipper pocket for easy access, which is great for keeping things like cleaning supplies and prevents them from smearing carbon and solvent on other things. The ends of the bag feature two pouches that are subdivided into an open pocket and two magazine pouches, as well as a large main compartment that I found very useful for my 3M Peltor Comtac IIIs and eye protection.
Probably the most notable aspect of this bag is the bottom tray, which is a polycarbonate compartment that unzips all the way around to expose a tray that covers the entire base of the bag. It’s 22 inches long, 12 inches wide, and roughly 2 inches deep. The manufacturer states that it’s an excellent option for carrying shooting mats and for protecting the bottom of the bag from puncturing, impacts, and water infiltration. In addition to these purposes, I also found that this bottom tray is very useful for holding my entire AR-15 pistol broken into its individual components. This is extremely useful for me, as I live in a downtown area, and on the walk from my house to my car, an obvious gun case goes against my sensibilities of not attracting attention. This compartment can also be used to hold several traditional handguns, and could even accept a foam insert to hold them securely and prevent them from sliding around if you felt inclined to make one. I personally will be doing that with this one. One of the issues that I found, though, is that with a fully-loaded top section, the tray is somewhat unwieldy to open, because you essentially have to tilt the entire bag onto its side to access the bottom tray fully. This could be mitigated by making the tray fully detachable, but that would also make the bag more complicated, and even more expensive.
How we tested the Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag
I took the Bang Bang range bag to two separate range days, one of which was deep in the forest, and another which was at a range that you could just drive up to. The first one really tested the comfort of carrying the fully-loaded bag for a long period of time, while the second allowed me to find alternate uses for the bag.
My first range day was the one that I did while testing the BDS Skelton cummerbund, and in addition to carrying my AR in the bottom of the tray, I also carried a few full magazines and my shooting PPE. I didn’t use the shoulder strap, considering that I was already wearing a pack, but even then the rounded foam handle was very comfortable and at no time did I feel like I had to shift my grip or switch hands. This is definitely an improvement from my Savior rifle bag that has traditional straps which eventually develop pressure points and usually require me to switch hands eventually. Despite being an incredibly hot day, the ground was still extremely muddy from the previous day’s rain, and that made having the polycarbonate bottom on the bag handier, at least until I had to open the bag and make sure that the top portion tilted onto a portion of ground that wasn’t basically a swamp.
On the second range day, I found uses for some of the other features of the bag, like fitting entire boxes of ammunition into the dividers, alongside things like weapon-mounted lights, optics, and tools to attach said items, all without any sort of movement that could have damaged them. Then, when I got to the range, I realized that I’d forgotten my sandbags for support while I re-zeroed my optic to perform an upcoming review on weapon-mounted lights. I was able to rest the barrel of my AR on the bag while sitting on the seat of a picnic table to use as an impromptu benchrest. The only way that this could have been better is if I’d used the MOLLE-attachable pack-mounted shooting rest that Eberlestock makes. Several other times throughout the day I set the hot barrel and blast can of my AR onto the bag and it suffered no ill effects, which, although that’s not the same as being no-melt no-drip, just shows that the nylon they used isn’t exceptionally cheap.
What we like about the Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag
Going from rifle bags that double as range bags to a dedicated range bag (that can work as a rifle bag if you’ve got a short-barreled rifle or a takedown rifle), this was definitely a welcome change for my purposes. The ability to easily throw ear protection, entire boxes of ammunition, and other shooting equipment into a bag divided as I see fit and features like a hard polycarbonate tray on the bottom for storage made this bag a real treat to use. The fact that the company made the dividers velcro means that I can accommodate anything from individual magazines to an entire fully-equipped helmet for high-speed LARPy Texas hog hunting adventures. The handle especially is something that I’d like to highlight as a great feature since hand-carrying a bag that’s laden down with ammo and other goodies for a range day can get pretty tiresome after a while.
What we don’t like about the Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag
The name. Come on. It’s juvenile of me to say, but you named your range bag “bang bang” which had all my totally mature and adult friends snickering every time I mentioned it. An actual downside of the bag is the fact that the tray on the bottom requires you to tilt the entire top of the bag to access said tray, which can be annoying. There’s also the choice of an unremarkable shoulder strap, the pad of which can’t even slide over the glide buckles for adjustment, on a bag that has the best handle I’ve ever experienced, which is just weird. I suppose the silver lining here is that you can be extra motivated and use a padded rifle sling that uses HK Clips that you then transfer to your weapon when you get to the range.
The Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag is a supremely capable carrying solution for the serious shooter. I wasn’t even able to fill every compartment at once because I just didn’t have that much stuff. Especially for a shooter who’s going to have different weapons or calibers, the dividers make it really simple to organize your supplies and ensure that your day at the range is just that much more put-together. If you’re someone who goes shooting often or even just someone who wants a bag that you can organize stuff in, this is a pretty solid choice. The only question you’ll have to ask yourself is how you justify spending $200 on this, but with these features, it shouldn’t be hard.
Eberlestock also advertises the Bang Bang as a medical bag, and although I didn’t feel comfortable commenting on that since the only medical certification I’ve ever held was my requisite lifeguard certifications back in 2013, I can see how this would fit that role. The dividers would make for easy compartments for vacuum-packed medical supplies or whole IFAKs, the tray could be used for a roll-up stretcher or fragile items, and the end compartments could be for various other things like gloves and antiseptic. Obviously, if you’re a medical professional, you’ll know what’s best for you and whether something like this works for you.
FAQs about the Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag
More questions? Here’s Task & Purpose’s additional brief.
Q: How much does the Eberlestock Bang Bang range bag cost?
Q: Are Eberlestock bags made in the USA?
A: No, for the most part, they’re made in Vietnam in a dedicated backpack factory. The exception is packs made by Eberlestock that were produced under contract for the military, which are uncommon and not sold to the general public.
Q: Is Eberlestock a good brand?
A: This bag definitely is one of the best range bags that I’ve seen, especially at this price point, so that’s a good sign. The stitching is even and the zippers are extremely sturdy. I can’t comment on their packs, as I’ve not personally tested them.
Q: So how do you pronounce “Eberlestock?”
A: “Eh-burr-lee-stock” Yeah, I know, it doesn’t look like that.
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Matt Sampson is an 0861 in the Marine Forces Reserve and a Virginia native. In his past life, he worked in tactical gear retail and is an avid firearms enthusiast. The farthest the Marine Corps has sent him from home is Oklahoma.
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