BlackHawk Tactical Briefcase
Photo credit: BlackHawk
Photo credit: Diamondback Tactical
Photo credit: Safe Case Corp.
Mil-Tac Tactical Defense Pen
Photo credit: Mil-Tac, Inc.
When I sat down to start typing this, even after doing the testing and research, I had to wonder just how serious it would be taken. A "tactical businessman?" Let me be clear: I'm not talking about the stock broker or lawyer who simply enjoys the idea that he owns stuff designed for today's warriors. I'm talking about today's warriors who often find themselves in the business or corporate (or similar) environment and don't want to sacrifice readiness. The following is a list of items, and how they've performed (as I've been able to test them) that you might find yourself carrying, wearing or using, along with that shirt and tie.
The first item on my list is BlackHawk's Advanced Tactical Briefcase. I saw one of these at SHOT Show and it seemed like everywhere I looked someone had a ATB hanging on their shoulder. Was it really that great? Or did BlackHawk just do that great of a marketing job? One of their reps showed me all the ins and outs. It certainly seemed versatile. Could I get one to test? Yep. So, here it is several months later and I've been using the ATB exclusively for carrying my laptop, portfolio and other needs to and from work, and I've not been disappointed.
One of the features that I most enjoy about it is the strong adjustable shoulder strap. The strap is wrapped by a non-slip padded section that Velcros on right where you need it to be. My strap is adjusted so that it's comfortable for me to carry, but also so that I can use the strap to hang my ATB in the passenger seat of my vehicle allowing me easy access for whatever I need during a duty shift.
And while I'm actually carrying it, if I need access to the common items such as a PDA, cell phone, business cards, etc., the ATB has pockets perfectly sized and located on the flap. They are literally right at hand when the bag is slung. When it is slung, the back has two padded sections that let it rest comfortably at my hip, protecting not only my hip but also the contents of the bag from being banged around against it. Between those pads and the back of the main compartment of the bag is a section perfect for storing ID holders. It snaps at the top and has a zipper at the bottom. Now, I couldn't figure out the zipper right away, so I had to check out the BlackHawk website to see what I was missing. This back compartment, with the zipper open, allows for the briefcase to be mounted on the pull-up drag handle of wheeled luggage. The snap at the top snaps between the bars of the handle and the ATB stays securely in place.
There is a clear map pocket on the inside of the flap and the entire thing is lined to be waterproof. It's important to recognize that's "waterproof" to water falling down or windblown. It's NOT waterproof if you drop it in a pool. Like all good "tactical" bags, it also has a method for allowing you to mount a holster for your pistol, magazine pouches, etc. Along the back of the main compartment is a padded Velcro-lined pocket that is the full length and height of the bag. While this pocket can be used for transporting your laptop, it can also be used to include Velcro-mounted accessories. BlackHawk has a series of these available, but the bag works just as well with anyone else's.
5.11 Tactical makes what they call their "back up belt system," which permits the concealed carry of your pistol, magazines, etc as listed above. These nylon pouches are pretty generic and can be used on any Velcro platform (like the one in the ATB). With a little imagination and understanding that the ATB's pocket is limited in size, you could realistically carry a handgun, two spare magazines, handcuffs and a flashlight or OC Spray. Putting my Springfield Armory 1911 .45ACP pistol in there requires mounting it at an angle and giving up space for some other items. Putting in my Glock 19 9mm allows me to mount it straight up and down and allows me another inch or so to work with.
One of the things I mentioned carrying in my ATB above is a portfolio. Although I've never been in the Navy and certainly have never been a SEAL, my portfolio has the SEAL's famous trident symbol on it. Why? Because I purchased it from the Naval Special Warfare Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the surviving family members of SEALs killed in the line of duty. It came with a suitably marked pen which some criminal soul promptly stole when I left my portfolio unattended for a few moments. Since then I've replaced it with a Tactical Defense Pen from Mil-Tac; information below.
My portfolio, although serviceable and well used, doesn't provide any special protections in a threat environment. There are some companies making ballistic portfolios and laptop carry bags, such as the one shown to the right, manufactured from Kevlar and offering Level III ballistic protection. I always knew that the corporate environment could be dangerous, but I always thought it was because of the back-stabbing and toe-stepping that goes on, not the shooting. However, in any of today's urban environments there exists the chance of violence from the criminal element and having a layer of protection from bullets never hurts.
A variation on this theme is the ballistic clipboard. When police officers - and many administrators - do their job, they quite often find themselves holding a clipboard to write reports, take notes, etc. The ballistic clipboard shown offers another layer of potential protection from gunfire, and it incorporates that protection into an item frequently found in your hand anyway. I should note that if you put one of these clipboards, or one of the portfolios described above into your BlackHawk Advanced Tactical Bag, then the bag--typically hanging over your shoulder at waist height or slightly higher--becomes a ballistic barrier. Not that the bag has any ballistic properties, but when the contents do then you're carrying around a compact shield.
That brings me to the Tactical Defense Pen. Now, I've seen the Jason Bourne movies and the fight scene where he uses a good old fashioned plastic Bic pen as a weapon. Cool stuff--unless you're the guy who ends up with the pen stuck in his hand between the middle and ring fingers. But is there a pen designed and better suited for such use? Yes: the Tactical Defense Pen (TDP) from Mil-Tac. Made of aircraft aluminum and designed not as a pen that you can use as a weapon, but as a weapon that also happens to write, the TDP even looks fairly stylish. I keep waiting for Mil-Tac to start engraving them with company logos. Of course, they'll never be used as promotional items unless a company simply doesn't have anything better to do with their money--the TDP costs too much for that. But it can be used as a stylus, and it does write very well. Closed or open with the cap stuck on the back end, this pen makes an excellent stabbing weapon and/or pressure point tool. Closed, the pointed end also serves as an excellent impact tool that allows strength sufficient to break/crack flat bones or penetrate flesh.
For all that, it's just a pen. It's easily carried and used in every environment without causing any alarm. It's available in several colors and actually does write very well. Unlike some of the older ball point pens that seem to streak here and there, leaving white gaps in your blue or black lines, the TDP writes without such breaks.
These are just a few items you can carry in the business environment that allow you to be prepared for threats we never anticipate but that somehow tend to erupt when least expected.