Have Gun--Will Travel

Today's law enforcement personnel have many choices beyond leather, and much more to carry than just a pistol.

I remember the low slung holster, the hand poised over a revolver and Paladin's craggy face from the old television series "Have Gun-Will Travel." Paladin was played by.... the childhood memories have slipped away, leaving only vague images of the man in black.

Paladin's travels were by horse, stage, or train. There were no airlines, cars, or helicopters back then. A leather holster worked as Paladin's travel case. Technology creates options.

Today's law enforcement personnel have many choices beyond leather, and much more to carry than just a pistol. Cordura has been used since the late 1970s, but new uses are being discovered for this air-jet textured nylon. Who doesn't want a fabric that is twice as durable as standard nylon, three times more durable than polyester, and outlasts cotton duck 10 times over? Propex is tough and tear and puncture resistant. Nylok builds on nylon's lightweight, easy care qualities to add good-looking durability.

Here's a look at what gun cases and gear bags Paladin might be carrying today.

Armor Holdings/Safariland

Armor Holdings/Safariland's Shooters Bag is a heavy-duty Anso-tex nylon range bag measuring 10x16x10 inches. It has a separate interior case that holds two removable gun rugs, each with a padded divider to hold two guns. Between the two padded gun rugs there's plenty of room for ammo, shooting glasses, timers, scopes or binoculars, and other shooting supplies. The bag includes a heavy duty YKK self-healing zipper.

Bagmaster Mfg. Inc.

If you're on a SWAT team, take note that Bagmaster Mfg. Inc. has recently redesigned its Tactical Weapon Cases. The company has replaced the open cell foam and nylon tricot liner on previous models with a full 1/2-inch thick, two-pound closed-cell foam core and a durable polyester lining. The cases are also wider with new 21/2-inch-wide YKK self-healing zipper tops. These improvements provide more protection and more room for weapons with scopes and BI-pods attached. The case is available in four different sizes, from 35 to 46 inches.

Beretta USA

Beretta's trident range bags have a heavy-duty nylon shell, coil zippers, and articulated shoulder straps. They are big enough to carry up to three guns, shooting gloves, and more. A backpack, called the range pack, has two straps that allow you to carry your range equipment hands-free. The pack has two integrated pistol rugs on each side and adustable compartments.


Bianchi’s Range Portfolio is for a quick trip to the range when you only need
a few things. Two cushioned sleeves carry one or two firearms with barrels up to 6 inches and an interior pocket for gun cleaning supplies and other gear. Also inside are four elastic web loops for magazines. Firearms are protected with high-density foam padding, ballistic weave nylon construction and breathable Air-Flo lining. A D-ring for a padlock is provided.


The Homeland Security Discreet case from BlackHawk is made to all the same standards as original Discreet Cases, including removable 3/8-inch closed cell foam padding, full wrap-around carry handles, YKK zippers with Hawk-Tabs, a detachable shoulder strap, and a HawkTex shoulder pad.

New features include two rows of BTS webbing down the inside middle of the case, expandable Velcro wrap keepers for any rifle with accessories such as scopes, lasers, or rail mounts.

Modular velcro pouches allow you to customize the bag to your needs. It is available in sizes from 16 inches long to 40 inches long. A multi-launcher case is also available.[PAGEBREAK]

DeSantis Holster Co.

DeSantis' Dispatch Bag is more than a range bag. It's designed for the investigator in the field. A hidden compartment secures a handgun. The compartment is adjustable and easily accessible. The bag's construction is nylon with three large compartments to file documents, pens and folders securely. It comes equipped with both briefcase style and shoulder strap handles.

Eagle Gear

Constructed of 1,000-denier Cordura, all Eagle Gear’s bags are fully lined and designed for years of tough use. They’ll help you tote range equipment or anything you might need on patrol.

The Command Bag measures 10x12x25 inches and  has three outside pockets and built-in flashlight and radio compartments. The company’s Gear Bags have main compartments and outside pockets featuring heavy-duty YKK zippers. The bags are available in three sizes: medium at 10x12x25 inches, large at 12x14x30 inches, and extra large at 14x15x36 inches.

Michaels of Oregon

Michaels of Oregon's Tactical Rifle Case is designed for convenience and durability. The case features a quick access center pocket, a large zippered accessory pouch, adjustable shoulder strap and comes in both medium and large. The large model is 41x10 inches and has five magazine pouches. The medium size is 33x10 inches with three pouches. The full-length zipper allows the case to be opened out flat.

The construction is 600-denier, woven, double-stitched fabric. Inside is a protective inner flap to prevent undue stress on the zipper. The web handles encompass the case to add durability.

If you're looking for something to just carry your gun, Michaels of
Oregon's Hoppe's line offers a wide range of gun cases.

Pelican Products

The Pelican name has become synonymous with tough, and Pelican's Protector cases are designed to be the proof-as in dustproof, crushproof, watertight and airtight.

The 1200 is a good fit for handguns. The hard shell case has internal dimensions of 93/8x71/4 x41/16 inches, while the 1750 is just the right size for a rifle with internal dimensions of 501/2x137/16x51/4 inches. Recent improvements include a new automatic pressure release valve, which resists water ingress and automatically releases pressure, and a new toggle latch that makes cases easier to open and close, but still just as secure. Replacement foam and "O" ring are available.

Plano Molding

Plano is getting some interest from some departments for its AirGlide (1301-02). This hard case is 50 inches long and designed for both rifles and shotguns. The case uses foam inserts and straps to hold and protect the firearm only at the stock and forearm, "floating" the rest of the gun in mid-air inside the case. Heavy-duty latches and brass hinges add to the protection. The handle is oversized to make it convenient to grab and go.

Smith & Wesson

Smith & Wesson's High Calibre Police Gear Bag is made of heavy-duty, water-resistant 600-denier nylon. It features two large zippered end pockets, two zippered front compartments, and heavy-duty handles and strap. Flashlight and baton pockets are built into the top flap for convenient storage. A double zippered cover provides easy access to all the gear you can fit in its 24x13x12-inch interior. A heavy-duty rolling duffel bag is also available from S&W, as are many aluminum gun cases.

Armor Holdings / Safariland


Beretta USA

Bianchi International

BlackHawk Industries


Eagle Gear

Eagle Industries



Michaels of Oregon

Pelican Products

Plano Molding

Smith & Wesson

Marilyn Stone is a freelance outdoor writer who lives in Utah.

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