“Possibles Bags” in the form of a waist pack (or “fanny-pack”) have been around for some time. The Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK is no exception.
The constant search for a means to carry a firearm concealed is always a challenge to those who are legal to do so. The Maxpedition product line-up includes many waist-pack types that are easily adapted for carrying a pistol or revolver concealed via holster and magazine holder accessories. Unfortunately, the Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK is not one of these. That is not to say; however, that the Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK is not a quality product. It is to say that that the product lacks in attributes that (in my opinion) would make it a viable system to hide a firearm safely and securely.
The overall product material is impressive, as listed on the Maxpedition website for the product:
- 1000-Denier water and abrasion resistant light-weight ballistic nylon fabric
- Teflon fabric protector for grime resistance and easy maintenance
- High strength zippers and zipper tracks
- UTX-Duraflex nylon buckles for low sound closures
- Triple polyurethane coated for water resistance
- High tensile strength nylon webbing
- High tensile strength composite nylon thread (stronger than ordinary industry standard nylon thread)
- #AS-100 high grade closed-cell foam padding material for superior shock protection
- Internal seams taped and finished
- Paracord zipper pulls
- Stress points double stitched, Bartacked or “Box-and-X” stitched for added strength
However, examining each feature from front to rear of the pack, to illustrate the pros and cons of the Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK for concealed carry, is in order.
Front slip pocket:
The Front slip pocket is a small zippered pocket that measures 5.5″ x 4″. The very front of the pocket contains an integral and reasonably sized patch of Velcro for mounting other attachments.
The inside of the pocket could be used for housing spare change, credit cards, a small wallet, vehicle keys, Leatherman tool, small spare magazine, and things of this nature.
The front compartment resides behind the front slip pocket and features a cloth divider and three elastic loops, dual zipper opening, drainage grommet, and measures 6″ x 5″ x 1.5″. Unfortunately, my “Bikers Wallet” will not fit in this pocket. I could get two Bersa 45UC magazines stuffed into two of the three elastic loops but the loops were better at restraining three .380 acp magazines from my Bersa 380 Plus pistol or two magazines and a small pocket knife or mini flashlight, among other things. One might be able to fit a .380 like Ruger’s LCP and a couple of magazines in this pouch, but that is speculation on my part, as I do not own a “pocket pistol”.
9″ wide on top, 7″ wide on bottom, 5″ high x 3″ deep, the main compartment consist of mesh and cloth dividers, dual zipper flap opening, and drainage grommets. I was able to fit a Bersa 45UC Pro, a Bersa 9, a Bersa 380CC, or a Glock G36 in this pocket but I would be hesitant to do so due to the space restriction and lack of securing the firearm in a position conducive to extracting the firearm safely.
Access to the firearm in this pocket is the best of the four available pockets, as the hand inserts into the pocket easily when the Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK is on the weak side or the strong side. The challenge is in grasping the firearm in a manner that when taken out of the pocket the firearm is in a position for immediate use. Allow me to clarify.
With the Bersa 45UC Pro and the Bersa 9CC, and with the firearm resting in the pocket on the butt and muzzle, I had to cram my hand between the pocket and the firearm while feeling, with my middle finger, the spot on the firearm where the trigger housing meets the frame at the grip. Then, while lifting with the middle finger, attempt to grasp the butt of the firearm with my remaining fingers and lift slightly forward to clear the pocket. It was awkward at best and unobtainable while under speed at least.
On several attempts, the middle finger found its way into the mesh inner liner of the pocket rather than alongside the firearm and this was true regardless of the firearm stored in the pocket.
I laid the firearm into the pocket so that the top of the firearm was resting on the bottom of the pocket with the butt was sticking upward. The butt was to the front of the pocket (for both weak side and strong side carry). I could grasp the butt of the firearm (while concentrating on grabbing the entire butt of the firearm), lift upward and back while rotating the muzzle of the firearm down to clear the pocket and then to the front into a shooting position; a method that left me wanting for my Cross Breed Super Tuck in a real bad way.
With the Bersa 380 Plus; however, the situation was somewhat better. The firearm would lay into the pocket in a normal manner (muzzle facing forward). There was adequate room for the hand to grasp the butt of the firearm completely and withdrawal it from the pocket. Although it took a concentrated effort to remove the pistol, this pocket lends itself to smaller pistols such as the Bersa 380, Walther PPKS, SIG SAUER P232 and smaller. Note that there is no way to secure the firearm within the pocket. The firearm simply lies in the pocket; moving about the pocket to its own whim and whimsy.
Additionally, a slide-through pocket on top of the lid allows for quick access to lighting. A bungee compression cord provides capabilities for securing larger items such as water bottles.
Back slip pocket:
The Back Slip pocket, measuring at 8″ x 4″, is the largest and least convenient of the four pockets to use. I could not fit a Bersa 380 Plus or Bersa 380CC in this pocket and adequately close the zipper. Additionally and when the pack is worn against the body, the pocket is extremely difficult to access. The pocket is usable, but I would recommend not concealing a firearm in it unless you really do not want to use the thing during an emergency at some point in time.
The waist strap is 2″ and removable with a maximum waist size of 48″. The strap has elastic slack retainers and sturdy 2″ side release buckles. The waist strap could also serve as a shoulder strap or for cross-chest carry.
One of the advantages of the Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK is the capability of using attachments. Maxpedition sells 3″ TacTies that loop through a matrix of webbing on the rear of the pack for attaching the pack to a larger pack or to a belt. On each side of the pack, a matrix of webbing allows you to attach small accessory pouches such as a cell phone holder, a knife or multi-tool pouch, and/or an accessory pouch, for example.
The Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK is, indeed, a versatile means of carrying whatever what one wants to carry – with compact being an operative word. Its versatility is extremely limited for access to a concealed firearm that may reside in any of the pockets of the pack. I can visualize uses for the pack and it would be choice for me if I wished to be unarmed during my travels or wanted to carry a derringer-sized firearm that I did not have to access very quickly.
I used the Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK when biking, walking, and for EDC but for my needs, a larger pack is in order and the Maxpedition Jumbo E.D.C., or a similar styled “man-bag” that can safely house and secure multiple sizes and types of handguns, would better fit the bill.
The Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK lists for $69.99 at the Maxpedition website but can be found for a lesser price on other websites. For the budget-minded consumer, who wants the most for the buck, the Maxpedition OCTA VERSIPACK may be on the high side of the fence but Maxpedition quality is excellent as compared to many other products of this nature.