Today we’re far removed from the days when urban hunters on their day off would climb aboard a city bus or streetcar with a long arm and a lunch box for a day’s field hunt. Likewise, uniformed police officers and security personnel wielding long guns outside the confines of a marked patrol vehicle tend to draw more public and media attention.
Eagle Industries is not a newcomer to the business of providing high-quality innovative field and tactical products. As the market for such items has grown, Eagle has maintained the respect of users and retailers while keeping a low profile relative to others that vigorously market within the same industry.
This quiet professionalism can also be seen, or rather not seen, when researching the A-III SBR LE backpack. This item is not listed on Eagle’s website backpack page or even discrete carry cases for firearms page. Contact Eagle directly or your local dealer to order it.
Outwardly, the A-III SBR LE closely resembles the company’s other A-III backpack designs and is otherwise indistinguishable from any other oversized daypack. Likewise, it will manage a similar payload in addition to its specialized purpose as a takedown weapons carrier.
But with the possible exception of the all-black color, the Eagle Industries A-III SBR LE backpack is unlike any firearm carrier or military surplus pack. It looks like a traditional large daypack and displays no tactical features, just like any pack you’d find at an outdoors store.
While it has no internal frame, it has a padded back, waist belt and shoulder straps with adjustable sternum strap. It will do the job of hauling a load as well as any pack of comparable size.
Originally designed to manage an 11.5-inch short-barreled AR-type carbine, the later model (evaluated for this article) was upsized to accommodate a full M4-length gun with a 14.5-inch barrel. A 16.5-inch civilian carbine with the addition of an A2-length flash suppressor is too long to fit without protruding, although a 14.5-inch model with permanently mounted vortex fits nicely.
The pack has four compartments, each isolated from the others and designed for specific contents.
The compartment nearest the wearer is intended to hold the upper and lower receiver and fills the full footprint of the pack, which is 22 inches high and from nine to 14 inches wide, tapering slightly at the upper end. This section opens at the top with a zipper that runs about a third of the way down each side for enhanced access. The interior of this compartment is padded on all sides and fully lined with pile Velcro, permitting an endless variety of customization options.
The rigid padded divider mates to this surface to isolate the upper and lower receivers stored within. Even with irregularly shaped accessories attached to the upper receiver, the padded back face of the pack prevents discomfort from items that might otherwise protrude into the wearer’s back.
The main compartment occupies the same full pack footprint with a depth of approximately five inches, which is enough for about a week’s worth of clothes and personal items. The rear of this section has a full-size Velcro divider that reveals a full face of MOLLE attachment hardware that can be used to customize a thin segregated compartment from the main cargo.
Though not specifically intended for this purpose, a concealable body armor carrier will fit in this space and can be isolated from the general contents if desired.
A slightly smaller compartment farther back opens with another top zipper and has internal pockets and organizer sections. This pocket is large enough to hold a medium-sized laptop computer and a number of other necessities. There’s a mesh zipper compartment on the back interior and another mediumsized open-top pocket toward the front behind the organizer divider. There’s no mounting hardware in this section for a holster, but there is enough room for a full-sized sidearm.
Immediately to the rear of this compartment is a thinner slash pocket with zipper closure on the back face that’s ideal for maps, documents or other thin items. It also contains a hook for a keychain, map-light or other similarly sized tool. The approximate footprint of the two rear pockets is 12 by 14 inches.
Additional features of the pack include a coated interior that will resist moisture, two mesh water-bottle pockets on the sides, a carry handle on top, and a pair of straps on the bottom exterior for retaining a small rolled item such as a thin bedroll.
The Eagle A-III SBR LE is a terrific allaround backpack that can contain a disassembled M4-sized rifle as well as multiple days’ worth of other supplies without drawing any unwanted attention.
As part of the test and evaluation, this pack was fully loaded, taken on a road trip, and carried in a number of outdoor public venues in multiple tourist locations. At no point was the pack out of place, the wearer exposed to scrutiny, or its contents discovered!