Multi-Assault Counter-Terrorism Action Capabilities – In A Back Pack.
Sure the name sounds exciting, but really… what’s in a name?
In this case, you have to understand the meaning of Multi-Assault Counter-Terrorism Action Capabilities (MACTAC). MACTAC is Law Enforcement’s response to dynamic multifaceted attack situations. These are the kind of situations that can, and have recently, produced major casualties quick.
Multiple sites, multiple threats and multiple units responding. Basically the very kind of situation that the word FUBAR was created for. So to understand what a backpack has to do with this, you have to know a little bit more about the type of training and equipment required to support such a dynamic and diverse domain.
What’s in a MACTAC course?
Straight from National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA):
“This five-day course will develop students’ basic skills in MACTAC to a proficient level that will enable them to immediately deploy a contact team or squad able to locate, move to and neutralize violent assaults and/or terrorist acts.”
it’s too easy to gloss over statements like these, but if you consider the sequence of miracles required for multiple units to become proficient in:
- Immediate Deployment – That means get up and go right now
- Locate & Move to – That means to find all of the bad guys. Even the ones not currently shooting
- Neutralize “Violent” assaults – That means come within close range of multiple active shooters and kill or capture them without getting yourself killed
So take a pause and mentally put yourself in that situation right now. This would be like coordinating action with another team, to move from one side of a 360 degree live firing range to the other. Needless to say, the instructors and practitioners of such a job take everything they do and use very seriously. This bag was designed by and for those guys.
What kind of gear do these guys use?
Extremely durable, dynamic and multi-purpose gear of course. This bag was created for MACTAC situations with the input of MACTAC instructors. So reviewing the specs and capabilities of this bag is the best way to answer the question “What kind of gear do these guys use?”.
Two (02) Main Sections:
The word “main compartment” doesn’t do the bag justice. Both main compartments will lay completely open. This makes for quick and easy access to all of the contents. Also, because of the bag’s rugged design, the contents are securely held in place so that the bag fits tightly and remains responsive to your body’s movements. The featured picture, above, is a shot of me climbing with the bag. Yes, it’s something I end up doing often in my line of work. The bag, despite being completely full, stayed tight on my back while allowing me the freedom to move.
The first “main” compartment has a laptop and iPad sleeve. As far as I can tell these will only carry Apple products, but I’ve heard some of you still use PC’s so you’ll have to let me know if they fit. Both sleeves are opposing, and by design, leave plenty of space in-between. This means that you can, no kidding, put thousands of rounds into this section if need be. Again “Multi-Faceted”.
The second “main” compartment is equally as roomy, but it comes with some added features. It has MOLLE straps built-in as well as tear-away med pouches fixed to velcro straps. I was doing a “thing” in Africa that required me to keep all tactical equipment and weapons inside of my backpack. The kind of well thought out functionality of this bag is essential in situations like these when seconds could have made the difference between life and death. Besides these key design components, the inside is also bright orange for signaling if required. Again “Multi-Faceted”.
Not exactly, but yes. They call it a Hydration compartment, but, because of its unique design, it can be used for something more functional.
The “Hydration” compartment is built into the very backside of the bag. The part that goes against your back; but the compartment resides behind the padded section and its zipper is concealed underneath the pads.
I tested the “secret-hydration” compartment by stashing some nefarious items in it. Then I took them through a variety of security checkpoints without so much as an eyebrow lifting.
The “Operative” side of me loves this for obvious reasons. The executive / outdoor adventurer in me loves it because I can keep sensitive items safe. I’m always worried about someone getting into my bag while it’s on my back and I’m in a crowded area. Then in situations where I’m at a hotel or in an office, I don’t worry as much about admin staff or janitors trying to get their “hasty search” on, when I leave my bag behind. Yes, I leave my bag behind. When someone says “Put your bag down, I’ll take you on a tour” you don’t say no.
Compression straps: As the “Lead Climber” in my SEAL platoon I obsessed about loose straps. I don’t like drop down holsters either. Everything needs to be slick. The bag has well-positioned compression straps that not only allowed me to keep the bag tight, but also kept me from snagging any straps and doing a face-plant while jumping chain linked fences. Yes… I’ve got a unique testing process.
Shades – Cameras & Ballistic Goggles – With a handle
On the top of the bag is one of the best-designed handles I’ve seen. Thick and sturdy so it’s comfortable to use with heavy loads. Aligned with the handle is a pouch with an inside that’s soft like a glass cleaning cloth. Its purpose is to carry ballistic goggles, but I found it perfect for carrying my Sony NEX camera. The positioning of the pouch is great as it protects the contents from hitting the ground should the bag get knocked over. Also, by way of design, the pouch is aligned with the handle in a way that slightly obscures the compartments presence. I noticed this when security asked me to open every pocket for a search through the bag, but missed this one.
Besides a perfect place for your goggles, shades or camera, this pouch will also work well for a small handgun, grenade or flash-bang.
I’m getting writers cramp, but I have to mention two more features
Side Pouches: On the sides of the bag are two sleeves with MOLLE straps affixed to them. The sleeves go all of the way through so that you can store a variety of longer items. Billy clubs, small camera tripods or things like trekking poles. Being the odd thinker that I am, I chose to keep a small telescoping pole that I use for hooking small climbing ropes or caving ladders to something high above. Yes, I’ve spent a few too many hours working urban surveillance. See my article about the Mini Frog Climbing Kit. I keep the climbing rope flaked within the other side pouch so that I can go “Second Story” at a moments notice. You’d be surprised how many people never look up.
Water Bottles: At first I was bummed that there weren’t any water bottle holders on the side. Sure the ability to quickly scale buildings was worth it, but a guy gets thirsty. My plan to remedy this was to just buy a MOLLE water bottle pouch; but necessity being the mother of invention, I realized that the bag provided another option.
Between the very back of the bag where you see my American Flag patch and the second main compartment is a much larger drop out pouch designed to hold a ballistic helmet. I just loosened the straps a bit and it perfectly held my Nalgene bottle. Also, if you look at the picture you will see that the bottle isn’t adding to the width of the bag, but it’s merely sitting at an angle. Perfect for easy access to it as well as great for not getting me stuck in tight areas.
Okay, one more thing:
You’ll notice the velcro configured all about the bag. Perfect for unit patches and ideal for an American flag patch. Bottom line. The bag is as Bad-ass as it looks.
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