First Tactical Backpacks Review

First Tactical Backpacks Review A relatively new company, First Tactical, has stormed onto the scene with a full line of tactical gear that includes tactical pants, shirts, backpacks, rifle sleeves, […]

First Tactical Backpacks Review

First Tactical Backpacks, Gun Cases, Shirts and Pants Review - allA relatively new company, First Tactical, has stormed onto the scene with a full line of tactical gear that includes tactical pants, shirts, backpacks, rifle sleeves, gloves and more. As part of our review series on First Tactical products (Amazon link) this article tells you what you need to know about First Tactical Backpacks (link).

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Jeff’s feedback on First Tactical Tactix 1-Day plus backpack

Over the years I have progressed through a series of backpacks for weekend and business trip use. When picking one of First Tactical’s backpacks to review I honestly didn’t have any sort of intense outdoor or tactical uses in mind. What attracted me to the Tactix 1-Day Plus backpack was a combination of features that set this bag up to be a great weekend and trade show bag.

Is that a rifle in your backpack, or are you happy to see me?


backpack and rifle sleeve at the range

First Tactical is pretty juiced about the ability to slide their rifle sleeve through the back (they call it the Hang-thru system), and that is nice. However, what I have found most useful is that my oversized 17.3″ laptop is very well protected in the Tactix 1-day plus bag. When a rifle sleeve is NOT being used, the bottom of the rifle sleeve compartment can be zipped shut, leaving the perfect sized compartment for a laptop. Many backpacks have similar pockets inside. What makes the Tactix 1-Day Plus bag better suited for laptop duty is the hard plastic shell and metal frame that provides support against the wearer’s back. This is like armor protecting my laptop.

Size matters

The large main compartment is plenty big for a weekend’s worth of clothes, toiletries, etc. when the weather is warm. Maybe a touch small for cold weather outdoor activities that require bulkier clothing. There are also an additional 13 pockets and pouches scattered throughout the bag AND zip open compartment with a variety of office organizer type pockets that are perfect for pens, business cards, battery packs, tools, etc., a key clip on a lanyard, and an internal zippered pocket for stuff that you don’t want to get lost. In fact, my biggest problem with the backpack at the NRA show was that with sooooo many pockets I couldn’t keep track of where I had put things.


Maybe the most visually striking feature is the Lynx laser cut platform, which is compatible with Molle/PALS. MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) uses a grid of straps sewn on to allow accessory attachment. In my experience MOLLE works pretty well, but the straps, stitches, and fabric they are sewn to are prone to failure over time. The one piece Lynx panels covering the front and sides of the bag appear durable and structurally sound. This is interesting since one of the Boy Scout leaders at my son’s troop recently told me he had to order a new 5.11 bag because the stitching on his MOLLE straps had deteriorated to the point of being useless. I haven’t yet attached much MOLLE accessories to the First Tactical bag. Just a radio holster on the right shoulder strap. It has held up well so far, but I can’t speak to the long term durability yet.

Additional “nice touches”:

  • Heavy duty body drag type strap behind the wearer’s neck
  • Elastic on the side mounted grab straps to keep then tight up against the bag where they won’t snag things
  • Movable/removable compression straps
  • Thick padding on the upper portion of the shoulder straps
  • Sternum strap that is vertically adjustable

Open this flap to adjust the shoulder straps

I’d like to file a complaint…

My only complaint, and one that Josejuan shared with me, was that the shoulder pads left my shoulders pretty sore after wearing the pack for a few long 12 hour days. Something that I didn’t realize at first, but finally figured out mid way through the 3rd day at the NRA show was that the shoulder straps needed to be loosened at the top so that the thicker padding at the top of the straps would be on my shoulders. The straps to adjust this are buried between the padded frame and the back of the bag, making it a bit tricky fitting my big hands into the little slash access points to adjust them. It was a couple of weeks later that I realized all I had to do was open the top flap on the back of the backpack to get easier access to the shoulder pad length adjustment. So, at the end of the day, I’m not sure if I should complain about the straps, the configuration, or about not being smart enough to figure out how to adjust them more easily.

Other uses

I think the First Tactical Tactix 1-Day plus backpack would be a fantastic Bug Out Bag. With a padded waist belt added I could even see it being a decent weekend camping bag for rugged camping trips. Not sure I would want to do any serious backpacking with it, as it is a bit heavy. Boy Scouts might use it for weekend base camp trips or even as a summer camp bag. I also think this would make a great huntint bag or “truck bag”… that’s what I call the bag I use as a catch-all for pretty much anything I might do where I need a few things with me, but not enough to carry a full sized backpack or take a suitcase.
I’ll also carry this backpack to get to SHOT Show 2017, then will empty it at the hotel and carry it during the days at the range media events and on the show floor. So, basically, I will live out of it for a week.

Chris’ feedback on First Tactical Specialist Half-Day Backpack

This mid-sized daypack has all of the bells and whistles you’d expect from a quality ‘tactical’ backpack. That being said, it has a few features which stand out.

First Tactical Backpacks, Gun Cases, Shirts and Pants Review - Chris bag

Cameraman Chris with his First Tactical bag at NRA Show 2016

  • The lined glasses compartment is nice. The location of this compartment is on the outside top of the bag (above the front pocket) making access easier than on some other brands though the contents aren’t as protected from crushing as on some other bags.
  • The First Tactical Key Chain included is a nice well thought out design.
  • The ‘Pull Through’ pocket is nice when paired with the First Tactical Rifle Sleeves. It also doubles as a padded electronics or document pocket if you zip the bottom shut.

Yet another solid product from First Tactical!

 Next up, Josejuan’s thoughts on First Tactical

First Tactical Backpacks, Gun Cases, Shirts and Pants Review - JJsFirst Tactical Tactix 1-Day plus backpack

MSRP $179.99 Others compared around $230.


First Tactical designed their gear for law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel.

How acquired

Provided to for use during the NRA show and for review purposes.

Manufacturers key features First Tactical Tactix 1-Day plus backpack

Sturdy daypack with laser cut platform compatible with MOLLE/PALS and lots of compartments. First tactical hook and hang thru system allows the rifle sleeve to be integrated into the backpack. Removable interior backboard can double as splint, shovel or paddle. Adjustable shoulder straps.


Jeff wearing the pack at NRA show 2016 during an interview

NRA Show 2016:

The first portion of testing was wearing the outfit during the NRA 2016 meet and exhibit show. As a regular uniform I experienced the thrill of wearing it almost “duty” service hours starting 6am going onto until 11pm. I stayed dry and cool even with the hectic schedule maintained, even when wearing the backpack at all times.
With no waist belt available on the backpack yet (I’m told it will be available soon), all of the weight is concentrated on the shoulder straps. The straps on the backpack needed to be adjusted to be more comfortable. It seems that my shoulders needed more breaking in than the backpack.


I recently spent a month in my native Guatemala visiting my extended family and showing my children around my old stomping grounds. The First Tactical backpack performed well while hiking in dry and light rain through the mountains of Guatemala.

In conclusion the First Tactical Performance short sleeve polo, Taxtix pants and Tactix 1-Day bag met and exceeded my expectations.

Gears Rating

Gear Score
If you need a durable, configurable, and well though out backpack for rugged use. First Tactical backpacks should get your consideration.

Where can you find First Tactical gear?

How we got to know First Tactical

About a month before the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibitions (the “NRA show”) First Tactical asked if we would like to review any of their gear. We agreed that First Tactical would outfit the three Gear Report writers attending the NRA show. After using the gear at the show and then in our daily routines for a few months we would share our findings via a review. Since three of us used the First Tactical gear, we have varying perspectives which will be shared in separate sections below.

Why should you care about First Tactical?

It is a fair question. When First Tactical reached out to see if we would like to review some of their new gear my first thought was “Why bother?” There are a variety of established and respected brands like 5.11 Tactical, Propper, Tru-Spec and Blackhawk making really nice, well thought out and high performing tactical clothing. However, it only took a few clicks on their website to see that First Tactical built a variety of innovative features into their products. To me, they looked like an evolution of 5.11 Tactical designs. Little did I know there was a reason for the resemblance.

The 5.11 Tactical connection

Turns out there was a reason the First Tactical products reminded me of 5.11 Tactical. Dan Costa bought 51% of 5.11 in 1999 and ran the company until 2007 when a private equity firm bought it. After sitting out a few years (I assume, to wait out a non-compete clause) Dan jumped back into the tactical clothing market by founding First Tactical. He brought along a few of the folks he worked with at 5.11 as well. While I am not an expert in the 5.11 brand, it is generally well respected for design and durability. When I look over the First Tactical products I see a variety of changes and improvements that make the 5.11 products look a bit stale.

First Tactical clothing reviewFirst Tactical

First Tactical™ makes functional gear created for professionals. Guided by the principles of innovation and reliability, First Tactical works first–hand with real–world users to create durable products that meet the needs of public safety.

About Jeff

Jeff is the Editor in Chief of Gear Report and a National Shooting Sports Foundation Media member. He reports on the outdoor industry, reviews gear for camping, hiking, shooting, hunting, paddling, backpacking and other active pursuits.

A USAF veteran, Jeff earned a MBA in Marketing and Health Services. He specializes in consultative selling and internet marketing. As the VP of BD & Marketing, Jeff provides sales and marketing leadership to MGECOM, Inc. and helps acquire new clients in need of solutions for online merchants in need of Affiliate Marketing program management.

Jeff founded and manages Cress Sales & Marketing LLC, offering online sales and marketing consulting and services to online merchants and service providers.