SITREP 011 - Heavy-load conditions
18 Series Bag Company SITREP 011 30 January 2022
There is something about the human spirit that thrives under heavy-load conditions. Heavy-load conditions, to me, mean leaving behind relative security and taking on new challenges to pursue what is meaningful. I believe that it is my moral obligation, as a father, husband, and leader to continue to seek meaning. In this SITREP, I want to discuss ‘the why’; the value proposition of the 18 Series Bag Company.
Each person that came by our booth at SHOT wanted to know the ‘Why’. We boiled down the value of our brand to the operator. Why would anyone buy our bags? Because it’s Special Operations, ‘For Us By Us’ (SO FUBU). My business partner and I set out to build the bags that we always wanted on a team. That’s the why. Why in the world do we identify, select, and then train the best operators in the world, only to give them generic gear that is only designed to be filled and put under their bed for the duration of the trip?
I believe that what shapes the Special, in Special Forces, is that they are "learners" that can solve any problem, under pressure, as a team. Through the lens of the 18 Series Bag Company, we’ve created solutions to problems that operators have. My goal is NOT to tell operators how to do their job, it is to provide solutions. This is the essence of what we do.
As you can tell from our website, we created a line of purpose-built bags that provide solutions to America’s Special Operations. We’ve also created accessories that are stand-alone products that can be used even with previously issued equipment.
I’ve carried a rifle in some sort of bag more times than I can count. Because we received standard issue packs, I usually had to shotgun my rifle (break it down to two pieces) and shove it in. I believe that is unacceptable. Our scabbard was designed to go anywhere, anytime, in any bag. We placed Velcro on the back and fast-tech buckles on the front to secure the rifle to the inside of whatever you're carrying. We secured the new Advance Sniper Rifle (ASR) to the scabbard within our Zulu bag, and it held the barrel snug to our spine, never shifting the internal load. We also secured a series of smaller rifles onto the scabbard which allowed us to completely close the bag, never alerting anyone of what we were carrying.
Another solution our scabbard provides, when married with our Zulu bag, is the tactical employment of Unmanned Aerial Surveillance (UAS) and Counter-UAS systems. Most Program Managers believe these systems will only be used from static positions, like FOBs, which restricts the distance and loiter time these systems provide. In reality, detachments attempt to carry the systems as close to the objective as possible to maximize the system’s time over the target. Our bag compliments existing UAS/C-UAS systems, providing operators the ability to get the systems packed and secure, and on the objective. In the Strategic Competition realm, we believe that providing low-visibility tactical solutions to operators provides strategic options to military leaders.
Named after the historic WWII element charged with organizing armed resistance in Europe, procuring intelligence, and kicking Nazi ass, our JED bag allows operators to remain both armed and unexposed in semi-permissive environments. As Dwight K. Schrute, from the ‘Office’, asks, “Question: How many Russians do you think have infiltrated Ukraine?”. Answer: As many as it takes to provide intelligence and be as close to the ‘x’ as possible when the trigger is met to launch. You don’t start an insurgency AFTER the first rounds are fired. When Libya was imploding, I overheard someone senior say, “we need to get in there and do some UW”. Still makes me laugh to this day.
Employing small groups of operators in semi-permissive areas to provide real-time intelligence has never been more important. The ability to conduct decentralized operations, while keeping a strong security posture, creates a unique requirement. Remember the purple shirt dude in Kenya? I do and am still super Jelly that he got to do something like that, I never did.
We know the JED bag is awesome, it’s already been operationalized. My favorite story, so far, was less clandestine but still kept them strapped. They were on the runway in Afghanistan during the pullout, standing face to face with some rag-tag Talibs. The bag remained in the car, on their back, or at the security position, keeping boom-sticks at the ready.
The non-descript bag has two pockets with ample padding. We lined the padded, outside compartment, with pile Velcro to allow for modular attachments to be placed within, such as our modular three-magazine pouch. The padding prevents ‘printing’, whereby the rifle pokes out of the bag, illuminating the fact that you have a weapon. The large, second compartment can hold a weapon less than 22” in length, the size of a standard-issue M-4 with folding butt-stock. We lined the compartment with VS-17 orange so that if you did have to beat-feet out of town, or into an apartment, you can attempt to visually call friendly forces into your location. If the situation dictates that you leave the area, at least you have your rifle, three magazines, and hopefully your passport and OPFUND. Attach our Faraday phone pouch and you’ve essentially disappeared (if you’re into that sort of thing….).
During SHOT Show, dozens of different Law Enforcement agencies stopped by. My point to them regarding the JED bag was simple. During the demonstrations last year across America, how many plain-clothed officers were able to get in the mix with demonstrators with anything more than their service pistol? Walking through some potentially violent areas with a 9mm is not my definition of a good time, I’d much rather have 5.56mm. Again, it’s not my place to discuss TTPs, just to provide solutions.
We have no fewer than a dozen more ideas for concealment bags. We also are developing a mechanism by which some of our bags never hit the market and get chosen directly by operators. These ideas will only come about if we get the JED bag right in the market. Our commitment to the operator is that we won’t mark up the outside with our branding. Current rifle bags on the market keep to the same branding inside and out. The problem is that once you see the branding, everyone knows what you have.
Commitment to family
After Saturday night’s dinner, my oldest son and I began rebuilding Han Solo’s Lego speeder. Even under a self-imposed busy schedule, I promised to help the little guy rebuild his Lego Empire. Balancing the final act of an Army career, being a present husband and father, and developing an entirely new brand, is the most difficult balancing act that I’ve ever attempted. But much like our equipment and bags, I’m amongst friends with our self-imposed heavy loads. Thanks for reading.
If interested in any of these bags, have your S/G/J-4 reach out to us and we can provide a timely quote.
Always forward. - Matt
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