The climate for guns in public has changed drastically from a time when carrying a pistol on your hip or a shotgun/rifle under your arm was seen by most as a common, usual occurrence, one not to cause alarm, suspicion, or pause.
The upwelling of very public crimes involving guns in the last 10 years, along with a host of other social factors, has creating a hostile environment for hunters, collectors, and gun aficionados who need, as part of their profession or hobby, to transport guns legally from one location to another. The sight of a gun case, regardless of laws, locks, or safety, creates an air of unease in most public places, not to mention that those cases are easily recognizable by thieves who would want nothing else than to make a few bucks from your prized equipment.
Covert gun cases are nothing new; stereotypical 1930s gangsters supposedly carried Tommy guns in violin cases to cast aside suspicion. However, the concept is the same today: If you’re living in an area that is generally unfriendly to firearms or you have some serious coin invested in your long arms, the idea is to hide it in plain sight or to walk undisturbed in public while legally transporting a small cache of weapons. And what better way than to make people think that you are nothing more than a musician headed to open-mic night down at the coffee shop? The Hazard 4 BattleAxe padded rifle case is a diversion bag made of quality materials and easily able to stand out from the traditional black rifle cases by looking instead like a well-heeled guitar case.
With 40 inches of internal length (16 of these is the “guitar” neck), it can easily accommodate most modern rifles (a standard AR15 with a collapsible stock and a mounted scope fits perfectly), and is wide enough at 15 inches (9 at the neck) to even keep the scope mounted.
The case is well made and feels solid, with double stitching in stress points and a host of added details. The handle is thickly padded and there are three “silent” double zippered pockets on the front, perfect for extra magazines, a couple boxes of ammunition or additional equipment. The top pocket is a perfect size for a box of shotgun shells or folded up ear protection, while the longer pocket on the neck has loop pile sewn into the base to secure a holstered pistol. The main outside pocket is a well-planned organizer to store tools, pencils/pens, or a number of other things.
The inside is rather sparse, with two hook-and-loop straps that can be moved to different areas to accommodate almost any size rifle. The partition is made of a soft material which breaks the bag in half, allowing for an additional rifle (more straps can be purchased and the partition as well as the inside of the lid allows for the use of hook-and-loop straps as well. Though it is a well-manufactured case with a long list of pros, for the money, we would have expected a basic shoulder strap to be included (they sell a variety of them, however), as well as a couple more tie downs for the interior.
If you’re looking for something that will fly under the radar, yet still cart around a fully assembled rifle, the Battle Axe is a great choice.
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the January 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide