Both firearms and replicas should be protected from any mechanical damage, dust, dirt or the eyes of perplexed bystanders. Taking all this into account, we have decided to test and review a pretty interesting Rifle Sleeve made by First Tactical®.
First Tactical® is an American brand working under the umbrella of Point Blank Enterprises – a company that for over 40 years has provided high performance, protective solutions for American and international professionals, including soldiers, police and corrections officers, Federal agents, and many others. First Tactical® boasts not only listening to the needs of their customers, but also deploying top-quaility materials as well as field testing in the most demanding situations, which allow them to engineer cutting-edge, innovative, reliable products. Courtesy of Military 1st, we got the opportunity to check it ourselves.
Inconspicuous cardboard packaging contains not only the Rifle Sleeve in question, but also a nice surprise in the form of various printed shooting targets which can be cut out and successfully used for weapons training. The ingenious use of the packaging makes it more than just a useless piece of cardboard.
An esthetic tag provides brief information about the brand, warranty terms and conditions as well as product code.
The Rifle Sleeve comes in three sizes: 34″, 42″ and 50″. We have opted for the medium one as, in our opinion, it is pretty universal and allows to carry both long and short firearms. The Sleeve is available in three color patterns: black, coyote and OD green. All the above are made of the same materials, namely 500D nylon on the outside, and 300D nylon (heavy duty lining) along with 10mm closed cell foam on the inside.
First Tactical‘s case is a minimalist and yet very clever construction. It is quite unobtrusive. On the outside, it features a rubber logo of the manufacturer and three 15-centimeter-long Velcro loop straps for patches and IDs.
On the backside, there are loops compatible with First Tactical Hook and Hang Thru™ System found in First Tactical backpacks, allowing users the option of hands-free firearm carry.
The reinforced handles make it comfortable to carry the case.
Very reliable two-way lockable clamshell YKK zipper on the main compartment secures the access to the inside of the Sleeve. Sliders not only have loops for padlock or zip-tie but also oversized pulls with the producer’s logo.
Additionally, the Sleeve has been equipped with two silent locking, quick-release compression straps. They go with Duraflex® UTX D-FLEX buckles covered with elastic bands to prevent generation of unnecessary noise while opening the case.
Clamshell opening allows for spreading the Sleeve on a flat surface.
The panel placed on the top flap features information on the cleaning method and used materials, along with some empty space for personalization (ID/number).
The top flap has also been equipped with soft hook/loop organization platform for optional attachments, such as patches or Velcro® pouches.
In the upper part of the top flap, right above the label, there is a Velcro-closed hidden pocket. Not only does it provide access to the internal foam padding, but it also allows for tucking in some documents, shooting targets or other flat objects.
The other flap features two rows of MOLLE webbing with two fully adjustable rifle mounts. At the bottom, there is a removable compression molded barrel mount for precise fit and added safety. The cap is mounted by means of a Velcro® strap and two flat hook buckles.
The second mount placed on top is a simple retention strap with an elastic part and some soft padding. This silent closure also uses the metal hook system.
This fully adjustable and repositionable mounting system offers optimal steadiness of the carried firearm, both short and long one. Additionally, if we have some room left, we can always mount here some optional MOLLE pouches.
I’ve had First Tactical’s Rifle Sleeve for about 4-5 months and I must admit, I wasn’t very careful with it, using it mostly to carry a heavy replica of a sniper rifle. Except for some dirt/mud stains and scrapes, there are no signs of intensive use nor wear and tear. The used materials are of the highest quality. Attention to details is impressive, including neat seams and ubiquitous branding (embossings, sliders, etc.), which really pleases the eye.
I’ve chosen the Rifle Sleeve in question due to its minimalist design, low profile and the possibility of mounting it on other platforms. Even though I don’t have First Tactical backpack with Hook and Hang Thru™ System that works with the case, it was still possible to mount the sleeve on other backpacks with compression straps.
A slight drawback is, in my opinion, the lack of additional shoulder strap. However, with a small self-made adjustment (e.g. paracord loops tied to the loops on the case) we can use the sling from the rifle inside.
Providing pretty good thermal insulation from the ground, the Sleeve can also serve as an impromptu shooting mat used in the prone position.
Most importantly, however, the Sleeve successfully serves its primary purpose, carrying and keeping the firearm firm and stable in its place as well as protecting it from external factors.
+ simple and attractive design,
+ optimal steadiness of the carried firearm/replica,
+ compatible with backpacks with First Tactical Hook and Hang Thru System (but not only),
+ low profile,
+ possibility to use the sleeve as an impromptu shooting mat,
+ high-quality materials.
– lack of shoulder strap.
Translated by /Coral/