Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2 Fanny Pack Review

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2 Fanny Pack Review

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- For years I scoffed at those wearing fanny packs for concealed carry. My issues with that manner of carry ranged from their relative slowness of the drawstroke compared to IWB carry, to the fashion faux pas of fanny packs as a whole, and more. They didn’t even land as an option for me. That is until I read an article titled “The Dad Joke of Warbelts” from No One Coming, which started to put the fanny pack in a new light for me. A few months passed, and I kept coming back to that article which had challenged my mindset.

Curious to see if my feelings could be swayed, I threw one on my Christmas list. I must’ve been good that year, because Santa decided to bring me an Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2 fanny pack. After nearly nine months, how do I feel about the Tailgunner 2 as a concealed carry method?

Construction

The Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2 is built from the ground up for conceal carry. As such, it is chock full of features to improve not only access, but also the security of your firearm. This places it in an advantageous position compared to other fanny packs thrust into a concealment role. Shooters of most any size are accommodated, as the waist strap measures 53″ at maximum extension.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
This pouch is just big enough for a couple speed strips, a set of car keys, or other smaller items

The pack itself is solid, made from 1000D nylon, and uses YKK zippers. The Tailgunner 2 is not waterproof but does a decent job at preventing sweat from ingressing the main compartment. Additionally, the rear panel has some moderate shaping to improve comfort, though this could be enhanced with a bit of padded mesh. There are three zippered compartments on this pack, each a unique size.

The Main Compartment

The first thing you’ll notice with the Tailgunner 2 is its immense size. Despite seeing pictures of it on a grown man, I didn’t truly appreciate the girth until I had my own in hand. I can fit a holstered Glock 34 with an Aimpoint ACRO inside the Tailgunner 2 and still have room for spare magazines and a SOFTT-W tourniquet in the main compartment. This main compartment measures 10″W X 6.5″H X 2″D, allowing most service pistols and conceal carry options to fit with ease. There are two large zippers closing this compartment, allowing users to open/close it in the direction of their choosing.

A Look Inside

The rear of the main compartment is covered in the hook side of velcro. Throwing some soft loop velcro on the rear of your holster will help attach it to the pack, keeping it firmly in place during your drawstroke. To improve retention further, there is a sewn-in strap that wraps around your holster, threads through an eyelet, and mates to the velcro backer of the pack as well. I typically thread this strap underneath the belt clips of my holster like a belt for extra security. Even with multiple aggressive draws, my holster stays firmly in place, with no flopping or excess movement. Elite Survival Systems includes a pair of cheap, universal nylon holsters which work well with the velcro lining, both of which I promptly discarded in favor of kydex options.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
The Tailgunner 2 set up for cardio carry with my 351C and a SOFTT-W

In addition to the two zippers on the main compartment, Elite Survival Systems has sewn in a large pull-tab in each top corner. When zipping up the pack, I leave one tab exposed. This allows me to grab the tab, ripping diagonally downward with my support hand, quickly unzipping the Tailgunner 2 both vertically and horizontally, making acquiring a firing grip on my pistol a breeze. These tabs are one of my favorite features of the Tailgunner 2, and appear to be original to Elite Survival Systems packs. I haven’t seen a more efficient drawstroke on any other packs to date. Having them ambidextrous is a bonus.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
These tabs can be found in either corner of the Tailgunner 2 and help facilitate and effective draw

Opposite the velcro backing of the Tailgunner 2 are some elastic bands, perfectly sized for the storage of spare magazines, or similar items. Additionally, there is a small panel of hook velcro above these elastic bands, which I have affixed a SOFTT-W tourniquet to for quick access. The elastic bands and forward velcro panel help ensure your support items are retained when the pack is opened, and prevent them from interfering with the drawstroke.

The Front Zipper Pouch

The front of the Tailgunner 2 features a medium size, single zipper pouch running the width of the pack. Inside this pouch is a foam panel, helping to give the Tailgunner 2 a little more rigidity to reduce sagging with a heavy load. This foam panel is removeable, but I’ve kept mine in for its stated purpose.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
This rectangular piece of foam helps improve the rigidity of the pack, but removing it increases useable space in the front zipper pouch

Even with the panel removed, there isn’t much room in this front pouch. My car keys and cellphone are a tight fit, restricting this pouch to minor EDC items, requiring additional storage to be found for wallets, multitools, and more.

The Wings

Each side of the Tailgunner 2 features smaller wings connecting the main pack to the waist strap. The right wing features a small zippered pouch, large enough to fit a minimalist wallet, speed strips, or similar. I have also been known to keep this pouch slightly unzipped, with my POM pepper spray clipped inside for quick access with my dominant hand.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
Grasping the pull-tab with my support hand to begin the drawstroke…

The left wing of the Tailgunner 2 features three webbing loops, visually similar to MOLLE. I typically keep these loops empty when wearing the pack, however my wife clips her pepper spray here for access with her non-dominant hand.

Real World Use

I’ve worn the Tailgunner 2 fairly consistently since Christmas of 2021. While it hasn’t been my daily carry choice, it does see frequent use, and has been a go-to for me in certain situations. Primarily it has seen use while mowing and performing other tasks around the yard and house, at the gym, and during a 20-hour cross-country road trip. During this time, the Tailgunner 2 has performed very well. The belt never loosened, despite various movements over several months at the gym. When worn tight enough, the Tailgunner 2 stays firmly in place even during sprints and more. Ensuring you have the belt tight will prevent any bouncing or flopping of the pack, reducing noise, friction, and fatigue on the wearer. It doesn’t have to be a corset, but don’t be sagging either.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
…And acquiring a full firing grip in the holster. With proper support hand placement, you can completely avoid muzzling yourself.

Earlier I mentioned carrying a Glock 34 inside the Tailgunner 2. While I have done this, that is not the gun I primarily carry in the pack, with the G34 being a little heavy and bulky for wear in active situations. Typically I choose either a Glock 48, or one of my J-Frames depending on the activity at hand. This still gives me significant capability, but also cuts down on the weight and bulk.

While the drawstroke with this pack is a huge improvement over others, it is still relatively slow compared to on-body carry, and requires a fairly large movement to access your pistol. This could be problematic in a close encounter, with my draw times running about two seconds, with an easily stuffed support hand.

Changes I’d Like to See Made

Though I quite like the Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2, it isn’t without fault. There are a few changes that I’d like to see made for a future Tailgunner 3 that would bring the pack to another level.

First, I’d like for the main compartment zippers to be shrunk. I really like Morgan Atwood’s mod from No One Coming. He removed the factory zippers, replacing them with 550 cord which is then shrink-wrapped. While I didn’t notice the zippers fouling my drawstroke initially, they did become problematic when moving more quickly. The jingle doesn’t bother me too badly, as I primarily wear the Tailgunner 2 when doing yardwork or at the gym, but it does get noticeable in quieter environments. This would likely be a little more labor-intensive for the manufacturer, but I think it’d pay dividends in the real world.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
Some shaping of the rear of the Tailgunner 2 helps improve rigidity and air circulation, but some padding could improve things

Next, I’d like some more storage space, but not in the main compartment. Ideally, I would expand the right zipper pocket and the front zipper pocket, using a pseudo-accordion technique, where the extra material is stored when not needed, but room for expansion is available. It doesn’t have to be much larger, but even a small increase in capacity would be greatly helpful in carrying things such as wallets and more.

Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2
Holding a can of POM pepper spray is the best use I’ve found for these loops

Another change that would help with my storage concerns would be the removal of the webbing on the left wing of the Tailgunner 2. This could be replaced with a similar zipper pocket to what is on the right wing of the pack. Not only would that improve the carrying capacity of the pack, but it would also reduce the “tactical” look, and make the Tailgunner 2 essentially completely ambidextrous.

Finally, I’d like to see the shock cord removed from the front of the pack. While Elite Survival Systems recommends using the cord to hold gloves, hats, and the like, it has not proven strong enough to reliably perform that task without dropping my items. I’m sure someone has use for this, but I haven’t found one outside of snagging on things.

Final Thoughts on the Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2 Fanny Pack

Overall I’m a fan of the Elite Survival Systems Tailgunner 2. Storage is limited for a daily use fanny pack, but as a dedicated gun bag, the Tailgunner 2 is solid and blows traditional fanny packs out of the water. I don’t plan on making it my go-to carry solution, but it has secured a spot for the gym and long car rides, among other niche uses. If you’re thinking about fanny pack carry, check out options from Elite Survival Systems for their unique take on the type.

Current MSRP is $67.95 direct from Elite Survival Systems, with two color options of black or blue, for the Tailgunner 2.


About Dan Reedy

Dan is an Air Force veteran, avid shooter, and dog dad. With a passion for teaching, he holds instructor certifications from Rangemaster, Agile Training & Consulting, and the NRA. He has trained with Darryl Bolke, Mike Pannone, Craig Douglas, among several other instructors, amassing over 400 hours of professional instruction thus far. In his spare time you’ll find him teaching handgun, shotgun, and less lethal classes.

Dan’s work has been published by Primer Peak, and The Kommando Blog, and he has been featured as a guest on Primary & Secondary.Dan Reedy headshot

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Jim March

I built my own fanny pack with some…very different ideas. Breakaway leather wrap over a kydex core, and a draw similar in speed and feel to AIWB.

44 second video, standing and seated draws:

https://youtu.be/RWFif9d3k00

Last edited 1 month ago by Jim March