The assault pack has become widely popular in the last years because of its versatility in very dynamic applications such as direct action. The main function of this platform is to provide an augmentation of carriage to the user without compromising speed and efficiency. Because the environments in which the current asymmetrical wars are fought are usually very confined and hostile it is mandatory for the operator on the field to be as agile and unrestricted as possible, we are therefore experiencing an evolution in equipment in which compact, slick and efficient designs are prominent.
The category of direct action assault pack has morphed into a carrying system that varies in volume from the size of a Camelbak® to a maximum of 30 liter (usually and in theory). The main function of an assault pack is to allow the user to carry either supplemental combat essential equipment or lower-priority items without compromising mobility.
This type of equipment has gained a lot of traction also in the non-operative world due to the mythicization of “high speed” special operation forces in popular culture. Nevertheless the function of such a system is to allow the user to carry extra essential equipment into theater and to be utilized as a site exploitation bag if need arises.
Because of its essential nature the Blackhawk! Cyane Dynamic Pack is not provided with an internal rigid structure but it features a sheet of flexible polymer, of which the main purpose is to hold shape when the pack is empty.
The design of the pack focuses on the efficiency of movement and operation of the user; the narrow design and the ability to attach it directly to a plate carrier render this pack even more compact and volumetrically low profile.
Despite the very compact size, the pack is comprised of 5 separate pockets, which define the high level of usability of the pack. Because it is extremely vital, in dynamic environments, to be able to quickly and efficiently access essential gear, this feature is highly valuable.
In the upper area is locate the routing port for hydration and comms, which makes it convenient for ambidextrous use.
The numerous attachment points on the outer portion of the pack allow for external attachment. It could be said that is even possible to securely attach more equipment on the outside that it is possible to stow it inside.
The Cyane Dynamic Pack is provided with various sections of PALS webbing. Four main areas are spread throughout the outer surface of the pack: two lateral sections (7 rows x 3 columns each side) and two frontal sections (on the top 3 rows x 3 columns | on the bottom 3 x 4 columns). The size and position of the PALS panels allow to capitalize the area available with, for example, two or more ammo pouches.
During night MTB rides, and for signaling in general, we have secured on this surface red and green Chemlights or Nitizes on the respective side. The loop panel on the 3 x 3 PALS section is extremely useful for attaching S&S Precision V-Lites or Manta Strobes. It could also fit the CORE Survival HELSTAR 6 but because of its larger size and weight we don’t recommend it.
The shoulder straps are provided with copious attachment points, both vertically and horizontally, allowing the user to attach items like Princeton Tec light, strobes and of course hydration tubes.
The sternum strap can be moved vertically in order to accommodate most body types. The padding of the shoulder straps is extremely comfortable while maintaining a very low profile. Usually comfort comes at the expense of size, in this case Blackhawk! was able to manage a good balance between the two.
The inner portions of the pack are very minimal in design and material, the only internal organization available it the mesh pocket for hydration which is voluminous enough to accommodate up to a 3L reservoir.
The beavertail design allows the user to expand the size for storing items like rain gear, helmets or even tripods. With a very secure 6 points attachment the beavertail section can be tighten and released via QD buckles and webbing. When not expanded the beavertails “pocket” collapses and can be really reduced in footprint via adjustment points. The beavertail design effectively secures the equipment carried, this portion could be utilized as a secondary site exploitation carriage if need arises.
The inner portion of the backpack can accommodate more sensible material, like night vision and thermal; while the more exposed and more accessible pockets can be utilized for IFAK or medical kits in general.
The size and nature of this pack could be very suitable for transporting extra equipment during quick night hunting sorties.
The layout above displays the equipment that we utilize for night mountain biking in very rural areas. Everything shown is either worn or carried in the Cyane Dynamic Pack.
We have been using this pack since last spring and the quality of construction is on point where it needs to be. We would define “efficient” the quality of material and craftsmanship because it provides very good durability while maintaining a relatively light weight and a very competitive price point. The material used for the pack are Multicam® certified CORDURA® fabric and 500 rip stop fabric.
For a pack with this kind of design and volumetric capacity we have found some interesting applications that go beyond the operative theater, from hiking and mountain biking to climbing.
Overall, this backpack has a great potential for this industry. The average “tactical” user lives his daily life with a mindset that is tightly connected to efficiency and practicality; with this pack, because of its size and design it is possible to apply that same mentality and mindset of preparedness also to sports and outdoor activities in general. The Cyane Dynamic Pack is also available in solid colors for a more settle presence (Black, Coyote Tan, OD, Ranger Green and Urban Grey).
Blackhawk also produces a slicker version that does not have PALS webbing panels on the front and on the sides: the Cyane™ Stealth Pack. It also comes without the direct attachment to the plate carrier.
We appreciate the opportunity given by Blackhawk! to review this product.
The Blackhawk! Omnivore holster is designed to accommodate more than 150 types of handguns. What differentiates the Blackhawk! Omnivore from other multi-fit holsters on the market is the retention mechanism.
In the past we have seen various manufactures designing a multi-fit holster that was based on multiple handgun sizes and makes. This did not allow almost any of the firearms to have a good (and safe) level of retention because of the large tolerances that were needed in order to fit multiple models of pistols. This design, based on an engineering compromise could not ensure the consistency in the draw, the re-holstering and most importantly the retention; it was therefore not considered a valuable product by most consumers in the industry.
Blackhawk! has rethought the whole process and has designed the holster around the weapon mounted light and not around the weapon itself. This allows to have a very precise mechanism that retains and secures the weapon inside the holster. Since most modern pistols feature a rail attachment systems of some sort (below the fore-end of the barrel) this design is able to standardize the way that the holster gains the purchase on the weapon system. Blackhawk! has also designed the holster around those users that are not interested in utilizing a weapon mounted light.
The Omnivore Holster is available in three variants: for SureFire X300, for Streamlight TLR-1 and TLR-2, and for pistols without a light there is a very low-profile accessory that attaches to the rail.
The firearm is secured with a level 2 retention system that can be disengaged with a thumb activated mechanism. We have tried without any success to pull the gun out of the holster without pressing the thumb switch, even with rough force.
It is remarkable that Blackhawk! has designed an efficient and secure retention system that only locks on the weapon mounted light and not on the weapon’s frame itself. In the past we have witnessed some issues with other holster manufacturers that failed in retaining the weapon (and the holster was designed to utilize the whole frame of the gun for the retention).
The Omnivore holster also features a free-floating weapon design that was implemented mainly for avoiding any premature wear on the firearm caused by the friction of the draw and the re-holstering. We found this feature extremely useful when doing longer range sessions in which the firearm would heat-up and the free-floating design would help to cool it down faster. It is also useful for eliminating any issued with debris and dirt that may interfere with the weapon in rougher environments.
The thumb release is provided with three different sizes and it features a rubberized texture for a secure engagement under critical stress. With the thumb release mechanism adjusted to the correct size of the hand, the draw is very smooth and efficient; and with some practice it can deliver a very quick pistol presentation. The retention mechanism doesn’t disengage if the weapon is pulled at the same time, for added protection and security for all duty applications.
The holster comes with two different injection molded belt attachments, a standard curved belt loop and a paddle. Once the preferred attachment system is bolted to the holster, the whole system is very solid and does not bend or loosens under the weight of the sidearm.
We have mainly used the standard belt loop because it can accommodate both larger tactical belts (works also with a Cobra buckle) as well as smaller standard leather belts, for which Blackhawk! does provide an attachment that eliminates any unwanted movement.
It is also possible to attach the belt loop with various angles for better efficiency with the draw or for some specific requirements.
Blackhawk has kindly given us the chance to try and test this product, and after two months of hard use, the rugged and tough nature of the holster comes to the surface. The finish and the injection-molded frame still hold their shape and detail even after some bad falls and the retention system is as crisp and consistent as when it was new.
In a world of expensive and custom-made tactical products, we appreciate how Blackhawk has successfully designed what is, in our opinion, a high quality, affordable and effective standardized system that is capable of delivering great performance for most users of different segments of this industry.
You can find more information on the Blackhawk! Omnivore holster at: blackhawk.com/omnivore