Last week I posted a podcast episode about your appearance to the outside world. There’s a distinct advantage to everyday marksmen like you and me when it comes to looking like normal professionals and not special operations wannabes. While the episode was about how we dress, I think there’s also something to be said about our gear. This post is a review of “The Bronx” a discreet rifle bag produced by Lynx Defense.
First off, a disclosure. Michael, the CEO of Lynx Defense sent me an email through the site some time ago asking if I was interested in doing a review. I was clear upfront with him that I was happy to do it, but that I was still going to give my honest opinion. He accepted and even said that he welcomed the feedback.
From their collection, I selected “The Bronx,” a 36” boxy rifle case and Michael sent it out a few weeks later once they finished the latest production run.
Bottom Line Up Front
As always, let’s get the quick version out of the way. Lynx Defense contacted me and offered to send me this case for review, free of charge. I realize that could call into question my own judgement, but I try very hard not to let it.
The Bronx is a medium-sized rifle case designed for discreetly carrying an AR-15 and a small amount of other gear. I found it to be extremely well-made with good materials all sourced from the United States.
The case has minimal frills in the way of attachments and extra magazine carrying compartments, but does have room for expansion with hook and loop attachments. The method for securing weapons inside the case is simple but effective.
At an MSRP of $179.99, The Bronx comes in at a much higher price than your average gear made in China, but is of considerably higher quality. It comes in at a lower price than comparable products from other quality gear makers with similar products.
I do have some minor complaints, but they would not sway me from suggesting this case is a good option for anyone seeking a discreet rifle case that does not scream “tactical” and yet serves its job well.
About Lynx Defense
No review of mine is complete without some history about the company. Lynx Defense is a home-grown gear company based out of North Carolina. With seven staff members, including four sewers, they pride themselves on 100% US-sourced and produced gear.
I talked to Michael on the phone for a bit and got to learn a bit more history about the company and its products. It all started with an idea for an everyday carry backpack. I want to emphasize the idea partly because they didn’t actually end up producing it for quite some time. Instead, the first product was a pistol range bag.
I have no experience with that particular bag, but my friend Lothaen (who appeared on the podcast to discuss the M16A5) gave it a good review over at The New Rifleman. Its myriad of inserts and components was something that Michael thought years before he actually found someone to sew it.
The next series was the classic tactical “drag bag” rifle case. In an industry inundated with inexpensive nylon products made in China, this particular rifle case carries a higher price premium- though it is still less than other comparable US-made companies. Originally, I had my eye on reviewing one of these because it’s something that I’ve had a need for but never filled.
Lynx’s third product line was the EDC backpack that Michael had always wanted to produce. It’s small, low profile, and looks like it would serve its purpose well.
And then they turned their attention to discreet rifle cases.
Why A Discreet Rifle Bag?
I asked Michael about his reasoning for the discreet rifle case series, and his answer came down to the growing trend of gun owners who want to keep their weapons closer at hand without drawing a lot of attention. He noticed the mixture of sling backpacks and improvised cases, like tennis racquet bags and thought he could do better. Michael took inspiration from snowboarding bags, of all places, and wanted to bring that simple design to the gun world.
This is not my first experience with discreet rifle cases. I’ve had a LaRue Covert Rifle Case since 2013 and it’s been a regular companion for longer trips than my local range. It’s a great product with only a few shortcomings that are somewhat by design. Chief among them is the fact that I have to break down my 16” AR-15 for transport.
On one hand, this certainly helps avoid “gun bag!” impressions, as it looks more like a musical instrument case, but it also slows things down when I get to where I want to put it back together. The fact that the case still has a velcro patch panel on the outside and often comes in “military” colors might still give away what it contains.
This is not a review of the LaRue case, but it serves as a helpful point of comparison.
The Bronx Discreet Rifle Case First Impressions
Michael explicitly wanted a bag suitable as a discreet AR-15 case, particularly with the common 16” barrel length in mind. Lynx Defense lists the dimensions as 36” long, 10” tall, and 4” deep. I found it to be ever so slightly larger.
According to my measurements, the bag’s exterior comes in at 37” long, 13” tall, and 4” deep. Internally, I measured it as 36” long, 12” tall, and 3.5” deep.
For scale, I placed the bag inside of a Pelican 1720 hard case and it fit perfectly height-wise and left 3.5” on the end. Were I to travel this way, I could use that gap for a smaller gear bag or other stuff.
All surfaces are a double layer of black 600D Polyester Magnatuff commonly used with emergency medical or fire rescue equipment bags. There’s a layer of foam sewn within all surfaces for adding. The front and back panels also have a sheet of corrugated plastic providing stiffness and structure.
The only exterior markings are Lynx’s logo, consisting of a lynx head and shield, and a small rectangular tag identifying the bag as “The Bronx,” the manufacturer, and “Handcrafted in the USA.”
There is a small gray zippered pocket on the outside appropriate for some miscellaneous range gear or a small handgun case. Lynx also sewed on a black Cordura carry handle and four attachment points for the included sling. Each of these attachment points utilizes a well-executed box stitch.
Speaking of all USA-sourced materials, the zippers are Ideal brand. I had to look them up because I’m accustomed to seeing Japanese YKK zips on my gear. It turns out that Ideal Fasteners is a highly-regarded American zipper company dating back to 1936.
Also included in the shipping box was a certificate of authenticity from Lynx Defense. It has four boxes initialed by each person who did the cutting, sewing, inspection, and final quality control check. My case was “born” on January 24th, 2021.
The inside of The Bronx is nondescript. There aren’t rows and rows of MOLLE everywhere. Instead, you’ll find three rows of loop fabric sewn to the back of the case with corresponding panels over each one. Each panel is a length of Cordura sewn to a length of hook fabric. This is how you secure the rifle inside of the case. The hook and loop fabric is the high-quality heavy duty stuff with a lot of pile to it.
At one end of the case is a large panel of loop fabric covered by a two-pocket pouch. One pocket is slightly larger than the other, but I found both large enough to hold two standard 30-round STANAG magazines. You can remove this pouch and place anything you want on the fabric as well. Below you’ll notice a picture where I stuck the two-mag carrier from my LaRue case in there.
Of note, with a rifle in the case, the barrel passes over one of the pockets. You aren’t likely to stick anything very thick in there, but it would work well for a cleaning kit or something similar.
I’m no master sewer, so I’m not much to critique someone else’s work here. But to my eye, all of the stitches were straight and neatly trimmed. From where I could find the start and end of each run, it looks like there’s a healthy amount of backstitching for strength.
I could not find any raw edges whatsoever, as everything is also covered with nicely trimmed binding tape.
Lynx Discreet Rifle Case in Use
Now that I’m through the easy stuff, let’s talk about how it works. I’ll be honest here, it’s hard to make a rifle case seem exciting. From the outside, it’s a pretty nondescript piece of nylon that could easily be confused for transporting musical instruments like a keyboard, bassoon, or something similarly sized.
While Lynx says the case is designed for 16” AR-15 rifles with collapsible stocks, I was able to fit both the Minuteman Rifle with its 18” barrel and fixed-length stock as well as the M16a5 in there (20” barrel, collapsible stock). As long as the total length is less than 36”, it should fit- and even then there’s enough give at the sides where you could go just a bit beyond that.
The hook and loop straps for securing the rifle are an interesting design that is simple but functional. Personally, I don’t like to always be ripping up hook and loop because it can eventually wear out or get clogged up with dirt.
While on the phone with Michael, I suggested an idea they could implement here that might help with that and he seemed very receptive to it. I’ll keep my idea quiet, but it would easily be something they could change mid-production or even sell as an aftermarket solution.
I wondered if I could fit multiple rifles in the case, but I don’t think I would attempt it with the current securing system. Even broken down, the relatively little space available for the securing straps to “hook in” would not leave me confident.
I asked about putting loop fabric all over the backside of the case. Michael said that they had considered it, but did not do it due to the increased fabric costs. When you start investing in high-quality materials like these, every square inch adds to cost and they needed to keep the price as competitive as they could.
So is there anything I would change? I already shared my thoughts with Michael and I’ll share them here as well. In all, I think The Bronx is a high-quality rifle case that meets its target intent. It doesn’t scream “gun bag” and yet still offers a good secure way to carry a rifle.
There are two items that I would offer as an improvement. First, the more practical one, is that I found the shoulder strap to be a bit short. Even fully extended, it still carries pretty high up. Frankly, this is a bit petty because it still works well and I could pull a shoulder strap off of just about anything, but it was still a note.
Secondly, for a case advertised as being about discretion, the fact that the label on the bottom corner in the front says “Lynx Defense” might still be an indicator. That said, we’re talking a very small bit of text on the very corner of the bag that nobody is going to see unless they are inspecting it way closer than I would be comfortable in a public setting.
When I offered this bit of feedback to Michael, he noted that they debated placing the label there at all but erred on the side of brand exposure. Their logo isn’t well known enough yet to rely on that alone, so they decided to place the company name discreetly on the exterior.
Honestly, I’m fine with that.
The last bit of my conversation with Michael was about future products for Lynx. The Bronx case I’m reviewing today is the largest of three cases. The next one down is the Bureau, and it’s designed for SBRs and PCCs. The next size down from that, the Byte still hasn’t left pre-production but focuses on very compact subgun-sized weapons.
Both the Bureau and Byte include additional features not found on the Bronx such as additional pockets or extra loop material.
Lynx Defense also plans to introduce additional accessory pockets and items for use on the loop fabric inside the cases. I would love to see a few more ways to carry magazines as well as the rifle itself.
The Bottom Line: Would I Buy it?
I realize that there’s a lot of pressure on gear reviewers to give high marks on products that they receive directly from the manufacturer free of charge. I hope you trust that I wouldn’t give in to that pressure.
That said, I do find The Bronx to be a high-quality piece of gear and would recommend it to anyone looking for an American-made discreet rifle case. At $179.99 MSRP, it’s certainly more expensive than the made-in-China options from NC Star, UTG, or similar. It is, however, on par with comparably-sized cases from other well-known companies.
If I was to pick the closest competitor, it would be LaRue Tactical. For comparison, LaRue’s MOAB case comes in at $275.95 and their “Tactical Improved Discreet Soft Case” costs $199.95. Both of those examples only come in black or coyote brown. Black would likely be fine as a discreet case, but the brown still says, “I’m trying not to look like I’m carrying a rifle…but I’m carrying a rifle.”
So, in the end, I do think the Lynx Defense is worthy of consideration. It’s well-made, intelligently thought out, and comes in at a lower price point than similar items made in the USA.
Get a guitar case and put hippy stickers on it like coexist and I’m with her. Nobody will ever guess what’s inside.
The classic guitar case is always an option. My biggest issue there was finding a good way to secure everything down. It’s not insurmountable, but would take additional work. There’s also the risk of using a nice guitar case and someone thinking that they’ve got a chance to steal a guitar…
Hi Matt! You conducted a thorough review on this product – good job! You covered the details well. I’ve been back and forth on this subject (discreet cases) myself and have some thoughts – apologize for the length. First – always good to see and have available American made products. My issue is that anyone who shoots (or wants to) will still instantly realize that is a ‘gun bag’ or maybe its just me(?). What else would someone carry in such a bag? Maybe if you also carried a laptop bag or a gym bag at the same time you… Read more »
Hey Paul, I think it’s too easy to dismiss other context here. The case by itself is but one component of signals you give off. So, for example, you see a case like the Lynx here, know that I’m the one reviewing it, and also can see that I’m dressed in a more rugged/outdoorsy way- taken together that might indicate a weapon. Carrying a “discreet” case but otherwise dressing like you’re going to the range isn’t really fooling anyone. But what if someone was dressed in business casual and looked like they might be going to a music rehersal or… Read more »
Okay – but I was referring to a gym bag or a laptop bag as an accessory in addition to (carried at same time) the ‘discreet bag’ as more defining symbol of intent no matter how one is dressed. Many people go to gyms (well – used to) after work or carry additional baggage for business or sales presentations. My point is that I doubt that bag or similar ‘discreet carry’ bags carried by themselves actually wouldn’t get a second look but as I stated – might just be me. I have been in high school band and taken private… Read more »
Great review, but the bag is anything but discrete…it screams gun!!!