Are you looking to expand your EDC capabilities while avoiding a large tactical backpack? The Vertx S.O.C.P. (Special Operations Combatives Program) may be just what you’re looking for. Vertx has made a name for themselves within the EDC community for producing quality gear and the Vertx S.O.C.P. sling is no different.
Created in collaboration with Greg Thompson, the S.O.C.P. is made to perfectly blend into a crowd while carrying the necessary essentials for a range of tasks from surveillance professionals to tourists. Like much of the other Vertx bags, the S.O.C.P. sling comes loaded with a range of features to help you wherever you find yourself in the world, although you may have to make some sacrifices with the SOCP.
About the Vertx S.O.C.P.?
The S.O.C.P. from Vertx is intended to be one of the smallest yet most versatile bags you can own, switching from a sling bag, to a waist pack in a matter of seconds.
Where many other everyday carry packs are sold with the intent of carrying a full loadout with you, the S.O.C.P. is much smaller and more discrete, intended to only hold the bare essentials, such as your phone, wallet, and a few tools.
The bag is designed to offer you the most versatility while blending into almost any casual environment and is available in 3 colors (Black, Canopy Green, and Shock Cord). At $75, the bag is expensive but if it fits your needs, it is well worth the cost especially when considering its quality and functionality.
- Adjustable attachment clips allow for wear on the waist or shoulder strap of other packs
- Hidden rapid access pocket for the SOCP dagger or other tools
- Internal coin pocket converts sling into SAP/slapjack
- External cellphone pocket with touch screen window can be folded down to use as NAV board
- Exterior flaps on cellphone pocket fold in for photo or video surveillance
- Expanding internal pocket fits additional gear or items found in the field
- Back-to-back exterior zipper pulls allow for ambidextrous access in low-light environments
- Interior body-side mesh pocket quickly deploys for access to hidden pocket underneath
- Metal attachment clips compatible with belts or straps up to 2.25” wide
- Internal pockets constructed in tear-resistant mesh
- Quiet exterior zipper pulls reduce noise while on the move
- 500D Cordura body fabric adds durability
- Adjustable straps on cellphone pocket allow for full visibility of screens at any angle
What do you get?
Looking at the bag from the outside, it looks simple with a front phone pocket and main zippered area. With that said, if you know Vertx, you can predict just how much hides beneath the surface.
The main compartment features two internal pockets on either side, an internal coin pocket (allowing the bag to be used as an improvised sap) and an expanding pocket to increase the bags capacity.
With the silent operator in mind, the front phone compartment has windows on both the front and back of the phone allowing you to quickly access the screen for navigation or use the camera for covert surveillance.
The last hidden feature of this bag can be found behind the belt clips. Velcroed away, you’ll find a pass-through that can be used to stash a range of items however is meant to be used with Benchmade’s S.O.C.P. dagger range, which again was produced in collaboration with Greg Thompson.
What we’ve learned?
While we’ve only had the S.O.C.P. for a short time now, there are a few notable things we’ve noticed with the bag.
- Vertx advertises the bag as being capable of concealed carry, however, the bag lacks any mounting options for attaching a holster. There are tie-off points if you wanted to use a trigger cover, but even then, the bag feels too small to allow for easy access to your weapon. It is possible to conceal a sub-compact pistol, like the Kimber Micro 9 we recently reviewed, but there are much better bags out there if you are looking at off body carry seriously.
- Size also quickly became an issue with the integrated phone pouch. While larger phones such as the Samsung Galaxy Note can fit in the pocket, it does not fit in there easily. The pocket is really intended for smaller phones such as the regular-sized iPhone, and we had some phones that were simply too big for the pocket.
- The bag can hug your body incredibly closely. It can feel a little too tight at first, but this makes the bag even more versatile. The bag is thin enough to hide under relatively thin clothing (jackets and coats) while more importantly staying in place while moving and running. Even at 6ft, 200lbs the bag fit comfortably although you may run into some issues if you are much bigger.
Why you should buy the Vertx S.O.C.P.
The Vertx S.O.C.P. is a great bag, but with its limited capacity, it’s a bag you should buy only if it fits your use case. While things like the phone compartment can be extremely useful, for too many of us it will likely just be an expensive gimmick.
So, let’s break down some of the use cases to see if this might be the bag for you.
Working in executive protection often combines gray man theory and going low-profile while at the same time being prepared for any contingency your client may encounter.
The S.O.C.P. can almost disappear on your person while still holding a reasonable amount of gear that you can operate out of. The bag does appear slightly so casual so may not be suitable with high-end clients, so you may instead opt for something like the Unity Tactical Clutch Belly Band that easily disappears under a suit.
Civil unrest documentation
More than any year, 2020 has shown how important it is to document our world around us with widespread protests and civil unrest. While filming your surroundings can be extremely valuable, it can also go horribly wrong if the person your filming does not want to be recorded.
The front panel of this makes it ideal for covert recording of an individual or location, so if you’re frequently near areas of civil unrest this may just be the bag for you.
From our experience, recording in this manner was much easier than covert cameras and offered a much higher quality video. Recording in this way also offers many additional benefits, including the ability to live stream recordings which guarantees that even if your device is lost or confiscated, your video is accessible.
Travel / Day bag
The S.O.C.P. extremely limits the amount you can store in it, but when traveling this is not always a bad thing.
While fewer of us may be traveling at the moment, the S.O.C.P. is perfect for tourists looking to carry the bare essentials without making themselves a target of theft.
Even when fully loaded with travel documents, money, and tools the bag can still easily disappear on your person, helping to avoid attracting attention while in a foreign region.
What other options are out there?
Vertx aimed this bag to solve a very specific set of problems, but they are not the first to attempt this.
The 5.11 Banger is one example that takes on a similar format but is designed with fighting in mind. The Banger is slightly larger than the Vertx S.O.C.P. including space for two AR-15 magazines and a holster, making sure you’re prepared in high-risk environments.
An alternative solution may be to use something like a belly band, which acts similarly to a low-profile battle belt or chest rig allowing you to stage various information around your body discretely.
While there are many options out there, no single solution is perfect. Personally, bellyband holsters are a favorite in cases where professionalism is crucial, however, it is the more casual and gray man appearance of the S.O.C.P. that has earned its place as a daily essential.
How we’ve been running the S.O.C.P.
While testing this bag, we ran it primarily as an EDC burn bag, containing the absolute essentials for day to day activity.
The interior pocket is just big enough to hold go-to items like a wallet or car keys, although this left little space for much else.
Neither of the two internal zippered pockets saw too much use however one feature that came in surprisingly useful was the coin pouch. This pocket did require some modification to remove the Velcro, but after that was just big enough to store a comprehensive lockpicking kit that could be easily deployed but disappeared almost instantly.
Finally, in the rear pocket, we carried a single edge Benchmade S.O.C.P. dagger. Access to the pocket isn’t the smoothest, but with enough training, you can become fairly proficient at drawing from this position.
The Vertx S.O.C.P. is a very impressive bag, but with its limited capacity and unique feature set, it’s not a bag for everyone. With that said, we’re confident that if you can find a use for such a small and versatile bag it will serve you extremely well.
If you’re looking for something larger than the S.O.C.P., be sure to check out our recent article comparing our top 5 bags for concealed carry EDC.