Kifaru Universal Military Gun Bearer
I'll start this review off with the negatives: I didn't like that there was no indication when I ordered this from Kifaru that it would take 6-8 weeks to deliver. They also charged my credit card at the time I placed the order (9/25). Now, I don't begrudge a small outfit that's probably busy trying to fill existing orders. But let's just say there's room for improvement.
I really wanted this item to arrive in time for Montana's opener yesterday (10/26), especially since my LTR feels so top-heavy since I added a Harris bipod/podloc to it. I emailed them last Monday and Friday the UPS truck showed up. I installed the gun bearer on my 80's-vintage North face internal frame pack and was immediately impressed. It was easy to put on and the rifle felt comfortable and secure. The main reason I chose the Universal Military model was because of this old pack. Having two pieces, I felt that model would be more versatile, especially for a older, non-Kifaru pack. In fact, I ended up moving the bottom part of the gunbearer around to the back of my hip belt so that I could angle the rifle a little more.
Now here's the reason I'm even writing this review: This thing really works. And I certainly put it to the test yesterday. Over a 13-hour period, I had the pack off for less than 45 minutes. The only discomfort I noticed was that the strap on the opposite side of the pack pulled on my neck a little and I was a little sore there. In over 12 hours, the gun only came out of the bottom pocket one time and that was as I was putting the pack back on and fiddling with it. Unbelievably, it never came out nor did the rifle bolt ever open as I was climbing through and around some of the nastiest mix of deadfall and new growth in the state. The area I was hunting in experienced some heavy forest fires 20 years ago. While I do my best to avoid that stuff, there are just a few spots where it's better to struggle through a few hundred yards of it than walk a mile around it.
It was great to have both hands free at all times for climbing, pushing through the deadfall/new growth, glassing and checking my GPS. I also enjoyed not having to periodically switch the rifle from shoulder to shoulder or carry it sideways on top of my pack - all of which I didn't enjoy even pre-bipod and was reminded of during the opener of antelope season (although that was mostly driving with 30-60 minute intervals of walking).
I highly recommend this item (or their other gunbearer offerings at kifaru.net).
Last edited by jonoMT; 10-27-2008 at 10:46 AM.