Do you really need a bipod?

I bought a low-end UTG bipod for my rifle and have used it quite a bit. The 6″ legs work ok in some scenarios- (they were outstanding when setting up on a gravel pile and pretty much any soft surface is well-suited to a bipod)..but at the bench at my local range it's too tall. I frequently end up adding a wood block to my chair to get my body as tall as the gun when I use my bipod.

Of course that's for 5.56, 300 BLK, and other small arms calibers- where its easy to 'lean into' the bipod to minimize bounce. With something a little larger like a bolt action .308 with a free floated barrel and a very cheap, flexible (and lightweight, don't care if you scratch it…) stock a new problem emerges when you're on a solid surface like a shooting bench: bipod bounce. The combination of tall bipod, flexible stock and larger caliber was resulting in a wild bounce that left me staring downrange pretty far off target. There has to be a better way. In fact there are several:


A popular method for resolving this is to use shooting bags. It makes sense- nice sandbags you can use to make a solid and low rest for your rifle. Many recommend using a bag under the forearm and a bag under the stock.

This isn't a bad approach- it certainy promotes the support hand-under-the stock technique that I am quickly growing to like. Still I am not thrilled about adding another 20-40 lbs of weight to my range gear. Also what about a situation where you probably don't have bags with you (uh, like hunting?) – what are you supposed to do at that point? The answer is pretty simple and turns out to be useful pretty much everywhere:


Yep- a plain old backpack. This is tribal knowledge- my father learned this from a Gunsite instructor and passed it along to me. Internal or no frame is best- and its typically nice to have something soft in the pack to help with his purpose. Jump is a non-factor when using a backpack as a rest off a bench. This is a smart and fast method to deploy for a shot and it can be used virtually anywhere- even on a soft surface.

  • Lay the pack down with the long side facing down (You can stand your pack upright for a kneeling shot). Simply hit the pack with your arm to create an indentation.
  • Lay the rifle forearm down into the indentation- slide it forward up to the trigger guard if you can. This will reduce your chances of pulling the muzzle back too far- muzzle blast is not friendly to backpacks or their contents.
  • Place your support hand under the stock of the rifle. You may find that placing the stock between your thumb and first finger is the most effective hold.
  • The support hand now can control the elevation of your rifle. Left-Right should be controlled by the 'cradle' you created and slid the rifle into.


1 thought on “Do you really need a bipod?

  1. Pingback: Do you really need these 5 accessories on your AR? | kR-15: info and resources for firearms enthusiasts

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