If you are a serious long range shooter, a good shooting mat is a must. Getting down in the dirt, mud, or rocks may sound like fun for real “he” men, but believe me, it’s not.
Not only does that practice make your shooting session completely not enjoyable, but when there is a stick or rock poking you and it feels as if it is penetrating you liver, it can negatively affect your performance.
If you are shooting in the southeastern part of the US, you know that lying directly on the ground can result in bites from all kinds of little creatures like ants, scorpions, ticks, and even fleas. Needless to say, none of this is pleasurable.
If competition is your game, or you have staked out a huge buck, but must take the shot from the ground, the prone position is always preferred and a shooting mat allows you make an accurate shot with complete focus.
The best shooting mats are:
- #1 Pick – NC Star VISM roll up
- #2 Pick – Voodoo Tactical roll up
- #3 pick – One Tigris Padded
- #4 pick – Boyt Harness Bob Allen Tactical Shooting Mat
- #5 pick – Lyman Tac mat
If you are in the market for a shooting mat, as you begin to search for the best one you will soon find out that there are many models available on the market.
As with any product some are way over priced and others seem to be very reasonable on price. Keep reading below as I have already done the research for you.
Now, let’s discuss what makes a good shooter’s mat first so you know what you are looking for.
Why do you need a shooting mat?
Although a mat with no padding is better than none at all, it only makes sense if you can to have one that has it strictly from a comfort point of view.
Not any padding is good though. You don’t want the stiff stuff that wants to unroll your mat while carrying. This stuff has a memory and also doesn’t want to lay flat. Good padding has no memory and is very flexible.
Any mat that is used as intended is going to be subject to a lot of abuse. The material covering the padding should be canvas like with good or double stitching. Otherwise you will find yourself replacing it often and believe me, once you have shot from a good mat, you won’t want to do without it again.
Invest in a good one and you won’t have to buy several cheap ones.
If you plan to use your mat for hunting, you also want a material that is not noisy, like nylon.
Again, a cotton or canvas type material is the way to go.
One more thing is to buy a mat with a non slip surface. Believe it or not, this an make the difference in hitting or missing.
Having mulitple places to store gear like ammo, rangefinder, dope book, a small pair of binoculars, and other small essentials is smart. With substantial pockets that can be zipped or buttoned up, you can just stow your gear in them and roll the mat up to its carry position. When you are ready to shoot again, all of your gear is handy.
When I began to age, and hopefully became a little wiser, I discovered that using sniper like techniques for hunting yielded much better results with less effort than the stalk and walk methods. I began to move around a lot less and stay hidden a lot more.
I didn’t own a climbing tree stand so I had to learn to shoot from a hidden position on the ground. I quickly realized how effective this method was but staying put for long periods of time whether sitting or in a prone position, was very uncomfortable.
A light bulb formed over my head and I created my first shooting mat from a piece of canvas that could be rolled into a small size with a strap for carrying over the shoulder, was large enough to accomodate my elbows and knees, and provided some padding to allow me to remain very still for longer periods of time.
This later carried over into competition as I learned the more comfortable my shooting position was, the steadier my aim and the better my results.
If you are a prepper, or just a person who spends a lot of tme outdoors, a shooting mat can double for a pad for a sleeping bag, to cover yourself or gear during a rain, a pillow for sleeping, and many other uses.
Best shooting mats ranked in order of preference
#1 Pick – NC Star VISM roll up
- Elbow and Knee slip resistant panels
- .30″ of padding to make shooting from the prone position on the ground more comfortable
- Rolls up into a compact size: 19.5 w x 8.5 H. Two hook and loop straps secure the Shooting mat into a roll
- Carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap. Shoulder strap can serve Double duty to help secure your firearm Bipod in place, preventing the rifle from moving forward under recoil and allowing the proper loading of the bipod before each shot
- Made with tough and durable PVC material that is water and chemical resistant. Re-enforcement Cross stitching in critical areas. Durable enough to last a long time.
- Priced well below comparable products in this category
- Quality and customer satisfaction is backed by data
- Can be mollied to an equipped backpack easily because of the compact size
- Can serve multiple purposes, pillow, padding under a sleeping bag, replace rifle shooting bags
- #1 seller on Amazon….that many people can’t be wrong.
- Priced less than $33
#2 Pick – Voodoo Tactical roll up
- built for the avid hunter or professional marksman, this Voodoo Tactical Roll Up Shooter’s Mat provides just the right amount of comfortability to hit your target. The
- mat is highlighted by lightweight padded protection
- fold-out elbow wings for easy roll up
- sewn-in data book pocket with pen holder
- removable tool pouch
- ammo pouch and bullet slots for easy quick access
- adjustable straps with quick release buckles
- extra male and E buckles to attach to your pack.
- priced at less than $82
I have owned this one for a couple of years and love it. The arm extensions are really comfortable for old elbows like mine and easily fold out of the way for shoulder or pack carrying. The mulitple pockets are also really good to have by keeping you better organized and allowing quick access to long range gear.
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#3 pick – One Tigris Padded
- Padded mat
- Made of 1000D double-layered Nylon
- Waterproof coating for mild to extreme weather
- Rolls up small and tight with compression straps
- Duraflex UTX quick-release buckles
- Unfolded Size – 58″(L) x 29″(W) x 0.3″(T)/147cm*74cm*0.8cm)
- Designed with anti-slip elbow/knee patches for steady aims and quick fires
- Mollee compatible
- Two rows of 1″ military spec webbing for securing extra gear if needed
- Priced at less than $70
#4 pick – Boyt Harness Bob Allen Tactical Shooting Mat
- Water resistant coated poly with poly webbing
- Rolls up for easy storage and carry
- Closed cell foam for comfort
- Non-slip rubberized surface
- Poly webbing strap
- Closed cell foam
- Non-slip rubberized surface
- Large footprint that will work well for even the tallest shooter
- Rolls up to a compact, easy to transport size
- Will protect you from dirt, rocks, wet surfaces, insects, hot truck beds, gravel or pavement
- Basic model features 600D construction, with a carry handle and shoulder strap
- Shoulder strap can also be used as a bipod stop
- HD version features 1000D construction, elbow pads and a built-in bipod stop, as well as a carry handle and shoulder strap.
- Color: Black
There are many other shooting mats available on the market and over the years I have spent participating in this game I have used quite a few of them. There are high priced options that don’t work as well or last as long as some cheaper ones. Over a lifetime of shooting I have done the research for you. I recommend those featured above. They work really well and don’t cost a fortune.