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DIY Sandsock/Rear Bag

With the explosion of precision rifle shooting, there are a plethora of accessories available to go with your favorite rifle. One item that is simple in concept, but important to good shooting, is a rear bag. A rear bag acts as stabilization for the rifle, providing the last bit of accuracy that simply holding with your hand won't provide.

Before we had rear bags, we had the sandsock. As the name implies, it was a sock filled with sand. This creates a heavy and stable rest for the rear of a rifle, but as with everything else precision-rifle-related, there have been many steps forward in evolution into the rear bags we see today. There are a wide range of bag options ranging from $20-$120, but if want to go on an absolute budget you can make your own with a pair of socks and some sand. Additionally, you can make one of these on the fly if you find yourself needing a rear bag of some kind, such as on a hunt or shooting trip and you forgot your favorite other bag.

For a quick DIY project, you can be as imaginative and creative as you like in making your own sandsock. The ingredients to this recipe are simple, a pair of socks (even just one sock if you’ve got some mismatched socks) and something to fill with. We are trying to make something that the rifle will rest on, so beware that it will get dirty, get wet and might have to fight abrasions from use.

Let’s start by picking the socks. While the absolute cheapest way to do this is using an old pair of socks, it is recommended to find some without holes to prevent leaking out your fill material. Whether you prefer argyle or camo, solids or stripes, you can make a whole line up of sandsocks that match your preferred shooting or hunting attire. Boot or calf-length socks tend to work better so you can make something of a respectable size that works for more than just flat-range shooting. The extended size will also add benefit by being able to double back-over for added padding and abrasion resistance.

For fill material, this is also up to you depending on what you’d like. Sand from the kid’s sandbox out back or dirt from the yard will do the trick. However, you can create something a little nicer and lighter-weight using plastic beads. Beads come in different sizes, shapes, and weights at your local arts and crafts store, and this option will save some weight over fill dirt and be a little more flexible for use. Beads also don’t absorb water like sand does- saving weight in inclement weather. If you’re of the survivalist mindset, you could pack away some dry beans to accomplish the same task. Pictured is a heavy lava type sand that has quite a bit of weight but doesn't absorb a lot of moisture.


The ingredients – sock and sand

Once you have chosen the appropriate foot covering and fill material, assembly is quite easy. In the first (or only sock), place the fill material inside to your preferred fill. Depending on sock size, filling to about half would be a good start. Using a funnel can help with this (assuming the funnel is large enough to pass your material if using beads or beans).

Pro-tip: if using fill-dirt or sand, place the dirt/sand into a plastic Ziploc and remove the air. This will compact it down and lose a little flexibility, but it helps prevent the dirt/sand from absorbing water in inclement weather or when shooting on wet grass.

With the material inside, tie a simple knot above the fill material. Then wrap the remaining sock back over the material. Now for a little QC, test your bag with your rifle making sure you are happy with the size and stiffness. If you need it larger or smaller, or with more or less flexibility adjust the fill and where the knot is tied until you find your liking. Once you find your happy spot, place the additional sock over the first, putting the knot-end in first. Now tie another knot and wrap the remaining material back over the rest of the bag.


Fill material going into the sock. Using plastic bags to contain material makes this much easier!


Tie off sock at the top of the fill material.


Fold the extra material back over. If desired, repeat the process with a second sock for added durability.

Whether saving money for ammo or you just like to make your own stuff, a DIY rear bag is something anyone can do. If you’re thinking of one of the many manufactured bags available but are unsure what to get, making your own can get you started until you decide which one to buy. Necessity is the mother of invention, which brought about sandsocks in the first place. Experiment with different socks and fill materials to create your own rifle-stabilizing masterpiece and share your results with us!


DIY sandsock used as a rear support.


DIY sandsock can also be used as a forend rest as well.

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