Gear Precision Rifle Bag Buyer’s Guide Sean Murphy February 13, 2019 This article originally appeared in RECOIL Issue 40 Rear bags for long-range shooting have become a must-have to help deliver hits down range. A rear bag is a low-tech and relatively low-cost solution that offers many benefits to precision rifle shooters — mainly the ability to stabilize the rear of the rifle, leading to greater accuracy and precision. While shooting bags come in many shapes and sizes, they all cushion the rear of the rifle, filling the space between the stock and ground or obstacle. Instead of having to hold and balance the rifle with your hand, the rear bag spreads the weight and makes it easy to maintain a stable hold on the rifle, kind of like comfortably sitting in a beanbag chair instead of sitting on the ground. Rear bags stabilize the rear of the rifle, which increases consistency and precision when shooting. With this increased stability, it’s possible to have better follow-through on shots, shoot tighter groups, make more precise holds on target, and see more of what’s going on downrange. Using a rear bag enables minor but precise adjustments to elevation and/or windage with a slight squeeze or release of the bag. Additional benefits of these bags including aiding in non-firing tasks, like observing a target for long periods of time or ranging with the riflescope with the rifle resting on the bag, instead of the shooter having to hold it in place. Beyond rifles, bags can be used in conjunction with other equipment, such as cameras and lasers, providing the same stabilizing effect whether on terrain, branches, fences, tripods, or a pack. Precision rifle competitions have driven a rapid evolution of rear and support bags, which for many years was simply an old boot sock filled with sand (aka a sand sock). While it worked for prone shooting, the sand sock was heavy, prone to absorbing water, and not very durable. As precision rifle competitors are forced off their bellies and onto obstacles, the rear bag is used to cushion other parts of the rifle. Reducing wobble on an obstacle can make a big difference in hitting or missing a target under time constraints. Shooters and entrepreneurs started exploring and improving on different rear/support bags by trying new designs and construction methods along with using synthetic fill materials with differing densities. There’s now an entire cottage industry producing bags of all shapes and sizes. Because everyone likes something different, and there are so many rifle options, the available options range from small bags typically used primarily for rear support, to medium-sized barricade/support bags for positional shooting, and even larger pillows for creative positions and obstacles. Most shooters will typically settle on one or two favorite bags, but like a pistol shooter chasing the perfect holster, there are many rifle shooters with a box full of different bags they have tried. There are a few gear companies that have set themselves apart from the rest with their designs, quality, and options. Armageddon Gear has grown to be one of the largest precision rifle gear producers in the United States and took the title of most popular bags among top competitors at the Precision Rifle Series 2017 season finale according to the PRS’s own survey. They also have an exclusive relationship with Reasor Precision to produce the highly popular and patented Gamechanger design, as well as offer a variety of other options inspired by competitors and industry pros. TAB Gear has been making high-quality precision rifle gear since before it was cool to do so, and they too have continued manufacturing other designs like the Str8 Laced bag. Wiebad is another company dedicated to precision rifle shooters, offering designs since before the Precision Rifle Series existed. Their continued popularity is a testament to their designs and manufacturing quality. In researching options to choose for a buyer’s guide, there are many companies offering very similar bags. We picked a representative sample of the popular options by size and shape, utilizing feedback from the best in the Precision Rifle Series and similar rifle sports. Qualities to look at are construction, fill material and weight, design features, price, and, most importantly, what colors are available to match your favorite rifle. SMALL BAGS Armageddon Gear Squishy Rear Bag Material: Tweave Dimensions: 6 by 3 by 3 inches Weight: 1.6 pounds Colors: Coyote Brown, Multi-Cam, Black MSRP: $35 URL: www.armageddongear.com NOTES There are many small rear bags that have a cylinder shape to them. The shape allows for two different rear heights by using it standing up or on its side. The Armageddon Gear Squishy Rear Bag is unique compared to similar bags due to its construction with Tweave stretch woven fabric. Essentially a softshell-type material, the Tweave bag is, as the name implies, very squishy. It expands and squeezes down very easily in your hand, whereas traditional nylon is more rigid when filled with beads. The Tweave material enables the bag to be used for other shooting positions by flattening down on a barricade or similar surface. A Velcro strap is included for holding onto with the support hand or looping over bipod legs, as well as a corner loop for attaching a lanyard, carabiner, or sling. According to Armageddon Gear, this is a popular option with many military and law enforcement customers as it’s versatile, but still compact for packing along without adding much weight. Armageddon Gear X-Wing Enhanced Rear Bag Material: 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon Dimensions: 7 by 6 by 1.25 inches Weight: 1 pounds Colors: Coyote Brown, Multi-Cam, Black, ATACS AU, Kryptek Highlander MSRP: $35 URL: www.armageddongear.com NOTES The X-Wing bag offers a slightly more ergonomic option for a small rear bag. Designed around the shape of a hand holding onto the bag, the contours prevent fatigue from holding a position for an extended period of time. Dimensionally the X-Wing offers three different heights by using the different sides (7 by 6 by 1.25) for height adjustment. A Velcro strap is sewn onto each side for attachment to the rifle, bipod or as a hand hold as well. For easy mounting, there’s a webbing loop to attach a carabiner or strap to, or a sewn-in QD swivel, or hook are available as options. Homemade Sand Sock Material: Customizable Dimensions: Dependent on sock size Weight: Dependent on type of fill Colors: Solid colors to full patterns MSRP: $0 – $5 URL: n/a NOTES For the thrifty-minded, recycling old socks is an option for a precision rifle rear support. To prevent having an extra sock laying around, it’s recommended to double up the socks for added durability. Fill options can range from play sand to dried beans or polymer beads from your daughter or wife’s arts and crafts stash. To assemble, drop the fill material into the socks, tie off the top, and fold the excess material back over the main bag. Review some options for making your own at Recoilweb.com. POSITIONAL BAGS Wiebad Tac Pad Material: 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon Dimensions: 9 by 11 by 4 inches Weight: 1 pound Colors: OD Green, Coyote Brown, Multi-Cam, Black, Kryptek Highlander, Kryptek Typhon, ATACS AU, ATACS FG MSRP: $70 URL: wiebad.mybigcommerce.com NOTES Originally designed to slide over a forearm for assistance in shooting from barricades and rooftops, the Wiebad Tac Pad has proven to be a very versatile bag that can do nearly anything. Whether used as a rear bag or positional support bag, the larger Tac Pad (9 by 11 by 4) is still a popular option for shooting in the field or at matches. The rectangular design also allows for each of the different sides to be used to adjust the rear height of the rifle. Elastic sewn-on straps with shock-cord for extra tension were originally added to slide over a shooter’s arm, but have also proven well when sliding the bag over the fore end of a rifle for support. A corner loop is also included with a carabiner for carrying or other attachments. Weighing in at only a pound, the light weight makes this an easy to choose all-around rifle support bag. Other versions include a mini version and modular version that can be stuffed with other items to increase or decrease overall size. Reasor Precision/Armageddon Gear OG Optimized Game Changer Material: 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon or Waxed Canvas Dimensions: 10 by 7 by 6 inches Weight: 6 pounds Colors: Coyote Brown, Multi-Cam, Ranger Green MSRP: $100 URL: www.armageddongear.com NOTES Perhaps the only bag to be patented, the Game Changer designed by Clifton Reasor lives up to its name. The design is fairly simple, but this large (10 by 7 by 6) and heavy (6-pound) bag creates an ultra-stable shooting platform from nearly any obstacle or position. With a “W” shape, the barricade, fence rail, car door, window, or any other position up to 4 inches wide is clamped by the bag, while the heavy fill stabilizes the bag. The 10-inch flat side then creates a solid rest for the fore end of the rifle. Alternatively, flipping the bag around to put the flat end on the ground and pinching the rifle stock inside the W makes for an oversize winged rear bag, extremely stable with the heavy fill. A handle on each end allows for easy carry and movement while changing positions on the clock. Many shooters and competitors have found the Game Changer to be their go-to bag for almost any shooting scenario, replacing the need to carry three to four bags. Due to the popularity, Armageddon Gear is manufacturing several models, with different sizes and materials being available. For a classy rear bag, consider the waxed canvas version with bison leather straps. Tab Gear Str8laced Ultra Light Rear Bag Material: 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon Dimensions: 8 by 6 by 3 inches Weight: 3 pounds (heavy fill), 0.37 pounds (light fill) Colors: OD Green, Coyote Brown, Multi-Cam, Black, Kryptek Highlander MSRP: $60 URL: tabgear.configio.com NOTES One of the earlier multi-use bags and very popular with shooters during the 2012-2013 Precision Rifle Series seasons, the Str8 Laced bag is still a viable do-it-all bag. Being medium-sized (8 by 6 by 3 inches) and ultra lightweight (7 ounces), the Str8 Laced bag offers many options in how it can be used. One-inch webbing straps are equipped on the flat faces of the bag, while 550 cord runs through grommets around the sides that can be adjusted for tension and held in place with cord locks. TAB Gear continues manufacturing this bag for Str8 Laced Gun Gear and it’s available in multiple color options, including camo. Bison Tactical Udder Bag Material: 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon Dimensions: 7 by 7 by 8 inches Weight: 6.5 pounds Colors: Ranger Green, Coyote Tan, Multi-Cam, Black, Kryptek Highlander, custom colors available MSRP: $115 URL: www.bisontactical.com NOTES A creative answer for match shooting and props being parallel to a shooter’s barrel, the Tactical Udder bag by Bison Tactical offers a heavy (over 6 pounds) yet sturdy option for positional shooting. With four “udders” and a flat back, the Tactical Udder bag can conform to nearly any shooting position, including fences, branches, barricades, windows and rooftops. Two removable straps are included to strap the bag to a rifle for ease of maneuvering on a stage or in the field, along with a handle for ease of carrying and positioning. The latest version is available with an HRD Gear Arca Swiss Clamp built in for mounting to an Arca Swiss rail on a rifle, or upside down on and Arca-compatible tripod head for stability of a rifle, laser, binoculars, etc. Additionally, parachute webbing is used for the handles, creating both a contrasting color and a comfortable way to carry the heavy bag. LARGE PILLOWS Wiebad Pump Pillow Material: 1000 Denier Cordura Nylon Dimensions: 9 by 11 by 7 inches Weight: 1.25 pounds Colors: OD Green, Coyote Brown, Multi-Cam, Black, Kryptek Highlander, Kryptek Typhon, ATACS AU, ATACS FG MSRP: $106 URL: wiebad.mybigcommerce.com NOTES The Pump Pillow is an enlarged version of the smaller Tac Pad, offering a soft, lightweight but large bag to help fill spaces or voids for positional shooting, such as a barricade or rooftop. This bag offers elastic arm straps with shock cord to attach to an arm, leg or rifle. Additionally, a lanyard and carabiner are included for easy attachment to a backpack for carrying or attachment to a belt to carry on a stage or person. While a little large to use for regular prone shooting, the extra height can be an aid when shooting uphill (extra height for the bipod), or downhill (extra height under the buttstock). One note with this bag is that after some use, the fill can compress down from the original 9x11x7 size, making it easier to manipulate. Explore RECOILweb:A Texas Hog Hunt and Culinary Class on RECOILtvTake a Look- The Tomboy ProjectLegislation to Repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act IntroducedCamas Davis: Educating the Carnivores NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOIL For years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. Now we've compiled over 50 of our most popular targets into this one digital PDF download. From handgun drills to AR-15 practice, these 50+ targets have you covered. Print off as many as you like (ammo not included). Click here to get IMMEDIATE ACCESS to a digital PDF of this target pack!