This post reviews the shooting bags the best precision rifle shooters were using in 2014. These products are referred to by a lot of different names, including shooting rests, rifle bag, field bag, rear bag, sniper bean bag, sniper sock, stock sock, squeeze bag, and others. There has been an explosion of different shooting bag designs over the past couple years, and this post is about the most popular options for precision riflemen.
This data is based on a survey of the top 50 shooters in the Precision Rifle Series (PRS). The PRS tracks how top competitors place in major rifle matches across the country. These are the major leagues of sniper-style competitions, with targets typically in the 300-1000 yard range. This is the 3rd year we’ve collected this data. For more info on the Precision Rifle Series and who these guys are, or to view the data for other pieces of gear scroll to the bottom of this article.
Many precision rifle competitors carry more than one shooting bag. They might carry a smaller or mid-sized bag that they use as their primary bag, and then a larger bag that they use to fill in voids to get a more stable shot in an improvised shooting position. So I asked the top 50 PRS competitors “What brand is your favorite shooting bag?” Here is their response, along with how each of those brands performed during the previous two years.
And here is the data, if you looked at only the top 20 competitors.
#1 WieBad Shooting Bags
WieBad was the most popular shooting bag again in 2014. 1 out of 3 shooters claimed WieBad as their favorite shooting bag. It was even more popular among the riflemen who ended up in the top 10, with 60% of the shooters in the top 10 using WieBad rifle bags.
WieBad offers the largest selection of bags of any company on the list, with numerous designs to choose from. WieBad was started by rifle shooters who were both hunters and active competitors in the long range precision rifle community. That gives them a distinct advantage, because it not only allows them to be close to their target audience, but they’re also able to receive input directly from the top competitors and industry leaders. Many of their products include familiar names, because they like to recognize the shooters who worked with them to develop each product. This includes the Todd Tac-Pad (Todd Reynolds), Competition Berry Bag (Jonathan Berry), and the Pump Pillow (Chase “Pump” Stroud), just to name a few.
WieBad goes well beyond standard rear bags. They also pioneered the development of larger bags that are extremely lightweight and versatile. These larger bags are designed to help a shooter build a stable shooting position by minimizing space in the body and increase points of contact. They can transform a wobbly position into a rock-solid one, while reducing muscle fatigue, achieving a more natural point of aim, and helping you get more rounds on target under the most ridiculous conditions.
One their bestselling bags is the WieBad Todd Tac-Pad, and they said it was definitely their most popular bag among the top 50 PRS competitors. Robert Badgett, an owner at WieBad, said “This bag provides a lot of versatility. It amazes me that every time I go to a competition I still see competitors coming up with new uses for the bag.” It features a unique elastic arm band, which allows you to wear the bag on your strong-side elbow for hands-free use. The dimensions of the Todd Tac-Pad is 9” x 11” x 4”, and it weighs just half a pound! At the time this was published, this shooting bag was priced at $70.
The WieBad Pump Pillow is another one of their top selling shooting bags, which is essentially an enlarged version of the Tac-Pad. Its 9” x 11” like the Tac-Pad, but almost twice as tall at 7” instead of 4”. This is WieBad’s most expensive shooting bag at $106. Watch the video below to see Chase “Pump” Stroud (finished #10 overall in the 2014 PRS) demo how he uses the Pump Pillow bag, which he helped design.
The WieBad Ultra-Light Loop Bag is another one of their bestselling shooting bags. This great all-purpose shooting rest that is featherlight. Its 8” x 5” x 1.25” and weighs just 3.6 ounces! Wow, that’s light! These bags are currently $38. The standard weight version of this bag is just $20.
Robert at WieBad also mentioned a new mid-sized bag they’ve developed and have been making out of their custom shop for some time, which is called the Mini Tac-Pad. It features a grippy, non-slip material, and two 1” straps with side release buckles (instead of an elastic arm band on the Todd Tac-Pad). This smaller bag to be used as both a rear bag and a front bag for the forearm of the rifle when shooting off barricades. The dimensions of this new bag are 4” x 5” x 8”, and it should be available for sale on their website soon. So it sounds like yet another very versatile bag, which seems to be WieBad’s calling card.
#2 Str8 Laced Gun Gear Shooting Bags
St8 Laced Gun Gear shooting bags were the 2nd most popular brand among the top 50 competitors, with 26% saying it was their favorite bag. I did see A LOT of Straight Laced Gun Gear bags at the 2014 PRS Championship Match a couple months ago.
The dimensions of the Straight Laced Gun Gear rear bag is 9” x 6” x 3”, and it weighs just 6 ounces! You can see in the photo below that the dimensions of this bag provide 3 distinct positions: flat (3” height or less), side (3-6” height), or upright (up to 9” height). This design provides a lot of flexibility.
Str8 Laced Gun Gear has stopped taking direct sales, and now only sells their bags through distributors. Production quantities are limited, so this bag can often be near impossible to find. When you can find them, they’re typically $40-55. Here’s a full list of current distributors the manufacturer gave me, along with some additional details about the bags that each company stocks:
- Short Action Precision – Str8 Laced Shooting Bags. The bags that SAP carries have an extra strap added so they can attach them to their rifle stock. They only stock the lightweight version of the bag.
- 3rd Generation Shooting Supply – Straight Laced Gun Gear Rear Bag. They only stock the lightweight version of the bag.
- Butch’s Guns (only at their brick & mortar store in Woodward, OK). They carry both lightweight and heavyweight versions of the bag.
- K&M Shooting Center Pro Shop (Florida). K&M requests a 2/3 fill level for their bags, because they prefer a more malleable bag. They carry both lightweight and heavyweight versions of the bag.
Wiebad and Str8 Laced Gun Gear combined to represent 60% of the top 50 shooters. The remaining 40% was split among 7 different brands … plus a couple homemade custom bags.
#3 Tab Gear Rear Bags
TAB Gear Rear Bags are also very popular in the precision rifle community, and were the favorite among 12% of the top 50 PRS shooters. 3 of the top 20 shooters said these were their go-to shooting bag. TAB Gear makes two sizes of bags: standard (7.5” x 6” x 1.5” at 20 ounces) and large (9.5” x 6” x 1.5” at 30 ounces). They aren’t overstuffed like some bags, but instead filled with just enough beads to make it easy to adjust the height by simply squeezing or relaxing your grip. The corner loop allows you to attach a carabineer to make it easy to attach to your sling or pack. One downside is they aren’t ultralight like most the WieBad and Str8 Laced Gun Gear bags I mentioned. The standard bag is currently priced at just $20.
#4 Rifles Only FTW Shooting Bags
4 shooters who finished in the top 50 said Rifle Only’s FTW Shooting Bag was their favorite shooting bag, but 3 of those 4 finished the season in the top 20. FTW Gear is a Rifles Only brand. For several years, Rifles Only sold and promoted the TAB Gear Shooting Bag, but apparently, there was a following out in there somewhere. Now they’ve started designing a few products themselves under the FTW label, and one of those is this new bag. It is very similar to the Str8 Laced Gun Gear bag, except 1/4″ to 3/4″ smaller in every dimension. The FTW bag measures 7” x 5.25” x 1.25”. It’s currently priced at $25.
#5 Red Tac Gear
3 shooters within the top 50 said their favorite shooting bag was made by Red Tac Gear, and one of those was in the top 10. Red Tac makes shooting bags in three sizes. Their original bean bag represents one of the most common and classic designs of a rear squeeze bag. The downside of a cylindrical design is that it really only has two dimensions (on its side or upright), where some of the rectangular bags provide 3 dimensions (flat, side, and upright).
Tied for #6
There were several bags tied for 6th place. Each of these was listed by one shooter as being their favorite shooting bag.
Tactical Shmooshie Shooting Bags – This is another versatile, oversized design that you can use to fill large gaps or brace yourself where other bags would be no help. Yet it’s not overstuffed like some bags, so you can work it flat if you had to use it as a rear bag prone. I’ve actually used this as my only bag in some competitions, because it’s so versatile. It isn’t ideal if you exclusively shoot prone, but if you are a positional shooter, this is a handy bag to have around. It is also extremely light for its size, weighing in at just 14.4 ounces. You can find it at 3GunGear.com for $40-55.
Armageddon Gear “The Brick” Grippy Rear Bags – This bag is constructed from heavy-duty “Grippy” rubberized material that grabs the rifle stock for a solid shooting position. Under the strap is a nylon panel so the shooter can easily slide his hand or the forend of the rifle under the strap when needed. The strap is made of overlapping velcro-lined sections, which allow it to be attached to virtually anything. The size of this bag gives it an ideal in-hand fit, and makes it a good all-purpose bag. One downside of “The Brick’s” square shape is that it only really has two dimensions (on its side or upright), where some of the rectangular bags provide 3 dimensions (flat, side, and upright).
Wilderness Giles Rifle Rest AccuBags Shooting Bags – This was the first I’d heard of Wilderness Tactical Products, and I have to say … wow. They have a ton of bags that seem to be really well thought-out. They offer all shapes, sizes, and colors. Their 4” long tubular bag (also 4” in diameter) is their bestseller, but they also offer a 10.5 ounce slimline bag that is very popular as well. It is 4” long, and 2.75” in diameter, which is great as a compact, lightweight bag attached to your sling. They offer so many different sizes, they actually sell a variety 10-pack of shooting bags where you get a sample of their bestsellers.
GA Precision (GAP) Rear Bags – This is a very simple rear bag, which is ideal for proper height in prone positions. Unlike most bags, this bag is designed to allow the operator to adjust the amount of fill in the bag to suit their use. A grimlock is included for attaching to a sling or fast access off a pack.
One More … The Pack Mounted Rifle Rest
When I surveyed the competitors, I asked “What brand is your favorite shooting bag?” Most selected their go-to bag, the one they use most often. But some shooters use multiple bags, and even have packs that are also used as a rest in improvised shooting positions. So I thought I’d mention one other shooting rest I noticed a few competitors carrying around at the 2014 PRS Championship Match a couple months ago.
I noticed more than a couple guys with rifle rests mounted to their packs, which you can see in the photo below.
This one is the Eberlestock Pack Mounted Shooting Rest. BlackHawk also made a similar product, but it’s been discontinued. This is just one more way to get steady for that long-range shot!
In my experience, finding your favorite shooting bag is like finding your favorite concealed carry holster. You’ll end up with a box full of them before you find the perfect one. And which bag(s) I carry varies based on the match. There are some matches where you need a large bag to help with positional shooting, and others that you might just need a rear bag. Hopefully this list will help you narrow down the search to some gear that is field-proven by some of the best shooters in the world.
Meet The Pros
You know NASCAR? Yes, I’m talking about the racing-cars-in-a-circle NASCAR. Before NASCAR, there were just a bunch of unaffiliated, regional car races. NASCAR brought structure by unifying those races, and created the idea of a season … and an overall champion. NASCAR identified the top races across the country (that were similar in nature), then combined results and ranked competitors. The Precision Rifle Series (PRS) is like NASCAR, but for rifle matches.
The PRS is a championship style point series race based on the best precision rifle matches nationwide. PRS matches are recognized as the major league of sniper-style rifle matches. At the end of each year, the scores from around 15 different national matches are evaluated and the top shooters are invited to compete head to head in the PRS Season Championship Match. We surveyed the shooters who qualified for the finale, asking all kinds of questions about the equipment they ran that season. This is a great set of data, because 50+ shooters is a significant sample size, and this particular group are also considered experts among experts. It includes guys like George Gardner (President/Senior Rifle Builder of GA Precision), Francis Kuehl, Wade Stuteville, the GAP Team, the Surgeon Rifles Team, shooters from the US Army Marksmenship Unit, and many other world-class shooters. Thanks to Rich Emmons for allowing me to share this info. To find out more about the PRS, check out What Is The Precision Rifle Series?
Other “What The Pros Use” Articles
This post was one of a series of posts that look at the equipment the top PRS shooters use. Check out these other posts:
- Calibers & Cartridges
- Tactical Scopes
- Scope Mount
- Rifle Actions
- Rifle Barrels
- Custom Rifle Stocks
- Reloading Components (Bullets, Powders & Brass)
- Muzzle Brake & Suppressor
- Shooting Bags
- Rifle Sling