If you’ve spent much time shooting a rifle in the prone, you’ll know that the ground can sometimes be unconfortable and dirty/muddy/wet. This means that once you lay down to shoot, you quickly become uncomfortable and/or dirty/muddy/wet too.
A great solution to these problems is to use a shooting mat!
Shooting mats can help give you some padding (especially helpful as we get older) and they can help keep you and your gear clean and dry.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the biggest and thickest shooting mat is the best – you’re still going to have to carry it with you. So, if you’re looking for a mat for the shooting range, feel free to go big and thick becuase you’ll already be carrying a bunch of other gear and you might as well be comfortable.
But, if you’re planning on carrying this mat with you out in the field, you might want to go with something thinner/lighter.
Also, don’t forget to have an extra shooting mat for a friend if you plan on taking someone with you to the range.
All we can say is, “if it works for the SEALs, it works for us!” This is the cadillac of shooting mats and in our opinion it is worth every penny!
The cushion and the durability of this mat surpasses other shooting mats. If your only looking for a quick ‘slap’ mat and you won’t use it very often…get something different. But, if your planning on being prone for any amount of time, this Crosstac Precision Shooting mat will take GOOD care of you!
Also, the oflding design allows you to carry your rifle in it.
Crosstac Precision Range Specs
Crosstac Precision Range Shooting Mat Pros and Cons
Excellent Padding, Built in Bipod Rail, High Durability
On the pricier-end of mats
This baby is super thick, so unless you’re a Princess you won’t feel the pea under your mat.
It is 18.5″ in length and 36″ in width; so you don’t to worry about your elbows hanging off this mat. And, it has great features like a non-slip area for your elbows, pockets for your ammo, log book, and even a ballistic cheat sheet window.
This mat is a little big if your needing to carry it around, however it is very comfortable and will take great care of you and your gun.
US PeaceKeeper Mat Specs
|Dimensions||36″ x 18″ x 0.8″|
US PeaceKeeper Tactical Shooting Mat Pros and Cons
Ballistic Cheat Sheet window, Fully Padded, non slip ebow areas
Lightweight is the key to this mat. This baby will roll up and roll out in a second, which is really nice.
We do think there could have been a little more padding, however it works, if your tight on space. It also has nice pockets and sections designed for ammo and gear.
Here’s a tip for roll-up mats: fold them in half before rolling them up so that the clean top-side of the mat stays clean!
VooDoo Tactical Shooter’s Mat Specs
|Dimensions||22.6″ x 8″ x 6.3″|
VooDoo Tactical Roll Up Shooter’s Mat Pros and Cons
Lightweight, Non-Slip Surface, Easily portable
A bit narrow, rough on elbows
The MidwayUSA mat is such a great mat!
We really like how this mat provides just enough padding to make it comfortable. It also is super portable with a ton of pouches for ammo and whatever else you need stored.
It is a little too big for our taste however, if that is not a big deal, then this mat is another solid choice.
MidwayUSA Pro Series Specs
|Dimensions||49.2″ x 78.7″ x 1.9″|
MidwayUSA Pro Series Pros and Cons
Equipped with Elbow AND Knee Pads, Water Resistant Bottom, Great for Range
#5. Padded Magic Carpet Mat by Eberlestock
If you’re looking for a minimalist shooting mat, the Magic Carpet by eberlestock is a great choice.
The Magic Carpet shooting mat rolls up into a small package and comes in a padded (this one) and an unpaded version for an even smaller and lighter package.
Also, Eberlestock is a company that knows how to make quality gear and stands behind their products.
Padded Magic Carpet Specs
Magic Carpet Shooting Mat Pros and Cons
Compact and easy to transport
A bit thin compared to other mats
WHY Get a Shooting Mat?
One of my favorite movies is “Shooter”! I know, it’s a little far-fetched, but the beginning was amazing.
In the movie you see Mark Whalberg holding a Barrett M82 (in a re-make we hope they upgrade to a Barrett MRAD) waiting patiently for the right targets. It’s only a matter of time, but eventually he starts to pick off his targets one by one. I know you’re probably NOT a sniper, but imagine being in a spot for not just an hour, but maybe days!
Growing up in a military family, my dad would take me to watch military snipers shoot at the range. What I remember was, as they laid on the ground, they were on shooting mats. Some of them even carried a mat in combat. Truth is, those that are serious and want to hit their targets need every advantage.
No matter how good of a shooter you are, you’ll perform better when you’re comfortable and dry. And, if you want to teach someone to shoot long range, they’ll learn better when they’re not distracted by their comfort.
Here is a Good Lesson Video on Shooting Mats we thought you would enjoy.
3 Key Factors When Buying a Shooting Mat
This is important! We talked to our Special Ops expert Ryan Cleckner and he gave us important factors to consider when it comes to shooting mats.
Here they are in order of importance…
Functionality– The first question you should ask yourself is: What do you want a mat for? If you’re looking for comfort on the shooting range and aren’t concerned with weight or bulk, you should obviously look for a larger and more thickly padded shooting mat. However, if you’re just looking to say dry and clean out in the field, something more portable with less padding is likely best.
PRO TIP: If you get a roll-up mat, make sure the buckle configuration allows you to fold it in half before rolling it so that you don’t get the supposed-to-be-clean part dirty.
Durability– How long and how well will this mat hold up to the elements? Things to ask yourself is…. Will it soak up water or is it water resistant? Is the material strong enough not to tear easily? Will it crack after long exposure to cold or hot weather conditions? Keep in mind that you want something that can stand the test of time.
Price – If you just want something simple, get something simple. It isn’t always necessary to buy the most expensive piece of equipment to get good performance. With a shooting mat, you can save some money and get a less expensive option if you’re on a budget.