We all want more accuracy, and when it comes to long guns, nothing beats a steady rest. At the range, finding a bench may be easy but when the terrain is unpredictable and conditions are less than hospitable, few things beat a bipod for a steady rest. By Eve Flannigan Tac Shield of North Carolina sent its heavy duty, 6- to 9-inch bipod for testing. It’s the latest addition to Tac Shield’s already extensive bipod selection. I found this new model to be feature-rich and the quality competitive with bipods that cost more than twice as much.
The bipod includes a Picatinny rail mount, which installed in under a minute. The tightening lever has no locking mechanism on it, but tightened down easily and didn’t threaten to move—even after being loosened and re-installed a couple times.
A nice option is the platform, which allows for some canting of the rifle—side-to-side—if desired. It’s a useful feature for hunting or tactical applications, and allows increased use of cover and the ability to avoid an obstacle in order to make the shot. A somewhat oversized, therefore easy to operate, lever on the center, bottom controls whether the rifle can “float” through the tilt. In other words, when tightened, it is immobilized for less dynamic shooting. It feels no less stable in the freely rotating position. Like the mounting lever, the cant adjustment has no lock, but tightened down easily and securely.
The folding legs are held in place with one spring each and are a breeze to deploy or fold into the stow/carry position. A pinch of a short lever on each shoots the notched legs outward toward the ground. At nine inches of extension on level ground, the natural point of aim was well above what would be appropriate for a typical deer or antelope shot. About halfway extended was just right for that application.
On uneven ground, the legs can be extended to different lengths to create a level shooting platform. The notches, spaced about an inch apart, are just right. Small adjustments can be made quickly, but they’re not so small as to be unnoticeable.
At the bottom of each leg is a cupped foot made to settle easily onto just about any surface. Though one can expect a bit of “jump” with recoil, wiggling the rifle side-to-side settles the feet aground for good stability. That’s relative, of course, to caliber.
If there’s a trait of this bipod I dislike, it’s the size of the cant adjustment lever. The length gives it more than enough leverage, but sticks out sufficiently to catch on gear—especially when loaded down with a chest rig or belt-borne supplies. The longish lever wouldn’t present a problem for folks who don’t carry the uncased rifle far or often.
The 6- to 9-inch model of the Tac Shield heavy duty, rail mounted bipod retails for $79.99 (it’s about half that price at Cheaper Than Dirt!), and should fit the needs of most riflemen. The 9- to 13-inch model carries an MSRP of $84.99. Rail-mounted models are the newest in Tac Shield’s extensive line. A non-heavy duty model with the company’s rail mount adapter, a $12.53 add-on, is about 40 percent less for the really budget-minded.
By comparison, some better-known companies’ models, priced upwards of $200, the Tac Shield heavy duty, rail mount bipod delivers all the same features and solid construction for a lot less money. Though those brands’ adjustment hardware might be a little better, it’s not an improvement that justifies the difference in price. This little bipod will serve the serious shooter well.
Do you use a bipod? What size and model do you prefer? For hunting or tactical? Share your answers in the comment section.