We all need support whether it’s in our relationships, our boxers, or our rifles. Shooting supported can easily halve your group size. The best support is a lead sled, but a great alternative is a bipod. Finding the best bipod for your rifle is simple; you go with Harris S-BRM/P. Cost, durability, features, the only bipod you will ever need is a Harris.
Now to throw a ton of information at you quickly, if you are shooting for accuracy you will want a supported position and unless you are one of those F-Class Nerds, you will not be using a massive bench rest. Instead, you have the choice a bipod, or a makeshift support like a sandbag, barricade, or tree limb. The stability gained from a bipod reduces fatigue, increases accuracy, helps increase your precision over other shooting positions.
Just remember the friends don’t let friends attach their bipods to the barrel.
Attaching to the barrel, can change your barrel harmonics, create hot points in the barrel, but more importantly, loading a bipod attached to the barrel can create different tensions on the barrel decreasing accuracy. If your chassis doesn’t have a free floated barrel, loading a bipod may change your group accuracy so for best results use a free floated barrel chassis and attempt to use the same amount of tension in your bipod when you shoot.
Best Bipods for Long Range Shooters
The best bipod is a combination of durability, stability, and price. You should pick your features and attachment point, then your bipod height. Most use a 6-9 inch bipod, while some use taller bipods because of comfort, body armor or shooting position. Focus on stability and comfort when shooting, with higher stability you can focus on hitting your smallest groups. Tilt for uneven ground is a must have for most bipods.
Harris has been making bipods since 1965. They have made bipods for the US Military, hunters, and competition shooters. Made out of quality steel, their products last for years of shooting without bending or breaking. Harris doesn’t just make quality products they innovate with the industry, which is why the majority of competition shooters use Harris Bipods. The speed of deployment for the legs is a major factor for competition shooters and hunters.
Choosing a Harris bipod
|BR||Bench-Rest – 6″ – 9″|
|L||Prone – 9″- 13″|
|25||12″ to 25″|
|25C||13.5″ to 27″|
|H||13.5″ to 23″|
|S||Swivel (Tilt) compensates for uneven terrain|
|M||Notched legs (legs are spring-loaded for fast deployment – height adjusts in 1″ increments)|
|P||Attaches to Picatinny rail|
Above are the codes for Harris bipods. The most important code is the S. This allows you to swivel or tilt your bipod. Always choose a swivel bipod for the ability to level your rifle on uneven ground.
Harris bipods have adjustable legs. Most prefer the notched legs (code M) to the infinitely variable legs.
The last factor is how you attach your bipod to your rifle. Harris traditionally uses a sling swivel to attach to a rifle. Harris using a sling swivel attachment creates a solid attachment point on most rifles stocks. It gives a firm tension grip that moves with the recoil of the rifle to allow for the large forces when firing.
While the sling swivel method works very well, Picatinny Attachments have several benefits. The ability to quick detach your bipod, direct attachment to a rail instead of an adapter and a more solid mounting point that the sling swivel. The downside is that Picatinny rails are less universal that sling swivels.
While your AR-15 may have a Picatinny rail your hunting rifle may not. It is easier to add a sling swivel than it is to add a Picatinny rail.
The last decision to make is what height. Lower means more control and stability, Most shooters use 6-9 inch legs also known as BR or Bench rest. It is much easier to add height than remove it. While some shooters buy 9-13 bipods, known as “L” or prone bipods, they find more use when the shooter is wearing body armor or thick clothing. Most shooters will simply throw their pack under a bipod to gain height, which is why we recommend the BR Harris.
The other height bipods are used for shooting while sitting or kneeling, Harris has some of the best aftermarket support, that will be addressed in a later article. Consider which stance you need the most support in and then remember you are wrong and buy the S-BRM model.
1. Harris Engineering Sporting BiPod Notch Picatinny
2. Harris Engineering S-BRM Hinged Base 6 – 9-Inch BiPod
3. Harris Engineering 6in-9in Ultralight Bipod S-BRM
4. Harris Engineering S-LM Hinged Base 9-13-Inch BiPod
The only downside of Atlas bipods is they are double the price of the Harris, however, if you want the same features on your Harris S-BRM you will be spending about the same amount of money.
Atlas bipods are better than Harris Bipods in nearly every way, however, they should be they can be double or triple the price. While most shooters start with a Harris Bipod Shooters attempting to get every edge or are looking for the most adaptability in their bipods frequently choose Atlas as their bipod of choice.
So what makes the Atlas so special besides the higher price point?
Atlas Bipods can quickly change feet. Atlas bipods come with rubberized feet that can be swapped with spikes, skis, or raider feet. The Spikes work great for loading the bipod. Shooting off wood, concrete, or grass. The Skis work for free recoiling a rifle or grass. The Raider feet act as a wider base spike.
Changeable Leg extensions
A great feature of the Atlas bipod is the ability to add 3 inches to the end of the bipod. Multiple extensions can be added but most just make custom legs for sitting or shooting.
45 degree Leg positioning
One of the main functional differences between the Harris and the Atlas bipods is Altas’ 5 position system. This allows you to fold the bipod back, 45 degrees backward, 90 degrees, 45 degrees forward, and forward.
So what that does is halve the height and allow loading the bipod in different positions. Folding the Bipod back also allows you to go through brush with less risk of the bipod catching on brush, grass, or wire fence.
Pan and Cant
Atlas bipod can be panned and canted 30 degrees, Great for multiple targets and uneven terrain.
Loading a bipod without anti-rotational legs can tend to creep forward, cant and twist. Anti-Rotational Legs allow you to load the bipod without fear of twisting or walking the bipod forward.
Is it worth the price?
The Atlas bipod has some of the best innovations for the price. While the Magpul, Harris, and Caldwell are cheaper, they have less features and lower build quality. Meanwhile CykePod, Veraspod, Elite Iron and GG&G have higher build quality or different features, Atlas is at a sweet spot of price and features. Atlas bipods are some of the best bipods for any shooter, I’m not ashamed to admit it if you shoot enough that an Atlas Bipod isn’t enough for you, grab a Cyke Pod, I have nothing left to teach you.
Atlas PRS VS 5H
If you decide to choose an Atlas bipod, picking between the PRS and the 5H series bipods is difficult. The 5H is built heavier for larger calibers and has a unique feature that keeps the Apex of the Bipod above the barrel instead of the barrel itself. Keeping the apex over the barrel creates
5. Atlas Bipods PSR Atlas Bipod
Magpul gets a lot right, Mlok, cheap furniture for AR-15s, Flat Dark Earth as a standard color choice for accessories, but the Magpul Bipod, while being a solid budget option hasn’t gotten all of the kinks worked out. Often when shooting it felt loose no matter how it was loaded or tightened.
Magpul nearly managed to build the perfect bipod. 6-10 inches is about the perfect height for the two most used positions, bench shooting and prone. It accepts Atlas bipod feet, weighs under 12oz, and looks great on space gats. It tilts to level on uneven ground, it pans for moving targets, it comes in Picatinny, M-Lok, Arms or QD sling swivel, making it easy to attach no matter your chassis. But there is just something off when shooting it.
That something is just how loose it feels. While shooting you can never feel quite as stable as you do with the Harris or the Atlas, and when using a bipod it is all for the stability. Shooting with the Magpul wasn’t as bad as some of the cheap bipods I’ve used but it did open groups up a bit. While Magpul claims the looseness is there by design it, I would rather have a similarly priced Harris.
6. Magpul Industries Bipod
The MDT Ckye-Pod is the only bipod that would make me give up my Altas. The problem is as always the price. The Ckye-Pod, pronounced Skye-Pod, shows just how far engineering can take materials and improve shooting. Designed for PRS matches and hunting, the Ckye-Pod gives the three things every precision shooter needs adaptibilty and stability.
Can accept any Atlas Bipod feet. Ckye-Pod has much wider adjustments for its legs, all done with one hand. The Ckye Pod can pan 360 degrees with 170 degrees of cant. Includes a barricade stop. Hard to find and nearly double the price of the Atlas but well worth it, if you can take advantage of the features.
8. MDT Ckye-Pod Gen2 Bipods
Grabbing a bargain bipod is great for 22lr trainers, but shooting 7.62x51mm or 300 Win Mag, will just destroy a cheaper bipod. After testing several of the most popular brands, we found the best bang for your buck bipods. These bipods aren’t the big name brands but they will
Caldwell makes several bipods and support systems for rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Caldwell XLA is the budget bipod of choice, it doesn’t have the build quality of the Harris but it will serve as a bipod for those lacking funding.
The Caldwell XLA as spring-loaded, notched legs, 30 degrees of tilt, and a variety of connections like sling swivel or Picatinny. The Caldwell is nearly identical to the Harris Bipod except for build quality. The build quality can be enough for small calibers like 22lr and 5.56x45mm. However, Caldwell bipods like most budget bipods suffer from lack of material strength. Considering that is their only downside the Caldwell bipod is great for a 22lr trainer.
9. Caldwell XLA Shooting Rifle Bipods
10. Caldwell XLA Fixed Bipod
Leapers is strong for the budget options of accessories, quality suffers but it is one of the most fun companies to experiment with for new products or build trainer firearms for your large calibers. Leapers innovates frequently, coming out with some of the more innovative designs for bipods faster than Harris Atlas, or even Magpul.
Leapers might not hold up under heavy recoil, but they have some of the best innovative products like their Over Bore Bipod. Flex Bipods, or their Harris Clone bipod. Several Leapers bipods have 45 degree position lock. Others have 360 degree panning ability and 30 degrees of tilt.
One of the most interesting Leapers Bipods is the UTG Over Bore Bipod. The Over Bore Bipod is different from most other bipods
11. Leapers UTG Over Bore Bipod
CVLife bipods are interesting because it really shows you the quality of a Caldwell bipod. Sadly, I am going to use the CVLife bipod as a strawman to the quality of knockoff products in the industry. I am actually impressed by the quality of the product for a mere $20. However, after snapping two bipods like twigs easier than I have broken twigs used as bipods.
The CVLife is not badly designed, it seems to be one of the best knock offs of the Caldwell bipod, which have similar designs to the Harris. But the material differences are evident when you shoot, the CVLife is looser, lighter, and weaker. The biggest problem is the screws, they strip very easily. Fortunately, most of the lighter parts can be changed out with better materials, the question is why.
Each round of 308 costs a minimum of $0.60 per round, while Federal Gold Medal Match costs $1.75, rifles cost an average of $1000 plus a minimum of $500 for optics, using a cheap bipod will drive most into the throes of insanity.
12. CVLIFE 6-9 Inches Tactical Rifle Bipod
A grip pod is about what it sounds like, a bastardized child of a vertical grip and a bipod, not good at either role, but they excel at being lighter than both. I hate recommending the Grip Pod as a bipod because it doesn’t excel as a vertical grip or as a bipod, it is simpler to buy both and change them out as you need them.
The Grip Pod is great for military and police use but the cost and weight aren’t far off from an Atlas or a Harris. Which brings us to the reason a Grip Pod is amazing; shooting an AR-15 or other “Assault Rifle”. Yes, I know “assault rifles” is not the correct term for AK, CZ Bren, AR-15, FAL, or other “military-style” rifles but it is better than most other terms. Where the Grip Pod shines is when you want both. Bipod for prone or supported shots and vertical grip for movement.
The steel construction and lightweight aluminum weigh less than a bipod. As well as giving 8 inches of height.
13. Grip Pod Vertical Foregrip
14. GPS, LLC. – V2 Grip Pod
Caldwell Steady Rest NXT is a cheap solution for supported shooting. The Steady Rest is great for zeroing and target shooting off a bench, offering front and rear support. At 1/5th the price of the Harris Bipod, you can have an effective rest for your rifle, without the attachment points or need for tools. The rest can come apart and act as two pieces, a handgun rest, a rifle rest with a rear support or as a one piece rifle support.
The front rest can be raised or lowered 3 inches similar to most bipods. The Steady Rest will tend to be more steady than a bipod in many aspects, though most prefer bipods to a shooting rest.
15. Caldwell Steady Rest NXT Adjustable Ambidextrous
Shooting prone unsupported is still more accurate than most other shooting positions, but if you are getting down in the dirt and going prone. Grab a bipod and get down and dirty.
Andrew Maurer is a Precision Rifle Series competition shooter and gunsmith. Building competition rifles for over 12 years. He works as a big game hunting guide in Iowa, South Dakota and Arizona. He is also a political scientist studying the effects of gun control on society. He teaches youth rifle shooting.