No matter whether you are a person who likes to compete in marksman competitions or you or someone who just likes to spend the day out in the wilderness hunting deer, finding little things that can improve your marksmanship or your comfort level is always a good idea. This is why many choose to get a shooting mat.
This product helps to keep you dry and wet or muddy conditions, and can give you the kind of comfort and protection that can allow you to lay on the ground for hours without having sore elbows and knees by the time you get up to try to go. It has quickly become a product that many avid gun enthusiasts find they can’t do without.
Buyer’s Guide: What Makes the Shooting Mat Great?
While there are many great products available, there are clearly some that provide the kind of product you truly desire. Not every shooting mat is made the same, so you want to find something that works best for you. Here are some things to consider when choosing your shooting mat.
- Material. The material used to make the mat is extremely important for several reasons. First, you want to ensure that if you were going to be in an area where it is expected to be damp, then you want a mat that is water resistant. It doesn’t matter whether you are laying it in mud, snow, or water, having a mat that can resist absorbing water is important.
However, you also want something that will be nonslip. You don’t want to move because you find yourself slipping on the mat. You also want something that is built to last. The material plays an important role with all of these factors.
- Purpose. Maybe you were looking for more than just a shooting mat. You want something you can use for more than just purpose, and there are mats out there that can do just that for you. Some work perfectly as a carry bag for your rifle. Others are exceptional as a sleeping mat.
- Padding. If you are a person who was going to spend a long time on your elbows and knees, then padding is essential. It’s not just the protection you get while laying out, but how you will feel when you get up and try to leave.
- Weight. The weight is important, especially if you are expecting to go to remote areas to use your mat. Carrying something that weighs 10 pounds may not be a big deal when you are walking a few hundred yards from your car, but if you are expecting to go deep into a wooded area you may find that the weight can be too taxing, causing you to not use the product at all.
- Pockets. This is another factor to consider. You may be looking for a shooting mat that also allows you to carry additional accessories with you. Many offer pockets that are included in the mat, allowing you to carry ammunition, binoculars, field maps, and other types of accessories.
- Price. No matter what kind of product you are purchasing, price is always a factor. You want a quality product that fits within your budget. Fortunately, we have provided you with some great options that come at a lower price.
What is The Best Shooting Mat to Buy?
As mentioned, there are a number of great products out there, but not everyone is built the same. If you are looking for an outstanding shooting mat, here are some products to consider.
#1 VISM by NcStar Rifle Case Shooting Mat
- Can work as both a backpack and rifle case
- Built of an incredibly durable material that gives you great longevity
- Loss of storage space for you to be able to hold your items
- Easy to transport, coming with drag straps, carry handle, and shoulder straps
- Waterproof coating adds to longevity and keeps you dry
- Not very comfortable to lay on for long periods of time
- Not billed for taller people
- Can be slippery in wet conditions
While most avid gun enthusiasts are not concerned about buying two different products, what many love about this option is that it gives them the benefits of two in one. It is made of a high quality PVC material that is completely resistant to water and whether. You can lay anything down on it and not have to worry about it damaging the bat, other than fire that is.
What you like about it is that it is not bulky. The weight is just right, as is the size, making it easy to transport and store at home. There is thick padding that makes it comfortable to lay on for long hours while you were out shooting. Plus, reinforced straps provide great comfort while carrying it so that it doesn’t weigh on your shoulders. There also carrying handles and drag straps included if you so desire.
Plenty of storage is included with this case as well. Whether you are looking to carry ammunition, maps, magazines, or other types of accessories, you will find that there is plenty of storage space for it. Plus, the heavy stitching and zippers ensures that your items will be kept securely in place.
It’s a product that you will love how it performs. This is a fantastic option and one that you will be glad that you decided to go with.
#2 Galati Gear Shooters Mat
- Easily converts to four different configurations to accommodate your needs
- Made of a durable nylon material that will give you the kind of longevity you desire
- 0.5 inch foam padding provides the necessary comfort for long days out on the range
- Extends to 66 inches in length and 37 inches in width, giving you plenty of room
- Can be a bit bulky to carry
- Really no other complaints with this product
Included are a carrying handle as well as a shoulder strap, making it a little easier for you to transport. There is also a significant amount of space that could make it perfect for a backpack or drag bag. Within seconds you can completely reconfigure the product to fit your needs.
This product is made with a 1000 D nylon material that contains a ½ inch foam padding in each panel. This adds to the durability of the shooting mat, while also protecting their valuables, such as your rifle. A protective flap is included that protects each zipper. In addition, the case closes through use of clips that securely fastened the case in place.
Included are two drag loops that can be attached to your foot or arm while crawling. This makes it so that you can easily move while crawling on the ground without giving away your position. The bag moves with you as you need to go.
Overall, the case is 48 inches long by 11.5 inches tall and 3.5 inches in width. It will hold guns that are 48 inches long, and extends to become a 66 inch shooters mat that is 37 inches wide. Plenty of space and comfort available, making it a great choice.
#3 BLACKHAWK! Pro-Shooters Mat
- Built with a durable nylon that is built to last
- Weighs just 2.2 pounds, making it easy to take with you just about anywhere
- 83 inches long, giving you plenty of space to stretch out
- Easy to roll up and carry with you, making it ideal to take with you to any location, and it is competition approved
- Very comfortable mat to use
- The price may be a little steep for some
- No real concerns with this mat otherwise
The mat is made of a durable 1000 denier nylon material that has closed cell foam included inside. This gives you greater comfort while laying on the mat for long hours at a time and is a durable enough material to handle the roughest of terrains. Plus, the nylon is waterproof and provides a nonslip surface, giving you the kind of stability that you need. The nonslip part of this mat is aided by an interior grip patch and a contoured ledge that helps prevent the pad from sliding downward or sideways.
What you will also like is that there is a unique will secure set of straps that help to keep the pad secure. There is a unique hydration compatible pouch with two browning system that helps to roll the pad up to create a compact roll. This makes it easy to take with you just about anywhere you would go.
The mat gives you plenty of space to lay down on, as it is 83 inches long and 28 inches wide. The foam is 3/8 of an inch in thickness, giving you the right kind of protection. It is a great shooting surface that comes with a shoulder strap and carry handles to make it easier to take with you.
Most Frequently Asked Questions
To close out this review, we wanted to add some common questions that people have in relation to shooting mats.
#1 Does having your whole body on the mat matter?
We have reviewed a number of mats that were rather short or narrow. This meant that at least some of your body was off the mat. The question is whether that matters or not? To be honest, it’s really a matter of comfort for you. If you don’t mind your legs dangling off the mat, or that your entire body is not located on it, then it is no big deal. However, many like the wider mats because they not only allow them to keep their entire body protected from the ground below, but also afford them more space to place their accessories to keep them protected as well.
#2 What is the best brand?
The one thing that impressed us the most when writing this review is that there are a number of companies out there that provide quality products. You could choose from a dozen different brands and get a great shooting mat. However, we will say that NcStar has really set themselves apart. They create some of the best products, whether you are looking for a shooting mat that has a rifle case or not.
#3 Does Being Water Proof Really Matter?
Truthfully, it does for a number of reasons. Water building up in the foam cushions of your mat can lead to mold and mildew, and can also cause the mat to deteriorate over time. However, the biggest reason you should consider is that water building up in your mat will make it heavier to carry. If you are going to be in a remote area, even one or 2 pounds can be a lot of extra weight to carry.
#4 Do I really need a shooting mat at all?
The honest answers that is no. Many people hunt and shoot without a shooting mat, and do just fine. It doesn’t bother them one bit. However, if you are a person who is looking for a little bit better stability, a little bit more comfort, and maybe a better experience, then a shooting mat may be a smart decision.
#5 Does the color matter?
This is one of those kinds of interesting questions that are more for aesthetic purposes then for reliability. If you are purchasing a shooting mat, you may want it to be one that blends in with the surrounding terrain. You may worry that an animal may spot your brightly covered mat, giving away your position. That does happen. Fortunately, there are a number of products out there that come in colors that easily blend in with the environment. It’s really just up to you.