Tripods have been around for decades but were primarily used for supporting binoculars and spotting scopes. Snipers in the Global War on Terror and competitive shooting sports like PRS and NRL have elevated the tripod from a tool used for observation to that of a shooting platform. This informative video discusses four ways to get the most out of your tripod.
ATTACHMENT AND LEG ORIENTATION
The easiest way to utilize a tripod as a shooting platform is to simply attach your rifle to the tripod via an ARCA rail on the bottom of your rifle forend. When connecting the rifle to the tripods, it's best to attach it at the rifle's balance point. This means that the rifle naturally balances on the tripod and does not require a lot of support from the shooter. This position on many rifles is a couple of inches in front of your magazine well. Something to note before clipping your rifle into a tripod is the orientation of the tripod legs. It is best to position 2 of your three tripod legs facing the shooter. This allows the recoil impulse to travel straight back towards the shooter, making it easier for self spotting and follow-up shots.
USE SHOOTING BAGS
Shooting bags like the Game Changer from Armageddon Gear are great for creating a soft interface between your rifle and a hard surface. Throwing a shooting bag over your tripod head and loading or balancing your rifle on top can often be faster than clipping your rifle into the tripod via an ARCA rail. It can also be faster when transitioning between targets. Not having to clip in or out gives you a lot of freedom of movement to swivel and track targets.
Pro shooter leveraging both a bag and a “tac table.” This setup can be put directly on top of a tripod head.
LEVERAGE A FLAT SURFACE OR A "TAC TABLE"
Another great option is to use a flat surface or a "tac table." A tac table is a tool that can be secured to the head of your tripod. Tac tables are great for throwing a shooting bag or a pack on, then balancing your rifle on top.
TRIPODS AND REAR SUPPORT
Not only are tripods great as a shooting platform, but they can also offer rear support. As mentioned in the video, this is one of the most popular ways people use tripods for shooting, especially in PRS-style matches. One of the key performance notes from this position is to keep the ball head on your tripod as tight as possible. Then, when you are using your tripod against the back of your rifle, you remain stable during your shot. Also, you will want your tripod extended to 18" – 24" above your rifle's position to place yourself below the ball head and get a secure purchase on one of the tripod legs. This utilization of a tripod allows for engaging more unique shots like steep angles up or downhill.
Hopefully, this gives you a lot of food for thought about how you can more creatively and practically use your tripods. One final nugget of warning shared in our video was that you do not want to give these ideas a test drive for the first time in a competition or while hunting. Please give it some practice to learn the finer points and what works best for you.
Tripods are invaluable tools.