Top Shooting Mats
If you’re an avid shooter, you know the discomfort that lying on gravel, rocks, or even dirt brings. It doesn’t matter how great your aim is—when you’re uncomfortable, you won’t be shooting to the best of your ability. A simple solution to this problem is by investing in a good shooting mat.
These tools result in comfort, better aim, stability, and protection. Quality brands will design them with anti-slip, waterproof material and even pockets for extra storage. There are so many features constructed in shooting mats – some that you may not need. For this reason, you need to ask yourself what you’re looking for and what elements are most important to you.
Instead of lying at a funny angle or adjusting your shooting position every few minutes, get a hold of a mat. At the end of this buyers guide we’ll share with you our top 4 shooting mats to simplify and narrow down your search. We’ve taken price, material, intended use, among other important factors into consideration while reviewing each product.
The Benefits of a Shooting Mat
Having a durable, quality mat is important for all shooters. These tools offer amazing benefits for enhancing the experience of shooting outdoors. Two amazing benefits of these tools include comfort and protection. Every shooter needs this before taking off on their next adventure.
- Comfort – The main benefit is the comfort that a mat brings shooters as they’re in prone position. Many options have extra padding in the elbow and knee area allowing users to maintain a position for as long as they need to. Shooting mats are a great solution to lying down on cold, hard, rock-filled surfaced, especially while hunting.
- Protection – Another way you’ll benefit from this tool is you’ll maximize your safety and protection. Shooting mats can be used on wet or muddy terrain, and if they have anti-slip features, they will prevent you from slipping.
- Dual-Purpose – We’ll touch a bit more on this point later, but another benefit is that some mats offer two purposes. They serve as a mat as well as a carry case for your rifle. This is a win-win situation since you won’t be spending double when buying both accessories separately.
We’d like to add that shooting mats are affordable. They range in many different prices depending on features, but like we mentioned before, not all features apply to all users. Consider what’s most important for you and find a mat that offers that. You want by looking for a carry case making dual purpose ones ideal.
Additionally, you may simply not like getting dirty while lying on the ground. Other shooters enjoy the stability mats give them. Non-slip ones are great options especially if the ground is still wet or dewy from it raining the night before. Whichever option you decide on, we hope it’s one that’s worth your investment and will last you several years.
What to Look for in a Shooting Mat
The number of options on the market can become overwhelming making the process of selecting the right one difficult. With the many styles, colors, brands, uses, and features, how do you go from dozens of options to a select few? The answer lies behind informing yourself and knowing what to look for.
Prior to deciding on the right one for you, it’s essential that you understand what attributes you should be looking for. These are the elements we took into consideration when narrowing down the search and what you should keep in mind as well to come to an informed decision.
Yes, this is probably the most important aspect of a mat because it’s going to undergo a great deal of damage and abuse. If you’re a regular shooter, you want one that is durable and can last you several years. Finding one that’s built to last and offers protection from the ground is key.
Always look for a mat with non-slip sections for your knees and elbows. This will ensure you’re keeping a stable shooting position. Cheaper mats without this advantage can become very slippery. Depending on the season, the ground may be wet or there could be dew on the ground. A sturdy mat will offer protection making your shooting experience safe and enjoyable.
If you’re financially savvy than this element may interest you. There are shooting mats available that act as a rifle case as well as a mat. This means you’ll carry one less item with you when out on your adventures. If you’re already thinking about investing in a carry case for your firearm, we encourage you to consider a dual-purpose shooting mat.
It will save you money as opposed to buying both items separately. Among our top 4 reviews, we did find one combo selection that we’re sure you’ll love if this is something you’re interested in!
A top reason you may be considering buying a mat is to maximize your comfort when hunting. Elbows digging into the ground for hours is not enjoyable. A quality mat will have padding in the elbow areas and sometimes even knees consequently enhancing user experience greatly.
There are some options that have padding throughout the entire mat. These are bulkier and a bit heavier and not ideal for long distances. Keep in mind that you mainly want good padding in elbow and knee areas, but, if you don’t plan on traveling to far with it, overall padding shouldn’t be a problem for you.
We are not against pouches within your mat, just keep in mind that sometimes all this additional gear added to the mat can create an uneven surface. Don’t disregard a mat for the simple fact it has pockets, but we do advise to keep this in mind to maximize your buying and using experience.
And of course, the final factor to consider is the price. Everyone has a different budget when investing in this accessory. The good news and that shooting mats are inexpensive and range in price guaranteeing you’ll find a shooting mat right for you and that doesn’t break your wallet.
Our Top 4 Picks
Alright, let’s get down to what you probably came here for—the best shooting mats currently on the market. After reviewing dozens of mats, we concluded that these are the top 4 currently available to consumers. We are sure you’ll love these as much as we do.
Our first pick is the NcStar roll up shooting mat and for several good reasons. To start, you’ll be able to travel with this compact size mat comfortably. It comes with a carry strap and handles for additional support. It is a heavy-duty selection meaning that it can handle a great deal of abuse for many years to come.
When shooting on this mat you will notice that it has anti-slip material for both your knees and elbows. Remember talking about the importance of this feature? Not only does it help keep your position but there is thick padding in the elbow area maximizing comfort.
The designers of this shooting mat really put thought and detail into its features to give users a seamless experience. We’d like to end by saying that the durable, waterproof material it’s designed with makes it a top selection. The VISM by NcStar Roll Up mat gives you so much for your buck and really exceeded our expectations.
- Offers maximum comfort with its anti-slip and extra padding features
- Highly portable
- Made from durable PVC material (water and chemical resistant)
- Sold in 4 different color options
We did not find any disadvantages with this mat making it number one on our list. For the price, it’s an amazing investment.
- Elbow and Knee slip resistant panels
- .30" of padding to make shooting from the prone position on the ground more comfortable
- Rolls up into a compact size: 19.5 w x 8.5 H. Two hook and loop straps secure the Shooting mat into a roll
- Carry handle and an adjustable shoulder strap. Shoulder strap can serve Double duty to help secure your firearm Bipod in place, preventing the rifle from moving forward under recoil
- Made with tough and durable PVC material that is water and chemical resistant. Re-enforcement Cross stitching in critical areas
The first thing we noticed with this VooDoo tactical mat was the price difference in comparison with our NcStar choice. More expensive we decided to look at it to see what it’s all about. After thoroughly reviewing it we realized that it’s worth the money due to its unique shape and design.
So, this shooting mat was designed by a sniper. It offers a T-shape when unrolled and fits shooter bodies perfectly. We also noticed that this pick does not waste space like some of the other selections do. There is no unnecessary material used making it extremely compact and light.
A few other fun perks that the VooDoo tactical roll-up mat comes with is added pockets to store away weapon accessories. There are also male buckles included giving you the option to clip it onto your pack for simpler travel. VooDoo did a nice job with the design of this sniper-made shooting mat and us 100% approve it!
- When rolled up, it’s a fraction of the size of our other reviewed mats
- Accessory pouches included
- Saves space and weight by eliminating unneeded material
- Relatively expensive
- Voodoo Tactical
- Weapon Accessories
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, if you’re financially savvy and like saving some money, there are options that serve two purposes: a mat and a case. This option provides a stable platform for shooting and will also carry your rifle. It’s made from heavy-duty PVC that makes sure water won’t get to your equipment and damage it.
If you’re willing to pay a little more money in comparison to what you’d spend buying a shooting mat alone, this selection gives you a quality carry case for your firearm. It’s cheaper than some of the stand-alone mats we’ve reviewed which is why we highly suggest investing in this combo if you’re considering getting a case separately.
One of the disadvantages from this selection is its heavier weight (6.2 pounds). It measures 66” x 35’ when unfolded, has padded panels and a cleaning rod compartment designed into it. You can purchase this mat in several different colors like camo, green, black, or tan.
- Dual-purpose selection offering a carry case and shooting mat
- Made from PVC heavy duty material increasing durability
- External an internal pocket to store away extra gear/accessories
- Heavier to carry than other models
- Includes Factory Warranty
- Includes Full Warranty
Our final selection was the Bob Allen tactical mat because of its generous size, lightweight, and durability. Users will easily transport this tool using its strap and carry handle. It can be used on wet or muddy surfaces. Additionally, it rolls up neatly, is compact, and in our opinion one of the more comfortable mats we’ve come across.
Designed with closed cell foam (CCF) padding, this mat offers an extra layer of protection between the user and the ground. It has a non-slip surface to help with recoil and is water resistant. If you’re shooting from a slight incline or decline you can have peace of mind that this shooting mat will keep you steady.
Some users find this option to be a bit too bulky for their tastes. It also does not have additional compartments to store extra gear, but for the price asked we are confident this selection is worth your time and money.
- Exceptional durability lasting user many years
- Made from CCF, it’s one of the more comfortable options
- Non-slip surface to keep a stable shooting position
- While it’s long accommodating tall people, it’s narrow at 27 inches
- Only available in tan
- Water resistant coated poly with poly webbing
- Rolls up for easy storage and carry
- Closed cell foam for comfort
- Non-slip rubberized surface
- Poly webbing strap
As you can see, a shooting mat is a good investment for professional or recreational shooters. They make the prone position to much more comfortable and most mats have pockets to fit your assorted gear. Our top 4 picks are very durable and can handle a great deal of use meaning you’ll have them around for many years.
If you have never tried shooting with a mat before, here is a YouTube video that gives a good overview:
We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your selection to the best shooting mat for you. It’s important to have a quality one that’s compact and offers a variety of features. Best of luck in your future journeys and happy shooting!