Shooting Gear: We Test 8 Premium Bipods
The measure of a good bipod goes beyond how well it props up a rifle. The premium units we tested...
The measure of a good bipod goes beyond how well it props up a rifle. The premium units we tested were judged based on how they handled moving targets, how they adapted to uneven ground, the effort needed to deploy them, their strength and utility shooting off barricades, and numerous other factors.
Tip: To get better accuracy while shooting with a bipod, make sure your shoulders are perpendicular to the rifle’s stock and barrel.
HOW THEY STACKED UP
1. Atlas PSR BT46-LW17
Price: $320 • Weight: 13.2 oz.
Although its moniker is clunky, this bipod is anything but. The Atlas is an outstanding piece of engineering, as reflected by its ergonomics, strength, and elegant design.
This is one of the easiest bipods to deploy and adjust on the market. The legs can be placed in any of five positions across a 180-degree arc of movement and can be extended or retracted with one hand. The legs also stay firmly in place once positioned—they won’t inadvertently collapse or extend.
The knurling on the legs makes for a great handhold, should the shooter wish to employ a single leg as a vertical grip.
Perhaps the cleverest design element on this bipod is its central control wheel, which is placed unobtrusively between the legs. It adjusts with one hand and controls the tension for how the bipod both cants and pivots.
Its pivoting action gives the Atlas a wide range of motion for fast target transitions and for moving targets.
Another selling point is the bipod’s weight. At 13.2 ounces, it is one of the lightest in the test. The way the legs stow neatly under the rifle means they won’t impede its maneuverability.The Atlas handles every task well yet costs less than many others in the field. At $320, it is a good value for a shooter looking for a high-performance bipod. Given the degree of excellence it represents, it is little wonder the Atlas took our Editor’s Choice honors.
2. Sierra 7
Price: $390 • Weight: 1 lb. 13.2 oz.
The Sierra 7 bipod is a serious tool. Yes, it is bulky, and, yes, there is definitely a learning curve that needs to be surmounted in order to run it the right way, but the payoff once you master it is well worth the effort.
The S7, as it is also known, was designed in part by Daniel Horner, who is, without exaggeration, the best shooter in the world. Among its features are two levers: one controls how easily the rifle cants, the other adjusts the resistance in the head of the bipod for pivoting. It takes time to tune the bipod and get these levers positioned that way you want—and even mounting a gun on the bipod requires some tweaking—but once this is done, the S7 offers an unprecedented amount of control. When it comes to engaging moving targets, this bipod is in a class of its own.
The legs are very strong and set far apart to create a solid shooting platform. If there’s a flaw with the S7, it’s that deploying the legs is a bit of a chore, requiring more time and effort than is ideal. The claw-style feet on the legs are very aggressive and grip (and mar) any surface with great enthusiasm.
If the weight and price don’t put you off, and if you want the most sophisticated bipod out there, the Sierra 7 is the one for you.
3. APO LRA
Price: $425 • Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz.
The pivots on the legs of this beefy bipod are located high on either side of its frame, placing them closer to the axis of the bore as compared to bipods that sit underneath the stock. This gives the LRA a stable platform that handles recoil extraordinarily well. It is about the closest you’ll get to shooting off an actual benchrest.
Each leg can move through a 90-degree arc, with four positions to choose from. They also extend in small increments from 8 ½ to 11 ¾ inches in length. Additionally, the bipod has a lever that, when loosened, allows the rifle to cant from one side to the other. Taken together, all this adjustability helps the bipod adapt to nearly any type of uneven terrain.
The throw lever on the side of the bipod makes attaching the unit to a rail easy. And its craftsmanship is top-notch.
Where the bipod comes up short is with movers and transitioning quickly between targets. The broad base created by the legs is rock-solid, but the lack of any type of pivot in the system makes the rifle difficult to traverse.
The LRA is one of the pricier bipods we tested. Even though it delivers a lot of performance, $425 is a lot to shell out.
4. Elite Iron Revolution
Price: $625 • Weight: 1 lb. 12.8 oz.
This bipod is sort of like an auto show concept car: It has some very cool and innovative features built into it, but there are a couple of serious flaws as well that will limit its appeal.
The first issue is the price. At $625, it is simply too expensive for most shooters to justify, especially in light of the quality one can find in other bipods that cost much less.
Second, due to its design, there are a limited number of guns on which it will easily fit. The collar that holds the legs rotates 360 degrees around the barrel, so it requires a firearm with a slender forend and rail attachment in order to be used.
But the bipod is built like a tank and can be positioned effectively on any type of terrain. The legs are easy to deploy and stow away neatly, despite their considerable length.
Since you can position the legs above the barrel, the Revolution manages recoil extraordinarily well.
The only thing we didn’t like was that the legs extend too easily, sometimes ratcheting to a longer position when we didn’t want them to. This is something that could be addressed with future iterations of the unit. And if the makers of the bipod could get the price down a couple hundred dollars as well, I think shooters would flock to it.
5. Allied Precision Arms DMS
Price: $160 • Weight: 11.2 oz.
This unit was one of the biggest surprises of the test. Despite having fixed-length 8-inch legs, the DMS is able to adapt to an impressive variety of terrain, thanks to the 180 degrees of independent adjustment in the legs. Likewise, its light weight—just 11.2 ounces—didn’t compromise its ruggedness and strength in any way. We were able to put our full weight behind the rifle with one bipod leg braced against barricades without issue.
The 180 degrees of leg mobility makes this bipod easy to stow, and because it doesn’t weigh much, it does not upset the balance of the rifle when shooting off-hand the way a bulkier bipod will.
The only category where the DMS didn’t excel was recoil management. When the legs are deployed in any position other than at 90 degrees, the amount of spring in the bipod causes the rifle to bounce noticeably under recoil.
The shooter also needs to be careful not to get any lubricant on the tension-adjustment wheel. Any oil in there will reduce the friction needed to keep the rifle upright, causing it to flop to the side.
At $160, this was the best value in the test. This U.S.-made bipod is very durable and able to accommodate a wide range of shooting scenarios with ease.
6. Sinclair Tactical
Price: $230 • Weight: 1 lb. 10.2 oz.
This bipod from Sinclair has been around for several years now, and I’ve used one on any number of rifles since it was introduced. Unique among the bipods in the test is the way its legs can be positioned at different widths. This gives the shooter a lot of flexibility to get his rifle at different heights and to adapt to different shooting surfaces.
The bipod deploys and stows easily, and another nice feature is that the legs are easy to remove from the frame should the shooter wish to unencumber his rifle. The downside here is that the legs come off so easily that you run the risk of having it happen at an inopportune time.
The Sinclair is also pretty fussy. It requires regular maintenance to keep it free of dirt and needs to be well-lubricated to run smoothly. Also, the fasteners on the legs will invariably work loose and need to be retightened. Despite its name, it is the least “tactical” bipod in the test.
These issues aside, it does an excellent job with every type of shooting chore. It handles recoil well, is a pleasure to shoot from while prone, and adjusts easily. If you like to mess with your gear and are willing to take care of this bipod, it will take care of you. If you want to just throw a bipod on your rifle and forget about it, the Sinclair probably isn’t the way to go.
7. Harris HBRS
Price: $132 • Weight: 13.2 oz.
The Harris HBRS is the benchmark for what constitutes a quality bipod. Hunters and shooters around the world have used them for decades. You can spend less on a bipod, but you shouldn’t. The S-series swivels, so the rifle can be canted to either side, allowing the bipod to adapt to uneven ground.
The design is simple, strong, and proven. The legs snap into place quickly and can be extended with one hand by pushing on a tab. Deploying a single leg to brace against a barricade is easy to do, and a shooter can put his full weight into the rifle and not harm the bipod.
Because the Harris doesn’t pivot, it doesn’t handle movers as smoothly as some others, though there are aftermarket parts that can be added to give it this ability. (Likewise, adding an aftermarket throw lever to the wheel that controls the tension for the canting is a smart move.)
The Harris does everything a bipod is supposed to do, and does it well. It manages recoil nicely, works excellently from prone, is very easy to use, doesn’t weigh much, and is built to take a lot of abuse.
8. Versa Pod
Price: $380 • Weight: 1 lb. 7.6 oz.
The Versa Pod system is, on the one hand, exciting and admirable for the amount of thought and clever features it incorporates, yet it’s disappointing for its shortcomings, which we found impossible to overlook.
The good news first. It lives up to its name, given how versatile its mounting hardware is. You can put it on pretty much any rifle with a rail or swivel stud. The kit also comes with three pairs of feet—big claws, flat pads, and rubber ends—that are a cinch to swap out. Also, by purchasing bases for all different rifles, you can easily move the bipod from one firearm to the next.
It performs well, too. The head swivels for movers, tracking them nicely, and the bipod does a great job with prone shooting.
The Versa Pod lost points on durability. Following our torture test, the frame showed significant galling and wear. It also had problems when we shot from barricades because of how loose and floppy the legs are. The Versa Pod doesn’t have the ability to cant much nor was it able to adapt to uneven ground as well as other bipods in the test.
Bipod Test at a Glance