The 4 Best Shooting Mats — Prone Rifle Mat Reviews 2020

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Photo by Conor McDermottroe / CC BY

Many shooting sports require the use of a good shooting mat. A seemingly simple concept of heavy cloth, maybe with a couple of pouches for pens or ammo, and the like, shooting mats come in a seemingly bewildering array of styles and variations. This isn’t too surprising, however, since the concept and execution are simple so companies are constantly fighting to come up with something different, much to the benefit or sometimes to the detriment of the consumer.

But fear not, we, your trusty and reliable reviewers have waded through the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of shooting mats and bring you our 4 choices for the best shooting mat.

Bob Allen Tactical Shooting Mat

This one is strictly back to basics, with a couple modern twists. Filled with closed cell foam for comfort, and made with water resistant poly fabric, this quality entry level shooting mat offers comfort and convenience for not much money. Unrolling to a whopping 85 inches by 27 inches, this shooting mat has all the room in the world for a comfortable shooting stance and to keep you and your rifle off the ground. Lightweight, easily transported, highly durable and easy to use, if you like to keep it simple, then this is the best shooting mat for you!

Voodoo Tactical Roll Up Shooter’s Mat

This one is probably the absolutely top shooting mat we are looking at. It’s an incredibly feature rich product that has most anything a dedicated rifle shooter might want. A generous 69” long when unfolded, this shooting mat features storage compartments, cartridge loops, extra wide areas to rest your elbows on if needed, and plenty of space for you and your gear.

The mat (see full specs) available in three tactical colors, plus multicam camouflage. I’d be hard pressed to find a better shooting mat without spending a lot more money and running into the real issues of diminishing returns for your investment. Bottom line, unless you are a professional sniper (and I’m not even sure this is an exception), get this shooting mat period.

VISM Roll Up Mat

This should be the first and last choice for the best shooting mat on a budget. At this price range, this no-frills, no-gimmicks mat gives you just what you need for comfortable shooting, and nothing else. Foam padded, covered in a water and chemical resistant PVC cloth, and unrolling to an extremely comfortable 69-inch length, this is just the mat for your wallet friendly shooting needs.

While short on features, it is long in size and cost savings. Let’s face it, sometimes you just need what amounts to a comfortable pad you can quickly unroll and get to shooting off of, or maybe you want a spare to keep in the trunk for your buddy who always forgets gear or to give as a gift to a new shooter. Either way, it’s tough to beat the combination of quality material, size, and cost that goes into this handy little shooting mat.

NCStar Rifle Case/Shooting Mat

Here is one for you guys who hate carrying redundant gear. If you are already lugging a rifle case, doesn’t it make sense for it to unfold into a kick butt shooting mat? I think it does, and so does NCStar.

Available in four tactical colors, this shooting mat has storage pockets for both gun case and shooting mat duty, is built of rugged modern synthetic fabrics, fits most popular guns, and is an absolute must for the light traveling shooter or hunter who still demands the utility and comfort of a shooting mat. As an added bonus, it’s cheaper than some dedicated tactical rifle cases, making it an extra win. This is likely the best rifle case/shooting mat on the market.

Shooting Mats, Shooting, And You

A prone shooting mat is one of those seemingly self-explanatory things that actually require some explaining. A simple concept, a padded cloth that you unroll, and lie on to engage in prone shooting, the shooting mat has evolved into an entire complimentary system.

In its most basic form, you get little more than the aforementioned mat. Don’t settle for one that doesn’t feature water resistant synthetic fabric; otherwise, you are just begging for mold, rips and tears. Durable, modern fabrics hold up to hard outdoor use, and can last years before needing replaced. The concept is so simple, there is little reason to compromise at this stage.

Any good rifle shooting mat should also neatly roll up and feature a built in carrying handle to make transport simple. Again, basic features that should be a given at this point.

But you say, I don’t want a basic shooting mat; I want something nicer. Well, I don’t blame you there. Moving on up, let’s insist on storage pockets for you to slide a couple of spare mags or the like into, maybe some cartridge loops for you to keep loose rounds in, and perhaps an added area where you can securely place your bipod without it slipping. Some mats use the carrying handle for this purpose, others feature an additional strip of cloth.

Length and width are important, but that is very shooter dependent. I’m a tall man, I like a shooting mat at least seven feet long, and a bit longer is even better, so I have plenty of room to stretch out. Others will be happier with a shorter mat. Also, I like a wide mat or one with wings off to the side so I can have more room for all my associated shooting gear, but on a long enough mat, that doesn’t matter so much.

The end result is you shouldn’t buy the so-called best shooting mat unless it’s long enough, rugged enough and well equipped enough to actually use well. They are an inexpensive investment that will greatly add to the comfort and pleasure of your shooting sessions, and heck, even a great thing to roll over on and take a quiet mid-day nap between range sessions!

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