When searching for the best shooting mat, you need to balance a variety of factors. You want a mat that’s big enough to hold you and your rifle all day, but you also want one that’s light enough to pack in and out. Every mat has its own bonus features, so you’ll also want to take those into account.
Most of all, you want a mat that’s comfortable and dry. Morning dew, rocky ground or that one annoying tree root shouldn’t ruin your day. We’ve looked at five of the top-selling shooting. Here’s the rundown on these popular choices.
- Top 5 Best Shooting Mats On The Market 2021 Reviews
- Ranking the Best Shooting Mats
Top 5 Best Shooting Mats On The Market 2021 Reviews
Crosstac Precision Range Shooting Mat
|(5 / 5)|
84” x 36”
NcStar VISM Roll Up Shooting Mat
|(4.7 / 5)|
69” x 35”
|(4.6 / 5)|
69” x 48”
|(4.4 / 5)|
85” x 27”
|(4.5 / 5)|
66” x 35”
1 Crosstac Precision Range Shooting Mat
The Crosstac Precision Range Shooting Mat is a large, durable, waterproof shooting mat. The integrated bipod rail at the front of the mat is perfect for reducing muzzle jump, holding your rifle stable for a follow up shot. The thick, durable foam padding will keep you comfortable for a full day of hunting. The foam is rated for cold temperatures as low as -75 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can use this mat even in the Alaskan winter. It’s a bit pricier than the other options, but you definitely get what you pay for.
At 36 inches in width, it’s one of the wider mats on the market, which is a benefit when you’re spending all day in the woods. It’s also one of the longest mats out there, so even tall shooters with long guns will be comfortable. This mat only weighs 4 pounds, so it’s light enough for deep woods use.
The water-resistant coated polyurethane coating is where the Crosstac mat really shines. It stays dry under all conditions, and is slip-resistant. There’s a reason the Navy Seals use this mat on their range. The Crosstac Precision Range Shooting Mat folds shut rather than rolling up, and doubles as a rifle case. Just lay down your rifle, close the velcro straps, and walk away. It comes in two colors: coyote brown and multicam camouflage.
2 NcStar VISM Roll Up Shooting Mat
If you’re on a budget, it’s hard to do better than the NcStar VISM Roll Up Shooting Mat. It’s PVC, not polyurethane, so it won’t take as much of a beating as the other options, but it’s still water resistant. It provides more padding than other shooting mats in the same price range.
This value comes at the expense of size. At only 69 inches long, even average height shooters are liable to find themselves resting their bipods on the ground. That said, this mat is 35 inches wide, so you’ll have plenty of elbow room.
The NcStar VISM mat may be water resistant, but it’s a bit slippery. The slip-resistant elbow and knee pads are sticky enough to provide good grip, but require you to stay in more or less the same position. This can get uncomfortable over the course of a day in the field.
At 3.95 pounds, this is a light, portable mat. It rolls up into a 19.5 inch long cylinder that’s only 8.5 inches in diameter. You can carry this mat on top of your backpack and use it to double as a sleeping mat, or use the integrated handle or over-the-shoulder strap to carry it by itself. The carry strap also doubles as a brace for your bipod, to reduce recoil.
This mat comes in six colors: black, gray, green, tan, camo and digital camo.
3 VooDoo Tactical Roll Up Shooter’s Mat
This is the most comfortable mat we’ve reviewed. It’s thick enough that you could hunt deer while laying on a bed of nails. It’s made from old-school canvas, so the surface is water resistant and provides a reasonably good grip. The cost is middle of the road, so it won’t break the bank.
The VooDoo Tactical Roll Up Shooter’s Mat has a unique shape. It flares out at the shoulders, where it’s 48 inches wide for plenty of comfort while you’re shooting. You’ll have to rest your bipod on the ground, though; this mat is only 69 inches long.
It has removable storage pouches for tools and ammo, bullet slots for larger rounds, and a field book pocket with a pen holder. This mat rolls up to 20 inches by 8 inches, which is pretty compact, but all these features and the thick material come at a cost: this mat weighs 9 pounds, more than twice as much as most other mats. If you’re doing any kind of deep woods activity, you’re probably better off going with something lighter.
The VooDoo Tactical Roll Up Shooter’s Mat comes in four colors: black, coyote tan, olive drab and digital camo.
4 Boyt Harness Bob Allen Tactical Shooting Mat
The Boyt Harness Bob Allen Tactical Shooting Mat is another solid, middle-of-the-road shooting mat. The polyurethane shell has a rubberized coating, so the entire surface is non-slip and waterproof. At 1 inch thick, it’s not the most comfortable mat out there, but it’s good enough to get the job done.
This mat is an oddball in terms of dimensions. At 85 inches long and 27 inches wide, it’s both the longest and the narrowest mat we’ve reviewed. On the one hand, even tall hunters will have plenty of room to rest their bipod on this mat. On the other hand, even smaller individuals will struggle to find enough elbow room. I’m only 5’9” tall and my elbows slipped off the sides of this mat.
The Bob Allen Tactical Shooting Mat is the best deep woods shooting mat we reviewed for one reason: weight. It only weighs 2.2 pounds, and rolls up into a 27 inch by 7 inch cylinder, so you can carry it easily on top of a backpack. Like the NcStar VISM Roll Up Shooting Mat, it doubles nicely as a sleeping mat. If you’re on a shorter excursion, you can just use the handle or the carrying strap instead. This mat is only available in coyote brown.
5 VISM by NcStar Rifle Case Shooting Mat
This mat is really a mixed bag. No, literally. It’s actually a backpack that doubles as a rifle mat. It has regular handles and an over the shoulder strap if you’re a more traditional type, but the rebels out there can wear their rifles in a backpack with this versatile rifle case.
When you get to where you’re going, your backpack will unfold into a 66 inch by 35 inch mat that’s water resistant but not terribly comfortable. It’s the shortest mat we reviewed, so expect to be resting your bipod on the ground. That said, it’s wide enough for most purposes. The surface is slippery when wet, so you’ll need a towel to wipe off dew or light rain.
As a carrying case, the VISM by NcStar Rifle Case Shooting Mat has plenty of storage for ammo, maps, and magazines. It also has a transparent window for your hunting license. What it doesn’t have is quality construction. The nylon straps are cheap, and the seams look like they’d tear in a stiff breeze. The material itself is thin enough to be torn by the front sight on a rifle, and the zippers and buckles are all made of plastic. At 6.2 pounds, this mat is also on the heavy side.
By trying to make a hunting accessory that does everything, NcStar produced one that does everything badly. The middle of the road price tag and plethora of features may make this product tempting, but it’s probably the worst mat we reviewed.
Ranking the Best Shooting Mats
Weight versus comfort
You want to be comfortable. The longer you’re spending in the field, the more comfortable you want to be. On the other hand, you don’t want to be carrying too much weight. The further you have to hike to your favorite hunting spot, the less weight you want to carry.
If you’re hunting in your own back yard (you lucky dog), you may want a comfortable, but heavy shooting mat like the VooDoo Tactical Roll Up Shooter’s Mat. If you’re hiking thirty miles into the deep woods, you may prefer something very light like the Bob Allen Tactical Shooting Mat, even at the expense of comfort. Of the mats we reviewed, the Crosstac Precision Range Shooting Mat was the second most comfortable, and weighed only 4 pounds.
A non-slip surface is important
We don’t all get to choose when we go hunting. Sometimes, Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and we end up hunting in the rain. Even under ideal conditions, morning hunts can involve a lot of dew. If your shooting mat isn’t non-slip, you may find yourself missing that ten-point buck.
Of the mats we reviewed, the VISM by NcStar Rifle Case Shooting Mat was the only one that wasn’t slip resistant. The regular NcStar VISM was only partially non-slip, so that mat fails this test as well.
What extra features do you need?
This depends entirely on what kind of hunting you’re doing. In general, mats with a lot of carrying capacity tend to be heavier and harder to carry. These can be a great solution if you have a short walk to wherever you’re hunting or if you’re driving to the range, since they hold all your gear and eliminate the need for other bags.
On the other hand, you may be hunting in the deep woods and carrying a heavy backpack anyway. In this case, you may prefer a lighter case that rolls up and goes on top of your backpack.
How good is the material?
You want a shooting mat that lasts, so quality counts. Good foam is better than cheap foam. Polyurethane is more durable than canvas or PVC. Metal buckles are better than plastic buckles. The Crosstac mat and the Bob Allen mat had the highest-quality construction, while both NcStar mats lagged in this category.
In terms of quality, versatility and size, the Crosstac Precision Range Shooting Mat was by far the best of the bunch. It’s not quite as comfortable as the VooDoo Tactical mat, but at half the weight, we’ll take the trade-off. Similarly, it doesn’t have as much storage as some options, but it does double as a rifle case, so it does enough in that area to be useful. Finally, it’s just the best-quality shooting mat we reviewed. From the integrated bipod rail to the non-slip coated polyurethane surface, everything about this mat is tough and durable. It will serve you well not just on the first hunt, but for years to come.