How to Purchase The Best Shooting Rest

With so many choices, it can be a quite difficult task to choose the best shooting rest that meets all your shooting needs. Don’t worry! This little guide will help you to select the best one. But, first you should consider what type of gun rest you need .

Generally there are four types of shooting rests :

  • Lead Sled
  • Shooting Bag
  • Shooting Table
  • Shooting Pods

Your choice should be based on the type of use, obviously. You must choose whether you want, a shooting rest for hunting, target shooting, scope sighting, etc.
Do not worry, these topics will be discussed in the following guide.

What to Evaluate in a Shooting Rest

Cost: Value is something that obviously has to be evaluated. But do not be fooled by the price. You should not get carried away by this being too cheap or expensive. You should research and understand the real cost-benefit of the product. And remember that this is an investment, because if the quality is good, your shooting rest will and should last for many years.

Durability: This will not only impact the life of your product. But on how it will work during its lifetime. There’s no use for a rifle rest that is very good in the first few months, but that deteriorates easily with the time. To verify this, first of all check what it is made of. Get away from things that involve a lot of plastic.

Ease of Use: Being able to easily set it up and then fold it back down while walking through the woods is also a must if you are hunting, as well as the portability that comes from it. In this scenario you do not want heavy things like Lead Sleds, but lighter things, as Shooting Pods. You get it? Each situation is different.

Mechanisms: The operating mechanisms of the shooting rest chosen by you must be suitable for the desired function. If you want recoil reduction, choose products that have power distribution mechanisms, such as Lead Sleds. However, if you are looking for agility with a little recoil reduction, opt for front rests combined with shooting bags, or for just bags. Everything varies from your goal.

Seen this, it’s time to get to know a little of each category of gun rest.


Lead Sled

For those not acquainted with the lead sled, it is a rifle rest intended to completely contain and hold a rifle. There are an assortment of various lead sleds accessible, including the Caldwell Plus, the DFT, and the Solo. The primary motivation behind the lead sled is to decrease the human error factor. The purpose of expelling the human error factor is to diminish all the mistakes connected with the human element. This is planned so the shooter can get the most exact zero possible from the sights on their gun.

What`s It For?

A Lead Sled is essentially as enhanced and precise as a bench rest can be. The Lead Sled also lessen the recoil energy felt by the shooter, allowing the shooter to easily zero their firearm. This doesn’t sound like a big deal for most rifles, but when you get into the more aggressive big game rifles in calibers like the .458 Magnum, or the 375 H&H, the recoil is much more savage. Those rifles are not enjoyable or easy to shoot, so the reduction in recoil is a primary point to think of. Although this type of shooting rest is most of the time very heavy, it is necessary to add a little more weight to have a complete reduction of the recoil. The amount varies according to the power of the weapon, having as general choice the bags of leadshot or sand.

So, Does it Work?

The sled fulfills absolutely everything it promises. The Lead Sled has the ability to hold the rifle very firmly, so it does not slip, regardless of the caliber used, making zeroing your rifle a pleasurable and extremely easy task. This will work best if you use a good scope. However, it can also be done with iron sights, although it may not be the best option when dealing with long range shooting. With a good scope, the Lead Sled becomes the best option for tasks like patterning shotguns, verifying ammunition, or zeroing rifles.
Getting on target is somewhat clumsy and required the sled to be adjusted until the reticle is on target. Front elevation change causes the gun to move, and shake around, which shifts the POI. Since the Caldwell Lead Sled is intended for precision it’s critical you have your POI as precise as possible. The Caldwell DFT offers rear elevation which was greatly improved and did not move the rifle when alterations were made. The Solo model do not offer a rear adjustment tool.
Below you can see the process. Very simple and straightforward.

When it comes to reducing recoil, it’s virtually impossible to beat Calwell Lead Sled models. At the moment, no other brand offers a shooting rest that reduces up to 95% of recoil energy. In addition, the Plus and DFT models offer plenty of space, which translates into more weight capacity, and obviously a greater reduction of the recoil generated by your rifle. However, if you do not want something so massive, you can opt for the Lead Sled Solo, a lighter version that nicely serves the needs of equally light weapons.

It may seem that I am deifying the Caldwell models, but no, they are simply the best brand of this kind of tracking of the world of firearms. You do not have to trust me. Just ask any other experienced marksman and you’ll see that the highest quality brand for Lead Sled is Caldwell. However, feel free to check other brands. By the way, we have several reviews on the site about other brands(Kyskore, CTK, etc).


Not everything is wonderful, is not it?

Therefore, we can not fail to mention two factors that can be considered as disadvantages in the case of Lead Sleds. Are they:

  • Cost
  • Weight

The cost is not exactly a disadvantage, since if you put the cost of the ammunition that will be saved in the processes of zeroing your rifle, you will have a very reasonable economy if you have a Lead Sled.

Weight is definitely a disadvantage. But it is something that can not be modified. Otherwise the reduction of recoil will be affected.


Shooting Bags

Shooting bags certainly represent a revolution in the shooting world. We literally left sand bags for bags developed with high technology, where the intention is to assist in absorption of recoil and especially in the stability of the shooter and his gun. Every hunter and shooter in general looks for some means of stability that can be easily transported and mounted anywhere. This is another advantage of using the bag system.

What`s It For?

First of all, you should understand why these guys carry so many different bags. There is no specific and standardized rules to understand why one shot X uses one type of bag and the other uses another. Things have changed, it’s no longer about that old pattern of a sack with sand.

Generally speaking, it is common to see athletes carrying two or three different types of bags. It may seem exaggerated, but having the correct bag for that kind of situation makes the difference between the loser and the winner. As mentioned earlier, each person has their combination of bags, but obviously it is much more advantageous if you have a bag that is more versatile. Here are some examples of the types of bag that are most common among professional shooters:



The bags above represent just a few examples. (Picture from precisionrifleblog)

I will not go into this topic very deeply, because there is a real class on the Internet. The site “Precisionrifleblog” made an excellent post on the applications of shooting bags. I highly recommend opening another tab to read it later.


If you have read the front rests reviews that are on this site, you should have seen that the combination of front rests and shooting bags is almost a universal choice. If you plan to compete in Bench Rest or F-Class, it would be a good idea to think about which bag to buy, as they are very important.


The only negative point of the bags is that they do not absorb very well the energy generated by the shot. But as I said, it all depends on the type of category you shoot or your goal. For example: if you plan to acquire a shooting rest to zero your magnum rifle, it is obvious that a shooting bag is not the best option.


Shooting Tables

There is a popular saying that the highest of the towers began on the ground. When aiming for better performance in our shots, it is imperative that you have a shooting table firm as a rock. There is no point buying an excellent shooting rest and putting it on a surface that moves a lot. Invariably you will damage the performance of your gun.


I believe that there is no need to go very far in this matter, because it is something that speaks for itself.

If you have any questions, just access the shooting table reviews of the site.


Shooting Pods

Shooting sticks are designed to take the pressure off your body when shooting and improve accuracy. Most are easily portable and collapse down to fit into a medium-large backpack. Some even come with some straps to be easily transported.

There are a couple of different forms which we already discussed here: bipods, tripods, and field pods.

  • Tripods have three legs and stand effortlessly on their own.
  • Bipods have two legs and generally a handle for holding.
  • The field pod is a bigger unit that improve accuracy and long distance shooting. All are intended to keep your gun stationary.

If you are looking for a hunting shooting rest, your best bet is in this category. More precisely the field shooting pods, which have a very wide acceptability. Accepting various models of rifles, crossbow, and even photo cameras or scopes.

Among them, my recommendation goes to the Caldwell Dead Shot Field Pod Magnum, the hunters’ favorite.



If you’ve read this text so far, you probably already have a good idea of what gun rest you need. However, if you still have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me. It will be my pleasure to answer you.


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