Whether a sniper is law enforcement or military, having a steady rest makes for a better shot.
Many tactical rifles come equipped with bipods, which can certainly enhance steadiness when shooting prone or from a hard surface such as a wall or table. I shoot pretty well from a bipod and have gotten used to adjusting the legs to different heights for use on rough terrain. However, I generally shoot best from a sandbag or similar rest.
Unless shooting from a prepared position, most snipers will have to lug their sandbag into position. As a result, there are some relatively compact bags that can be carried in a pack. Some are designed to be carried empty and filled once a position is reached. From my point of view, that takes time and effort that could better be spent preparing hide—but that’s just me.
A separate issue for snipers deployed to a shooting position that they may have to hold for many hours, possibly days, is carrying necessities. Depending on the area, these may include waterproof clothing, warm clothing, rations, water, toilet paper and plastic bags, a rug or mat to lie on, and a change of underwear and socks. As a result, many snipers have a pack in which they carry their callout gear if they’re law enforcement or their combat gear if they’re military.
With their usual responsiveness to LE and military needs, Blackhawk offers a simple solution to having a rest and a pack. But let me digress a bit. Some of you are, no doubt, thinking that a pack makes a good rest, and it does. However, I have had my rifle shift as I prepared for a shot from a pack. I have also had at leastone pack cut by gasses escaping the muzzle brake when I didn’t get the barrel thrust forward enough. That was dumb on my part, but Murphy’s Law applies in tactical marksmanship as well as other areas.
Blackhawk’s S.T.R.I.K.E. Sniper Rest is designed to offer a solid shooting position and can be attached to any Blackhawk pack that will take Blackhawk’s #9 Speed Clips. I chose the Blackhawk Barrage Hydration Pack for use with the Sniper Rest.
Since this pack has a built-in hydration reservoir with external access, Microban ® antimicrobial treatment, and Blackhawk’s well-proven bite valve, it is excellent for carrying fluids. Dual antenna ports aid in setting up the comm system for maximum efficiency. Blackhawk terms the Barrage a “3-Day Assault pack on steroids!” That’s not a bad designation, as there are lots of internal pockets and storage points, plus S.T.R.I.K.E. attachment points on the pack and waist belt. However, priority should be given to mounting the Sniper Rest for maximum efficiency, since other items mounted on the back of the pack will likely impede use of the rest.
The Sniper Rest itself is 7.5 inches square and 2.5 inches high and has a resting point wide enough to take most rifle forearms. Both the Sniper Rest and Barrage Pack are available in black, coyote tan, olive drab and ARPAT camo. I would suggest ordering both in the same pattern, though I guess a combo of black and green or black and tan might offer good camouflage. I ordered olive drab for my combo, as I feel it is a versatile color.
I’ve been using the Sniper Pack and Barrage combo for more than six months as I write this. I carry it in my truck all the time and use the pack to carry a spare sweater, Gore-Tex jacket, shooting muffs, tactical gloves and miscellaneous other items. On hot days, I fill the reservoir with water.
I have been very happy with the Sniper Rest and Barrage Pack combo The pack serves well as my carryall for the gear I carry in my truck, so that I am prepared for any weather. When I need extra water, I can fill the hydration system. Even when I’m not shooting, the pack is handy. Should I want to test a rifle, I just pull the pack out and I’ve got a good rest. Hunters who carry a rifle in their vehicle for use in case they encounter game should find this rest/pack combo useful as well. By the way, other Blackhawk packs will work well with the Sniper Rest. I picked the one that I felt would work as a general-purpose pack when not using it as a shooting rest.
The suggested retail price of the Sniper Rest is $29.99 and the price of the Barrage Pack/Hydration System is $199.99.