In this article we’re going to discuss bipods and barricades. More specifically, we’re going to talk about how to set up your bipod on the rifle to make interacting with barricades a bit easier. We’ll also go over some ways you can use the bipod itself for extra support when shooting off a barricade or other obstacle. The idea for this article came up in a Harris Vs Atlas bipod debate. If you’re interested in some of the features and differences of those two bipods, we’ve got an article for that! Too! For this article though I want to show you guys a couple tricks that will hopefully be useful if you decide to try a match that has some alternate position shooting built into some of the stages. I’m also going to say this from the start, not every technique works for everyone. Try different stuff out for yourself and see what works for YOU!
Bipods and Barricades
So if you weren’t aware, positional shooting is becoming all the rage these days. In an effort to make competitions more challenging, and to allow training of LE/MIL to more closely mirror real life, positional shooting is being stressed. When I say positional shooting, I’m talking about something other than prone. Either sitting, kneeling, standing, off a barricade, off a tripod, off a car, etc. I’ve even seen photos of matches with folks shooting off of horse saddles or toilets. The idea is to take shooters out of their comfort zone and get them off the ground. As soon as that happens, you take away a lot of support for the rifle. As a result you will start seeing movement in the sight picture. We can write article after article on the different shooting positions, and that’s in the works. For today, we want to focus on getting the rifle to interact with the bipod.
The inspiration for this article had to do with a discussion I saw on bipods and their use on and around barricades. Specifically, the point of contention was how important the speed of leg deployment was. The reason behind this was an example of shooting through a window where the rifle wouldn’t fit with the bipod legs deployed. The shooter believed that alone was reason enough to go with a bipod where the legs could be folded or unfolded quickly to save time on the clock. Here’s an example of what he’s talking about.
So how do you get around this? I’m going to show you an easy trick when it comes to mounting your bipod. If you mount the bipod a few rail slots, key mod slots, MLOK slots, whatever behind the front of the forearm of the gun, you leave yourself an artificial ledge. I know we all want to mount the bipod as far forward as possible, as this makes the arc the barrel swings through smaller when the rifle is supported by the bipod. That does lead to more stability, however, I doubt 1/2″ to 1″ of real estate on the front of the rifle is going to hurt you. Mount your bipod like this:
By creating that small ledge, you give yourself a way to plant the front of the rifle on the edge of a barricade, or the lip of a window, or whatever, without having to collapse the legs of the bipod. That saves time! However, there are other advantages to running the legs extended in conjunction with the ledge. The first is leverage. With the legs collapsed, or the rifle resting on the handguard/forend if you push into the rifle what happens? The rifle slides forward. With the legs down, and a ledge in front of the bipod, you can lean into the barricade and press against it with the bipod. That helps you solidify your shooting position and firm things up for a positional shooting stage. By having the bipod legs down, you can also use them as a support lever and something bigger to grab ahold of as you shoot.
The other advantage to running the legs down is when you have to shoot over the top of a barricade, pole, whatever. Sometimes pushing into the barricade doesn’t work. Here’s an easy example why: not all barricades are created equal. If you have just a sheet of plywood acting as a barricade, it’s likely to be a lot flimsier than what I’m using in these photos. So pushing into it is just going to move it, flip it forward and back, etc. So here’s another tip, drop the rifle on top of it…and pull the bipod back into the front of the barricade. Then you can use your support hand to steady the front of your gun and hold the barricade. This allows you to create pressure against it even if it isn’t as solid as some barricades out there!
Bipods and Barricades and Tips
A couple other quick tips for you guys. The first has to do with using the magazine as an improvised barricade stop. You have to be careful with this and see how much you can get away with on your rifle. Sometimes putting pressure on magazines can cause feeding issues so be aware of how much pressure you’re putting on the mag. However, it makes for an easy barricade stop that’s always with you and on the gun. I tend to find this most useful if you’re doing a standing shot or a high kneeling shot off a barricade. By supporting the rifle close to the center of balance there’s less reason for the front, or the back, end to want to move around on you.
Lastly, if you’re able to, try to support the rifle not just on the bottom, but one of the sides. If you have an L shaped surface to shoot off of try to get the gun wedged into the 90 degree corner of the L as a way of really sandwiching the gun up against something sturdy on two sides. Remember, the name of the game with positional shooting is adding as much support as possible to steady the gun for your shot. The whole point is that it’s an unstable position, so do whatever you can to take some of the movement out of the rifle before your shot.
Some of positional shooting is trickery. Knowing little ways to squeeze every bit of stability out of a non prone position is important. However, a lot of positional shooting is practice. Most guys feel really comfortable shooting prone. So why spend all your time doing something you already feel pretty comfortable doing? If I blow a shot in the prone, nine times out of ten, it was a bad wind call. It wasn’t because my position had issues. So if prone has become fairly second nature and you don’t have to put a lot of thought into it…move on guys! Build yourselves a barricade and start practicing positional shots. They’re becoming more and more common in competition and if you’re MIL/LE it’s probably where you’re going to take the majority of your shots anyway. Spend your time on what you aren’t good at, and you’ll get better. Spend all your time working on what you’re already good at, and you’ll remain good at one thing. If you have any comments or questions, drop them below!