The infamous Harris Bipod versus the Atlas Bipod discussion! We’re going to tackle one of the more frequently asked and hotly debated topics in the precision shooting community in this post. There is a fairly large difference in price with the Harris running around $100 and the Atlas running between $220-280 depending on options. We’re going to explore the differences between the two most often used bipods in the shooting industry and what advantages and disadvantages the two bipods have over each other. It will be up to you to decide which one makes the most sense for you!
The Harris bipod! This is a bipod that has been around since most of us first learned what a bipod is and what it’s for. Since there are many versions of the Harris on the market we’ll be clear which one we are comparing to the Atlas from the get go. For the purposes of this discussion we’ll be discussing the Harris BRM-S Model in the 6″-9″ size. This is the model that features notches in the legs to allow for easily matching the extended leg height of the bipod. It also has the swivel option which allows the rifle to roll from left to right to adjust for uneven terrain. Tension on the swivel is achieved by tightening a nut on the rear of the bipod.
The big advantages of the Harris are as follows. The price is certainly a consideration, you can get a Harris bipod mounted up a lot cheaper than the Atlas bipod. However, I should point out that just because the bipod itself is not overly expensive, there are add on options that can easily bring the Harris bipod up to the Atlas bipod price level. I’m speaking of course of the KMW Pod Loc which is a $25 dollar option. This adds a tension lever in place of the knurled nut to easily lock and unlock the swivel function. There are also the Phoenix pod claws, which run about $100 over at Triad Tactical. Those add the ability to replace the rubber Harris feet with different more grippy options. If you combine those two options with the initial cost you are right around the $220 mark where the Atlas starts. So is the Harris really that much cheaper? I guess it depends!
Another advantage on the Harris bipod, the feet are quick to deploy. The legs are spring loaded and particularly in a competition setting this can make a difference. Some guys even manufacture paracord lanyards that attach to both feet with a pull in the middle so you can give the cord pull a yank and deploy both legs immediately and at the same time. Atlas bipod legs have to be deployed one at a time, manually.
Disadvantages to the Harris are less numerous. When compared to the Atlas bipod the Harris bipod does not have any ability to pan the rifle left and right above the bipod. If you are shooting a moving stage, you have to move the legs of the bipod to get that lateral panning with the Harris. Also while initial price is an advantage of the Harris bipod, the lack of an easy to use tension nut for the cant feature is a disadvantage. You really need the Poc Loc, it makes a world of difference. Also the lack of interchangeable feet options from the get go is a disadvantage.
A word about leg stiffness. This is something of a personal preference. Some people prefer the Harris bipod because there is no movement in the legs and the bipod legs lock open fairly solid with the spring tension. Other people prefer the little bit of movement in an Atlas bipod. I like that little bit of movement because it gives the shooter some tactile feedback as to when the bipod is loaded. Loading a Harris bipod can be a little trickier. If its overdone, as newer shooters often do, you wind up pushing the whole gun forward on the Harris bipod’s feet.
The Atlas Bipod
That Atlas bipod is manufactured by Accushot and is the creation of a super nice guy named Kasey. He had his own set of preferences for bipod use and developed one with the features that he longed for when using other bipods on the market. One of the more notable things the Atlas bipod brought to the market was the ability to pan, as well as cant, the rifle mounted above the bipod. This means when tracking a moving target the legs stay planted firmly and the rifle will pan back and forth above. That’s definitely something that’s listed on the advantages side of the discussion.
Other advantages of the Atlas bipod when compared to the Harris bipod include a single tension knob that controls both cant and panning of the rifle. Atlas bipod feet are removable, replaceable, and different options for different surfaces exist from claws to spikes to skis! The legs telescope outward and have notches the same as the Harris bipod. A notable difference in the leg design is that the Harris bipod legs will only extend down to the perpendicular 90 degree setting. Atlas legs can be extended from stowed forward, to 45 degrees forward, to 90 degrees, to 45 degrees rearward, to stowed rearward. This gives you some flexibility and freedom with where the bipod is mounted and what accessories you mount in the same area because you can stow the legs in either direction.
We mentioned the bit of movement in the legs when loading an Atlas bipod. I really like the feel because it’s a mental reminder of the correct shooter position behind the bipod. I believe it is also useful under recoil as the rifle will go from loaded before firing, it then rocks back against the shooter under recoil, and if the shooter’s follow through is correct it will then rock back forward without the feet slipping forward and back in the process. If you watch this video closely you can see that happen!
Wrapping Up the Bipod Discussion
At the end of the day, like most other things, this is about shooter preference. If you are new and money is tight, the Harris bipod is probably the easier solution to getting things up and running. If price isn’t a consideration I suggest going with the Atlas bipod, it holds its value quite well and can be sold for a minimal loss. The Harris also has good resale value so you aren’t stuck with either one if you buy and decide you want to try the other option. The Atlas bipod weighs less than the Harris bipod, though the difference is unlikely to change your life. The legs can be deployed on the Harris bipod faster, but this can also happen by accident or they can fold on you when you wish they hadn’t. The Atlas bipod legs only move with deliberate effort. Again, you have to look at these features and decide which you like better and which fits your needs the best! If you have a question or concern, drop it in the comments below!