Creating the Ultimate Shooting Mat
There were prickly pear cactus everywhere, so I broke out my shooting mat. I unroll my mat, then it curls back up on itself. Again and again. Damn. I'm holding all kinds of crap in my hands, including my rifle, and this mat won't cooperate. I'm literally trying to get it to unfurl with my boots. There has to be a better way...
What's the story behind our precision long range shooting mat?
A few years ago, I was shooting at a competition and warming up the day before. There were prickly pear cactus all over the range, so I broke out my shooting mat. Now comes the comedy... I unroll it and then it curls back up on itself. Unroll, curl back up. Again and again. Damn. I'm holding all kinds of crap in my hands, including my rifle, and this mat won't cooperate. I'm eventually trying to get it to unfurl with my boots.
A half-hour later it is finally warm enough from the sunshine that it relaxes and straightens out. In the tru Crosstac tradition, I'm thinking, there has to be a better way.
As I'm shooting on the finally unfurled mat, I'm feeling pain in my left kneecap and left elbow. I'm off the side of the mat and getting stuck with cactus points. Either the mat is too narrow or I'm too wide. Considering I'm 6'2 and 225 lbs and don't eat junk food, I'm not wider than the average American. It's the damn mat - it's only 22 or 24" wide. That's clearly not enough - it's either the rifle or me in the dirt. I prefer neither in the dirt. Why the heck do I even own a mat? To protect my hide! It's clear, this standard mat that almost everyone sells isn't cutting it. Mental note to self... find a wider mat after this match is over.
I find out later that a well-conceived mat does not exist.
Later in the day, the sun is really baking. So I'm down to a t-shirt and I head up to the line to shoot again. I lay down on the mat and yelp - the mat is about a thousand degrees! It's the rubber non-skid on the top of the mat. It has absorbed so much heat from the 105 degree day, I honestly thought I got burned. Mental note to self... never build a mat with that rubber grip fabric (the kind we use on the Crosstac armorer mat and shooting bags with great success). Rubber where my white skin can touch it on a hot day though completely sucks.
So now I flip the mat over. Situation resolved. Except it looks like a damn porcupine because all the needles from the cactus are now sticking out of it. What a piece of junk. Not to mention, under recoil my bipod is moving around in the dirt and it would be nice if it didn't do that. WAIT! I have an idea... Bipod rail concept born.
The results of that day: The Crosstac Precision Long Range Shooting Mat.