MidwayUSA Heavy Duty Shooting Mat Gun Case, Nylon, Coyote Tan
One of the great pleasures in life is kit that’s nicely set up for use in the field. I have been limited by my gear to shooting ELR from places that are within a few hundred yards of the nearest road. I didn’t want to carry a 22lbs rifle and 30lbs of other kit plus a 20lbs target out too much further than that. Especially since all the kit sits in a Pelican case that weighs in at around 60lbs or thereabouts with the rifle in it. I finally gave in and got myself a drag-bag/shooting-mat. I got it primarily so I could go farther afield but also partially as a prep. MidwayUSA had a nice bag at a decent price which I decided to give a shot to. I’d seen many other bags that were well over 100 bucks and they didn’t seem to offer too much more than the Midway bag.
One thing you notice right away is that there is no main zipper. There are 4 plastic buckles which are quick and easy and never jam. Another thing you notice is that there are loops surrounding what becomes the perimeter so you can use tent pegs to keep the thing from blowing around in the wind. The small flap also has staking loops so you can lay your bipod legs on the flap, fold a few inches of the flap over toward the rifle and peg the fold to the ground with tent pegs. Now you’ve got a fabric wall holding your bipod legs so you can load the bipod without the rifle skittering forward.
The backpack straps on the bag are comfortable and stowable but a little more padding would be nice. When worn the bottom of the case is just at the bottom of your bottom so it’s not banging against your legs with every step and it’s not telescoping the rifle 2 feet over your head. The things that they got ergonomically right are not so much what I’m here concerned with but even the things that I think are buggered up are not deal killers or things that make the bag harder to use than you could deal with by developing procedures.
There are in fact some ergnomic fuck-ups. Once you pull the bag open and lay it down you’ll have to spin the rifle around 180deg so the bipod legs will end up on the flap which isn’t necessarily going to be a safe thing to do. If you’re in combat you’re being forced to move more than necessary and if you’re a sport shooter then your range master may not approve of rifles being waved around pointed at whatever is behind the firing line. The MOLLE loops inside the drag bag are just uncomfortable to use because you’ll end up laying on top of them and whatever you attached to them. The MOLLE loops should have not been put in the middle but instead on what would be the inside of one or the other side flap. If they’d have put the loops on both side flaps you’d have twice as much storage flexibility and then there’d be a good case for making the outside pockets movable and for not locating them on the outside of the bag.
There is a striking lack of MOLLE loops on the outside of the bag which kinda limits it as far as being attached to MOLLE or ALICE gear. The outside pockets are generous in size. The pockets outside the bag are equipped with MOLLE loops inside them which is nice. The way the big pockets was dealt with seems like a mistake too though. The pockets being on the outside is a sign of incomplete thinking and design. The pockets should be on the inside of the bag when it’s folded. That would allow you to get to your firing position, open the bag and start laying your incredibly expensive rangefinder, portable weather station, spotting scope and ballistic computer on your drag bag instead of laying those thousands of dollars of toys in the fucking mud and then moving them to the shooting mat. The way things are set up now you get in position, open the side pockets and pull out your expensive accessories, set them down and then open your drag bag, spin the rifle around and then pick up your goodies and set them on your now open drag bag. The pockets of your drag bag are now in the dirt as well. Hope you zippered them closed and don’t need anything else out of them. If there was a way to get into the pockets while laying on the shooting mat that would pretty much solve the problem.
The Nylon material is suitably tough. Basic care and cleaning should maintain it in serviceable condition for many years. At 80 bucks it’s a bargain despite the ergonomically questionable factors. It does hold my 28″ barreled long action rifle which doesn’t fit in most cases so it’s good to go for very nearly any rifle you’re likely to be dragging around in it.
I don’t know if I’d purchase another for sure but it’s looking that way. Either that or I’ll have to make one. The only better set up bag I’ve seen is a $600 Barrett M82 bag which is great if you’re shooting the Barrett boomer and are made of money.