Perhaps some of the most important lessons you can learn in precision rifle shooting are about positioning and supporting your rifle. After all, with a rifle like the Desert Tech SRS A2 you need little more than support the rifle in the correct position and your nearly guaranteed a hit right?
All joking aside, there is some truth to that. Positioning your rifle properly, and supporting it in such a way that it makes a clean release is the best way to ensure more impacts on target. It was with that in mind that the SRS and HTI rifles received a monopod many years ago. A monopod is like a third bipod leg for your rifle, giving additional support to stabilize the rifle prior to making a shot. Today we will discuss the advantages a monopod gives you the shooter.
For most of precision rifle shooting history, marksmen have used some kind of rear support to ensure a steady platform to fire their shots from. And still today, many if not most still use an assortment of bags to stuff under the butt of their rifle. Monopods are typically used in conjunction with a bipod, forming what appears like a tail-dragging aircraft suspension. So why a monopod over a bag then? There are many reasons for using a monopod vs. a bag, but I’ll go over the ones that I find most useful.
First, the monopod is attached to trifle, it is always there and ready to use. A shooter using a monopod is accustomed to its presence, and can deploy or stow it at anytime depending on the needs of a particular shot. It doesn’t matter if you are in the heat of a fast paced competition, or taking your time for the perfect shot at a big moose across the canyon. A monopod is there, and can easily give you immediate rear support for your rifle. Traditional rear support bags are one more thing to carry around, forget, or misplace.
Second, one of the many theories taught by sharpshooters is to use solid support under your gun. For example, its much steadier to use a locked leg or elbow as support vs. using a flexed arm or leg. Muscle fatigue and other movements can cause slight variations while your trying to steady your rifle. So they teach you its much better to use bones over muscles, a straightened leg is more solid than a flexed one. The same principle can be applied to rear support with a monopod. The traditional rear bag is soft and malleable, part of its purpose is the ability to take up the space needed to support the rifle. This usually requires that the shooter squeeze or otherwise manipulate the bag. A monopod on the other hand is a solid mechanical device, much like the bones in your legs, once it is positioned it doesn’t give or move without input from you. It also doesn’t require you to squeeze or manipulate it while your trying to focus on breathing, trigger control and the reticle. Like the old food dehydrators, you can set it, and forget it. Focusing instead on the other inputs on the rifle.
The third advantage of a monopod is precision. The monopod on the SRS and HTI rifles has a macro and micro adjustment that are quick and very precise. You can quickly deploy the monopod to the ground, and as soon as you are on scope targeting, you can make micro adjustments to raise or lower the rear of the rifle. And as I mentioned above, once in position, the rifle stays there allowing you to focus elsewhere. By turning the knurled knob of the monopod, it’s height is adjusted in tiny increments allowing you as little or as much movement as you need.
Monopods have become more and more accepted by the shooting public. Many other companies have also manufactured monopods for precision rifles for the same reasons I listed, as well as others.
How the monopod works
Whether you are shooting from the ground in the prone, or from some sort of barricade structure, you can use the monopod to your advantage. Every part of the rifle should be used to create a more stable shooting platform, so you may have to balance the front of the rifle on something whether it be your bipod or something else. And the butt of the rifle will also need to be supported. The monopod can be a handy tool to add rear support.
Once in the firing position, you can look through the scope and center up you rifle on the target. The natural placement of the non-trigger hand goes straight to where the monopod is located. On conventional rifles there is often a butt-hook where the rear of the rifle is held and supported. On Desert Tech rifles there is a similar structure that also houses the monopod. By pulling down on the knob of the monopod, the spring loaded foot drops straight down to the surface beneath. As long as the knob is pulled down, the foot will extend and stay its full length with some slight spring pressure pushing it down. While pulling down on the monopod knob, you can raise or lower the butt of the rifle until it is centered on the target. Once there, you can micro adjust the monopod’s height by turning the knob clock-wise to increase height or counter-clockwise to reduce it.
Once you are setup on the monopod it is incredibly stable, so stable in fact it almost feels like cheating. Even after firing a shot, you can usually get back on the rifle and it will still be centered up on the target.
There are still those that choose to use bags over the monopod, we wont hold it against them. For a time the SRS A2 was available without the monopod, it was an add-on accessory. But so many people wanted the monopod that we ended up putting it back on as standard equipment after many requests.
The additional support of the Desert Tech monopod can certainly be an added tool for the dedicated marksman, and once you become proficient with it, I think it is faster and more precise than using the old squeeze bags. If you haven’t tried it, you need to.