Author: Jeff Edwards
Welcome to the first part of a two-part series designed to discuss the modern adaptation of the tactical bipod on rifles.
Why a two-part series? Well, a bipod has two legs and it seemed somewhat on brand.
Not to mention that there is a lot to say about this topic as I understand that we are combatting decades and a generation of training that says bipods are only for larger crew served weapons.
Yet, peruse any modern photography coming from the front lines of the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan and you’ll notice the bipod has become more common than many of us older veterans would have thought.
Personally, I am a United States Marine Veteran who served in Iraq and apart from the M249 SAW or 240G, I never saw a bipod on a weapon the entire time that I was in country.
Granted, that was 2003 Iraq and shame on us if we have not learned a tactical lesson or two after the past two decades of combat.
So with your permission, I would like to invite you to join me on the evolution of the modern tactical bipod.
Using a Tactical Bipod is not Cheating
Perhaps the first clue that the tactical bipod brings genuine value is the jealousy many of us older veterans feel when we see them on modern rifles. It just seems like cheating.
At least that is the first emotion that popped into my mind when I began to notice them while perusing images of the war I long left behind. I confess that much of that is a bit of “old corps” nonsense that takes place from generation to generation. Yet, upon further analysis it is quite revealing.
Why should the modern generation of Marines get a stable platform from which to shoot when I had to balance it on my skinny elbow?
If you wanted to cheat, after all, that’s what resting the rifle on the magazine is supposed to achieve. Though we are trained to never rest the rifle on the magazine. At some point, we have to admit that criticism of the tactical bipod is nothing more than tactical envy.
I think back to every instance in which I laid in the gritty dirt or set up a position in the rubble of an urban environment, and it seems that I would have wanted a bipod 9 times out of 10. I’m jealous, you may be too, and it's best we go ahead and admit that so we can have an honest conversation about the bipod.
When I was younger, I used to think the use of the modern RV when camping was cheating.
Fast forward to my mid 40’s and the early arthritis the Marine Corps has gifted me in my back and an RV seems much less like cheating.
Moreover as the famous maxim goes, if you find yourself in a fair fight then your tactics suck. Or as it's been said, the most important rule in a gunfight is always win and cheat if necessary.
Using a rifle bipod is not cheating my friends and if it was, then who cares.
The Technical Benefits of the Tactical Bipod
Fortunately, the modern adoption of the rifle mounted bipod is backed by more than opinion and envy. What we perceive as common sense is actually backed by a great deal of ballistic evidence.
Granted, the bipod doesn’t do anything to affect the bullet itself. Nor does it change the ballistic information of the rifle.
With a bipod or without, the rifle and ammunition will perform in the exact same manner. Rather, what the bipod does is bring consistency and predictability to the biggest variable of all during the shooting process. Namely, that would be the shooter.
Accuracy is by far the primary benefit of using a bipod.
I can remember training with my M16 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. We’d spend countless hours learning the rifle and becoming familiar with it.
After all, this is my rifle, there are many like it, but this one is mine as the Rifleman’s Creed goes.
During the final month of recruit training, we head north to Camp Pendleton where we finally get to fire the rifle. Yet, before we did we were forced to spend an entire week aiming in on silhouettes.
The whole goal was to help us feel comfortable in the various shooting positions, so as to create a stable platform.
Finally, when it came time to shoot and qualify, we were taught how to take our rifle sling and essentially turn it into a tourniquet that tightened up our shooting stance even more. At the time, it seemed silly as there was certainly no chance that we’d have time to do as much in combat.
Yet, it was remarkably effective and your average Marine recruit was hitting a man-sized target from 500 yards out while shooting from the prone position.
All that work and now, they are issuing bipods to nearly every Marine. You see why I’m a little jealous?
The bipod accomplished a stable shooting platform that increases the accuracy of the shooter. That’s why you see them in long-range precision shooting competitions and that’s why you see them in combat.
Combat Informed and Ready for Action
Finally, and perhaps the strongest endorsement, the adoption of the modern tactical bipod came not from laboratory or war college, but from the gritty streets of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan.
As I mentioned earlier, my experience was from the early days of the GWOT wars and a significant amount of my training in the late 90’s was still littered with the remnants of lessons learned in Vietnam.
Apart from the brief fighting during the original Gulf War, there was just not much other opportunity to apply hard earned combat lessons.
My experience in Iraq taught me that a stable shooting platform was difficult to come by. That was partly due to the terrain, but also due to the fatigue that long foot patrols would place upon us. That fatigue made it difficult, apart from the rush of adrenaline, to maintain a stable platform.
Meanwhile, I look over at the Marine carrying the M249 SAW next to me and he is resting comfortably with his bipods deployed.
Whether you are setting up on a rocky berm in the valleys of Afghanistan or setting up in the window of a rubble littered house, a bipod gives you both a stable platform and the endurance to sit at the ready for extended periods of time.
The military has adopted the wide deployment of bipods because decades of combat experience has told them that it works. If that were not the case, you wouldn’t see them. It is little different than the wide adaptation of optics on your standard infantry rifle.
This too was a rarity in 2003, but today, you see optics on nearly every rifle. Combat does not lie and it is the 2nd place finisher in a gunfight that knows this all too well.
A Summary Endorsement of the Tactical Bipod
The objective consensus is that bipods increase accuracy. The combat informed lesson is that tactical bipods greatly assist your ability to gift a final dirt nap to the bad guys.
Personally, bipods have my endorsement because I figure if you can’t beat the cheaters, then join them.
They work, because they just do. Now the quality of the bipod does matter and as such, you’ll find only the finest engineered products here at Tier One.
We use space age materials including very high quality carbon fiber and 7075T6 aluminum. Not a single piece of the manufacturing process is outsourced to the cheapest third world producers. This is engineering without compromise at a level so high, we even provide the British Special Forces with some of our products. They choose Tier One because combat has informed them that our products work.
That’s it for the first piece in this series and we’ll pick up the next segment by highlighting the tactical and practical benefits of a bipod in more detail. Don’t miss it and remember to peruse the rest of our offerings here at Tier One.
About the author:
Jeff Edwards is a United States Marine veteran of Iraq who served as an infantryman during the early days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. In addition to being a lover of the 2nd Amendment he runs the blog UnprecedentedMediocrity.com and regularly contributes the written word as a freelance writer and blogger.