Gear Court: Testimony on the Grip Pod from an expert witness

saraswatMaintaining a steady sight picture while shooting a rifle for extended periods of time can be challenging.  Whether or not we want to admit it, upper body strength impacts stability, but this is only part of the story.

Many rifle shooters have been instructed to position their support hand on the magazine well and to pull the rifle into the shoulder pocket to achieve stability.  This advice may not equate to a solid and stable shooting platform.  When shooters position their support hand on the front of the magazine well, their arms are so close together that the rifle is largely unsupported.  This can cause some shooters to lean back to compensate for gravity, instead of assuming a balanced, aggressive, forward stance.  This weak stance and grip can cause the shooter’s arms to tremor from fatigue faster than if they better supported the weight of their rifle. PB288218

To lessen the impact and onset of fatigue while shooting the rifle, the shooter should consider positioning their support hand in a comfortable location on the hand guards.   The use of a vertical fore-grip mimics the hand position shooters have become accustomed to when placing their support hand on the magazine well.  Since I have struggled with stability issues while shooting the rifle, I decided to try a bi-pod/vertical fore-grip combination called a Grip Pod System (GPS) (provided to me and available for purchase through Brownells), in an attempt to overcome these issues. It crossed my mind that the last thing I should do is to add more weight, but I am glad I ignored those initial concerns. My decision to add a G.P.S. resulted in good news, and bad news.  The bad news is, I still suffer from fatigue. The good news is, that through the use of the Grip Pod System, I was slower to feel the effects of fatigue because my hand position was more comfortable.  The improved comfort lead to improved accuracy.

PB288171The weight of the GPS-02 is 7 oz.  It is constructed of reinforced polymers. A second model, the GPS-01 is also available.  This model is military grade and is constructed of aluminum, and therefore, is heavier than the GPS-02.  I had concerns that the GPS would be too big for my hands, that the release of the bi-pod would be difficult, or that the product quality would be poor.  I discovered that none of these concerns were valid, and that the benefits of the GPS definitely outweighed the drawback of adding extra weight.  The construction of the Grip Pod System is solid, easy to operate, and fits my hand like a glove.

The GPS easily and securely mounts to a Picatinny rail system.  This allows the operator to adjust the location of the GPS so that the weight is comfortably distributed.  For me, it was this proper weight distribution, which resulted in a more stable shooting platform.

The GPS-02 features a push button, which releases the bipod.  This feature simplifies transitioning to a prone shooting position.  The bi-pod is released with a substantial amount of force.  In covert or stealth situations, the associated noise is a necessary consideration.  I attempted to reduce this noise by manually assisting the release of the bi-pod, but found it awkward, and nearly impossible to control given the small size of my hands.

Unfortunately, collapsing the bi-pod into the fore-grip is not as easy as the push of a button!  It is a manual task where the operator must gather both legs of the bi-pod and seat the legs back into the fore-grip.PB288186

Grip Pod Systems LLC, claim that “The G.P.S fore-grip allows better performance while moving through faster, more accurate target acquisition, and the G.P.S bi-pod allows better performance while prone through increased stability and precision.” I agree with their claims. I believe that any rifle shooter can benefit from using it, even though the G.P.S appears to be marketed solely for use by military and law enforcement personnel.~Sara Ahrens

*This Gear Court reviewer received this product from Brownells for free.

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    The Women's Outdoor News, aka The WON, features news, reviews and stories about women who are shooting, hunting, fishing and actively engaging in outdoor adventure. This publication is for women, by women.


The Conversation

  • Women's Outdoor News says: December 10, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Sara’s job as a SWAT team member certainly lends credibility to her reviews. We appreciate having her onboard at The WON.

  • Paige "Chicki Chicki" Eissinger says: December 10, 2009 at 8:01 am

    Great review, Sara! Although my experience in shooting a rifle is WAY less than yours, I learned a lot from it about how weight distribution in the grip is a key element to increasing accuracy and reducing fatigue. I remember shooting Babbs’ pink AK-47 and leaning back in order to balance the weight of the rifle and I can tell you, it wore me out and my accuracy was practically non-existent. Thanks for a well-written post that even a novice like me can understand and use as a resource!