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Many shooters prefer to use their firearms on their own property or in areas where “benched” ranges are not available. This is where the Shooterest comes in. The Shooterest is a portable, collapsible shooting bench that easily attaches to the back of a vehicle via a standard trailer hitch. The Shooterest takes the comfort of a “benched” range anywhere you and your vehicle want to go. There are two seats and shooting platforms, which have more than enough space for two adult males, their firearms and supplies.
The initial assembly was fairly straight forward, and it took me about 20 minutes to assemble by myself with only a 1/2″ socket and ratchet. Now let’s delve into some specifics. As far as transport goes the bench can be attached to you standard 2” receiver on your vehicle. The really convenient part is that the bench can be attached to the hitch fully assembled so it will only take about a minute or two to have it fully deployed and ready at your desired shooting location if you have another person to help you lift it. Once you are done shooting the take down is just as easy. You just take out the hitch pins, lift the Shooterest, and mount it back on the hitch.
Once the bench is properly mounted on the hitch you need to adjust the bench to the terrain. There are 14 knobs that screw into the bench to secure the table and seat height. First you need to set the two stabilizer bars on either side of the bench. Next you set the table height, and depending on whether or not you are shooting from a seated position set the seat height. The table height can be adjusted over three feet up or down and the knobs can be secured at any position along the way. It is important to note that the bench is essentially infinitely adjustable because there are no holes for the knobs to slot into. The knobs simply screw into the bench and you tighten them once you have found the height that works for you. Here is a video provided by Shooterest describing the setup process.
Another great thing about the Shooterest is that you do not even need a vehicle with a hitch to use it. The Shooterest can be set up free standing by rotating the hitch so that the longer end is facing the ground. This also allows shooters to use the Shooterest in places where their vehicles can’t reach, though the entire bench may be a bit heavy to lug around.
The steel components of the Shooterest are relatively high quality. While I was using the Shooterest the bench did not move even a tiny bit during an entire day of shooting until I wanted to re-adjust my shooting position. The steel components are stiff enough so that there is almost no deflection. This is especially important during transport because you would not want you Shooterest bending in the wind while you're driving. Also the adjustment nobs stayed securely in place no matter how much me or my vehicle were moving.
My only complaint about the quality of the Shooterest came from the material used on the table and bench pieces. In my review I tested the standard model which came with 7/16" painted OSB table and seat pieces. The 7/16” OSB was flexible enough that when a substantial force was applied to it the table would bend noticeably. With that being said, I did not find this to impact my shooting, however I was only shooting out to a maximum of 80 yards. As a matter of personal preference I would recommend the deluxe model which comes with 3/4" stained birch plywood. The 3/4" stained birch plywood would have been much sturdier and nicer looking.
The bench performed as advertised throughout my testing. I could not find anything that would make me question the reliability of the Shooterest. It was also raining the day I drove to the range and there was no corrosion on the Shooterest which means the steel is also fairly corrosion resistant. I can’t imagine that anyone would have any reliability issues with the Shooterest given its quality and simplicity.
The Standard Shooterest, which I tested, retails for $389.00. There is also a deluxe model which includes 3/4" stained birch plywood and retails for $489.00. Given that there are no competitors to the Shooterest I would say that it is an excellent value for the platform it provides shooters.
I would recommend this bench to anyone who spends time at a benchless range. The bench offers shooters a secure shooting platform that is both portable and easy to use. If you spend almost any amount of time at a shooting area without a fixed bench then the Shooterest is for you.