Some people need all the help they can get to shoot straight. Whether to zero their rifle scope or to make tiny little groups of holes on paper, I see a lot of people lug around bipods, shooting bags, wood blocks, plastic rests, and even use their range bag as a rest. Rests can be bulky, easy to forget to bring or even very damaging to the finish on your rifle. Montie Gear was nice enough to send us one of their light weight AR Rests to test out. This item has led to the longest, loudest arguments between Ryan and myself (Alan), which is still ongoing every time we go to the range. But we’ll get into the single reason why later on.
The rest comes in 3 pieces that form together into a tripod form: the rear leg and two pieces with padding at the top. The padded pieces cross over each other, forming a V at the top for your rifle, and slide over a tab on the rear leg. A pin, tethered to the rear leg, goes through the end of the tab and locks the three pieces into place. That’s it really: it takes about 5 seconds to put together. They do include some rubber pads you can glue to the base of the legs but we never bothered as the little ridges on the legs work well enough for us.
The legs are made of aluminum and have a heavy duty powder coating. The legs are extremely skeletonized so the entire unit weighs 12.1oz – that is extremely light for a bench rest. When apart, the units stacks flat for easy storage in your range or field bag. Packed up it measures 15″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″. Assembled it gives you about 9″ of clearance, which works well for ARs, and takes up just under a square foot of footprint.
The process for making these, according to the manufacturer are:
– water jet cut them from 3/16 inch aluminum sheet
– tumble them to remove burrs
– apply a chromate finish
– powder coat them with an industrial grade finish
– screen print the logo
– tap the mounting hole and assemble EPDM bumpers
Despite all the steps involved, they’ve resisted going overseas for the manufacturing to lower the costs as they are proudly made in the USA.
Most of the work is done within 25 miles.
The unit is very stable when assembled and a rifle is resting on it. It generally doesn’t move really, unless on a smooth surface, even without the rubber pads. The padded V holds an AR very well and handled both my AR15 and AR10 just fine. So Ryan and I decided to put his TacOps Echo 51 bolt action on it for fun and see how it would handle a heavy rifle.
Turns out the weight wasn’t the issue.
The problem we ran into was that the rifle had a flat bottom, like many precision rifles. The rest is made for ARs – the angle of the V is pretty steep to hold AR handguards. Any shift of the stock to the sides would move the rest because the flat portion would be wedged in tight. We tried other rifles and had the same issue with all flat bottom stock rifles, but not with more rounded stocks.
The rest was specifically made for ARs so I won’t ding it a point for that… but… it does play a roll later on…
As for durability, when someone randomly at the range questioned its durability, Ryan picked it up off the bench and launched it 50-75m down range. It buried itself in the dirt but the only damage was a slight bend in one of the legs. And he really hucked the thing. It’s definitely field ready.
We really like this rest. Putting aside the fact that precision rifles may have problems with it, since it’s made for ARs, it works incredibly well. It’s insanely light, it’s durable, it’s stable and it’s easy to stow away in your bag – everything you need in a good portable bench rest. It has gone on a lot of range trips in the time we’ve had it and we always ask fellow rifle shooters on the firing line to try it out and give us their opinions. Everyone loves it. We never hear anything bad about it from the general public.
Except for one thing, which we hear every single time.
As soon as we tell them the price, they always get a look of shock and think we’re kidding around. You see, the rest costs $89.99. Plus shipping. And won’t work well with the type of stock most higher end precision rifles use. Once we get to that point, opinions change. For $90 you can get a Harris bipod for your rifle and a set of rest bags, as a few people pointed out.
So, the only real negative we have is the price. If you have the money to spend and the rest will fit your needs, you won’t go wrong with it. But $90 is a lot for it.
That said, the one we T&E’ed stays in my range bag and goes everywhere my rifle does. I’ve used it for zeroing a lot of sights and scopes, and for trying to make pretty little cloverleafs. I have no plans on using the carpeted wood blocks at my local range anymore – not when I have the Montie Gear Lightweight AR Rest.
I love the rest but here is Ryan’s summary: “I myself will not buy it, but as your friend, I would encourage you to buy it, and I’ll borrow it whenever I need it.”
I will note that the first words out of Ryan’s mouth on rifle trips we’ve done since getting it have been, “Hey, get that rest out!”.