By Harry Fitzpatrick
In the law enforcement sniper community, engaging a suspect from the prone position rarely happens; however, a large portion of LE sniper training is still conducted from the prone position. Recently I attended a LE training course that moved away from focusing on prone shooting to shooting from different positions using a tripod.
One company that has bridged the gap of a steady prone shooting platform to an all-other-position shooting platform is Shadowtech LLC, creator of the HOG and PIG saddle rifle cradles. These rifle cradles, along with a solid tripod, provide an LE sniper with a stable platform ranging from a high prone to a solid standing position.
PIG saddle specifications
The PIG Saddle is constructed from solid steel with an aluminum knob assembly to loosen or tighten the side plates. The interior of the PIG saddle has UV-resistant rubber pads with a raised grid pattern to help lock the rifle into place. This also keeps the rifle from moving in the saddle during recoil. The PIG saddle weighs in at 1.4 lbs with a Melonite finish to prevent corrosion due to its steel construction. It can be mounted to any tripod that utilizes 1/4-20 or 3/8-16 thread attachments.
Attaching the PIG Saddle to a ball head
The PIG Saddle can be attached directly to a tripod or to a ball head attachment. I chose to use the Feisol CB-50D ball head for my testing. I prefer the ball head as it allows for tracking up and down, as well as lateral tracking. The ball head also lets the sniper lock the rifle in a downward position if in an elevated over-watch position. An oversized knob on the side that can be manipulated with one hand allows the sniper to move the ball head and track a moving target. The ball head allows for smooth movement left to right and up or down.
PIG Field Tripod specifications
The tripod is the base of the whole platform and is important. The PIG 0311-G Field Tripod is a solid design with a magnesium body and stout aluminum legs. It weighs in at 5.6 lbs., but is very robust and stable. This tripod has a maximum operating height of 61 inches and a minimum of 10.8 inches. There is a center column extension that is 5 inches. At the bottom of the column extension is a load-bearing hook. This hook can be used to hang a bag or weight to add to the stability of the tripod and help mitigate recoil. The tripod feet are rubber but can be interchanged with spiked feet, which are included.
Shooting using a complete system
Shooting from this complete system is much more stable than traditional kneeling, sitting or standing unsupported. To increase stability, you can load the tripod by using a sling or even your support hand. A load-bearing hook in the center column also helps steady the tripod.
One key takeaway I learned was to set the tripod up in the right orientation. If a shooter is left-handed or right-handed, make sure the tripod is set up so all the knobs can be loosened or tightened with the support hand. I made this mistake in one of the first drills I tried, and it was slow and awkward.
LE sniper engagements are usually taken within close distances. Shadowtech’s pig saddle and tripod system offer a capable platform to take a precision shot at these distances from positions other than the prone position. This system also decreases fatigue on the individual sniper that might be experienced from non-standard shooting positions.
- PIG Saddle: $135
- Feisol CB-50D Ball Head: $165.95
- PIG 0311-G Tripod: $138
For more information, visit Shadowtech.
About the author
Harry Fitzpatrick has served as a police officer in an urban police department for 14 years. He is currently assigned to a SWAT/sniper unit.