I rarely shoot prone, so I’m not bothered getting down on the ground occasionally. And I’ve never gotten bent out of shape about getting dirty. That is part of the fun. So when I had a chance to review Galati Gear’s Combat Ready Shooters Mat and Carry Case combo, I halfway expected it to be superfluous. It looked like a tacti-cool extra that could be used to camo-coordinate your shooting ensemble. I was way wrong. This is a deceptively simple concept, and it is well executed.
Let’s start with the carry-case part. Rifle bags are a dime-a-dozen. There are so many variants, and almost all of them do one thing in kind of a half-assed way, and that’s almost protect your rifle. You know the ones I’m referring to. They are thinly padded, and can barely squeeze over a scoped gun. The Galati bag is different. It has a rectangular shape that can accommodate a couple of rifles, though it is really designed for one. Inside, the gun is strategically held in place by hook-and-loop straps. The barrel and stock are secured in the middle of the bag, which keeps you from accidentally hammering the gun when you set the bag down, and the placement inside, keeps the rifle away from the gear pockets.
And there are lots of pockets. The bag is really set up to organize a few basics: rifle, magazines, strap, even a suppressor. All at your fingertips (in either bag form, or mat form).
When you do open the bag up, it opens flat, like a book, and there is ample room to lie down on. And, as I mentioned, all of the pockets are there, at one end of the mat, right where your shooting from. Mag changes are much easier from the bag, as you don’t have to roll over to get a mag off your belt. It seems so logical.
The case is made to hold rifles and shotguns as long as 42 inches. They can be 13 inches high. The bag is made from 1000D Nylon. Beneath that is .5 inch closed cell foam. The zipper is a YKK with dual sliders, and it is protected by flaps on both sides, and two clips that secure everything with one last layer closure.
If you need even more concealment than the multicam offers, the back has numerous places to attach natural vegetation. Or you can use the accessory loops to add pouches.
Carrying the case with the handles is easy enough. There’s also a wide strap for your shoulder, and they offer extra straps that will turn this into a very large backpack.
It isn’t compact, though. I could see carrying it into combat, though. If I were a sniper or a designated marksman, I’d try it out, at least. As is, I’m not seeing too much boots-on-the-ground style combat here at my desk.
But I do stalk hunt. I love to hunt, but hate to sit in any one place for too long. I was out scouting last week, preparing for the upcoming whitetail season, and I found an ideal lane that cuts through about 150 yards of scrub oak. The grass there is high, and the trails are so well worn that they look like they were made by Bison. There’s a lone tree at one opening that isn’t wide enough to cover me sitting or standing, but the grass is tall enough for me to shoot prone.
So the Galati will go with me. I’ll have it packed and organized the night before, so when I wake up, I can just grab-and-go. That’s the benefit, really. Enough protection. More organization. And added comfort.
I’ve been hauling this around now for about three months. I’ve shot from prone much more than I normally would, and I’m practicing even more now that I know how I’m going to use it.
The bag lists for $259.95. It is selling for less. Some of the Galati bag/mat combos come in closer to $200 retail, though not in this camo pattern. For $259 you can buy a rock solid hard case. That’s true, but those cases are only for transporting and protecting. You aren’t going to wheel one into the field and open it up like a recliner. There may be an opportunity for both though. If I had a hard case that I could put the whole shooting mat/ bag into–then it would be perfect.