Range Essentials From TAB Gear: Rifle Cover, Shooting Mat, Rear Bag

When you get a new precision rifle it’s kind of like having a baby, you need to get stuff to go along with it, protect it, carry it, and make it more capable. Seen in this light, TAB Gear is the shooter’s version of BuyBuy Baby. It makes high-quality shooting accessories to fit all your “baby’s” needs.

Founded in 2005 by Tony Burkes, who started out by making rifle covers with his wife’s home sewing machine, the company has since expanded into slings, bags, belts, packs, suppressor covers and much, much more.

TAB Gear Rifle Cover

The rifle cover was not only the first product that TAB Gear produced, it was also the first product I ever bought from them almost 13 years ago.  Made from 1000 denier nylon with heavy webbing, buckles, and hardware, this cover is just about bombproof.

When Tony first brought this cover to the market, there really wasn’t anything around like it. There were drag bags that protected the whole rifle and if you wanted to go lighter, about your only option were scope and crown covers. The problem was that drag bags were usually big, heavy, cumbersome things while scope and crown covers left most of the rifle open to the elements. 

Buttoned up the cover keeps rain, mud, dirt, and most other things from getting into the nooks and crannies of your rifle.

The TAB Gear cover incorporates the best of both worlds because it wraps the rifle up like a burrito to shield it from the elements. It has closed-cell foam padding at the muzzle and a padded area with ample space to protect my Nightforce 5-25X56 ATACR F1 with its sunshade screwed on.

The D-rings can be used to lash the cover to something or use them to clip on a carrying strap for transportation.

The TAB Gear cover comes in three different cuts, called Generations, and can accomodate rifles up to 46 inches long. I have a Gen. II which means it can fit Accuracy International, McMillan A-series stocks, Manners, and TRG rifles.

I’ve found the Gen. II to be a pretty good size to fit a variety of rifles. That being said, if TAB Gear doesn’t have a cover that will fit your rifle you can order them in a custom length. This is nice option for those of you who have a suppressor mounted on your tack driver.

The cover works great to protect the rifle on or off the shooting line just by draping the cover over it.

Getting my rifle in or out of the cover takes about 10 seconds and you can either leave the bipod stowed or deployed with the cover on. Carrying handles run along the top of the cover while D-rings on the left side allow me to easily use a carrying strap or I can lash it to a pack for transport. 

Like all of TAB Gear’s products, everything is overbuilt. The handle is heavy-duty tubular nylon, secured with mil-spec flat webbing, and triple stitched for good measure.

In my experience, the cut of the material is generous enough to let me secure other shooting accessories along the rifle cover so I have them when I get to my shooting position or bench. When I’m not using the cover, I can fold it down to a size of about 5” X 10” and tuck it away in my pack.

Heavy-duty 1″ quick release buckles.

This cover is a tough-as-nails alternative to carrying cases and drag bags. Weighing in at 19 oz., it’s perfect when you need protection without excessive weight and bulk.  Available in Black, Olive Drab, Coyote Brown, Kryptek Highlander, and Multicam, the TAB Gear rifle cover starts at $130.00.

TAB Gear Pollok Mat

Shooting from the prone position for any sustained length of time and suddenly a mat goes from one of those “want items” to one of those “need items.” Of course, shooting mats are going to come in all shapes and sizes but I think, for the most part, a lot of the huge, hulking pads are limited in their applications. 

The TAB Gear mat is a minimalist shooting mat that is very light and very compact so it’s easy to take with you anywhere. That’s one reason it’s been a mainstay in my pack for a long time and why it probably has more wear than my other TAB Gear stuff.  

Lying on the mat was definitely preferable to the muddy ground and while it was impossible to stay completely clean, it would’ve been so much worse without the mat.

Like most of TAB Gear’s products, the mat is made from 1000 denier nylon with a urethane waterproof coating on the underside and a durable, water-resistant coating on top. That being said, this mat is thin so don’t expect it to insulate you from the ground or keep you dry indefinitely. The mat is 30” X 72” when spread out, so although your feet may hang off the ends, it offers decent coverage for an adult-sized male. 

There is a 12” X 30” section of closed-cell foam towards the front to pad the elbows and provide some added comfort when shooting in the prone position. The padding isn’t super thick but in my experience, it’s been enough to keep rocks, sticks, and concrete from marring a shot. 

Paracord loops are sewn into the corners so you can stake the mat out to keep it from going airborne in windy conditions. I’ve seen the loops used to rig the mat up as hasty shelter to provide some shade at a match once, too.

When I’m on the move, the mat rolls up into a bundle that is roughly the size of a 1 qt. Nalgene bottle. I use heavy-duty D-rings and webbing to keep it tight. You do have the option to customize the mat with fastex buckles, name tapes, or even a pocket to store the tent stakes in.  

Being able to roll up the mat to the size of a Nalgene bottle lets me keep the mat in an outside pocket so it doesn’t dirty up the inside of my pack.

This is a no-nonsense shooting mat if there ever was one and it has performed well for me over the years. These are available in Black, Olive Drab, Coyote Brown, Multicam, Multicam Black, and Kryptek Highlander. The TAB Gear mats start at $65.

TAB Gear Rear Bag

TAB Gear rear bag in Low, Medium, and High positions.

A rear bag is a necessity for long-range shooting to help stabilize the butt of the rifle in order to make accurate long-range shots. I have had homemade and commercially available rear bags over the years and the TAB Gear rear bag is probably the best yet. Its rectangular shape is incredibly versatile and allows me to make three gross height adjustments, which can be fine-tuned by squeezing the bag.

I can slip my hand through either of the 1-inch nylon straps to get a good hold on the bag for consistency from shot to shot. Even though it’s a rear bag it works pretty well as a front bag under the forend if I’m shooting off of an obstacle and don’t want to lug a heavier bag. A webbing loop in the corner lets me use a carabiner to clip it to my ruck or belt loop so it’s always accessible.

If you are looking to save every ounce of weight you can in your pack, TAB Gear offers its rear bag with an optional lightweight fill.

The TAB Gear Rear Bag comes in two sizes, a 5.5” X 7.0” X 2.0” model that weighs about 1 1/2 pounds and a 5.5” X 9.0” X 2.0” model that weighs just under 2 pounds. I have the larger version.

The bags use a poly bead fill that is durable, has enough stability to support the rifle, and won’t hold water and turn into a brick. Like the shooting mat and the cover, the rear bag is also made from 1000 denier nylon. It is triple stitched for hell and back durability. 

Available in Black, Olive Drab, Coyote Brown, Multicam, Multicam Black, and Kryptek Highlander, the TAB Gear rear bag starts at $20.

Closing Thoughts

Everything I need to have a comfy range session. The shooting mat is secured to the rear handle of the cover with its sewn-in straps.

Coming from humble beginnings trying to give the shooter the best equipment available, TAB Gear continues to grow and offer new products. If you need shooting accessories that will last a lifetime, you need to check out TAB Gear.

For more information visit TAB GEAR website.

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About the author: Ian Kenney Ian is a lifelong firearms enthusiast and veteran of the Global War on Terror. For over a decade, he has been actively competing in precision rifle and action shooting competitions. Ian has also contributed to multiple online publications, covering general firearms topics, precision rifles, and helping to improve the skills of shooters.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • bison1913 October 28, 2019, 5:48 pm

    So… now what we place/wrap our $4000 – $7000+ rifle in the mud infested mat? No thank you. However the rear bags are great.

    • S.H. Blannelberry October 28, 2019, 6:10 pm

      Not in the shooting matt, in the clean rifle cover.

      • bison1913 October 28, 2019, 7:24 pm

        Now it makes sense… Thank you for the clarification. Their rear rest bags are just awesome.

  • justjim October 25, 2019, 12:55 pm

    I own several items made by TabGear: rear bags, the rifle mat (really just a ground cover with no padding).

    All items are well-made.

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