The rear sandsock has been used by snipers and tactical shooters for many years and has been successful in what it does. It is not the most precise or accurate means of rear support because of the necessity to have easy adjustment covering a wide range of motion. Mono-pods on the rear of the rifle have not been around as long as sand socks, but they have been around for a while now. The idea is to allow a very precise and stable rear rest on the rifle to afford more precise shooting. CTK Precision has designed and developed a new mono pod that we have here for review.
The P3 Ultimate Mono-Pod retails for $159.99 and is fairly light at 5.4 oz. It is CNC machined from billet aluminum with a hard anodized finish and rubber contact pads where it contacts the rifle. This mono-pod attaches to the rear sling swivel stud and it fit all the rifles we tried it on very nicely. It attaches and releases fairly quickly without the use of any tools, though a few times it took a little wiggling to get it off once loosened. The design for both the attachment to the rifle and the 2 stage height adjustment is very well thought out and the over all quality is very high. When collapsed it stands 2.7″ tall, and has two separate “stages” of extension.
The first extension stage is a spring loaded stage that is released by twisting the cam lock which ejects the first extension. You can then re-tighten the cam lock at any interval in its extension range. We found the first stage of adjustment best used to get you close to your exact aiming point, and then go to the 2nd stage for precise aiming.
The second stage is the precision stage where the foot is extended by rotating it and allowing it to screw out, allowing for very precise adjustments to your aiming point. It provides enough range to be quite useful. The combined range between the two stages is around 360 MOA of elevation movement.
There is a sling swivel stud that can be placed on either side of the unit to attach the sling to.
When using it for shooting the P3 provides a very stable rear platform with precise ability to adjust the exact aiming spot. We were able to shoot some very tight groups while using the P3 and we were favorably impressed with the design and construction. We did run into some problems when using the mono-pod with gloves and the foot of the pod was close to the cam. When collapsed, the cam lock and foot are right next to each other and we accidentally released the cam lock when trying to adjust the precise foot because the tactile feel is identical for both of them and they are the same size. It is only a problem when they are close together, and its magnified if you are wearing gloves while maintaining sight picture through scope and adjusting by feel. When it comes to precision shooting, a sandbag or bi-pod with the rear P3 mono-pod is very accurate.
Overall, we were impressed, but that being said, it unfortunately has no real use for sniping. The reason is because its biggest strength of being a solid rear platform is its biggest weakness for sniping. Our targets are seldom, if ever, stationary or exactly where we are looking. When we have to traverse when a target appears, or adjust when the target moves, you have to adjust very quickly. Mono-pods of this nature are out of their element. It would take way too long to make the precise adjustments needed with the pod, and essentially impossible to keep up with minor target movements. The tried and trusted sand sock allows for this type of movement with extremely fast adjustments. The mono-pods, and especially this P3, are more stable and allows for more accurate aiming, but in field conditions they fail. This is NOT a hit on the P3, but on all rear mono-pods in general. If one were to need a mono-pod for range shooting, or for zeroing, the P3 should be at the top of your list, but for sniping in the field, no monopod should be on that list.
For information on how to purchase this P3 mono-pod, you can visit the CTK Precision webpage at http://www.ctkprecision.com.