Best Shooting Rests of 2020 – Top Picks Reviewed

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If you’re looking for the best shooting rest, then you’ve come to the right place. Finding a good shooting rest might be a challenge. However, if you know what to look for, the odds are that your search will be much easier.

You’ll need a good rest to allow not only to give you the best in comfort, but also the best in stability. Nine times out of ten, better stability will always add up to better accuracy. If better accuracy is one of the things you want to get out of your firearm of choice, then a good shooting rest might be the perfect place to start.

To help you along, we’ll be taking a look at the ten best shooting rests currently on the market. Before we get to the list, let’s talk about what to expect from a shooting rest. We’ll also talk about what kind of shooting rests are on the market and how you can choose one for your own use.

Comparison of the Best Shooting Rests

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Best overall shooting rest.
  • Highly durable steel frame.
  • Measured at 26 inches in length.
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  • Second best overall shooting rest.
  • Weighs approximately 30 pounds.
  • Easily mobile for competitive usage.
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  • Includes a 360-degree swivel bag.
  • Best shooting rest for the money.
  • Compact design for easy setup and break down.
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  • Best shooting rest bag.
  • Made from high-quality materials.
  • Designed to fit most shooting rests.
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  • Weighs 5 pounds.
  • Best tripod shooting rest.
  • Made from high-quality steel and die-cast aluminum.
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  • No wobble adjustments.
  • Solid front and rear support.
  • Best from the Caldwell brand.
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  • Best rifle rest for bench shooters.
  • Rubber footings to prevent slippage.
  • Designed to accommodate both rifles and handguns.
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  • Made in the USA.
  • Made from heavy-duty steel.
  • Shooting pads adjustable for both pistols and rifles.
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  • Made in the USA.
  • Best foam shooting rest.
  • Made from lightweight and durable foam blends.
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  • Weighs 13 pounds.
  • Made from high-quality materials.
  • Best shooting rest for competitive shooters.
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What You Can Expect From a Shooting Rest

There are a few major advantages you can expect from using a shooting rest. These are best used by shooters who prefer to shoot in the prone position. Typically, they are hunters and long-range target shooters. Finding the right shooting rest will yield the following advantages:

Better Accuracy

One of the main purposes of a shooting rest is to give you the best in stability. As mentioned earlier, the more stable your rifle, the better chance you’ll consistently fire off accurate shots. This can go for any application you use your rifle for.

Imagine being able to land a kill shot in one go with everything lined up perfectly for the opportunity. Imagine lining up the winning shot in a shooting contest. Either way, accuracy matters most when it comes to shooting.

Ethical Responsibility

Most of these users will likely be big game hunters. Specifically, these are hunters who hunt for wild game for the purpose of consumption. A shooting rest is best used to ensure that the hunter gets a good, clean kill each time he targets small or big game targets. This is perhaps one of the more ethical ways to kill an animal for the purpose of consumption (despite the objection of those who dislike the sport of hunting).

Better Portability And Storage

Most of these shooting rests are easy to fold up and store away. Once you’re finished, you can fit it into your truck or storage space at home. It won’t take up all kinds of room or cause a too much clutter. This is one of the key important things to know about if you have some concerns about storing away certain types of gun accessories or guns themselves.

Types of Shooting Rests

There are three types of shooting rests currently on the market. Each has its own unique design and is made for certain purposes. It's important for you to know which types are the most popular so you have a good idea of what to look for while searching for your own shooting rest. They are as follows:

Traditional

This is the original shooting rest design. This will provide support for the rifle you use for whatever purpose (hunting or target shooting). The main intent of this rest is to allow the rifle to rest so it can give you the best stability possible, nothing more or less. This will fit traditional-sized rifles and won’t work with any rifles that might be larger in size or in caliber. That’s where the next type of shooting rest comes in.

Lead Sleds

The lead sled will accommodate larger-sized rifles. It will also accommodate larger caliber rifles as well (i.e.--.50 caliber). One of the major advantages, aside from giving you the best stability for your heavy hitting rifle, is the ability to reduce a lot of recoil. How much you ask? 70 percent? No. 80 percent? Getting closer. 95 percent? Bingo. These lead sleds will be your best friend out in the field or at the range when you want to reduce recoil and increase your shooting accuracy.

Bench Rest

This is a close relative to the traditional shooting rest. This was designed solely for competitive shooters looking to get an edge on the competition. The difference is that you will get a lot more mobility out of these bench rests. This will also be a good choice for those who are new to using shooting rests. If you're looking for something that is more of a starter rest, we highly recommend going with a bench rest.

How to Choose a Shooting Rest

Finding the right shooting rest does take time and a little bit of detective work. Knowing which characteristics make a shooting rest great will be key. This will help you distinguish the difference between something that is excellent in quality and performance from something that isn’t as reliable and effective. Here are some of the characteristics and aspects you’ll need to consider while looking for a shooting rest of your own:

Price

To begin, let’s address the issue of price. Yes, it will be something to pay attention to, especially if you’re looking for a shooting rest on a budget. One thing to note is that you shouldn’t sacrifice quality just because of the cheap price tag.

If anything, you’ll probably wind up paying a little higher on your budget scale because it’s better in quality. This is what we recommend since we believe that quality will always trump price.

What is Your Intent or Purpose?

Are you a hunter? Are you a casual target shooter? Do you do competitive shooting? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then a shooting rest might be essential to achieve your shooting goals.

Consider the type of rests listed above and determine whether or not it will fit your application. Once again, if you're a complete beginner, you may want to consider a bench rest as your best possible option.

What Kind of Rifle Do You Have?

Another thing that might bear repeating is that some shooting rests will accommodate your rifle or choice and some won't. This will depend on the size and caliber. If your rifle is a standard size, a traditional or bench rest shooting bench will be sufficient. If you're looking for something that can accommodate larger rifles, then you're better off getting a lead sled.

Quick Take - The Best Shooting Rests

Review of the Best Shooting Rests

The following products are the best shooting rests currently on the market. Out of all these popular models, one of them is bound to meet your needs.

If you have a good idea of what your ideal shooting rest looks like, be sure to make a note of any of the features and functions included in each of our reviews. If one of the offerings matches up closely enough, you might have a winner. Let’s begin by unveiling our “best overall” choice:

Pros

  • Stability is Very Solid
  • Very Accurate Shooting
  • A Lot of Reduced Recoil is Noticeable
  • Solid Manufacturing and Construction
  • Best Fit for Larger-Sized Rifles (and Larger Caliber Rifles)

Cons

  • A Little Heavier in Weight
  • Might Be a Little Bulky for Storage
  • Mobility is Suspect in Some Applications

What Recent Buyers Report

One recent buyer says it has helped improve his stability and accuracy with his AR-15 rifle. Also, he reported that felt recoil was almost non-existent with this lead sled. This was a recurring theme with most recent buyers.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s what a lead sled is expected to be. Solidly built and rugged to handle your heavy hitting rifles. Aside from the construction, it’s easy to attach and release your rifle. Whether you’re getting ready for a day at the range or just wrapping up, it will definitely give you an ease of use like nothing else.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by owners of high-powered rifles (AR-15s, etc.). The applications will range from hunting to target practice. This will also be used by those looking for much more stable shooting, regardless of their application.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the things that we might improve is to add features to make it less bulky for storage. Having a lot of clutter is frustrating enough as it is. So making it a little bit more compact when it’s not in use should be an improvement worth looking into.

Bottom Line

If you're looking for a shooting rest that is simply the best of the best, you may want to consider the Caldwell Lead Sled as a possible option. Yes, it will handle your heavy hitting rifles. And it's heavy-duty in its abilities as well. What more can you possibly ask for in a lead sled?

Pros

  • Very Easy to Transport
  • Rock Solid Construction
  • Stays in Place. Keeps the Rifle Stable
  • Excellent for Shooting at Any Distance
  • Great for Casual Target Shooting and Competition Shooting

Cons

  • Some of the Screws May Be Difficult to Secure at First
  • Some Have Had Issues With the Windage and Elevation Adjustments
  • Some Have Complained About it Being a Little Heavier Than Expected

What Recent Buyers Report

This was surprisingly portable for most recent buyers. Despite it being a heavy unit, they had no trouble moving it around from one place to the next at the range. Other than that, stability is solid and allowed for consistent, accurate shooting.

Why it Stands Out to Us

While it’s heavy and mobile, this stuck out to us in a different way. This is one of those shooting rests that is compact and easy to store. Despite having quite a hefty design, it has the ability to fold up nice and neat when not in use. If that isn’t a shock to you, we can’t tell you what is.

Who Will Use This Most

This shooting rest will most likely be used by two kinds of shooters: competitive shooters and those who have no prior experience with shooting rests. This will definitely make a great starter shooting rest for those who are new to competitive or casual target shooting. This will also give the newbies a lot more stability than their own hands.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the improvements that might work is making the adjustments for windage and elevation a bit smoother. They are a little stiff at the beginning and can be frustrating for new users just trying it out. Other than that, the screws might need some improvements as well for a better, easier installation.

Bottom Line

If you’re simply looking for a shooting rest that will be excellent for a beginner or something that will work to your advantage in your target shooting, this shooting rest by Sinclair could be something that’s right up your alley. It definitely does its job and will be easy to move around no matter what your application is.

Best for the Money: 
Vanguard Porta-Aim Gun Rest

Pros

  • Swivels Very Smoothly
  • Easy to Adjust for Height
  • Solid Construction All Around
  • Very Affordable for Most Budgets
  • Very Easy to Set Up and Store Away

Cons

  • Adjustments Might Be a Little Stiff at First
  • Not Suitable for Larger Sizes or Larger Caliber Rifles
  • Some Have Complained that the Rest Doesn’t Tilt Up or Down

What Recent Buyers Report

This is surprisingly solid for a budget rest according to some users. The construction is solid, doesn’t cause any clutter, and supports just about any standard-sized rifle that can fit properly. Other than that, the adjustments were quite fluid for most users who wanted to adjust the height and windage.

Why it Stands Out to Us

At this point, this is probably the smallest of the bunch. But it’s rugged and can handle almost any standard-sized rifle. It can handle the recoil and will definitely hold its own in most applications. It stands up straight and won’t tip over easily.

Who Will Use This Most

Target shooters and hunters will likely benefit from using this shooting rest. This will also be used by shooters who want to save space rather than find a shooting rest that will take up too much room. Of course, with this having the ability to deploy in a matter of seconds, this is also best used for those who want to save themselves time rather than spend it setting up something that’s even heavier and more complicated to assemble.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the things that might be improved makes it so they can move the gun up or down. This way, they can determine whether or not their scope might be either too high or low. Sometimes, most users run into the issue of shooting a little higher or lower than expected.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a shooting rest that will work to your advantage without your bank account taking a hit, there’s a good chance that the Vanguard Porta-Aim Gun Rest might be the best possible option for you. It’s easy to deploy and sturdy enough to handle a hunting or target shooting rifle that can get the job done.

Pros

  • Carrying Straps are Sturdy
  • Can Fit Most Shooting Rests
  • Makes Shooting Rests Easy to Transport
  • Super Durable and It doesn’t Easily Tear or Fray
  • Protects Your Shooting Rest From Any Dust or Environmental Elements.

Cons

  • Might Not Fit All Shooting Rests
  • Some Have Complained About Snagging Issues
  • One User Complained About it Being Cheap in Quality

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were happy with the bag’s quality. It didn’t rip or cause anything to leak out due to weather. At the same time, it’s quite a rugged bag for storing away your shooting rest. It’s large enough to cover most of them so the rest itself won’t collect any dust.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a must-have for those who want to keep their shooting rest nice and clean while it’s not in use. At the same time, we like having to see something that is not only designed to be an extra layer of protection but also used for easy transportation from point A to point B. So you get two purposes from one reliable, sturdy looking bag.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by anyone who might want to give their shooting rest an extra layer of protection. Especially when they are storing it away and won’t be using it for a long period of time. One specific instance will be during the winter months. Between the winter and spring months, that’s plenty of time for your shooting rest to collect dust.

What Could be Improved and Why

One obvious improvement we like to see happen is making the material just a little more durable. This way, it won’t feel cheap to most users. The one solution is to consider using better materials that won’t tear as easily.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a handy accessory that will fit your shooting rest, then the Caldwell Deadshot bags should be exactly what you’re looking for. They come in the right size and will definitely give you a lot more coverage from dust particles and other environmental factors that could cause damage.

Pros

  • Super Sturdy Construction
  • Easy to Attach and Detach Your Rifle
  • Very Lightweight and is Easy to Carry and Transport
  • Keeps the Rifle as Stable as Possible for Any Application
  • Stays in Place, Doesn’t Move Around While on the Ground

Cons

  • Sandbag Rest Might Be a Bit Loose
  • No Windage Adjustment is Available
  • Some Were Not Happy With This Being Made in China Instead of the U.S.A.

What Recent Buyers Report

This was a great choice for their standard-sized rifles. Plus, it’s lightweight, portable, and compact. They were happy with the overall use and that it held the rifle a lot steadier compared to it being in their hands at the firing position. One even bragged that it was the best shooting rest he has purchased in a long time.

Why it Stands Out to Us

At the risk of repeating ourselves, this puppy is no ordinary shooting rest. It’s smaller than most and a lot more compact. This might be something we’d take along during a hunting trip. At the same time, it’s solid in construction and easy to deploy. We think it might give the Vanguard Porta-Aim a run for its money.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used by those who might get a little tired of the typical shooting rest design. We’re talking about the usually long traditional models that might take up a bit of room and are heavier in weight. As for applications, it will mostly be used for hunting and competition shooting. Any application that requires maximum stability might benefit from a shooting rest like this.

What Could be Improved and Why

The sandbags might have the potential to be a little sturdier. Some users have complained about the material easily ripping apart after a few uses. The bags should be made from stronger materials like nylon.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the closest thing you can get to lightweight and compact on a shooting rest, then you may want to consider getting the Caldwell Rock Front Shooting Rest for all the shooting you want to do, regardless of application. No matter if you’re hunting or target shooting, you have a shooting rest that is small and can do it all.

Best From Caldwell:
Caldwell Matrix

Pros

  • Provides Excellent Shooting Stability,
    Supports AR-Style Rifles
  • Excellent for Adult Shooters that Want to Train Younger Shooters
  • Ambidextrous Design. Will Definitely Help With Left-Handed Shooters
  • Adjustments are Solid and Easy Thanks to the Spring-Loaded Elevation System

Cons

  • May Not Lock in Well With Most AR-Style Rifles
  • Some Have Had Some Issues With the Elevation Adjustments
  • Some Report That the Rest May Not Be as Sturdier Than Expected

What Recent Buyers Report

Some of the recent buyers who shoot left-handed were able to use this to their advantage. They were quite happy with the overall quality and it gave them the ability to shoot with great accuracy and precision. One recent buyer even reported that he was able to consistently hit the bullseye from 300 to 500 yards out.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The design is quite slim for a shooting rest but it’s sturdy enough to hold your traditional and even some AR-style rifles. This also makes for compact storage that won’t cause any unwelcome clutter. If you’re looking for a shooting rest that is considered a space saver, this might be your best possible option.

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly by newer users. It might be another possible starter option for those who are new to using shooting rests. The rest itself is slim in design and light in weight, so it will take the stress and frustration away that would otherwise be reserved for dealing with larger and heavier shooting rests.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the things that could be improved is to change the size up a bit. This way, it will likely fit some other AR-style rifles (including some, but not all, larger rifles). This may add on a bit more weight and can take away a bit of its potential to be compact. But nonetheless, it might be just enough to add some heavy-duty rifles into the mix.

Bottom Line

If you’re a fan of the Caldwell brand and want to stay a truly loyal fan to it, this Caldwell Matrix Shooting Rest might be your best possible option. The slim design might be one of the reasons why it's so popular. But giving it a try will certainly assist in your accuracy and is sure to become a staple in your hunting gear. 

Best Rifle Rest For Bench Shooting:
 MTM Predator Shooting Rest PSR-30

MTM Predator Shooting Rest PSR-30 Rifle Pistol Handgun Shooters Rest for Ranges

Pros

  • Affordable for Most Budgets
  • Solid Construction, Very Sturdy
  • Can Work With Most High-Powered Rifles
  • Will Work With Most Rifles and Handguns
  • Stays in Place When Set on Any Surface With No Slippage to Speak of

Cons

  • May Not Fit Some Larger Guns
  • Height Adjustments Might Be a Little Stiff
  • Some Have Questioned the Overall Quality of the Rest

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were satisfied. They said it makes shooting from their bench a bit more comfortable. One user said he was shooting a little too low and had no idea why. That was until he was able to use this shooting rest in particular and is now able to shoot consistently straight shots. Nothing too high or too low.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is another compact design that stands out among the pack. At the same time, it has an even better grip than most of the smaller shooting rests in the business. This can handle all kinds of terrain and will stay in place no matter how rugged it gets.

Who Will Use This Most

Bench shooters will obviously use this the most since it’s designed for them. But it can also be used by hunters who want to give themselves a little more coverage with their bench and for target shooting applications if you’re using it for the sake of tuning up your rifle.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the improvements we think could be made is to make the adjustments a little smoother. This way, it won’t be a frustrating task each time when an adjustment is necessary. Another improvement might be to find a way to get it to fit some but not all heavy hitting rifles (like some AR-style rifles).

Bottom Line

The MTM Predator Shooting Rest is probably your best possible choice if you’re looking for a rest that will give you even better stability when shooting from a bench. This will make your hunting or target shooting experience a whole lot better than before.

CTK PRECISION Compact Shooting Rest

Pros

  • Very Easy Adjustments
  • Construction is Very Solid
  • Can Fit Most Pistols and Rifles
  • Extremely Supportive Shooting
  • Excellent for Sighting-in Your Scopes or Optics

Cons

  • May Not Be Suitable for Revolver-Style Handguns
  • The Felt in the “V Notch” May Not Hold Up Very Well
  • The Cushioning Might Not Be as Comfortable as Expected for Some Users

What Recent Buyers Report

Overall, recent buyers were satisfied with this pistol rest. Some of them use semi-automatic pistols and used this rest to compensate for the lack of control that occurs while holding the pistol itself in your hands. Aside from pistols, some smaller rifles were also used with this rest.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This might look like some insane contraption but rest assured, we like it. It sticks out to us because the construction is quite solid. Plus, the versatility is what piqued out interest. It’s a pistol rest, sure. But it somehow can handle a variety of standard hunting rifles, as well.

Who Will Use This Most

Most of the users will either be hunters or target shooters of the casual variety. This might also come in handy if you’re in a competitive shooting application. These are typically used in most shooting contests already. So if you’re looking for something that will help you get the best accuracy out of your pistol and/or rifle, this rest could be it.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the things that might warrant improvements is the ability to accept revolvers. At the same time, there should be some kind of protection so the revolvers firing ability won't damage some of the materials of the rest itself.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a rest that will work for pistols, look no further than the CTK Precision Compact Shooting Rest. This will definitely work to your advantage in any application where a pistol needs to shine the brightest. In this case, target practice and competitive shooting are applications this rest can easily accommodate. If you’re among the many who do that, this rest might be worth your hard earned money.

FAS Foamrest Rifle and Pistol Shooting Block Bench Rest (2 Pack)

Pros

  • Light in Weight
  • Very Stable for Most Rifles
  • Very Comfortable for Most Shooters
  • Compatible With Most Standard Rifles
  • Very Easy to Use for Most Applications

Cons

  • Stability Might Be Suspect for Some Users
  • Not Too Hefty Compared to Most Shooting Rests
  • Some Have Complained About it Being a Little Too Lightweight

What Recent Buyers Report

Some recent buyers have used this for their standard hunting or target shooting rifles. It’s easy to use since the design is simpler than most shooting rests on the market. They are insanely lightweight and very portable. Storage is a breeze and they won’t take up a lot of room.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Not only is it made for rifles, but this is also an excellent alternative for those looking for something easy to use for their pistols. So this doubles as both a rifle and pistol shooting rest. Regardless, you’ll get a pretty good amount of comfort especially on days when you decide to spend the entire day at the range.

Who Will Use This Most

This will likely be used by target shooters only. As for hunting applications, it may be a little less stable than most. It might be something to take with you while you’re spending a day at the range tuning in your scopes or simply just giving the rifle itself a good old-fashioned tune-up.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the things that could be improved is to at least add some clamps that won’t hurt the foam itself. This way, it will give more stability for hunters and other target shooters.

Bottom Line

If you’re a sucker for the foam shooting rests and want one for your rifle or even your handgun, this Foamrest Shooting Rest might be your best possible option. This will likely be your best friend at the range no matter how long you spend there. It’s comfortable, easy to use, and accepts all kinds of standard rifles and pistols.

Best Competition Shooting Rest:
HYSKORE Gas Dampened DLX Precision Shooting Rest

HYSKORE 1003629 Gas Dampened DLX Precision Shooting Rest

Pros

  • Very Sturdy Construction
  • Very Easy to Operate for Most Users
  • Makes Sighting in Your Rifle a Lot Easier
  • Decent in Weight But Still Easy to Carry Around
  • Great for Casual Target Shooting and Competitive Shooting

Cons

  • Some Say it’s Not as Stable as Expected
  • May Not Handle Some Heavy-Hitting Rifles Well
  • Trigger Mechanism May Not Adapt to All Kinds of Rifles

What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were able to properly sight-in their rifles using this shooting rest. One said that he always kept goofing up with his sight-ins before purchasing it. Now, his rifle is perfectly sighted-in and is firing off consistently accurate shots against targets 500 yards out. Aside from that, those who have used it in actual competitions say it gave them the stability they needed to fire off their shots perfectly.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the things that makes it stand out to us is that it is quite sturdy as far as construction goes. In fact, it’s the way it’s supposed to be since you’re using it solely for competition purposes. Stability is key in competition, so you need to find the best shooting rest in the business as far as stabilizing your rifle goes. This, of course, is what made us settle on this product, in particular.

Who Will Use This Most

At this point, you’ve probably guessed it. This will be a competitive shooter’s best friend. Especially in times when the competition gets rather intense. This also is used by shooters who want to find a reliable accessory to help them sight-in their rifles better before going out for a hunt or a day at the range.

What Could be Improved and Why

One of the things we think might need some improvement is the ability to fit almost any trigger. While it will fit most rifles and trigger mechanisms, that may not be the case with other rifles (like larger AR-15s or M16s).

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a shooting rest that will give you an edge on the competition, you should look no further than the HYSKORE Shooting Rest. This is the closest you’re going to get to something that will be the most stable shooting rest on the market, especially when you’re using it in an application where stability and accuracy matter the most.

Conclusion

The best shooting rest is out there for you. If you know exactly what intent and purpose you're using your rifle for, it will definitely make the search process a lot easier.

If you want to simply add more stability and accuracy to your shooting or if you're just using it to sight-in your rifle, it all starts with finding the right shooting rest that fits your rifle of choice. It can be a traditional, lead sled, or a bench rest. The choice you make will always come down to your personal needs and preferences.

About Josh Lewis

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!

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