June 08, 2020
There are few benchrests in the backcountry, so your rifle’s performance can only equate to quick, clean, ethical kills in the field if you establish a solid shooting platform. Shooting sticks are an option popular with Professional Hunters and guides to provide a solid platform, and Primos’ Trigger Sticks are a tool that works for most hunting and shooting situations.
Hunters not only have to develop a steady rest in the field but, in many cases, have to do so quickly. Speed is difficult with telescoping shooting sticks that require one to loosen, drop, and then tighten each individual leg. In contrast, Trigger Sticks can be set up in seconds. Trigger Sticks derives its name from the obvious. A trigger system allows the user to quickly adjust and lock their height for rapid deployment. By pulling back on the trigger, the legs — one, two, or three depending on the model — instantly drop until they touch the ground or if the trigger is released. Releasing the trigger locks the legs in place, so you can instantly set your sticks to the proper height regardless of position.
Trigger Sticks can adapt to shoot from a variety of positions. Although Tri-Pod models of Trigger Sticks won’t drop low enough for low prone shooting, they can be used for a taller supported prone position in the field, which works when shooting low over grass, rocks and vegetation. To improve this position, a hunter’s pack can be put under the chest and under the elbow for increased stability and reduced fatigue.
The Tri-Pod models can also accommodate numerous sitting positions for good stability, increased height to clear ground-covering objects and extended observation periods. A typical seated position can be with the legs crossed and feet tucked under the opposite thigh. You can comfortably rest each elbow on the inside of each knee or thing.
Another seated position for shooters with flexibility challenges is to simply sit and lean forward with your legs extended underneath the tripod’s legs.
Kneeling positions are natural positions to fall into when you expect that you may have to react to changing action in the field. If time is available, the shooter can sit on the back of both feet while kneeling on both knees. Leaning forward into the stock of the rifle applies downward pressure to the forearm, which can rest in the V-shaped yoke. This position is excellent when using the Trigger Sticks Tri-Pod because the shooter can adjust the height of the legs perfectly and instantly.
Another kneeling position involves propping up the support-side knee to use as a support for the support-side elbow. The shooter simply sits on the back of the strong-side foot or ankle. This kneeling position is quick to bounce out of and quite stable.
A variation of the traditional one-knee kneeling position is to switch legs and support the firing-hand’s elbow or forearm on the inside or on top of the strong-side thigh. The support knee is down against the ground while the support-side elbow is unsupported. Using the Trigger Sticks, downward pressure is applied to the grip against the supporting tripod legs. This position is also quick to get into and stand up from if the situation changes and you have to move.
Shooting while standing can be the most difficult position, but is remedied with shooting sticks. Using sticks allows the shooter the most flexibility to move and change locations while offering improved support. Primos Trigger Sticks Tri-Pod can be used as a monopod with the legs tethered together for dynamic shooting situations. Using the trigger feature instantly corrects the sticks’ height for any position.
Untethered, the Tri-Pod model offers excellent stability. For situations where hunters may have to remain in position for extended durations, using the tripod minimizes fatigue while standing and aiming.
The first-generation Trigger Sticks was said to be clever and innovative, and the second-gen improved on the first. But there was room for improvement, which can be found with the latest Gen3 sticks. The Gen3 sticks feature a pistol-style grip that is contoured for comfort and is as comfortable as many actual pistol grips. The hand-filling design has a soft-touch, textured finish that allows for a secure hold even when wet. The new design also permits the user to essentially “point” the shooting sticks at a target so that the top yoke doesn’t have to be rotated into position. Aim the Trigger Sticks at the target, drop the legs, and rest the rifle without taking your eyes off the target. When your next big-game steps into view, you don’t have to hassle with trying to secure your rifle for a shot. Trigger Sticks helps you steady your gun, even when your heart is anything but.
Also new to the Gen3 Trigger Sticks is an angled leg lock mechanism that offers improved stability and a wide range of angles for shooting from varying positions. A collar on the grip can be rotated and corresponding polymer tabs on each leg fit into cutouts on the collar. This not only holds the legs in position, but allows the shooter to get much lower to the ground.
I’m just over 6-feet tall and the legs extend far enough that I can stand at full height and establish a secure shooting platform. From that position it’s easy to press the button again and shorten the length of the legs should you need to move or transition to a seated or kneeling position or shoot over inclined terrain. The yoke design rotates but provides a firm grip on the rifle’s forearm thanks to the textured polymer V-shaped design. The yoke narrows so that any rifle or handgun fits securely in place regardless of barrel, forearm, or handguard design.
The Gen3 Trigger Sticks also comes with a quick-detach locking yoke system that allows the shooter to swap out accessories for different applications. There’s an optional camera yoke attachment ($10.95) with 1/4x20 threads that fits standard cameras or spotting scope. To switch between the V-shaped yoke and the camera attachment, pull down on the knurled knob on the side of the grip handle.
This acts as a safety and to activate simply press the button on the side of the grip handle to release. This eliminates the risk of the attachment falling off the Trigger Sticks (unless you forget to return the lever to the locked position, but even then, the system is secured unless the release button is accidentally pressed). It also allows you to swap between the camera base and V-shape shooting yoke in a matter of seconds. It’s fast and easy to attach the Trigger Sticks to a spotting scope, binos, camera, and the rifle yoke.
With so many accessories and options, the Gen3 Trigger Sticks can be a lot to carry in the field. To remedy this, Primos offers the Trigger Sticks Scabbard for both short ($14.95) and tall ($19.95) Trigger sticks. The scabbard, which is triangular in cross section, is made of durable rip-resistant brown nylon and comes with heavy-duty button attachment points for mounting on a belt, and MOLLE attachments for securing to a pack.
The MOLLE webbing also offers convenient storage for items like adapter base plates, and the shoulder strap is adjustable.
The Tall Tri-Pod Gen3 Trigger Sticks I tested are the largest available for either the monopod, bipod, or tripod models. Worth noting, these measured under 40 inches when collapsed and weighed 2 pounds, 13 ounces without any accessories. I added the V-rest, a base plate and the scabbard bringing total weight to 5 pounds.
In the Field
The Gen3 Trigger Sticks are constructed of lightweight aluminum and polymers. They feel very substantial. The ability to customize the tripod’s height and angle in an instant are beneficial, and I was impressed by how quickly the Trigger Sticks match any shooting angle. Even when shooting on steep uphill landscapes, with uneven downhill shots, simply drop the legs and hold the trigger back until the angle is perfect. Each leg will fall to its own needed height to provide even support.
Less obvious features include the lightweight polymer strap used to secure the legs in place when the tripod is collapsed. Not only does this convert the Tri-pod into functioning as a monopod, this prevented the three legs from clanking together in the field.
To add, the rubber feet have a splayed design that serves two important purposes: First, they match the surface contour of the ground for better grip — a must-have on rocky terrain — and the diameter of the feet is significantly larger than the legs, which prevents the legs from banging against one another and alerting nearby game.
With some practice, I found that I could remove the sticks from the scabbard, set them, unsling my rifle and fire an accurate shot in as little as 5 seconds. The trick was to unsling the scabbard and pull the sticks free, set the legs, and then unsling the rifle. Instinct prompts you to unsling your rifle first when a shot opportunity presents itself, but having a rifle in one hand while trying to set the sticks was a a disadvantage. It’s also a good idea to leave the rubber leg strap untethered while the sticks are in the scabbard so you won’t have to release them when you’re ready to shoot. If you’re carrying them without the scabbard its best to leave the strap fastened.
As previously mentioned, I can shoot from full standing height with these sticks, but the rotating collar design allows the legs to spread wide enough that you can shoot low to the ground, too. Depending on terrain, the Tall Gen3 Trigger Sticks dropped as low as 21 inches, which isn’t quite low enough for a traditional prone position on flat ground (that’s what your pack is for). However, it does provide enough height to shoot over grass and it’s fine for steep uphill and downhill shots. As a bonus, getting set on the sticks in a high prone position allowed me to use my pack as an elbow rest or chest support.
The handle design is comfortable and provides a steady hold on the yoke, but practice trigger discipline--not traditional trigger discipline with your shooting hand (that’s important, too) but with your non-shooting hand instead. When you come set on the sticks the last thing you want is to accidentally touch the Primos’ trigger and drop the legs—and your gun—off the target. Get used to setting the sticks and wrapping your non-shooting index finger around the grip which prevents the floor falling out from under your rifle when you’re getting ready to shoot.
You’ll find a number of uses unrelated to shooting for your Trigger Sticks, too. It’s the perfect setup for glassing game, and Trigger Sticks double as a camera tripod for capturing images in the field. Plus, they make great trekking poles since they adjust to any terrain and the textured feet conform to any surface, even steep rock faces.
I’ve seen hunters with accurate rifles make poor shots on game in the field. However, most bad shots boil down to one issue: an unstable rest. Primos’ Gen3 Trigger Sticks are an effective solution to that problem, and you’ll find plenty of other uses for them, too.
For more information visit www.primos.com.
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