Hitch-mounted Shooting Bench

Brian, a reader of the blog, started up a business with his father and brother to make and sell a nifty hitch-mounted two-person shooting bench.

Brian says …

First off, we’re a start-up business. The team consists of myself, my dad, and my brother. I’m a mechanical engineer and I did the design work, while my dad and brother guided the design process with their experience (my brother is the gun nut). The three of us also fabricate everything ourselves in the shop of a barn here in North Idaho. If this ever takes off beyond our capabilities, we’ll look into outsourcing, but for now it’s all us from picking up steel to painting and packaging.

I’ve attached a few photos to show the various mounting options and the bench in use. Basically, you can hook up the bench (fully assembled and ready to use) to your vehicle in a vertical position so it won’t hit the ground or extend past the 3-ft legal limit beyond the rear bumper. When you arrive at your shooting location, you pull one pin and move the bench to the horizontal position. You then drop the stabilizers, maybe adjust your table height if needed, and you’re ready to shoot. The tailgate on a pickup also serves as a handy table to stage ammo, clips, guns, etc. If you don’t want the bench mounted to a vehicle (or if you don’t have a 2″ receiver), you can set the bench directly on the ground using the same parts that attach it to the vehicle. Overall, it’s a fairly versatile system that just about anybody could use.

The bench is aimed at the average recreational shooter. I live out in the boonies, so a lot of people in this type of area don’t go to “real” shooting ranges. This is why we came up with the bench — easy to transport, no hassle setting up, holds two people, and works. Users can adjust table height (accommodates sitting or standing positions) and the seats move in all three directions so you can find the perfect setup. Two shooters can use the bench at the same time, and we include a shell deflector to prevent hitting your buddy with hot brass.

Construction of the bench is all steel tubing. The tables, seats, shell deflectors, and accessory boxes are made of wood, and we offer two different benches — the standard and deluxe. The metal and hardware on both benches are identical. The wood on the standard bench is 7/16″ painted OSB — works just fine for those who don’t want to spend extra on the appearance. The deluxe bench uses 3/4″ stained birch plywood — a little sturdier, and a whole lot nicer looking. We’re working on developing various accessory components and other “special use” benches, but they haven’t been released for sale yet.

They are selling the standard bench for $389 and the deluxe model for $489.

I wish Brian and his family the best of luck with their new business venture.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Awesome, thanks for the plug!

    • noob

      That is a beautiful invention. I hope that it has every success.

      Also, I hope that you have secured your rights so when the time comes to make units overseas in giant factories you are the ones in control, and not some chain store making knockoffs.

      • We’ve submitted our provisional application for patent at this point. We’ll move forward with the full patent this year if the product catches on… those things can run upward of $10K, so we’ll need to make some money on it first.

  • Vhyrus

    That is a totally not terrible idea at all actually! If I had a truck I would seriously consider buying one. How stable is it in stand alone configuration? What are the weight limits?

    • It’s fairly stable as a standalone unit, though it’s more stable attached to a vehicle. There are three main points of contact with the ground (rear post and two front stabilizers). The stabilizers under the seats then drop down to keep the tripod from tipping.

    • For weight limits, we’ve tested up to 400lb on a single seat without the seat stabilizer down and mounted to the truck. The seat sagged pretty good due to flex in the seat arms and twist in the backbone, but nothing bent or broke. With the seat stabilizer down, I’m sure it could handle the same without the sagging if the ground is firm.

  • Sian

    I swear I remember some guys I know doing this 20 years ago.

    Good on ya for what looks to be an awesome product though!

  • Devi

    Can one attach a chronograph screen to that center divider? Might be a good thing to have for testing new loads.

    • That’s a great idea — I’m sure something could be attached. The front of the main structure is just an open 2″x1/8″ square tube. You could probably make something that plugs in there and extends out the front to hold the screens.

  • West

    Ive noticed that a lot of hitch mounted accessories (bike racks, bbq pits, etc) tend to be a little rickety.
    I wonder what effect your body movement or that of your buddy has on the suspension of the vehicle up and down.

    Dont get me wrong, I think its a cool idea.

    • I wondered the same thing. I’ve shot off a few different home made jobs and there was a lot of “wiggle”. That’s ok just for plinking, but for sitting over a prairie dog town or serious long range shooting something stable would be preferred.

    • If you just have it attached to the vehicle and you don’t use any stabilizers, you will get some bounce from the vehicle. If you drop the front stabilizers only, you’ll get some movement on the seats just because they’re cantilevered out there and the metal flexes in various locations. But when you put the seat stabilizers down in addition, the thing is rock solid. All of your weight is channeled straight to the ground and you don’t get any motion transfer from one seat to the other.

  • Are the tops changeable for left handed shooters? Have any pictures of the unit stowed away for transport?

    • David/Sharpie

      If you open up the ” nifty hitch-mounted two-person shooting bench” link just under the tire it goes to their website, but here it is anyways “http://shooterest.com/”

      Wow, that’s a really nice idea, one question though, do you ship to Canada?

      • At this point we’re just shipping to the US for a flat fee of $35 (and local deliveries are free). We haven’t talked about Canada yet, but I’ll bring it up to the other guys today and see if we can work something out.

      • David/Sharpie

        Sweet, like I won’t buy very soon (Other stuff I need to buy) but I will definitely in the future

    • They sure are — you just flip the tables over. The wood mounts to a metal plate with four carriage bolts. We ship them detached, so you can put it together whichever way suits you. You can also make your own tables if you need a different shape.

  • John S

    I love the idea, any concern over law enforcement and ‘firing from a vehicle’ or having a loaded weapon in or on the vehicle.

    Sounds crazy I know, but Maryland at least is very strict when it comes to weapons and vehicles. I know you would not be firing from within the vehicle, but worry if they would construe a ‘connected’ bench as part of the vehicle.

    • I do believe there are a few states where this could be frowned upon by law enforcement. The thing is, you won’t be driving around with it down and ready to use with a guy sitting on it. If it is a problem in your state, you could just freestand it after transporting — then you’re not attached to the vehicle while shooting.

      As for gun laws regarding vehicle transport, in Idaho you can have them in your cab but they have to be in plain sight unless you have a concealed weapons permit. I know every state is different though, so it’s best to keep track of your laws before heading out.

      • Anon

        I know here in Missouri, it was made into law that our vehicles are an extension of our home, meaning we can carry any firearm within the vehicle displayed or not and not fear the law for doing so, once we leave the vehicle becomes another matter if you choose to carry then you must have the proper permits.

  • JM

    What’s the benefit of it being hitch-mounted if it can stand alone? And wouldn’t it be unstable, since one person can easily make a truck’s rear suspension squat a few inches?

    • David/Sharpie

      The first part is probably just preference, the second part has already been answered, there are stabilizers on it to prevent that

      • JM

        I don’t see stabilizers in that first picture…

      • David/Sharpie

        They’re the things extending under it and touching the ground…………..

      • JM

        No, those things touching the ground constitute a FULCRUM on a Class 2 lever system. Stay with me here…

        What stabilizes the platform when the truck squats?

      • David/Sharpie

        JM: What do you think the purpose of the “FULCRUM on a Class 2 lever system” is?

      • JM

        Um…a pivot. Not stability.

    • Originally, the bench was designed to only be used mounted to the vehicle. We then found that including seat stabilizers would allow the bench to stand alone, thus opening it up to a wider range of users. Even without the seat stabilizers, the truck doesn’t move much — most trucks with a 2″ receiver have fairly stiff springs for handling tow loads.

      • JM

        Thank you for explaining.

      • David/Sharpie

        Brian, where are the stabilizers located?

      • One set of stabilizers are under the tables, and the other set are under the seats. The second photo above shows all four stabilizers down. If you use all of them while mounted to the truck, nothing really moves during use. Your weight on the seat goes directly to the ground through the stabilizer. If you don’t use the seat stabilizers, the seat arms flex a little and the truck might move a bit. But once you sit, everything stays where it settles — the truck isn’t going to bounce around by itself. A second shooter getting up and down will transfer some motion to the first shooter. If that’s a problem, just use the seat stabilizers or follow some shooter etiquette. A double bench like this will never truly isolate the two users, but we’ve reduced transfer of movement to a negligible amount by way of the stabilizers.

        Keep in mind that this is designed for the typical recreational shooter out plinking with their buddies. It’s not a precision piece of equipment designed to handle a .50 BMG aimed 1000 yards down range. I do have plans to design such a bench (because I’ve had a few people at gun shows approach me about it), but it’s not first in line on my priority list at this point.

      • David/Sharpie

        So my response to JM was correct and his response “JM responded to David/Sharpie on April 03rd, 2012 at 2:47 am” to me was wrong? (No, those things touching the ground constitute a FULCRUM on a Class 2 lever system. Stay with me here…

        What stabilizes the platform when the truck squats?)

        JM: My answer still stands

      • JM

        Good for you, David. Your answer can stand as long as you’d like. You can’t help people that don’t want it.

        My point was that without four legs down, it’s not a completely stable platform, because a truck’s suspension will cause the line of sight to veer. So the hitch part of it – to me – seems less worthwhile and more of a gimmick than just the table by itself.

      • David/Sharpie

        You asked about stabilization, I answered, seems to me that you DID want an answer, seeing as how you asked the question, unless it was retorical?

        And unless you or your buddy shimmy around when shooting it will be stable enough to make a shot, because as Brian said, once you settle down to fire it won’t move.

        And somehow I don’t think the purpose of 2-4 legs is to pivot, so I don’t believe that it really is a Class 2 Lever/fulcrum….

      • David/Sharpie

        AND if you think it’s a gimmick and not worth your time or money, guess WHAT!?! You don’t have to buy it, that’s the great thing about living in free countries like ours, you don’t have to buy something you don’t want or need.

        As for the hitch part, if you don’t want to have a permanent shooting rest or you feel that a hitch mount is more convenient than unfolding a table, I can see it’s merits. Also this seems more stable than a folding table, at least any that I’ve seen for sale or used.

      • All I know is the bench is more stable attached to the truck because it eliminates any chance of side/side and fore/aft movement. The up/down movement is taken out by the seat stabilizers. The primary convenience of mounting to the truck, though, is using the tailgate as a table to stage guns and ammo.

      • David/Sharpie

        But for people not open to any newish ideas, you could set up a table right behind the truck, when trap shooting that’s what I always do, minus the table

      • JM

        David, you may consider the question rhetorical, since you have not come even close to a viable answer. Please continue on your patrol for questions that you don’t have the answer to.

      • David/Sharpie

        JM: You asked “What’s the benefit of it being hitch-mounted if it can stand alone? And wouldn’t it be unstable, since one person can easily make a truck’s rear suspension squat a few inches?”

        I answered “The first part is probably just preference, the second part has already been answered, there are stabilizers on it to prevent that”

        Later on I said the stabilizers were the things you think are pivots….the designer/builder even said those “pivots” were stabilizers. Therefore it IS a viable answer. If you ask a question, expect answers, if you do not want you question to be answered, don’t ask it, simple as that

      • JM

        See Brian’s response above – the legs in the first picture do not “prevent” the platform from being pivoted by truck movement, you moron. The back legs do, which are not deployed in the first image.

        You’re one of those people who wants to be right at any cost, aren’t you? If someone were to ask you the color of the sky, you’d answer “five” and then argue about it. Holy crap.

      • JM

        Brian: thank you for responding. That’s what I was looking for. You should hire Sharp David here…he wants to sell your product worse than you do!

      • David/Sharpie

        A) I never said only the front ones stabilized the mount, the stabilizers DO extend and touch the ground under the mount, and they stabilize it too…..I guess you will only take the word of only those involved with the project, not people who use common sense to infer what something is/does. But that’s okay, I guess it’s true, common sense ain’t so common anymore.

        B) The sky is blue because of the reflection of water molecules in the sky and from water on the earths surface (Seas and oceans) not “five” as you think it to be.

        I do not want to sell this, I was merely answering a question asked by someone who could not A) Figure it out for himself, and B) Continuing it because said person could not take anyone elses word.

        Jesus fuck, either take the answer and leave it or don’t ask the fucking question at all

      • JM

        David, seriously? You must be three feet tall – this is all going straight over your head, sir.

      • David/Sharpie

        6’2″ actually.

        I have no idea why you won’t just accept my answer, you accepted Brians even though Brian said the exact same thing I did, are you 2 feet tall? Was my answer to hard for you to comprehend? If someone asks a legitimate question I try and answer it to the best of my ability, you asked a legit question, I gave you an answer, why don’t you accept it?

      • JM

        You gave the right answer to the wrong question. I wasn’t asking how the thing stayed up – I was asking what kept it from tilting when the shooters stand up/sit down/etc and cause the truck’s suspension to move.

        Question: “Wouldn’t it be unstable [when the seat stabilizers aren’t used]”?

        Brian’s answer: “If you don’t use the seat stabilizers, the seat arms flex a little and the truck might move a bit. A second shooter getting up and down will transfer some motion to the first shooter. If that’s a problem, just use the seat stabilizers or follow some shooter etiquette.”

        Your answer: “there are stabilizers on it to prevent that” derp derp

        I could make millions writing a new book… ‘Human Interaction for Sharpies: Understanding the Question and Establishing a Coherent Answer’

      • David/Sharpie

        The front stabilizers WOULD help keep it from tilting, while yes the seat stablizers would do more, the front ones would help to an extent.

        Now that you have elaborated on your question, we are both on the same page, but since you didn’t elaborate on your original question, my answer still stands on the original question, but yes I admit it is pretty much moot with the elaboration.

        Nah, no one would buy it, I sure as hell wouldn’t, but, you know, that’s given me an idea, “How to get morons who ask questions, then don’t accept answers, to elaborate on their questions”

        Though I am placing hope on humanity that only one person buys it, you

      • David/Sharpie

        Sorry, I mis-spoke, “How to get morons who ask questions, then don’t accept answers, to elaborate on their questions” is the book I would buy and recommend to others, what would be your book is “How to ask prpoer questions – For Dummies”

      • David/Sharpie

        Once again, sorry, mis-typed this time, that should be “Proper”

      • JM

        I see you’re so intent on being correct that you’re now correcting yourself.

        I wanted to make you look like an idiot…but you beat me to it. You win.

      • David/Sharpie

        Yes I corrected myself because I made a mistake……..something you should own up to as well, for asking non-specific questions and then ridiculing the answer given.

        Yeah you never did make me look like an idiot, neither have I.

        HAVE A NICE DAY!!! (Asshole)

      • JM

        Wrong AGAIN (gee, you’re getting good at this)! We BOTH did.

      • David/Sharpie

        No, when I’m wrong, I can admit it, you should learn admitting things too…..

  • Lance

    Not a bad set up if you got your own shooting range.

  • Neat idea. When I go out to the boonies to shoot, I usually bring a folding card table to use as a bench but that takes up a lot of room. Driving with this thing attached to the hitch would free up some space.

    Brian, if you would like some additional exposure on this, hit me up.

  • shankbone

    I’m shooting save rats this weekend and I can say that this would be so much more convenient than thw two card tables we are hauling around. Also, if you are worried about the truck frame sagging when you sit on the bench…Duh, you sit down, the suspension sags, you shoot from a stable platform, then…
    the frame rises when you get up and are done shooting. This sounds pretty stable to new.

  • GGG

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  • Very nice!

  • Outstanding. I like how you came up with an idea and followed it through. I’d love to see it in action. Get that patent!

  • I like this product, do they have any plans to make a man-portable version? I can see this bench being adapted to allow handicapped hunters a better chance at bagging large game.

    Regards
    Josh
    LearnHowToShootGuns.com

  • Rolo

    They make anything for trailer hitches now a days…http://bumperdumper.com/bumper2.htm

  • Bryan S.

    PA game regs forbid us from even resting a loaded rifle on a vehicle during hunting season. And I know motor vehicle regulations state that a hitch is part of the frame of the vehicle, so this would extend that.

    Cool idea for where it works in regard to some of the more antiquated laws.

    • Riceball

      But does something attached to the hitch still count as being part of the car? For instance, is a camper, trailer, or a boat considered part of the car or something separate because if they’re not then I’d think that a hitch mounted bench would fall under the same category and therefore be legal to use. However, this is just my opinion, I’m no lawyer so take my comment as a simple opinion and nothing more, you’d probably have to talk to your local PD or DMV to be certain whether something like this would be legal or not.

      • David/Sharpie

        I think you’d just have to check with your respective state, and get the answer in writing in case the person who answers you turns out to be wrong, you might not get in trouble in case they say “no I never told them that”

        To me it would be fine, but I think everyone can agree there are some dumb laws out there