Gear Review: Ultradyne Launch Pad Shooting Rest

by Tommy Grant

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I first heard of Ultradyne when I reviewed their AR-15 iron sights, which are still the best I’ve ever come across. That sight set is an exceptionally well-made and well-designed product. Which is the same thing I can say about everything I’ve seen Ultradyne make ever since. The Ultradyne Launch Pad is no exception.

In its simplest terms, the Launch Pad is a gun rest. I’ve used some kind of shooting rest several times a week, every week, for many years. I’ve got the old plastic MTM Predator, rest (which to be fair last longer than you’d think), the very good Caldwell Stinger shooting rest, and a couple old school Lead Sleds.

The Ultradyne Launch Pad blows them all away. It’s not just better quality, but better thought out than anything else I’ve found on the market.

Instead of just making a cradle of some sort for the gun, the Launch Pad uses a compact, but stout plate to host a 3/8”-16 vertical post. On that post you can attach any sort of commercial vice, pic rail, clamp, or Arca rail, and then your firearm.

If your rifle has an Arca rail, (and if you haven’t tried using an Arca system, you really should) then it’s super easy. Simply attach your ball head attachment and then attach your rail. I used the Ultradyne Orbit Ballhead and it worked perfectly.  If you want even more stability, simply place a bag under the stock or grip. It’s ideal.

What’s really cool about the Launch Pad design with the UD Orbit Ballhead is now you’re not bound to keeping the rifle perfectly straight in the cradle. You can use the ballhead as you would on any tripod and cant or angle for elevation or terrain, all while keeping the gun rock solid and stable.

If you don’t have an Arca system, you can instead mount something like the Shadow Systems Pig saddle. This is actually how I used the Launch Pad the most. I needed to fire form 100 rounds of 309 JDJ rounds from a new SSK-50 pistol (yes they are actually shipping and yes they are amazing) and after the first 20, it wasn’t really fun anymore.

After locking the pistol into the Pig Saddle, not only did I save my wrist some ache, but also was able to get super steady behind the long eye-relief scope while zeroing the optic.

Both rifle and pistol shooting highlighted the genius of the Launch Pad’s design. Since it holds the firearm upright on a post, you can fully get behind the gun exactly as you would in a sport shooting or hunting situation. All of the cradle style rests require you to at least slightly alter your natural shooting position. But with the Launch Pad, you can hold the pistol fully out in front of yourself or you can lock the stock back fully into your shoulder. The value of this natural hold while still using a stable rest can’t be overstated.

The Ultradyne Launch Pad also makes a great work/cleaning vice for your rifle or pistol. Held in a vice, like the Pig Saddle I used, or by the gun’s forward rail, you can store whatever tools or supplies you want in the weight tray while working with a stable gun.

Since the Launch Pad itself weighs only 10 lbs. and is fairly compact, it’s easy to pick up, store, and transport. It’s also not so big that it takes up the entire shooting bench, or so long that it slides off the front or the back, as so many others do.

The large tray can accommodate a wide range of heavy things to keep the firearm in place during recoil. Sandbags would be the most common, but you can also put barbell plates (and they have an attachment to keep them in place) random rocks, your range bang or whatever. I used my emotional support kettlebell. And since the Launch Pad uses just a post to hold the gun up — not some kind of rack — you can use it with the tray either forward of the stock/grip, or behind it.

Ultradyne has included some little details that matter. Note the grippy textures on the front and back edge of the tray. The soft rubber feet adjust for height and cant and lock in place.

See that big square cut out on one far edge of the Launch Pad? Use your imagination to come up with any number of methods to use that to bolt or otherwise attach the Launch Pad down to your shooting bench or use it to hang the whole thing up on a wall and out of way when you’re not using it.

Like everything Ultradyne makes, it’s not cheap, but it’s done right. Ultradyne’s motto is “American Ingenuity” and with the Launch Pad, they’ve proved it. Again. Still.

Specifications: Ultradyne Launch Pad

Weight 10 lbs.
Length 18.5”
Width 8.0”
Height 4.75”
Threads 3/8” – 16.0
Finish: Cerakote Nitride Hardcoat Anodize
Price: $249.00

Overall * * * * *
Smart. Well made. Different and better because it’s different. It’s also just built better.

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