Field Test of the Shooter's Friend Recoil Pad
Team allaboutshooting was asked to field test the Shooter's Friend recoil pad by a fellow shooter and hunter. He'd heard about this pad but doubted the claims that were made for it.
We purchased our Shooter's Friend from a large sporting goods mail order house for $19.95 and a few dollars shipping and handling. The ad claimed that it would:
"Reduce flinching instantly by reducing recoil up to 70% with this easy-on, easy-off pad....it will not harm your stock, won't harden in cold weather or become brittle with age, and takes the sting out of even the hardest kickers."
When it arrived, I was skeptical about the durability of the "jelly like" material that was used to make the pad but excited to try it on a couple of my favorite "hard kickers."
A trip to the range with a Benelli SBE, a Mossberg SSI-1 and some 3 1/2" Federal #4's would tell the story.
The pad is black, over-sized and quite pliable. The material that it's made of most resembles a pliable plastic that I've encountered somewhere but really can't remember just where. It fit easily over the existing recoil pads on both the SBE and SSI-1.
I fired 6 rounds of the Federal 3 1/2" with 2 1/4 oz. of #4's through the SBE and 4 rounds of the same load through the SSI-1. I was suitably impressed.
I've owned both these guns for some time and have fired hundreds of rounds through both of them. I quit shooting 3 1/2" shells through them for a couple of reasons, patterns for one and also the punishment that they inflict on my shoulder. (That's one reason I shot these rounds for this test. I really wanted to get rid of them!)
The SSI-1 is a particularly punishing gun to shoot. It's very light and has a short barrel. I like to carry the gun into the woods and it's fine for hunting turkeys because you usually only get one shot. At the range, it's another story. With the Shooter's Friend, it was no more unpleasant to shoot than any other shotgun with a 3 1/2" shell.
The SBE was another story. I love this gun and I've owned this one since the early 1990's. I've fired all kinds of ammo through it, in all kinds of conditions and never had a failure. With 3 1/2" rounds you do however know you've shot it. The Shooter's Friend changed all that. Shooting the 3 1/2" round felt more like shooting a 3" or 2 3/4" round.
I've also transferred this pad to many other guns, many times and see no noticeable wear. I've been able to test it in 90+ temperatures and even put it in my freezer for a few hours to see how it would stand up to that abuse. It's still in one piece and functions well.
Final evaluation and recommendation: I do have one complaint, the pad attracts dust. This can be easily removed with no noticeable damage to the pad.
The Shooter's Friend does what's claimed. It certainly reduces felt recoil tremendously! It seems quite durable, despite the appearance of the material and it's affordable. I'd rate it a buy.