Earlier this year at SHOT Show, MDT revealed a lower cost bipod offering dubbed the GRND-POD (pronounced ground pod).
In my 2022 SHOT Show coverage, I mentioned that the MDT GRND-POD is made out of 6061 aluminum, carbon fiber, and polymer, only comes with either an Arca-style or a Pictatinny clamp, and carries and MSRP of $199.95 USD.
This information has remained accurate by the time the GRND-POD made it to retailers a few months after SHOT. But since I prefer running Really Right Stuff SOAR clamps because they are dual Arca and Picatinny, I opted not to acquire a GRND-POD bipod to try out.
However, a few months ago (August 2022) I received an email from Brownells advertising the GRND-POD with an A.R.M.S. 17S interface.
Atlantic Research Marketing Systems produced many designs for firearms accessories and the A.R.M.S. 17S mount was created for small items (e.g., optics) to mount to Picatinny rails. The accessory side (the side of the mount that the accessory is attached to) is essentially two threaded holes with a bi-directional keyed interface.
The A.R.M.S. 17S became popular in the bipod world as B&T Industries produced their famous Atlas bipods to be used with A.R.M.S. 17S mounts/clamps. This is why we now see clamp Picatinny and Arca clamps available for A.R.M.S. 17S compatible bipods.
The fact that Brownells has an exclusive A.R.M.S. 17S MDT GRND-POD made acquiring a GRND-POD more attractive to me, and so I decided to order one.
As mentioned earlier, the GRND-POD is made of 6061 aluminum, carbon fiber, and polymer. The A.R.M.S. 17S GRND-POD weighs under 1 lb without the clamp.
Being a Really Right Stuff user, I sourced another RRS SOAR ARMS-LR dual Arca and Picatinny A.R.M.S. 17S compatible clamp, and with the ARMS-LR, the GRND-POD weighs 1 lb 2 oz / 510 grams.
EDITED 2022-11-17: I was re-reading this article and noticed the numbers I put in for the weight of the GRND-POD were incorrect. I mixed up the numbers with another item I was recording weights for.
The core of the GRND-POD (bridge and upper leg segments) are made of 6061 aluminum, while the lower leg segments are polymer and carbon fiber. The controls such as the cant locking lever, the actuators for extending and retracting the legs, and the buttons to allow the legs to be angle adjusted are polymer.
I am honestly not sure where the MDT GRND-POD is made. MDT manufacturing facilities are in Canada, however the cant locking lever has “USA” molded into the plastic.
The GRND-POD is very intuitive to use. Just like with the MDT CKYE-POD, the legs are extended by simply pulling down on the leg segment. No need to actuate any release mechanism like with a Harris or Atlas.
The button to allow for adjustment of the leg angle is the same pattern as the button paddle to allow the leg to be retracted (pulled back in from an extended position). Visually it is a consistent appearance and gives a similar texture to feel for when reaching to make adjustments.
Holding down the button for the leg angle allows for the operator to swing leg forward and lock into place at 45 degrees or completely forward. The leg can be swung back aft and locked into place at 0 / 180 degrees, however, there is no 45 degree aft position.
The factory bipod feet are secured by roll pins, however, the GRND-POD will accept any feet compatible with Atlas bipods.
With all this said, the question on most people’s minds will be something to the nature of, is the MDT GRND-POD worth getting?
This is a very subjective question and will involve a lot of comparisons with bipods already on the market.
The MDT GRND-POD is a very interesting bipod in that it does not emulate other competing bipods such as the Harris or Atlas. If anything, the GRND-POD borrows more from the MDT CKYE-POD in that both legs are pull to extend (with no actuation of a button or release lever), uses a cant lever similar to the Atlas, while incorporating polymer like the Magpul Bipod.
The hybrid aluminum, polymer, and carbon fiber construction does give the MDT GRND-POD a ‘cheap’ feeling to it, especially after having used other bipods. The lightweight feeling and the feel of polymer carries that cheap connotation.
However, after shooting off of the MDT GRND-POD, it does appear to be sturdy and have no adverse issues during usage. The notion that the polymer joints connecting the leg segments may give out over time might sit in the back of the mind, though.
The MDT GRND-POD carries an MSRP of $199.95 USD which is very close to the $239.95 MSRP of the highly regarded Atlas CAL. Most people will observe this and may question the GRND-POD when the Atlas CAL is proven at only a slightly higher cost.
NOTE: The A.R.M.S. 17s version of the GRND-POD is exclusive to Brownells and Brownells lists it at $209.95 with a reduced ‘standard’ price of $199.95.
I will say that my main gripe with the Altas CAL is that the leg adjustment is clunky when trying to adjust it one-handed and from position. This can result excessive body movement and loss of time, which can be detrimental in higher-stress situations. The quick leg adjustment of the MDT CKYE-POD is one of the many features that made me a huge fan of the CKYE-POD after a lot of time with the bipod. Since the GRND-POD also has a similar quick leg adjustment feature, I give the GRND-POD an edge over the Atlas CAL in terms of function.
While not completely similar to a CKYE-POD in terms of features (e.g., lacks pan and leg width angle adjustments), I still want to call the GRND-POD the ‘budget’ CKYE-POD. If you like the CKYE-POD but are not willing to spend the $600+ for a CKYE-POD setup, the GRND-POD will be a good compromise.
If you are not after the same speed in adjustments that the CKYE-POD provides and simply want a sturdy, durable bipod, then the Atlas options will be the choice for you.
With all this said, I have no issues at this time recommending the MDT GRND-POD. Of course, if you have the opportunity to try one out at the range before you buy, take the opportunity to do so.
The GRND-POD is available factory configured with either an Arca clamp or a Picatinny clamp direct from MDT or any other MDT authorized dealer, while the A.R.M.S. 17s variant is available only via Brownells.