A shot timer is a valuable tool in the practical shooting scene, but not every shooter is familiar with it. First developed in the 80s, this device is often used in competition shooting sports and law enforcement training to provide essential, reliable data in real-time. Read on to learn more about shot timers and what they can do.
Defining a Shot Timer
A shot timer is an electronic device that combines a digital stopwatch with a microphone calibrated to record a shooter’s time. The device indicates starting time with an audible signal and detects the sound of each shot. When the shooter finishes, the timer will display the time elapsed from the start signal until the last shot.
A shot timer provides crucial details about the speed of a shooter’s draw, transition times between targets, and follow-up shot timing. Each timer offers many of the same basic features. They include an audible buzzer, a microphone that records shots, and the ability to review a string of fire to get data from multiple gunfires. Many shot timers also have a setting for a random start time, which allows shooters to train by themselves.
A few definitions associated with shot timers are:
- Raw time: The final time captured after the last shot.
- Total time: Raw time plus penalty time (in seconds) from missing the target.
- Shot time: The time captured on a single shot.
- Par time: An allotted amount of time ending with a buzzer.
- Split time: The time frame between shots.
Why Use a Shot Timer?
Prepare For a Shooting Competition
Like in other professional sports, shooting competitions are often won or lost by a fraction of a second. Shot timers record data to hundredths of a second, providing shooters with accurate, reliable, and quantifiable data. Measurements like total time represent a combination of balancing speed, efficiency, and marksmanship. Once you know your performance time, you know which areas need improvement before your next shooting competition.
Quantify Your Limitations
Shot timers also allow an everyday marksman to quantify their limitations. Some shooters assume they are a good shot, but without a timer, they will never know how fast they are really shooting. Using a timer sets a baseline performance for fundamental defensive skills like a fast, smooth draw or quick and accurate follow-up shots. With this data, there will be no question of how good of a shot you are.
Improve Your Accuracy
Having baseline data from a shot timer allows shooters to measure their improvement in essential firearm skills. Using a timer will help you keep track of what areas you need to focus on in your training regime, and record your progress as you improve. Additionally, these devices simulate the stressful environment that shooters often face in a real-life defensive situation. Practicing quick and accurate firing under stress helps ensure that you can defend yourself if the need arises.
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