A shot timer is a useful tool for helping you take your shooting to the next level. While target practice will increase your accuracy and precision, a shot timer will help with another important part of shooting, and that’s your speed.
If you need to use your gun during a self-defense situation, your attacker won’t let you take your time getting your gun out and line up the perfect shot. You’ll have to go fast, and that’s what a shot timer trains you to do. It’s also useful for training for certain competitions where time plays a factor in scoring.
A basic shot timer works like this: When the shot timer starts, it will start counting seconds. It will automatically record the times of your shots when it hears your gunshots.
At the end, you’ll have the following data: How long it took you to make your first shot, at what point your next shots were made, and how much time there was between shots.
Here’s an example of what a shot timer might read if you used it to measure your speed. 1.55, 1.8, 2.0, 2.25. What that means is that you fired four shots total and it took 1.55 seconds to draw and make the first shot. Then it took 0.25 seconds for the next shot at 1.8 seconds, and so on.
For example, the typical time it takes to draw and fire at a close range fire is 1.5 seconds. If you use a shot timer you’ll know where you stand and be able to improve from there. If you can get your draw and fire under 1.5 seconds, you’re doing great.
Most shot timers will automatically record your shot times like this. However, an extra feature which you’ll want to have on your shot timer is called “par time”.
Par time is where you select a start and stop time for the timer. You can choose whichever amount of time you want.
This feature is useful because it allows you to easily train a certain skill to get faster. For example, remember that the average draw and fire time is 1.5 seconds? Set your par time to 1.5 seconds and see where you stand. Once you get your time below 1.5 seconds, try setting your par time lower and trying to beat the new lower time.
The par time feature is useful for more than just shooting. It can also be used to train your reload speed. Give yourself 2.5 seconds for reloading and see how fast you can release your empty magazine and put in a fresh one.
When it comes to selecting the best shot timer, there are a lot of products out there for you to choose from.
Shot timers can cost as much as $200 for a high-quality one, all the way down to free phone apps that supposedly work good enough to use. High-end shot timers such as the PACT Mark IV will do all the usual stuff, and it will also provide extra information such as trajectory and hold offs for wind drift.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option and don’t need all the fancy features of a higher end shot timer, the PACT Club Timer III is $130 and is a dependable shot timer to improve your shooting with.
And if you’re really on a strict budget, a shot timer app for your smartphone might be worth a try, but don’t expect it to perform like a proper shot timer.