Some shooters do not use a shot timer, and some do, especially those who shoot competitively. Wonder why those that want fast, precise, and accurate target hits have routinely used electronic shot timers for several years in competitions? Yes, they can be a challenge to use effectively, since you must learn their functions and features. Then you must properly and quickly apply and use them, usually under stress conditions. You must regularly train and practice with them. And this takes dedication, discipline, and devotion of adequate time.
Is using a shot timer realistic and practical?
Well, it seems obvious to me that they are a necessity for anything shooting or self-defense related. I need all the help I can get for quickly drawing and optimally placing my shots on the target (whether it be cardboard, paper, steel, or bad guys and gals), for dry-fire practicing, accurate shooting for concealed carry, personal protection, home defense, competitions, and even fun plinking at the range. Just like a good shooting belt and holster, electronic shot timers are necessary tools for developing, maintaining, and improving cutting-edge shooting accuracy and performance that help in a lot of ways.
Shot Timer Options And Goals
I remember in my pre-historic Paleolithic Stone-Age Era times using a $25 stopwatch with limited functions, dependability, and durability. Some of you may not remember these ancient awkward and not easily one-person operated tools. Yes, we have progressed, but the goals and questions remain, aside from proper gun, ammo, holster, and belt selections.
Can I do in a deadly-force encounter what I quickly need to do in a realistic time period to get my desired results of protecting my life and the lives of my loved ones?
What reliable tool can help me train and adequately practice to help me have the confidence that I can accomplish my self-defense goals efficiently and speedily?
Can I easily measure and record (for later review and improvement tracking) my shot times for drawing, presenting my gun, and getting specific target hits?
Yes, you can accomplish these goals with the aid of a modern electronic shot timer. I know what most area competitors use and what I see in the field and at the range. And I know what I want in a shot timer. So, I researched current models and found really only four generally acceptable, modern shot timers that match my criteria at first glance. I tried some of the very few online and a couple of smart-phone apps timers and found they were all not that effective, were inconsistent in measurements, were not valid nor reliable, not calibrated, hard to view the display screens, and had only one or a few very basic functions. While most were free or just an ancillary phone device, they were not that sophisticated for critical self-defense practice and use and were very much influenced by ambient noises, and gave false and inconsistent readings. They did not do what I wanted them to do and did not meet my criteria.
Basic Uses Of An Electronic Shot Timer As A Training Tool
While functions vary among various electronic shot timers, here are some very basic functions:
- Start Delay allows a start beep to sound at a set time, or at a random interval after you press the start button.
- Shot Review screen to display shots in one-shot-per-line mode, showing individual shot time, shot number, split time between shots, and all information in a string of fire that you just shot.
- PAR Time as a second beep to go along with the first beep at the start.
- Random Delay with selectable maximum and minimum delay times for convenience.
Shot Timer Model To Evaluate
Of the four available shot timer models I found at this time, the Pocket Pro II model could handle the very basic uses above and met my general criteria at my first limited look. It is a refinement of Competition Electronics’ (CEI) previous models with improvements. I have used their older models and know they have an excellent reputation for making quality shot timers over the years. So, I wanted to explore it in detail, understand its improvements and functions, ensure they have the features I want, and see if it was “Timer-Worthy” for me and possibly for you.
So, here I will give you my shot timer criteria and then the Pocket Pro II Shot Timer’s Specifications and Features. I will then analyze and rate each Pocket Pro II factor individually by my criteria and offer my opinions based on my analysis, functions research, and field use, and finally give my recommendation to purchase or not. (I base my rating on a 10-Point Scale, with 10 being the highest rating and 0 being the lowest for each of my 10 criterions. Total possible is 100 points for all 10 Criteria.)
Here are the Pocket Pro II’s Specifications And Features.
Next, here are my evaluations and ratings for each criterion.
Evaluation: Pocket Pro II Electronic Shot Timer – Model CEI-4700:
Total Points Possible = 100
1. Display: Large, Well-Illuminated Led, Backlit, And Easy To Read – Points: 10
2. Battery: Sufficient Battery Life; Automatic Shutdown; Battery Status Indicator – Points: 10
3. Menu: Easy To Navigate And Operate Menu System; Adjustable Beeper Volume – Points: 10
4. Functions & Features: Includes Required Minimum:
Points (Rate Either “1” Or “0”):
- Accuracy- Measures Shots Times to a resolution of near one mSec (1/100 Sec.) – Points: 1
- Easy & Quick Start; One-Button Press- Points: 1
- Random Start Delay: to allow setting of maximum and minimum Delay Times- Points: 1
- Automatic Calculation of Split Times between Shots- Points: 1
- Can Set Adjustable PAR Time with Two Beeps at Start and End of Cycle- Points: 1
- Sufficient & Easy Rounds Per Minute Display- Points: 0
- Allows Single-Shot Time Only Display; 3 Menu Configurations; 4 Shots a time- Points: 1
- Automatic Power Down Shutoff if Inactivity for 5-10 minutes- Points: 1
- Sufficient Reduction of False Echo Shots Recording; Shot Sensitivity Setting- Points: 0
- Date and Time Setting and Display- Points: 1
5. Storage: Allows Recording And Sufficient Storage Of Desired Shot Data: Store Up To 99 Shots Per Cycle – Points: 10
6. Durability: Quality Material And Construction; Resists Field Conditions And Weather – Points: 9
7. Warranty: Free From Defects In Material And Workmanship For At Least 1 Year (Longer Preferred) – Points: 10 (2-Year Warranty)
8. Shooting Belt – Pocket Attachment: Belt Or Pocket Attachment; Clip Fits On Pocket Or On Belt For Quick Monitoring Of Shots (Does Not Fit Inside Pocket Due To Size) – Points: 9
9. Miscellaneous: Wide Operating-Temperature Effectiveness Range; Operating Manual; Available Case And Accessories; Helpful Customer Service; Reputation – Points: 10
10. Cost: Reasonable For Electronic Features And Product Quality; Purchase Cost Near $100. – Points: 9 (Msrp=$129.95; Buy On Market For Less)
Total Points = 95 (Out Of 100) Recommend
Based on my criteria match, 95 of 100 total points assigned, my opinions, field testing, and analysis, I recommend the Pocket Pro II, Model CEI-4700 Blue Shot Timer.
This shot timer has an easy to read illuminated display, convenient automatic shutdown feature to preserve 9V battery life, easy menu to see and navigate, 8 of the 10 functions I want on any shot timer, ample storage for up to 99 shots, a two-year warranty, and a clear and helpful operating manual. In particular, I like the convenient-access Quick Start Button on the side of the device, its Random Start Delay, the powerful 105dB Buzzer you can hear with ear protectors on, and its accuracy and reliability. You can use it practically for dry firing, measuring your draw and fire sequences, time for working a reload, and time for clearing a malfunction, in addition to timing single and multiple shots and split times between shots. At times, there were some false shot detections from ambient sources, others shooting, and extreme movement. Overall, this was not a problem. The previous Pocket Pro Model is a bare-bones smaller model that fits in the pocket, is challenging to navigate, but meets minimal needs.
Photos by Author.
Rockford, IL 61109
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2018 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.