I was out in Parker County, Texas, this week, having a conversation with Lt. Tony Bilbay about a new FLIR unit we're testing (we'll be talking about that here pretty soon - our early results are very good) when the topic turned to training and shooting.
Tony and his wife are International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) members, and they spend a lot of time on the range. We got to talking about gear and training, and Tony mentioned that he uses a tool which I love, and which we both cannot believe isn’t more popular seeing as how it
a) works and b) is free: The SureFire ShotTimer app for the iPhone, Android or Blackberry.
I use shot timers during the self-defense handgun training classes I teach and on my own. In the classes, I use a Competitive Edge Dynamics CED 7000 Shot Timer, but on my own I've been using the SureFire app for some time now.
I use it for practicing draws from the holster and shooting at single or multiple targets while moving, shooting and talking. I'm trying to challenge my training to handle multiple events occurring simultaneously.
“We train like this so that in times of great stress, we perform tasks without thinking about them,” says retired Navy SEAL officer Clint Bruce, whose Trident Response Group provides training, risk management consulting and executive protection services for law enforcement and civilians.
“Under stress, you want to accomplish automatically as much as possible, to keep free your faculties to understand the unique aspects of the situation and react accordingly,” he says.
So using the SureFire ShotTimer the way I'm using it, I'm getting a free and effective tool to keep me sharp—more importantly, it's a tool I always have with me. So when my friend Pete calls to ask me to go to the range— right now!—, I've got a shot timer to use without having to grab my range bag.
The ShotTimer uses the Smartphone device's built-in microphone, and displays elapsed and split timing.
Obviously, there are times when a more purpose-built product like the CED 7000 is called for, but the ShotTimer is pretty darn good—certainly good enough for most self training.
The one time I had an issue with picking up shots, I contacted SureFire and a technician helped me tweak it to perfection.
Lt. Bilbay even uses his at home—in the house!
“What I do is crank the sensitivity up to about 97,” he says, “and then practice drawing and dry-firing. The app picks up the clicks, and it is a really valuable training tool.”
A valuable, free training tool that neither of us can believe isn't in every cop's Smartphone.
Note: Neither the authors nor Law Officer receive compensation or consideration for coverage in this column.
Products and Services mentioned in this post:
The International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) is the governing body of a shooting sport that simulates self-defense scenarios and real life encounters.
Competitive Edge Dynamics CED7000 Shot-Activated Timer.
Read about Trident Response Group on their website, and contact them for LE-training in their Dallas shoot-house (we will write about this in an upcoming post).
iTunes and information are available at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/shottimer/id295005845?mt=8 and http://www.surefire.com/shottimerFAQ