How to Use a Shot Timer to Maximize Dry Fire Training
Shot timers are excellent tools to enhance a dry fire, when utilized well.
The shot timer never lies. Such a common statement in the competitive shooting world, and such a true statement. Anyone can claim to be fast, but a shot timer definitely shows the exact speed of a shooter.
A shot timer training tool is a fantastic tool to put your skills to the test and measure them in an extremely quantifiable way in live fire.
In dry fire training, a par timer is used to push us to maintain speed and consistency while tryining.
Par times to push speed
Par timers are a very valuable way of pushing speed in dry fire.
Being accurate means nothing if we’re slow. But being fast means nothing if we aren’t accurate. That’s why we try to find a balance of speed and accuracy for practical pistol shooting.
Par timers help us push speed in dry fire training.
- Set a par time that makes it easy to consistently complete the desired drill.
- Run the drill and beat the par time.
- Decrease the par time by a tenth of a second or two.
- Work to complete the par time again.
- Repeat the process of lowering the par time until you’re struggling to beat that par time.
It’s often surprising how much we can push speed and still maintain accurate hits.
Want to push speed even further? Temporarily increase the area of acceptable accuracy. Make the targets bigger and push speed even more. In order to go fast, we have to become comfortable with going fast. So pushing speeds beyond what we’re comfortable is the best way to get there.
Just be sure to also train while maintaining sufficient accuracy.
Random start times
Random start times help shooters practice their reaction time. For a particularly interesting training session, crank up the shot timer random start time to 10 seconds and walk around like normal waiting for the beep.
Studies have shown that working to react quickly to a known stimulus helps us react quickly to an unknown stimulus. It’s interesting and almost counterintuitive, but hey, I’ll take it.
Pocket Pro II Shot Timer
There are a few shot timers out there, but the Pocket Pro II from Competition Electronics is the shot timer I use. Durable, reliable, and has long lasting battery life. It includes random and instant start times, configurable par time, and shot string recall. It is a fantastic shot timer to use for your dry fire and live fire training sessions.
Free Par Timer
LockedBack.com provides a FREE par timer, ideal for dry fire training. It boasts the ability to save par times associated with dry fire drills, customizable random start time windows, and multiple par times. That’s more than most shot timers available on the market.
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Written by Brian Purkiss - always a student, sometimes a teacher.
I don't consider myself a competition shooter - I think of myself as a performance pistol shooter. I am all about performing at as high of a level as possible. Towards that end, I am obsessive about learning how to perform. I spend a lot of my life learning from the best across the entire firearms world and even into other areas of performance and other sports. I am a USPSA Carry Optics Grandmaster, currently working towards my second GM title in the Open division.