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How To Use a Shot Timer in Practice

Tyler asks:

Hi Luke. I have a question for this weeks Q and A show. My buddy just got a shot timer, and we will be using it this week for the first time. We want to use it as effectively as possible so I’m putting together a spreadsheet to track how we do time wise. What should I track?  Splits?  Total time?  Time to first shot?  I honestly don’t know where to start or what all the shot timer can do. I just want to know if I’m getting faster with my shots on that end and how that stacks up against how accurate I am.

Yes.

And No.

I think what’s important is to get the data that you need from the timer, but you don’t need to record all of the data that the timer gives you.

So, if your draws are slow as crap, you should (work on them in dryfire), and then put your dryfire to the test in live fire. But, if you’re working strictly on your draw, don’t go work a drill that has a whole bunch of other crap in it.

If you’re working on a shot calling drill, you probably don’t want to obsess over your split times and try to work yourself into a cadence where you’re just shooting to try and make your splits go down, when you’re trying to work on not shooting until you see what you need to see.

Does that make sense?

Shot timers are great tools, but I do think sometimes folks fall into the paralysis by analysis with them from time to time.

So, I always recommend the Pocket Pro 2 shot timer, because it’s the best timer out there for someone who practices a lot, and wants to use their timer in live fire, dryfire (in par time mode) and maybe as a backup in matches from time to time.

However, inevitably, someone will come along and tell me that so and so makes a shot timer that’s better because it stores 14,000 drills in it, so you have all kinds of data that you can go back and look at.

However, in my opinion, that data isn’t valuable.

If I can go back in my timer after a practice session and see that on this one drill I had a few rockin .10 splits, is that useful? Am I going to remember if that drill was the one where I threw a few mikes, or am I going to just look at that number and inflate my ego a little bit?

So, here’s what I do, generally:

I whittle down what I’m working on to some pretty basic things. If I’m working on a turn and draw, I just do a turn and draw and fire one shot.

If I’m working on an entrance, I just enter a position, and fire one shot, or a couple shots if needed.

I see guys “practicing” where they’ve come up with this drill that works on draws, splits, entrances and exits, reloads, etc all in one drill and I find it hard to believe that they’re actually improving or really doing much more than going through the motions.

I’ve found breaking a lot of things down into simple small drills that you can work on over and over and over again until your hands hurt, and then putting them together with other skills once they’re honed is a lot more valuable than trying to do everything at once.

I like to look at my match video from my last several matches, and write down the things that sucked.

  • Did I miss a bunch of reloads?
  • Was I slow to get shooting when I moved into position?
  • Whiff a bunch on steel?
  • Post up to shoot when I could have been moving?

Those sorts of things. I take them, and then find or come up with drills that will force me to work on those things.

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About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

One comment

  1. Thanks Lucas. This had some good food for thought!

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