Timers . . . it’s an interesting topic among shooters as they begin to think about getting “faster”. It’s almost spoken as FACT – strap on a timer, you’ll shoot faster!! Gaaarrrrrroooonnnnnttttteeeeeedddddd!!
MMmmm . . . not so much. In fact, getting “fast” is a topic in and of itself, there are so many bits and pieces to the process that just throwing in a few words about it here would do the topic and you a disservice, I’ll save it to until later.
My biggest concern for a new shooter that is looking to get – or has just gotten – their first timer is that they push so much on simply a quick draw that the basics of good safety, solid grip, RULE NUMBER 2 (Always keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot! i.e. – On Target!!) and trigger discipline are thrown out the window. Instead there is simply a drive to “beat the timer”. Honestly . . . it’s an inanimate object – you can’t beat it. But, you sure the heck can put a round in your thigh trying to.
So – Rule number one of a timer: Draw as fast as you can – SAFELY! With time, with practice, with hundreds/thousands of draws you will naturally get smoother. This will make you a faster shooter.
Rule number two of a timer: A FAST draw and a poorly aimed shot is just that . . . a poorly aimed shot. Speed from the holster has little to do with survivability in a defensive encounter if you cleared the holster and got the shot off in under the “magical” 2 second time . . . if the round was a foot high and to the left of your attacker’s head.
Rule number three of a timer: They should be rock simple to run. I have three different timers. One – and app on my Android. See the reviews for an overview of it. My lovely wife bought me the PACT MKIV XP as a Christmas present and I have used it extensively on the range. That said, it’s bulky and absolutely packed with features I seldom if ever use. Did I mention it’s bulky??? My third is one our Ikes chapter uses for their steel shoots. All of these offer a broad range of adjustments, settings and a double handful of buttons or menu selections to roll through to set it to your specific needs. I am a geek at heart, I have no issue with buttons, settings and multiple menus. But, are all those settings really necessary for what I want for 99% of my timing needs? No.
Rule number four of a timer: It needs to display the information you want to track your performance. For me that’s time to first shot, number of shots, split times between shots and total time for all shots fired. Add the ability to set a PAR time (the amount of time allowed to complete your string of fire) and I’m a happy camper.
These four “Rules” lead me to search for a new range timer as the snow cleared and the temps rose. My choice . . . yet another PACT timer . . . the PACT Club Timer III.
It has MINIMAL settings. I can choose to have the timer sound the moment I press the “GO” button. Or, I can choose the “DELAY” feature that will randomly delay the start tone from 1.5 to 3.5 seconds. (This random delay is hard wired! I spent quite some time trying to figure out how to set the delay time simply because virtually every other timer I’ve used allowed me to do that.) And, you can set the PAR time from 00.01 seconds through 99.99 seconds.
It’s a fairly compact size, about 1-1/2 inches thick, 3-7/8 inches wide and 4-3/4 inches deep. Not tiny, but not overly large either. The buttons are big enough to easily allow their use by a gloved hand.
Once you have chosen either “Immediate” or “Delay” and set your PAR time all you need do is hit the “GO” button, wait for the start tone and engage your target. When your PAR time elapses the tone will sound again and your time is over.
A RVW – Review – button allows you to scroll through your shots looking at each shot’s time and the split time to the next shot.
Very simple, very clean, very easy to run. I like it!
The timer is powered by a single 9V battery and will shut itself down after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Cost is between $130 and $150 depending on the vendor.
So, if you are looking to pick up your first timer, or searching for an alternative to your current timer – I urge you to consider the PACT Club Timer III.
I find it a solid performer!