If you’ve been to the range lately, you’ve probably spent time getting up close and personal (or not-so-up-close and personal) with your favorite flavor of paper target. Clip it to the holder, and run that puppy downrange, then it’s “shooter ready” and we’re off to the races. But paper targets, live ammo, and practice time can be scarce. What’s a conscientious gun owner to do? Well, it’s no substitute for live ammo practice, but you can work on your hand-eye coordination with a nifty little 99-cent special from the iTunes store, by the name of Target Practice.

It is what the name implies, no more and no less. Fire up the app, and you get two options – practice mode and timer mode. In practice mode you learn just how difficult it can be to center a red Plimsoll-esque sight on a target that looks to be a good 30 feet away. Tap the screen anywhere when you have the iPhone tilted the way you intend, and you’ll see a realistic-looking bullet hole in the target, along with your score, delineated as to how close to the bull’s eye you’ve hit. Tire of this exercise, and it’s on to the timed mode, where you have 15 seconds to score 120 points, in level one. Let me just opine here that 15 seconds is bloody fast, especially since you will likely have to reload (shake the iPhone) in order to get enough rounds to reach 120 points. Time’s up? Whoops. Back to square one. I’d love to tell you all about levels two through six, but I’m still working on 120 points in 15 seconds.

For 99 cents it’s not a bad deal. But I’ve found free apps that I think are a better value. Here’s what I’d like to see in version 3.0:

  • variable distance to target
  • option to control the number of rounds, to simulate large-cap magazines
  • option to control the time limit to complete the target number of rounds
  • low-light option, simulating a dim room with laser sights
  • Shoot-n-See stick-on targets, for better visibility
  • A user-selectable assortment of targets

As a programmer, I can tell you that none of these would take a lot of work to implement. It remains to be seen if the author wants to put any work into the title, however…it’s not been updated in some time. Be aware that it’s also not been tested for the iPad, so a big caveat emptor on that one. Bottom line, it’s biggest asset is that it will get you thinkin’ “Say…I need to head down to the range and get in some reps before dinner.” Short of that, you’re not getting a lot for your 99 cents, especially considering that there are other free apps with a lot more to offer.

Title: Target Practice

Rating: * * 1/2 (out of five)

Price: 99 cents (iTunes App Store)

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch. Requires iPhone OS 2.0 or later.

Summary: It’s useful, but kinda spartan for 99 cents. I’m hoping for more features (see above) in the next update.

Link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/target-practice/id318335059?mt=8

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