It’s 2018 and there’s no longer any reason not to integrate your smartphone into your shooting and training routine. Besides browsing Gunbroker and Armslist looking for that next acquisition, your phone can actually be used as a training tool.
That includes not only gear that interfaces with your smartphone, but also applications that you can download that can be useful, too. We already use the things in so many other aspects of our lives, why not take advantage of their power and versatility to improve your shooting, too? And, if your phone is a lemon, you an buy a new one and use the old one for target practice.
Kidding aside, there are a number of great apps and phone-assisted tools that can be incorporated into your practice and training regimens.
Among the least expensive — and for those who concealed carry, one of the most beneficial — is a shot timer app. These are available for both iPhone and Android through the App Store or Google Play.
The thing about apps, though, is that they don’t always work as described and you can’t always trust reviews. You may have to go through a few until you find one that reliably works with your particular device. A few are even designed for IPSC scoring, though it should be noted that the official IPSC app – cleverly named the IPSC Official APP – doesn’t include a shot timer.
That would be a cool feature if they offered that, but no matter.
There are plenty out there, but look for is a shot timer that works both at the range and with dry fire practice, as dry firing should be included in anyone’s training regimen. Just remember to check that your pistol is clear before you do any dry firing.
Like with any other application, you may find one that works best with your phone and few that don’t, but there are good ones out there. Happy hunting.
Next is ballistic chronographs.
In previous eras, you made do with dials or a digital face that would display velocity and other data when shooting with a traditional chrono. They’re still available of course; some even come with a printer. Now, however, many chronos come with smartphone compatibility. Usually you’ll have to download the manufacturers’ smartphone application to log and view the captured data, but a good number of chronographs come ready to interface with a smartphone or laptop.
Typically, they’ll have an output jack that uses a 3.5mm cable or USB.
One of the most popular examples are the chronographs by Caldwell. They’re carried by most outdoor stores and online services (Cabelas, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Sportsman’s Guide) and can be readily acquired for a reasonable price.
There’s a raft of other programs worth exploring depending on the kind of shooting you do, such as:
AccuScope Standard – Helps you sight in a scope
Applied Ballistics Mobile – Advanced ballistic calculator
CCW – Helps concealed carriers who travel to know the laws wherever you are
Posted! – Know where you can’t carry before you get there
This doesn’t begin to even scratch the surface. What are your favorite shooting-related apps?