Success in shooting isn’t measured by how many rounds you put downrange. It is measured by accuracy and, in the case of competitive and defensive shooting skills, by the speed at which you do it. If your practice isn’t perfect, though, all you’re doing is reinforcing bad habits that you’ll have to overcome through training—and even more rounds downrange. Use your smartphone to help you improve shooting fundamentals and spot problems before they become bad habits, and you’ll never be without a training partner on the range.
Once you know what proper stance and grip feel like, and what a smooth trigger press feels like, you can generally call your shots when you flinch or slap the trigger. But, what if there’s something else going on with your grip that you simply aren’t noticing? What if you’re sweeping the muzzle with your weak hand, or sweeping your own body when you re-holster? Set up your smartphone to take video while you’re shooting drills; it takes seconds to review the videos and perfect your form and safety for the next range (or dry-fire) practice session.
Time Your Shots
Shot timers are gadgets that sound a super-annoying “beep” signaling that it’s time to start your drill (or stage, for competitive shooters). They usually cost over $100, but your smartphone is a great stand-in with the right app. Surefire and Taurus both make iPhone shot timer apps that even show you how long you take between shots (splits), and can store several practice sessions in your phone memory for comparison. There look to be quite a few more free shot timer options for Android phones, but keep in mind that apps aren’t competition-level timers. You could even pay for timer apps with a range officer telling you to “Make Ready” before the buzzer, but you won’t get the most accurate shot timer of all time in a free (or even $10) smartphone app. We think having the app is better than no shot timer at all.
Next time you go to the range, set up your phone to be just the training aid you need to give you unbiased feedback on how you’re training. Use a journal to record what your app and video tell you, and then find out more about tuning up your gunhandling so you’ll continue to see improvement in both accuracy and speed.