The Best Shot Timers

If you’re anything like our experts, you are pro-gun control. No, we don’t mean taking away people’s constitutional rights; that’s absurd. We’re talking about making every shot count. Where rounds travel after we fire them is our responsibility, and it’s in everyone’s best interest for us to have as much control over them as humanly possible.

One important element that goes hand-in-hand with control is, of course, speed. If you’ve wondered how Keanu nails his precise shots in the John Wick movies, or have ventured into many shooting competitions, you know that — with some practice — it‘s possible to maintain impressive control over even the biggest, baddest firearms: it just takes some polished shooting skills.

He IS John Wick

A piece of kit we think is critical to leveling up your speed and firearm control is a shot timer. There’s a lot of these on the market so we’ve pulled together this shot timer comparison to help you make an informed decision.

Time spent at the range with one of these little tools will help get a lot more out of your sessions, and before you know it you’ll be giving Keanu a run for his money.

Quick List: The Best Shot Timers For Any Budget:

  1. Best Shot Timer: Pact Club Timer III
  2. Runner-Up: Competition Electronics Pocket Pro II Timer  
  3. Also Great: Shotmaxx 2 Shot Timer 
  4. Best Techie Option: Mantis X3 System 
  5. Best Portable Option: CED 7000 Shot Timer

Best Shot Timer:

PACT Club Timer III
  • Ultra Loud Buzzer
  • Ergonomic Design
  • Readable Display

The PACT Club shot timer is the one that most competition shooters start with because it has all the things you need with very little that you don’t. This one comes with easy to use buttons, a super loud buzzer that you can hear even when other folks around you are firing, and an integral belt clip. 

We would have liked additional software features for more data, but the Pact Club Timer III is an industry-standard for a reason, so if you plan on taking classes this might well be the one your instructors are using.

 

What We Liked

  • The loud buzzer is easy to hear through ear protection
  • Has an overall shot time clock to track large shot numbers
  • Has an integral belt clip

What We Didn't Like

  • For the price, could have done with some more features.
  • Can be a little hard to adjust.

Runner Up:

Competition Electronics Pocket Pro II Timer Blue CEI-4700
  • 1x 9 Volt batteries required (best with Polaroid 9 Volt batteries), Color is Blue ,configuartions of...
  • Make sure you are using alkaline batteries. After 10 minutes, if no shots are detected and no...
  • The timer can store up to 99 shots for a given timing cycle. Subsequent shots will be stored by...

The Pocket Pro II is a small timer that has a lot of features packed into it, including random starts, split times, and has the capability of large number shot tracking to get your rounds per minute dialed in at a consistent pace. Plus, it automatically shuts off after 10 minutes to save battery life.

We do wish the plastic pocket clip was all metal, though, as we worry about it breaking if we bump into something in a competition stage.

What We Liked

  • Can store split times for up to 99 shots
  • It’s bright blue – so it’s easy to see
  • Automatically turns off after 10 minutes without hearing a shot

What We Didn't Like

  • The plastic on the belt clip might be a little bit flimsy for hard use.
  • We wish the display was both bigger and brighter

Also Great:

If you’re looking for a little bit different form factor that’s less likely to snag on obstacles, check out the Shotmaxx II. It’s a shot timing watch that can keep track of over  100 shots in strings of 99. 

The battery is only good for a few range days, though, so you’ll need to keep a few in your bag.

What We Liked

  • The watch form factor is super convenient
  • The display is clear and easy to read at a glance
  • You can change the beep frequency, great for those of us with a little too much range time on our ears

What We Didn't Like

  • Difficult to share since it’s a watch
  • The battery life is a little lackluster

Best Techie Option:

Mantis X3 Shooting Performance System - Real-time Tracking, Analysis, Diagnostics, and Coaching...
  • Next generation of the MantisX - Shoot better with real-time, data-driven feedback
  • Attach to any pistol or rifle with a rail or rail adapter
  • Designed for live fire AND dry fire on your firearm

All of us wish we could get to the range more. But that’s hard even under ideal circumstances. With ammo prices high, we still need to practice our dry fire training. The Mantis X3 comes in two parts: a rail-mounted sensor and an app to give you exercises and feedback to train from home without needing to go to the range. It’s not technically a shot timer, but it will help you improve your consistency at the range.

What We Liked

  • Provides a ton of data through the included app
  • Doesn’t add much bulk to your firearm when installed
  • This is a dry fire training tool, saving you money

What We Didn't Like

  • Requires a smartphone and an app
  • Needs to be attached to a 1913 rail section

Best Portable Option:

CED7000 Shot Timer - Perfect for Dry Fire Practice Shooting or RO use in USPSA, IPSC, 3 Gun, and...
  • Your friends and squadmates will be amazed at your scores after practicing with the CED7000 shot...
  • The CED7000 is the shot timer of choice for Pros like 5 time USPSA/IPSC production national champion...
  • Small form factor fits easily the in the palm of your hand and features an LCD screen - no more...

The CED 7000 is one of the top choices for professional speed competition shooters and it’s easy to see why. It’s compact, easy to use, and despite its understated appearance provides an impressive variety of data for competitive shooters. 

We do wish it came with a belt clip and the case looks a little like an old fashioned TV “clicker” your grandmother owned in the 80s, but looks aside the CED offers solid performance and a nice software package that any competitive shooter would benefit from investing in.

What We Liked

  • The display is really clear and easy to read
  • Has an integrated par timer for dry fire practice
  • This one comes with rechargeable batteries

What We Didn't Like

  • Doesn’t come with a belt clip
  • Case is outdated and in need of refinement

Why bother with a shot timer?

The last time you were at the range, did you make time to practice your speed? If you did, how fast, exactly, were your shots? The thing about attempting to track your performance with speed shooting simple – without a timer you have no data.

Without that data, it’s impossible to know why your shot groups were lagging or if follow-up shots were inconsistent. Maybe the muzzle was climbing because you weren’t paying attention to your grip. You just can’t be sure. With a little more information you’ll get better answers that lead to better shooting results. Shooting timers can help piece the puzzle together.

What benefits can I expect from a shot timer? 

Once you have an idea of how fast you’re currently shooting, you can focus on how to get individual shots off faster. You’ll also be able to tell the difference in your groups at certain speeds, so you can practice getting better groupings while increasing speed – which is just as useful in tactical situations as competitions. 

The information you’ll get from a good shot timer will be critical in helping you dial in your shooting both in terms of precision and speed. Precision and speed, together, mean a more performant, controlled shooter.

 

What features should I look for in a shot timer? 

To get practical, the first thing you want is the ease of access – so look for a belt clip or some other means of attaching the timer to your body. Sure, some shooting ranges have handy tables, but it’s impractical to have someone follow you around with a timer when you’re practicing your competition runs. 

Second, make sure that the battery life is decent. There are few things as frustrating as ruining a practice session by being out of juice as soon as you get to the range. 

For competition shooting timers – a random start timer will help you train your reaction times and draws. Also, make sure that the timer can track split times for the sake of consistency. This helps work down par times on tricky competition stages. A nice loud beep paired with a shot sensor and buzzer are good features as well – you’ll need to hear your timer clearly while wearing ear protection, and you don’t want to second guess yourself when trying to perform.

Finally, we like range timers that track up to 100 shots in total, so you can gather as much information as possible with each round: the more data, the better. Excelling at competitive shooting means blending a little art with a healthy dose of science. 

Conclusion

When it comes to shot timers, any of the above options are going to give you good performance and bang for the buck. 

With that said, the most important consideration is that your shot timer supports the kind of training you want to do and your shooting style. 

We think that the Pact Club model meets a nice balance of features, cost, and comes ready to go out of the box, but the rest of the list is more than worth considering as well. Good luck!

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MICHAEL CRITES is el jefe around here. He writes about guns and gear.

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