The 3 Best Shot Timers for IDPA & Competitions – Reviews 2021

best shot timer, idpa shot timer

Photo by mr.smashy / CC BY

Shot timers are small, usually shirt pocket sized devices that allow you to time the overall time for a shot string or time between individual shots. They are most commonly used in several forms of competition (like IDPA matches) or to simply measure skill.

They all operate on the same basic principle of automatically starting a timer when the loud sound of a gunshot is heard and marking the time until the last shot is heard. They also can also be set to sound a tone to indicate the start of a shooting session, which allows a shooter to include reaction time as part of the overall shot string.

For such basic technical ideas, there are a number of shot timers on the market, which made answering the question “What is the best shot timer?” somewhat interesting.  Here our for 4 best picks, ranging from old classics to new entries to the market.

PACT Club Shot Timer

This is one of the newer designs on the market.  Built to easily fit in the hand in such a way as to keep the buzzer and microphone free of obstructions, with easy to use large, ergonomic control buttons, this shot timer (see full specs) comes with a limited factory lifetime warranty, large display, sealed keypad, 100 shot memory, corrosion proof battery contacts, and adjustable volume controls. An affordable, yet feature packed unit, this shot timer is perfect for those buying their first shot timer, or looking to replace their aging one.  This is one of the best short timers on the market.

Pocket Pro II

Designed so its loud buzzer can even be heard through hearing protection, the Pocket Pro II is a well built classic that’s ready for whatever you want to throw at it. Running for about 20 hours off an easily replaceable 9 volt battery, and featuring easy to use and logically placed buttons, this timer includes a 99 shot counter, ten minute timeout and a unique stop tone. Perfect for any sort of competition or training you can think of that requires a shot timer, this easy to use and highly rated unit is a must have for competitive shooters and trainers.  If you want a great IDPA shot timer, this could be it.

Pocket Pro

The original Pocket Pro and still going strong.  This classic shot timer (see full specs) easily clips to a shirt or pants pocket for easy use. It has a large and easy to see display, conveniently placed control buttons, long battery life, 99 shot counter, and a second par time beep for dry fire exercises. While not as refined as other models, the Pocket Pro is a no frills, no gimmicks shot counter for those who appreciate simplicity and mature designs.  Ideal for concealed carry training, dry fire exercises, three gun competition, or simply honing your skills, this industry leading shot counter deserves a place in your range bag.  Old school products are often the best shot timers for the money.

Electronic Ear Muffs

While on the subject of the best shot timer, we need to take into consideration the fact that any shot timer you buy will be useless if you can’t hear the dang thing go off.  To that end, we recommend electronic ear muffs. In fact, I hunt with a pair of these and can attest to their usefulness. My hunting partner and I can both carry on regular conversation and hear everything around us just fine, yet when it comes time to pull the trigger, you enjoy all the benefits of regular ear muffs. An absolute must if you are engaged in any sort of competition shooting and the best way to actually hear your shot timer go off, the safety of your ears and the competition edge offered by electronic muffs make this a must have item.

Shot Timers and You

I don’t shoot in competition and in general never gave much thought to how fast I could shoot a string of shots until I was out cougar hunting with a friend.  It was cold and we were following fresh tracks and it was my first time cougar hunting. I was actually tagging along as a safety partner and had brought my 6” .357 with me as a trail gun.  Well, I heard something rustling in trees above us, and my first thought was, Cougar?!  And I had half cleared leather before I realized I was drawing on a squirrel.  It was a funny moment that also made me aware of an ability to actually react to outside stimulus and make a fast move for my weapon, and to even break off when the situation changed.  That lead me to wonder just how I’d do drawing and shooting timed strings.

Enter the shot timer.  Turned out I was good on the draw but slow on a cylinder dump.  My first six shot strings were… uninspiring to say the least.  I was on paper but it was slow.  This to me is where the true magic of a shot timer comes it, because you can compete with yourself.  Draw. Shoot. Reload. Rinse and repeat, over and over again until your speed and accuracy both improve.  And really it works for any weapon, and gives you a simple tool for constantly pushing your limits, and honing your shooting skills.  Whether it’s for your own personal goals or competitions like the IDPA, shot timers are a must-have.

Naturally if you are into any sort of competition where timed shots are required a shot timer is a requirement to hone and refine your skills, The best shot timers then will have a large, easy to read display, will maintain a long record of shots fired that you can compare against each other, have long battery life, be relatively weather resistant and of course lightweight and portable. Shot timers all have roughly the same features, and it’s more important to match your wallet and any advanced needs you might have than anything else. For the most part, I don’t think you can go wrong with any quality shot timer, just get the one that feels and sounds best for you, and you’ll be ready to improve your shooting skills and score higher in competition in no time flat!

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