Shot Timers

Shot Timer vs App Comparison : Which is Better ?

Shot Timer VS App

A shot timer and a shot timer app help you quickly and clearly hit the target at the right time. They can help determine your success or failure in a competition. They help you time your shot effectively. Using a stopwatch to time your shot can be difficult and even impossible. So much has been said about shot timers and shot timer apps. Most people feel torn in between getting a shot timer or trying out a shot timer app.

Shot Timer vs App

Are you wondering what you need, a shot timer or a shot timer app? This article is dedicated to helping you understand what to expect from a shot timer and a shot timer app. Understanding how both works will make it easier for you to know which one best suits your situation.

Shot Timers

There are so many shot timers available in the market. They come in different designs and with different features to meet the needs of different users. It can be hard for you to know which shot timer is suitable for you when making your first purchase. We will first look at how shot timers work to help beginners in using shot timers know what to expect from the devices.

It helps you also check out one of these best shot timers in the market today:

PACT Club Shot Timer III – Multiple Shot use with Buzzer with Case!
Competition Electronics Pocket Pro Timer, Blue
SPECIAL PIE Shot Timer M1A2-FW Shooting Timer for Firearms Perfect for Pistols Rifle Dry Fire in USPSA, IPSC, APSC, IDPA Competition Timer (Shot Timer with Belt Clip)
Indesign Shot Timer, Firearms Training Shooting Timer for Pistols Rifle Dry Fire Shot and Airsoft with Bluetooth Function in IPSC, APSC, IDPA, 3 Guns, Steel Challenge Competition Timer (Black)

How Do Shot Timers Work?

Shot timers are small devices that allow you to practice shooting to improve your shooting speed and accuracy. To use the shot timer, you need to press the start button and after a while, the device will produce a loud beep sound and then you can shoot. Some shot timers have more features while others have fewer features but they all basically work like that.

The control buttons of the shot timer help you go through different settings and modes. Most buttons are conveniently placed to make it easy for you to operate the device. Most shot timers come with different modes to let you challenge your shooting skills in different ways.

Delayed Timer Mode

This mode waits a predetermined range of seconds, which is usually around 3-7. The timer gives you a BEEP to respond to by shooting a target. The mode provides you with the ability to train yourself to draw and fire in response to either a threat or the starter BEEP at a range competition. This mode is not suitable for those training for speed, especially in a defensive situation.

Instant Timer

For the instant mode, the device beeps immediately when the button is pressed. This mode is great when you have a shooting partner at the range. It is the same mode that the RSO or official timer at your local competition will be using.

Par Timer

The par timer mode is one of the oldest shot timer functions. The mode is commonly used for training your draw. The device beeps then the shooter draws and fires the second, ending beep that marks the conclusion of the par time. This mode is important for those who want to train for defensive scenarios. The Par mode is also suitable for practicing malfunction drills or reloads.

Split Times

Some of the best shot timers come with a split times mode that can be used to track your “split times” or the time between each shot.  The mode is great for working on your rapid-fire or increasing the pace of your fire through a drill such as the Failure to Stop drill.

The above are some of the modes you can find in a shot timer. A shot timer can have any of the modes or all the modes. Some of the most advanced shot timers may come with additional modes and features.

Shot Timer Features and What to Look for in a Shot Timer

Despite the fact that shot timers may vary in the features they offer, there are some common features that all shot timers have. We will be looking at some of the common features of shot timers and what to look for when shopping for a shot timer.


The buzzer is responsible for producing a beep sound. When looking for a reliable shot timer, ensure that the buzzer can be set at least as loud as 100db. The buzzer should be audible at the range. It should also be loud enough to hear even with hearing protection.

Adjustable Sensitivity

Some of the best shot timers come with adjustable sensitivity. This feature helps you tune the device to ensure that it is only picking up your gunfire and not any other sounds in the range. It ensures that your shooting data is precise. The sensitivity should be adjustable in sensible increments. The feature comes in handy for dry fire practice at home, and also for tuning the timer to only count your shots at a busy range.

Echo-Cancellation Function

This feature is not a must-have but it is important for people who are training in a range with other shooters, indoors or in an echoey location. You can turn on this feature to ensure that your timer does not pick-up other shooters’ gunfire or echoes.

Record Keeping

If you want to use a shot timer to improve your shooting skills, you need to get a shot timer that can keep a record of your shooting data. Most shot timers can store about 100 shots worth of split times. Some timers can even help you compare your shooting data and give you your shooting information in form of a graph.

Finally, it’s just a matter of choosing a design you like.  I quite like the ones that can be worn on the wrist, but you may prefer the pager-like devices that clip to a belt or fit neatly into a shirt pocket.

Shot Timer Apps

Shot timer apps work the same way as a shot timer, the only difference is that shot timer apps use your phone. A shot timer app is a great choice for those who are unwilling to spend money on a shot timer. A shot timer application can also be ideal if you want to know how a shot timer works but you are not interested in owning one. Just like shot timers, there are so many shot timer applications available. Some of the shot timer apps are free while others are not.

It is important to note that since shot timer apps depend on your phone, they can be as good as your phone is. If your phone has some issues, you might experience some problems using a shot timer app on your phone.


  • They let you test the idea of shot timers without spending money on a shot timer.
  • You can get free shot timer apps that can be as good as a shot timer.
  • Some of the best shot timer apps can be more reliable than shot timers.
  • It is easy for you to try out different free shot timers to determine the one that best works for your situation.
  • Shot timer apps are easier to use, unlike some shot timers that can come with complex features.


  • When using a shot timer app, you need to wear your phone on your belt during a shooting competition which might result in you cracking your phone’s screen.
  • You need a belt clip to hold the phone if you want to move around when training.


If you are serious about improving your shooting skills or participating in a shooting competition, it is important for you to invest in a shot timer. A shot timer will make it easier for you to train and become better at shooting targets accurately. Shot timer apps are for beginners who want to try out and learn how to use a shot timer.

We hope that you can now choose between a shot timer and a shot timer app. This article was written to help those who are clueless about shot timers and shot timer apps decide which of the two works best for their situation. Let us know your experience using a shot timer or a shot timer app and which of the two you found to be more reliable.