Accuracy of shot timer

How Accurate Shot Timers Are

When shooting becomes more than just fun for you, it is important to accurately measure your results. A shot timer is a device that has no alternatives today. In this article, we will examine how accurate shot timers are and whether they can be trusted.

Accuracy of Shot Timers

Shot timers provide shooters precise, dependable, and quantitative data by recording data down to the hundredths of a second. This is how times are recorded at IPSC competitions — to the nearest hundredth of a second (for example, 5.53 seconds). Understanding your exact results allows you to objectively evaluate your progress and identify weaknesses to work on.

Professional shooting timers have a highly sensitive piezoelectric element. This detail makes the sensor much more accurate and reliable than a microphone. The sensor detects the sound of gunfire and can also differentiate between echoes and shots to minimize errors. 

Shot timers record such parameters:

  • Raw time — the final time captured after the last shot.
  • Total time — time after calculating the penalty time from missing the target.
  • Shot time — the time captured on one single shot.
  • Par time — an allotted amount of time ending with a beep sound.
  • Split time — the time gap between your shots.

SG Timer automatically tracks all these metrics and stores them in the Drills app. There you can use presets, keep a calendar of activities, track all training sessions and practice in different shooting modes, including match mode.


The reliability of shot timers depends on their design and the environment in which they are used, with factors such as background noise and distance from the timer to the firearm affecting accuracy. Overall, when used properly in a controlled environment, shot timers are an essential and reliable tool for shooters aiming to improve their speed and accuracy.

If you turn on several timers at the same time and start shooting, you will see that they can show different results. The difference will only be a few hundred seconds, but this time can be critical in competitions. This is why it is important to choose the most accurate timer.

SG Timer and SG Timer GO are the most reliable timers on the market today. That’s why they are chosen by world champions including JJ Racaza and Piotr Posio.

Shot Timer vs Mobile Shooting Apps

Shot timers are often compared to mobile training apps. They offer a cheaper alternative for shooters, and some beginners think this is more than enough. But this is not true. The difference between a smartphone and a professional device is very significant.

This is what other shooters say about this on Reddit:

“If all you are doing is dry firing, i think the app works fine. the issue is with live fire. I haven’t had an app that accurately picks up shots.” — Master_dekoy.

“My range has different rooms in which you can train. My phone kept picking up the shots in other rooms, even on low sensitivity…” — xineis_

“Dedicated shot timers use dedicated sensor made to perceive pressure from shockwave while phone app use built-in microphone which are designed to perceive sound wave (the same concept but different magnitude). So the shot register from phone is less reliable.” — Effect-Kitchen.

There are just some of the many similar comments. This is exactly what we are saying. Mobile apps are not reliable enough to use them for training. If you want to track you results accurately and progress faster, you need a professional shooting timer.

Related: Shot timer vs Mobile App


What is the typical accuracy level of a shot timer?

Modern shot timers are typically accurate to within 0.01 seconds.

How does background noise affect the accuracy of a shot timer?

Background noise may have some effect, but this effect will not be significant.

Can a shot timer differentiate between shots and echoes?

Yes, it can. You can use the device indoors.

Can a shot timer differentiate your shots from the shots of other shooters nearby?

It depends on the timer. For example, SG Timer can effectively record your scores even when other shooters are shooting simultaneously near you. Some other timers do not have this feature.

What is the best position to place a shot timer for accurate readings?

It doesn’t really matter. The main thing is that the timer is close enough to your weapon. You can clip the timer on your belt or on your desk.

Check the shot timer use cases here