by Terry Wieland
After a few sessions on a trap field with the Garmin XERO S1, here is a report on a couple of specific aspects of what it does, and how it does it.
To recap, the XERO S1 combines a radar and camera in a little box that sits at the trap shooter’s feet, picks up the clay when it leaves the house, tracks the shot pattern, and delivers a report on the hit (or miss) to the shooter’s smart phone, which has an app installed. That’s it in a nutshell.
It can be set to record a standard round of trap — five shots at each of five stations — but that’s a little inconvenient, since it has to be moved from station to station. If you have an instructor to manage the unit and interpret the results, that’s ideal. If you don’t, it’s…well, inconvenient. It’s also a distraction which, in trap, is the last thing you need.
It took me a bit of experimentation to figure it out, but you can simply set up the unit at one station and fire 25 shots without it insisting you move and refusing to function until you do. This is corrected with the “custom” function instead of “standard,” and then following it through to where you choose a station. You pick the one you want and voilá.
The unit still wants to record everything in groups of 25 shots — a standard trap round — but since that’s how it’s programmed to report percentages, graphs, averages, and so on, that’s fine.
My memory tells me I have the most difficulty at Station One, so I set up there. The unit patiently waits as I shoot at 25 flying clays, recording the results with each one. For those not familiar with trap, at Station One you can be presented with anything from a straight-away on the right to a hard left crosser and everything in between. Station Five, at the other end of the line, gives you the opposite, from straight-away on the left to a hard right crosser.
Because these hard crossers normally give beginners the most trouble, most of us assume forevermore that these are the most difficult stations. It’s not true, and in my case the radar confirmed that I really have the most difficulty at Station Three, where every bird is a straight-away or a slight deviation therefrom. Judging the slight angles and nuances can give you fits.
An interesting point the radar clearly communicates is exactly what happens when you “chip” a clay. When we see a chip fly off, for example, the lower left corner, we assume our pattern was behind and to the left. Rehan Nana, my pal at Garmin, told me they’ve discovered with the radar that this is deceptive. Since the clay is spinning as it flies, it may have been struck by a pellet high and right, but the chip itself flew off as it spun around.
I found this myself, looking at the radar’s report on where my shot pattern went.
The report on my 25 shots at Station One gave me an overall score, rating each hit from “1” to “4,” with “0” for a miss. I broke 22 of 25, with a rating of 63. Since a clean break is 3, and dusting it 4, my maximum possible for 22 was 88.
It told me, on a line chart, my reaction time in fractions of a second for each shot, and showed a green mark for a hit, red for a miss. This tells you exactly how well you do when you shoot slowly, quickly, or in between. And, of course, it shows where your shot pattern went in relation to each clay, which you can match up with your reaction times.
Accompanying this are examples of what you can see on your smart-phone app after the round is up-loaded to it. The first shows how many of each type of presentation I saw. The ‘X’s are hits, the ‘O’s are misses, and they indicate where the shot pattern was each time in relation to the clay. Being at Station One, of course, I did not see any actual “hard rights” but that’s the Garmin’s terminology. A little bit of interpretation is required in custom mode.
The second photo shows the summary of averages for that particular round. On average, the center of my pattern was 11 inches from the clay (pretty good, I would say) and they were broken at an average of 33 yards. Useful, and encouraging. We progress.
Gray’s Shooting Editor Terry Wieland finds trap addictive enough. Now he’s becoming addicted to the Garmin XERO S1 as well. Is there no end to it?