Are you a new shooter looking to develop your technique, or perhaps an intermediate trying to up your game? These training aids might be the answer, says Lloyd Pattison.
The RibEye’s premise is a simple one, attaching a small mirror to the end of your barrels will allow the shooter, when mounting the gun (empty and safely pointed away from anything you might damage) to see immediately where their eye is in relation to the rib.
Of course it’s possible to do this with any mirror, however the RibEye allows you to observe your eye position during a swing, to see if your head position is consistent.
Many new shooters don’t understand what they should be seeing in terms of alignment or sight picture, even though gun fit is absolutely paramount to successfully breaking clays. The RibEye makes it pretty easy to spot errors and develop a consistent mount.
Pattern boards or plates have been around forever; there is some debate over their usefulness, and indeed how to properly shoot at one. Leaving that aside, the point of the pattern plate is to allow the shooter to test fire a particular cartridge, at a set distance, through a given choke to assess pattern placement and density.
Choke constriction correlates to the size of a pattern at a given distance from the gun, which can also vary depending on cartridge and wad design. Another benefit of pattern plate testing is that deviation from the centre can show up errors in mount and gun fit.
However, most people will require assistance to diagnose these issues and put them right, hence I would advise attending a shooting school or coaching session to get the most out of pattern plate testing.
Cardboard pattern plates can be bought pretty cheaply, and many grounds have a steel plate that can be given a fresh surface simply with a quick coat of emulsion.
The underslung ShotKam is a great way to record your shots without any extraneous elements getting in the way
The ShotKam’s £595 RRP isn’t cheap, but its selling point is a compelling one to some shooters. The ShotKam system is essentially a 1080p video camera that can be aligned to the bore of your gun, which once set up will activate via an accelerometer to record your shot.
The camera has a built in wifi antenna and can be linked to a phone or tablet to allow you or your coach to instantly review each shot. The videos can be played back either at normal speed or slowed down, and the footage has a reticle in the centre representing the point of aim.
Looking at the footage will show up exactly what you and the gun are doing during each shot. Gun speed, swing through and lead can all be assessed to allow you to figure out why you are missing (or hitting) a particular bird.
For your money you get the camera, the mounting kit and tools, a charging kit and a hard case to protect your investment. You will have to supply a device for watching the footage – the camera has no screen or viewfinder.
The footage has a narrow field of view, so it’s pretty focused on the clay and it’s easy to spot shot placement.
The Aimcam takes a bit of fiddling to align, but once it’s in place it offers an impressive shooter’s eye view
Aimcam is another camera system that addresses the all-important ‘why did I miss that?’ question, but in a slightly different way. With Aimcam the camera is mounted on your face rather than on your gun.
The system is significantly cheaper than the ShotKam at £199 for the basic kit (just the glasses) or £250 for the deluxe bundle including a battery pack and cable for recharging, a foam lined case and a memory card.
As the product is also a set of shooting glasses, AimCam sell a variety of coloured lenses so you can find an option that suits your eye. The camera itself is 1080p at 30 frames per second. Recording at 60FPS enables half speed playback, but is limited to 720p.
Again the unit has wifi to allow instant review of footage on a smartphone or tablet, or the footage can be downloaded for review on a larger screen.
The footage from the AimCam is quite different to the much tighter shots from the ShotKam, and I think particular attention would need to be taken with positioning the lens above the shooters master eye, but when done properly the resulting shooters eye view is impressive.
The glasses are not exactly sexy, but you are unlikely to wear them on a date…
The DryFire system takes a bit of setting up, involving attaching a switch and a laser to your gun, levelling the projector or attaching it to a tripod and setting up the software – then it’s away you go.
The system offers a variety of presentations, however the software looks rather dated by modern standards, and at a thousand pounds it is far from cheap.
This system is about as close to real shooting as I have seen – but it better be, because the price tag is eye-watering.
Starting at €5250, this Swedish product was developed in collaboration with Olympic Double Trap shooter Håkan Dahlby, and represents the cutting edge in shooting simulators.
Perhaps it’s not really aimed at individuals so much as clubs, which could well benefit from purchasing and housing one of these impressive systems.
A variety of shooting presentations is offered, ranging from clays to stalking, driven game, and even wild west style shoot-outs.
Arrow Laser Shot
Arrow laser shot starts at £119.99 for the basic laser tool, which fits in your gun’s bore. It can also be supplied with a target that looks just like a pattern plate.
Theoretically the user can check mount and alignment with just this setup. If it works as described and the laser is properly aligned this could prove useful for new shooters whose mount is inconsistent or who are attempting to sort out their gun fit.
An additional module for the system is a laser projector that projects a moving point onto a flat surface, which you can use as a target for practising your swing.
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