Since the dawn of time, humans have been obsessed with recording their every move, or at least it seems that way on YouTube, and this concept hasn’t been lost on clay shooters. Today, you can find thousands of amateur videos from GoPros cellotaped to barrels or stocks that blurrily capture clays breaking, and some well produced tuition videos that make use of the advanced technology we have today. But German engineering has caught up to the market, and taken it into to new heights. The latest company to do this with shotgun-mounted cameras is Skeet Falcon.
This is a camera-based tool that transfers footage of your shot to the free Skeet Falcon iPad or iPhone app, providing instant feedback in practice and training situations. The app is basic and the playback function is adequate, but to benefit from a full array of useful instruments, such as slow-motion replay, on-screen editing, drawing capabilities and voiceover reviews that help shooters learn away from the shooting ground, the company recommends the use of the Coach’s Eye app. Its clean interface is tested in a lot of sports, and clay shooting is the latest to benefit.
The first thing you notice about the camera product is its neat packaging. Much like other technological market leaders, the team behind Skeet Falcon, Igor Kleiman and Wolfgang Veith, understands that crisp, clean lines make a product look good. And the better something looks, the more people will look at it. Making use of the pre-existing Sony Action Cam video recording unit, Skeet Falcon has built lightweight housing for the HD device that is easily affixed to the barrel of any over-and-under shotgun. It comes in a range of colours such as red, blue, black and the titanium-coloured finish as seen in the review model.
Unlike the square GoPro units that shooters often attach to the side of the barrel using a separate clip or the back of a stock interrupting your mount, the Sony camera is slim and clips to the bottom barrel of the shotgun. This keeps the weight central, doesn’t inhibit your view and makes the act of shooting feel as natural as possible. At just 140 grams, the camera feels like part of the gun after 10 shots or so, making this a useful training aid for coaches and shooting grounds alike.
Benefiting from the expertise that the parent company, HKKW Bankwehr, brings from its industrial engineering background, the science behind Skeet Falcon is faultless. The mount itself is a tough, rugged composite with technology in the clip that adjusts as the temperature of the bottom barrel gets hot, which ensures the safety of the camera. A screw fitting has been added to the front of the housing to hold one of four Müller-Manching lenses. These imitate the choice of lens colour on shooting glasses: yellow for foggy or cloudy conditions, orange and pink for to filter blue light out against dark backgrounds, and there is a clear lens with a red dot in the middle that helps during analyses.
The camera doesn’t lack quality either. Filming at a rate of 120 frames per second with 32GB of memory means it can store over three hours of footage at one time. Skeet Falcon recommends that individual videos don’t last more than 100 seconds to allow a quicker rate of transfer from the camera, but that is plenty of time to hit five pairs on a stand, or a few doubles in a coaching session.
Don’t be fooled by its name – Skeet Falcon can be used with any discipline. The analysis might change, but the product remains the same. Despite this, we met the Skeet Falcon engineers at Edgehill Shooting Ground in Warwickshire for a round of Skeet, then sat in the comfortable clubhouse and analysed the footage.
Wes Stanton, a former Skeet shot for England, dropped a limited number of shots, but enough to scrutinise and compare with the successful attempts.
Wes’s Skeet Falcon recordings were played back to us and on the first miss that cropped up, Igor Kleiman, managing partner and passionate Olympic Skeet shooter, jumped on where the Clay Shooting editor went wrong on a double, and said: “This is a good first shot, but now you’re crossing the central peg too far, and you’re trying to catch up with the second target but shoot behind it.”
Wes couldn’t retaliate – the video proof was right in front of him – but he said: “That’s really interesting. If you’d asked me what I’d done on that stand before seeing that, I would have said it was completely different.”
This is where Skeet Falcon separates itself from the market. If ambitious shooters are keen to get pin-point analysis and feedback on specific stands or targets, this product is the next step. Tools like this will one day be available at every good teaching ground, and independent coaches will reap major benefits from its use with clients. Whether it’s Sporting, Trap, game or anything else, Skeet Falcon will help you conquer it.
Maker: Skeet Falcon/HKKW Bankwehr
Size: 84mm long, 32mm wide (44 including bolt)
Weight: 140 grams
Frames p/s: 120
Camera: Sony Action Cam HDR-AS15
Price: €1,850.45 inc VAT