Sharp shooter

Tru-Shot in use web

Tru-Shot is the ultimate tool for highlighting flaws in your technique – but it’s still down to you to fix them, says Peter Croft

I recently had the opportunity to try out a new piece of shooting technology called Tru-Shot. Tru-Shot is the brainchild of Dennis Stepney, a stockmaker, gunsmith and shooting instructor. Dennis’ aim was to develop a high quality, slow motion camera to record all the movements made by the gun during the act of shooting. It is very important to emphasise, from the outset, that this is not a method of shooting. It is a diagnostic tool that, in the hands of a competent coach or very knowledgeable shooter, provides additional, detailed, information to sort out problems.

The Tru-Shot system consists of a gun-mounted, slow motion camera connected to a belt-mounted, solid state video recorder and monitor. It allows instant playback for analysis immediately after the shot is taken. In the last few months a number of gun-mounted camera recorders have come onto the market. There are a number of problems associated with these devices that can compromise their suitability as serious coaching tools. They tend to be rather heavy, adding weight to the gun ahead of the point of balance, which doesn’t improve the handling qualities of a familiar gun.

The camera fixes to the lower barrel, and is completely unobtrusive

The camera fixes to the lower barrel,
and is completely unobtrusive

Another failing is that they record at a low number of frames per second. When recording on the faster clay disciplines, or when the shooter is a very fast mover of the gun, the camera can fail to record the full detail of the shot because the barrel moves a substantial distance between frames. According to Dennis Stepney, research has shown that the minimum frame rate that reveals all this detail is 100 frames per second. For this reason Tru-Shot has been designed to operate at 120 frames per second in order to see what a rapidly accelerating gun is actually doing.

The Tru-Shot camera is of very high quality, designed for use on industrial robots and machinery. It comes equipped with three lenses – 13mm, 16mm and 25mm. The 13mm lens gives the perception of the human eye while the other two lenses provide greater detail. The 25mm lens is particularly useful for trap shooting and other long targets. These lenses can easily be changed over in a matter of seconds. The camera is considerably lighter than rival systems and this ensures that there is minimal effect on gun handling. I am very fussy about the nuances of gun balance but I found that the Tru-Shot camera had little effect on the way the gun handled and most of the time I was totally unaware of its presence.

Before using the unit it is necessary to calibrate the camera to the gun using the provided calibration target. The system is constantly recording and dumping footage but when it detects recoil it saves the footage for a predetermined period before and after the sensor picks up the recoil. For instance, in Olympic Skeet where there is up to a three-second delay before the target is released, it is possible to program the system to save the recording for, say, five seconds before the recoil. This would show the shooter’s preparation for the shot and the behaviour of the shooter while waiting for a delayed target prior to the clay emerging. The imaginative coach can tailor the system to show whatever information they require. The software also enables the user to take still pictures from the video, either as a single frame or as a sequence of frames.

The recorder can be worn by the shooter or the coach

The recorder can be worn
by the shooter or the coach…

Tru-Shot revealed a number of small flaws in my own technique that I was not aware of, for example, it showed that my gun moves to the left quite noticeably when calling for a target on Olympic Trap. This is something I was unaware of and probably would not be noticeable to a coach watching me.

It also showed a slight tendency to dip the muzzles during the gun mount on certain stations on skeet. This is a common fault but one that I didn’t think I suffered from. The camera doesn’t lie and all is revealed on the monitor.

Initially I was a bit sceptical about Tru-Shot’s use as a coaching tool but having used it both as a shooter and as a coach I was impressed with the quality of the information provided. This is a serious piece of equipment for the coach and its features and quality are far more comprehensive than the other gun-mounted camera systems I have encountered. This is a professional tool that has many applications in the development and coaching of shooters.

As can the monitor screen...

As can the monitor screen…

Tru-Shot is an analytical tool that provides a good coach or a knowledgeable shooter with the information necessary to eliminate errors and improve technique. It is vital that the coach learns to interpret what they are actually seeing and how to use that information in their coaching. Tru-Shot highlights the flaws – it doesn’t tell you how to fix them.

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One comment on “Sharp shooter
  1. Tony Moss says:

    I would dearly love to have a coaching session using Tru-shot but could never afford to buy one for myself. Is there anyone offering individual coaching using it?

    Tony Moss

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