Over the winter before the 2016 season, I bought a SCATT USB Trainer. Which is a nifty program that allows me to see where my dry fire shots actually go. As it turns out they are not all Xs.
How It Works
I have the USB model. I went with this one for 2 reasons. First, It was the cheapest, but more than that I knew I wouldn’t keep the battery charged in the wireless version.
The system consists of a target frame, a sensor, a target controller, software and wires to connect them all together.
The rifle mounted unit uses an optical sensor to track where it’s being pointed at on the target, and a microphone to tell the software when the user clicks the trigger.
It’s a nice simple design that allows the user to focus on practice not messing with the setup. I use the rail mount for the sensor which allows me to put it back on the same spot quickly so I can just take a couple of sighters, move the spotter to where my call was and get back to practicing.
Why Should I Get This?
The way I see it there are 3 key benefits of SCATT Shooter Training Systems.
1. More trigger time, more often. This is the biggest advantage of the SCATT trainer in my option . Even if I leave all my Highpower stuff in my truck ready to go, and I’m lucky enough to live 23 minutes from the nicest range on the East Coast. There is still an hour wasted in logistics, driving, and setting up targets. With SCATT, 5 minutes and I’m “shooting.” Which let’s me squeeze in trigger time whenever I can.
2. Ammo and costs This one is obvious but it saves on a wear of your rifle as well. Even handloading isn’t free.
3. Instant feedback with the equipment you use for matches. It has helped me work on parallax, rebuild my positions which would have taken days at the range. The traces have really helped me “get to know” my shots to the point now when I make a bad shot on a real target, I can picture the trace in my head.
When I first got this system it was so I could see if my dry fire shot was a 10 or a 7. But I’ve noticed, after using it for 2 years, as my shooting slowly improves, the traces make more sense and show me things I can work on.
Tips For SCATT users.
1. Find a dedicated place you can keep it set up and ready to use.
For awhile I horsed around with a windows tablet, then using my primary laptop, but I end up buying a cheap windows laptop to dedicate to just the SCATT. If I only have to put on my jacket and pick up my rifle I’m much more likely to make time to practice
2. Point a bright light at the target. This is an easy way to help boost contrast for both your eyes and the target sensor.
3. Commit to using it as much as you can. Personally I try to shoot a quick string of 10, just like a match between work and dinner.
What model should I get?
There are 3 versions, Basic, USB, wireless and a live fire version. I recommend the USB to people when they ask for a few reasons. First, as I mentioned, I don’t have to worry about charging it. The basic doesn’t include Service Rifle Targets, but if all you can afford is the basic, get it, it’s better than a dot on the wall!
The live fire version looks neat and I’d love to play with one, but it was out of budget for me. I wouldn’t try to use it in a match but it would be neat to use while practice.
GTB Shooting Team (aka my shooting buddy and I) has traveled to distant matches in the past, including flying to Ben Avery in 2015. This time, however, we drove the 5000 mile round trip to Ben Avery. The drive itself was an epic adventure. We saw The Great Smoky Mountains, the Ozarks, the Plains, the desert, Table Mesa and the Grand Canyon. As an added bonus I now know what its like to travel 40 hours straight without sleep… weird.
The Creedmoor Cup at Ben Avery
Ben Avery is a beautiful facility, 150 firing points, a shaded pit, easy to use cantilever target carriers, and all the sun you could ask for. The Creedmoor Cup consists of three 800 aggs on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, followed by an EIC on Sunday.
The matches were a lot of fun and I learned a lot while I was out there. Ben Avery has some sporty wind. At one point there were 5 minute wind shifts between shots at 600. Reading the mirage was a lot more useful than the flags. The wind was generally a head or tail wind so trying to determine angle from a flag was a futile exercise. The mirage off the 300 yard berm did not lie, of course one has to take their eyes off the spotting scope to squeeze the trigger.
Phoenix is a beautiful place and Creedmoor Sports ran a great match. Dennis Demille, the GM of Creedmoor Sports, announced that this was the last Creedmoor Cup. I’ve shot in 3 of them now and I will miss the Cup next year. CMP will be absorbing the Cup Matches into their “CMP Cup” format using KTS targets. I have mixed feelings about this change as my experience with the CMP KTS targets has been very poor. However I look forward to shooting at Ben Avery again in the future.
The “gun community” is constantly clucking about “what gear do the pros run” throwing money at their safe queen rifles for instagram pictures.
The governing body of PRS has gone so far as to poll shooters about what gear they use. Right down to their bag and rifle case.
Get real. A Pelican Case and a Tactical Tailor bag are worth exactly 0 points.
Being competitive in shooting sports takes skill not gear.
Dry fire, practice, learn, show up and shoot your best, don’t collect gear.