Sunday, 31 December 2017

Home training

With the holiday period over the last week the chances to get to the shooting club were going to be limited so I was given some home work and sent home with my rifle to do some dry-fire training. Whilst in the past I have taken the rifle home to do some trigger training to improve my trigger technique, this was the first time I was going to try and use the EcoAims VIS500 in training mode at home.

Fortunately my house is about 10m from the very front wall to the very back wall and there is a straight path between them, so this seemed the perfect placement for dry-fire training at home. OK, I will be aiming over a slightly shorter distance as I need a bit of space for me, but it probably is still more than 8m between the IR LED and the EcoAims scope.

As the aim of this exercise was so that I could learn about the sound of the EcoAims VIS500 and also have the opportunity to experiment with the various settings, I decided to make the task slightly easier by sitting with the rifle resting on a support. Good job I did as I have not yet fully worked out the placement of everything and a reliable way for me to align myself with the LED, and there have been some minutes of just searching around to get the target sound. Once I located the target I normally was able to keep finding it for the rest of that training session. Standing though could have been quite a challenge and probably will not happen until we have designed some foot templates to assist me in aligning myself correctly.

This probably was the first time I ever really spent much time with the EcoAims training software. It may be due to it being my first time with it and needing to learn how it works, but I just get the feeling that what I was able to do was very limited. Part of this may be due to the fact that a good amount of the software is not accessible to my screen reader, so there definitely are features I cannot access.

It was good that whilst I was doing my dry-fire training that the software was speaking out a score when the trigger is pulled. Whilst it gives me an indication of whether what I thought I heard was really correct, one needs to remember these are not scoring devices, the slightly shorter range and the fact the VIS500 does not account for cant both would lead to inaccuracies in scoring. The first problem I noticed was that if using my usual headphones which block out some background noise combined with the fact that one tries to continue to hold the same position for a second or two after firing, I normally could not hear the score being spoken over the sound of the VIS500. Changing to a lighter weight set of headphones which block less noise did help. I am not sure if there is a keypress so that one could have the score repeated. Another solution would be if the software had a setting to delay the speaking of scores by a few seconds, giving the shooter the chance to come off target first.

As well as being able to know what the last score was, it would be useful if I had a way to go back through a number of shots and review the whole session. This would be particularly useful when trying out something new and comparing it to before making the change. This might be possible with the software, but due to the lack of accessibility with a screen reader I could not find out how to get this information. Again may be there is a key press and the software may self voice this information.

Knowing scores is only a small part of what one needs to know when training and trying to improve shooting, it is also useful to have the trace showing how the rifle was moving throughout the aiming process. Now I did find a replay option in the menu, but again due to the lack of screen reader accessibility I am unsure exactly how this works and if I could make use of it independently. This is one thing Scatt does have, the audio output mode which allows its trace to be played in sound. In fact at some point I am going to be given some of my Scatt traces and some of a sighted shooter so I can compare how they sound, something which would not be possible without the audio playback feature of Scatt.

So in summary, it is great to have a way of dry-fire training at home and to get some sort of indication of the quality of the shot from the computer, the software to me as a VI shooter trying to use it independently feels very limited and probably at this point is no where near what Scatt is as a training tool. However the EcoAims software is free with the VIS500 scope, where as it would cost quite a bit for a Scatt MX02. It is software, so may be over time EcoAims could provide updates and possibly could look at resolving some of these issues. Also if we compare this with what one previously had with the Swarovski, IE. no estimation of score, this is definitely a step forward already for doing home training for VI shooters.

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