Tuesday, 6 August 2019

Experimenting by mixing the old with the new

For many years the Swarovski ZE-B618 was the most common audio aiming system for vision impaired shooters. The Swarovski system was a light based system requiring a bright lamp and a target with a white centre. However recent the international standard is the infrared LED based systems such as the EcoAims VIS500 or VIASS Pro. This means that many vision impaired shooters are going out and buying new aiming systems, quite a costly thing to do.

I was aware that the Swarovski aiming device although based on light, it does actually detect infrared as well. So I had the thought, can a Swarovski ZE-B618 be used with the infrared LED? If this is possible then it could save many people a lot of expense and also simplify vision impaired shooting competitions where the organisers want to allow people to continue using their old Swarovski aiming devices.

As I am currently having a slight break from training after the World Cup, I decided to do some experimenting to see how well the Swarovski aiming device would work with the infrared LED. First thing to do was use the white centred targets to check that my Swarovski aiming system was offset. I wanted to make sure that when I started my experiments with the LED that I would not hit shoot the LED.

Once I was certain the device was offset, it was time to point the rifle at a target fitted with an LED. The Swarovski was definitely finding the LED and giving me a change in tone. It did sound a bit different to using the target with a white centre, it was smaller and did seem to flatten off a lot in the middle. It was time to put shots down the range and see what sort of group I could achieve. To minimise error from myself, I was shooting using a support rest. Whilst there was a group, the size was much too big for me to even consider using it for competitive shooting, it was out to the 7 ring on a rifle target. May be I was no longer used to the Swarovski sound as I have been shooting with the EcoAims for some time now. Even taking this into account, I don't think the Swarovski aiming device with the LED could ever come to the same accuracy as the newer devices.

So sadly I have to conclude that the Swarovski days for international competition are over. There may be beginner or club level VI shooters where the Swarovski and a LED is more accurate than the shooter, but these would not be limited to using the LED as an aiming mark, they can continue using the target with a white centre.

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