Vantage Point July/August 2020


Cool Gear

You gotta love innovation, right? While technology is interesting on its own accord, sometimes the judicious use of tech can make shooting gear better too.

This installment of Cool Gear brings radical ammo design, clever electronic hearing protection, and bluetooth enabled range gear. Heck, new thinking can even improve the decidedly low-tech paper target. Read on.

Note the clever marriage of softer custom molds and the embedded electronics module.


Speaking of the smart balance of “off-the-shelf” and custom technology, check out the new Westone Defend-Ear Digital X5 electronic in-ear hearing protection devices. They’re custom fit to your ear to provide a perfect seal — and this means better sound protection. The fancy electronics that pass through or amplify the sounds you want to hear, while blocking ear-damaging noise, are packaged in a modular insert. The custom molded component is much like those silicone-type models you can have made at local gun shows and shooting events, so they’re comfortable. However, they include a standard cutout to house the electronics module. Unlike pure custom in-ear designs, you can replace the molded sections at any time and move the more expensive electronics to a new set of molds. Your ears change shape over the years, so this design protects your investment. Great idea!

HoneyBadger bullets are solid copper and shaped to cause disruption. Without need to expand,
they just don’t care about barriers.

HoneyBadger Don’t Care

Like the famous internet meme, Black Hills HoneyBadger ammo don’t care about expansion-limiting tough barriers. This self-defense load is topped with a solid copper projectile — with a twist. Literally. The deep flutes act like a propeller in organic tissue, creating a wound channel larger than bullet diameter. With light-for-caliber bullets, you’ll notice higher velocity but significantly lower recoil too.

While interesting for any caliber, the concept might breathe new ballistic life into .380 ACP compact carry guns where the traditional hollow point expansion and penetration balancing act can be on the iffy side. HoneyBadgers offer guaranteed penetration with disruption to boot.

The ProChrono DLX transmits real-time information to your smartphone for
display, capture and analysis.

Smart Velocity

As a long-suffering tech geek, I appreciate smart use of technology — like this. Fancy chronographs need to display velocity results, record data and perform calculations. To do this, the folks at Competition Electronics make efficient use of the giant computer that’s already in your pocket — your smartphone. It has a display with better quality than your big screen TV, a computer thousands of times more powerful than the ones that put men on the moon and near-infinite storage capacity.

The Competition Electronics ProChrono DLX uses Bluetooth to connect the optical sensors downrange to your phone on the shooting bench. You see results instantly and they’re captured and recorded. With every shot, the DLX re-computes to show cumulative stats. The handy-dandy part is that you can define shot strings on your phone, like “SIG XCompact, Black Hills HoneyBadger 9mm 100-grain” before you head to the range. Voila! An automatic velocity library. It’s easy to export the data to other apps if you like. If you reload, tinker, or are just curious, it’s an invaluable piece of gear.

Note the anatomically correct scoring zones. The lack of distinct aiming points is by
design and perfect for realistic training.

I can’t see what I’m aiming at with the Tactical Target Systems Self-Defense Anatomy targets — and that’s by design! Huh? These targets look like your classic dangerous guys wearing a built-in X-ray. Subtle shading shows vital areas on the target itself, so you know where your hits are landing. Unlike traditional silhouette targets, the system maps scoring zones to realistic anatomical positions. As in real life, there are no bright orange “aim here” points, and therein lies the benefit for more realistic practice.

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