First Look:
Revolutionary Chronography


What’s barely larger than an Apple Airpods case, has enough sophisticated electronics to rival the programming of the Space Shuttle auto-landing system and tells you how fast your bullets go?

Give up?

It’s the new Garmin Xero C1 Pro. That’s a fancy name for a ballistic chronograph.

The name is bougie for good reason; this one isn’t your daddy’s chrony, with a tripod, sunscreens and a box full of electronics you’ll inevitably shoot to pieces one day in a momentary lapse of concentration. This one is Doppler radar-driven.

You might be familiar with an earlier chrony using similar technology. That one is the size of a briefcase and has a reputation for somewhat finicky operation. That’s not a slam on another product — it was also revolutionary for its time.

The Xero overcomes many of the challenges of all chronys with obviously solid technology within and, from what I can tell from range observation, some incredibly sophisticated programming and rules logic. Hold that thought.

The Garmin Xero C1 Pro is tiny and light. Smaller than a deck of cards, just set it on the bench,
and you're fully set up.

The Zero Gist in a Nutshell

The unit itself is designed to sit on the bench, not downrange, so it watches your shots from the safety of a locale very unlikely to get shot — ever. If you do manage to shoot this one (placed behind the muzzle, not in front!), immediately sell your guns and commit to a firearms-free lifestyle.

It comes with a tiny tripod that screws into the base of the Xero, so you just stick it on the bench or shooting table somewhere near where your gun will be, and you’re good to go.

Point this end more or less at the target, and it'll work reliably.

The Garmin Xero C1 Pro is smaller than a deck of cards and just a bit thicker, so I am not at all exaggerating when I say it’s hardly larger than an AirPod case. It’s USB-C rechargeable, so there are no batteries required. It also sports four control push buttons on the top and a shooter-facing screen.

The screen shows you results as they happen, and you can also review past strings, seeing each shot, averages, spreads, low and high results, and more.

App Connect or Solo

The Xero will run just fine by itself. You don’t need a phone at the range, but a phone will offer extra capability. By pairing the two, shot strings are automatically synched to the phone app, where you can view them on a larger color screen, rename the string to identify the gun and ammo used, and store and share your results. The phone connection also enables software updates as they become available.

You can use the Garmin Xero without the companion smartphone app not only to record current strings,
but review past results.

The Process

Setup is easy.

Turn the thing on and hit the “OK” button when “New Session” is highlighted on the built-in screen. You’ll be presented with a list of choices, including rifle, pistol, bow, air rifle and other.

After choosing “Pistol” (in my case), I was presented with a choice of two velocity ranges, 600-1,7000 fps and 1,700-5,000 fps. It helps the unit to have an idea of how fast an object to look for.

Next, you can optionally enter the weight of the projectile so the system can calculate kinetic energy for you, but you can turn that off if you like.

After a final rough alignment reminder screen, just set the unit on the bench and start shooting. I placed it about 6 inches to the side of a Ransom Multi-Caliber Rest while accuracy testing, and it worked like a champ — catching every single shot fired over a two-hour session.

After each string, I’d tell the box to end the string, at which point it would sync the results with the phone app. After renaming that string something like “GHP BH JHP” to represent the Girsan High Power firing Black Hills JHP ammo, I was done. The app automatically included the bullet weight in the name.

The companion smartphone app handles software updates and gives you and expanded view of results.

Finicky? Not!

The outdoor range was crowded, and a man was shooting a 9mm right next to me, perhaps three feet to the side, with no barrier between us. Here’s where I was shocked by the smarts of this little unit and the apparent programming logic therein. On occasion, I would notice the box “registering” a shot from the man next to me. But after a moment’s thought, the unit discarded that result and didn’t log it. When I shot, it recorded every single shot. It had no trouble discerning my shots from others nearby, and I was not the least bit finicky about aiming the unit — I just pointed it roughly at my target. Consider me impressed.

A New Era

The Xero is a game-changer. Weighing next to nothing, it fits comfortably in my shirt pocket. With no setup required and nothing required downrange, you can use it anywhere. And light conditions don’t matter, as it’s radar-driven. Use it indoors or outdoors.

The Garmin Xero C1 Pro retails for $599.99. Learn more at

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