GARMIN XERO C1 PRO — REAL LIFE GAME CHANGER By:

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If you are an individual who takes product acquisition seriously, then you without a doubt do research before you buy anything of significant dollar value. Personally, if I’m going to spend more than $50 on something whether it be related to electronics, or camera, and yes gun related products and anything in between, I like to know or at least feel like I’m going to get what I deem is my moneys’ worth. Now that can be subjective but I think you understand.

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There’s little doubt that during your research efforts on a particular new product, you’ve read some writers words, heard some podcasters statement, or watched someone on Youtube, and the words “game changer” have come up. I have been guilty of throwing it around maybe too nonchalantly at times, if nothing else out of excitement and perceived superiority over like-products in the same category. But this time it’s for-absolutely-real, the Garmin Xero C1 Chronograph changes the game and in my own personal experience, changes my life. Strong words I know, but hear me out.

My living is made dealing with gun stuff. For my 15 years in print media we’ve always been held to a standard when testing firearms. One of those standards is gathering velocity data from different brands/types of ammunition that we put through the firearm. My first chrono was the Shooting Crony Beta Master. You probably know what they look like, just a piece of pot metal bent into a rectangle with a little processor and screen and a couple of sensors to detect the projectile passing through.

You can find it and several others like it on your Bass Pro website. It worked, and worked well for many years. I finally shot it after several years of use. Then I shot it again before replacing it. At any rate, they are a pain to set up and while they aren’t hard to use, they are far from user friendly. In the end they require a lot of time and effort to use.

Now we have units like the Lab Radar, which uses Doppler to measure velocity. I bought one early on believing this would change the game for me. It did. Sort of. It made me do things differently but not much more efficiently. The Lab Radar has its quirks. If you know about them in advance then you won’t be bothered by any of the solutions to overcoming them.

Magneto speed is another option, and one I started using as well. It too has it’s quirks and is reserved for gathering rifle velocity only. You can’t do pistols, or arrows. It needs to be attached to your barrel or via some adapter to attach it to your rifle. They can be costly and take some time to set up. The unit is easy to use, but time and efficiency are not its strong points. These are but a couple of options, there are others. The point is there is some kind of sacrifice to gathering velocity data—until now.

Garmin has been stealthy about its foray into the shooting arena and for good reason. It’s Garmin—a huge tech/GPS company with a massive mainstream market. These days, dabbling in the “evil” shooting space can be a huge risk. They did it by first partnering up with Applied Ballistics and launching wrist worn GPS units like the 701 and 901 that had AB ballistics solvers inside.

They also dropped a couple of their Tactix Watches (and their new Instinct 2X Solar Tactical) with the same software. These weren’t just gimmicks. These wrist-worn solvers were freestanding and allow the user to solely rely on them without the need for anything else to make an accurate shot at distance. I have all the units and have used them with much success. They even bluetooth to rangefinders so you can range straight to the unit, and have it instantly provide your dope. The Garmin products are serious and they work.

Now we have another “supportive” product that you can add to your shooting sports tool box. The Xero C1 Pro is a chronograph. Don’t let the word “pro” make you think it’s for a high level, 1,000-round-per-month competitive shooter. It’s for anyone and everyone who needs to get projectile velocities of any sort. This is the most effective, user friendly, straight forward product that I have used in this class, taking what used to be minutes to set up and use, down to mere seconds and making it fun and interesting on top of that. I can now show up at the range, free of stress, whip out the Xero C1 Pro, and in 25 seconds be gathering precise velocity data.

The Xero C1 Pro gathers data via 24 GHz Wave radar. It uses the doppler effect to measure the projectile’s velocity. This isn’t new, but having it in such a small and convenient package is simply crazy. The microwave signal bounces off the projectile and sends the info back to the unit where software does the rest and spits out a velocity number. It does this nearly instantaneously (it takes almost a second to process) and without the need for the unit to be perfectly aimed. While this is an oversimplified explanation, it gets the point across. The unit is constantly sending out a signal, unless you move it while armed (it will automatically shut the signal off) and sees the projectile once it leaves the muzzle. It measures the velocity roughly 20 yards off the muzzle.

The Xero can measure velocities from 100 fps to 5000 fps and while setting it up the user can select, rifle, pistol, bow, and air rifle modes. Set up is simple. If you’re using a rifle or pistol, simply turn on the unit via the buttons on top, select new session, select the projectile mode, then select the velocity range (600-1700 fps or 1700-5000), after this you’re prompted to enter projectile weight or you can skip this, hit OK then you’re done. Start shooting. There is a prompt after the projectile weight that shows you where to place your unit in relationship to whatever you’re shooting. Thankfully, Garmin allows you to turn this off in the settings, although it takes less than a quarter of a second to move past this screen.

Xero C1 Pro Details

The display on the Xero is large and easy to read and provides all pertinent information such as projectile average, minimum, maximum, extreme spread, and standard deviation. When you initially set up the Xero you can pair it with your smartphone and each session is automatically added to the Garmin Shotview app. On the app you can make changes to the data such as editing shots, changing projectile info, exporting the data as CSV, and you can add notes about the session as well. It’s well laid out and easy to use. I can’t tell you how much time it has saved this frequent-chronographer (is that even a word?). The unit has plenty of memory allowing for 50 sessions with 100 shots per session. At that point you’ll need to sync it up with the app.

The Xero C1 Pro is compact and well built. It’s technically smaller than a deck of cards but a little thicker at the bottom of the unit. It features a 1/4” thread adapter to attach to tripods or other stands. It’s water resistant with an IPX7 rating, and it has an internal battery that charges via USB-C with a 2,000 shot life or up to 6 hours. A USB Type A to Type C cable is included.

I never thought I’d be so stoked over a chronograph, and I never saw this coming but make no mistake, this unit from Garmin should not be overlooked because of what it provides the shooter in the way of usability. Leave it to a non-gun company to make the task of velocity data gathering beyond easy. 

The Garmin Xero C1 Pro is $599.99 and the pre-order line is deeper than a gun forum rabbit-hole. But I think a company like Garmin will get them out rather quickly. It will be worth the money and worth the wait. Thank you, Garmin for changing the game and my life. Check it out for yourself at garmin.com.