I shot five tests with the SR-8c, and will shoot the same courses of fire with each optic in this test. I originally intended to include all the results in one post, but the word count was astronomical. As a compromise I decided to put the results for each test out on consecutive days. Yes, that means a post per day for five days in a row. Dont’ get spoiled.
The measurement tools I have on hand to help me in assessing the performance are a shot timer (iPhone app), a target with scoring rings, and the On Target TDS program. Distances beyond 9 yards have been verified with a laser rangefinder. I pace off everything shorter.
Measuring results is the easy part. I have so many ways of measuring that finding meaningful ways to compare results is a bit dizzying at the moment. I’m still working through what is important, and how to get at what I’m trying to measure, so better to have data and not need it than need it and not have it.
One difficult aspect of this testing is that although I’m not performing up to what I would consider acceptable standards, I’m not doing any practice to improve them. Any improvement on my part over the course of this testing would skew the results. Therefore there is no specific practice on these drills and this testing encompasses the totality of my shooting with the AR. There is typically 2 weeks or more (usually more) between the beginning of each round of tests.
Test 1: Single shots at 7 yards.
The starting position for this test is butt in the shoulder pocket, and muzzle depressed, probably pointing at the ground 2-3 yards in front of me, and trigger finger indexed. A round is chambered, the safety is on, the scope illumination is on, and there are no scope caps on the scope. The magnification was set at approximately 1.8x, which provided an image size approximately in accordance with what I was seeing with the naked eye.
The rifle has been configured with an Atlas bipod and a light rear bag (I think it’s about 2oz.) for a while now, so I leave it as is. I have to pause after each shot to record the time. The iPhone sits on the clip board, so after I record the time I hit “Start”, drop everything on the ground next to me, and assume the ready position.
The target for these tests consists of an ~8.4” ring for 1 point, a 4.2” ring for 5 points, a 2.1” ring for 6 points, a 1.05” ring for 7 points, and a half inch ring for 8 points, all on an 8.5×11” sheet of paper. Since my goal is to hit a 4” circle at any distance inside 200, and I conflated inches and minutes for whatever reason was in my brain at the time, I ended up with even minutes at 100 even though I use the target at various distances. I have been coming up with an average score per shot, so I can compare apples to apples for any course of fire involving any number of shots. If I average 5 points per shot or greater I feel pretty good about things at the moment. In addition to my numeric scores, I also kept track of my hit ratio on the primary 4.2” scoring ring.
I fired 20 single shots at the target for this test. My slowest time was 1.32. My fastest was 0.84. My mean was 1.04. The hit rate was 85% (17/20). The total score was 104 and the average per shot was 5.2.
As I look at the raw numbers, several strategies for evaluating them come to mind. I have to decide what is most important to me. That would be hitting the target. I can’t separate out the need for speed, because a slow hi . See how that sentence could never be completed? I was too slow to finish it. A slow hit may not ever happen.
In USPSA shooting (they called it IPSC back in my day) they come up with a hit factor by dividing points by time. That’s a good idea. I’ve figured out that my point scheme is not as important to me as getting a hit. I define a hit as more than half of the bullet hole in the scoring zone. I decided that I could also look at hits over time. That would be my hit ratio over my average time, which would more properly be called “hit factor” than what USPSA does. I therefore am calling the other way to measure score, points over time, “point factor”.
In this case my hits over time (“hit factor”) was 0.82. If I got one hit in one second my hit factor would be 1. If I got one hit in a half second my hit factor would be 2. To me a hit factor of 1 would be the least acceptable score and a 2 would be exceptional, but that speaks more to abilities than the equipment at hand, so that’s really neither here nor there at the moment. This is a baseline.
Looking instead at points, my “point factor” was 5.02 points per second. This shows my performance in a better light, because some of my better (more centered) hits made up for some of my misses. Since the basic “hit zone” is 5 points, it looks like just over 1 hit per second.
Since I have completed this test with only 3 of the optics (this being the first), I’m still working out which measurement I think will compare results most meaningfully. When I get them all done I make y’all a nice graph and pie chart or something.