October 19, 2023
Garmin has a large presence in the outdoor industry, but it’s mostly been in the hunting and recreation sectors with a lighter presence in the shooting community. That’s about to change with the launch of their new Xero C1 Pro doppler radar chronograph. This is a new product that I can’t wait to get my hands on, so be sure to be on the lookout for a complete review down the road. In the meantime, here are some first impressions from the Firearms News team.
The Xero C1 Pro is not Garmin’s first swing at shooting chronographs. They do have some experience in the chrono game already with the Xero S1 Trapshooting Trainer. It is a unique chronograph that tracks the flight of clay targets and can show you where you’re breaking or missing clays. I’ve had a lot of experience with the Xero S1, and it’s one of the best tools I own for shooting trap. If you run a high school trap team or own a trap range, it’s well worth having on hand.
With the new Xero C1 Pro, Garmin is clearly going after LabRadar, and at a glance, they’ve set the Xero C1 Pro up for success. The first thing that stands out is the size; it’s small! Measuring 3x2.8x1.4 inches, it will easily fit inside any range bag. The screen fills up the entire rear of the chronograph, and the device is controlled with some top-mounted buttons. However, you can also control the Xero C1 Pro with the new SmartView app that is launching along with the chronograph as well as record all of your shooting data. I’ve already downloaded the app, and it looks intuitive and pretty customizable for data management.
Garmin states the new Xero C1 Pro can accurately take velocity measurements from 100 to 5,000 feet per second, and like other chronos, it will provide average velocity, extreme spread and standard deviation. What makes this new chrono stand out is its ability to also measure kinetic energy in foot-pounds as well as power factor. That has my attention, and it’s a unique new feature that provides data not previously available easily to the average shooter.
It's powered with an internal, rechargeable battery that’s good for about 2,000 shots, so no more burning through AA batteries. It’s so small that it can easily charge in your vehicle on the way to the range if you forgot to charge it, too. The Xero C1 Pro is rated IPX7 water resistant, so it should be fine even if you get caught in some heavy rain, though I wouldn’t make a habit of completely submerging it.
The big question for the Xero C1 Pro is will it consistently record shots? I’ve used a LabRadar for years, and while I do like it, they’re notoriously finicky. I can’t tell you how many times it has droped one or two shots in a 10-round string, which is infuriating when you’re trying to record new handloads. Doppler radars work by sending a radar beam downrange toward your target, then it measures data as the bullet passes through the beam. If it’s not lined up just right, it’s easy to drop shots, especially if you’re shooting with a muzzlebrake that can move the chronograph. This has been my experience with my LabRadar, anyway.
I had the chance to speak with the team behind the new Garmin Xero C1 Pro, and they have not had any issues with dropping shots. They tell me it has proven incredibly reliable, and it’s a forgiving system for easy setup and measurements. On top of that, they report that it performs well even with other shooters on the line, and it’s good about not picking up other shooter’s shots on the line.
The team from Garmin had a lot more to say, but I’m going to leave that for full testing once I get one in hand. With that, I’m excited to see how it performs, and the new Xero C1 Pro has a lot of impressive advertised features out of the gate. Despite all the advertised features, Garmin has kept the price competitive. The Xero C1 Pro has an MSRP of $599.99, which puts it head-to-head with LabRadar (priced at $625 without a case or tripod). There is still a lot more to learn about the new Xero C1 Pro, so be sure to keep an eye out for a complete review in an upcoming issue of Firearms News.
About the Author
Jack Oller is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in the Military Police with one deployment to the Camp VI Detention Facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He has extensive firearms training from military and civilian schools and is a passionate shotgun shooter and hunter. Jack has an English degree from Illinois State University, and he started his career in the outdoor industry as Associate Editor for Guns & Ammo magazine. After Gun & Ammo, he worked as Brand Manager for Crimson Trace and now is the Digital Editor for Firearms News.
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