Dave’s Invention – An Inexpensive Shot Timer Auto Target System

    I came across Dave’s Invention when he posted a video comparing a PVS-14 and a SiOnyx Aurora. The video was basic but what caught my eye was the target system he was using in the video. Dave reached out to me and we discussed his target system in more detail.

    Here is the video I mentioned earlier.

    Dave’s Invention

    Dave’s target system is a relatively inexpensive system that cost him $100 in Walmart and amazon parts. Here is a screen shot from one of his videos. The target on the right is flipped around so you can see the back side of it.

    Dave's invention

    The target system is rather straightforward but has an additional layer of complexity. So let’s talk about just the mechanical side before we talk about the software side. The ‘Dave’s Invention’ is a simple self raising and self lowering target stand. Rather than use compressed air he is using a Jeep window mechanism and a cordless drill to power and drive the window mechanism. Instead of raising and lowering a glass window, he has a target attached to the window mechanism. Just below the target is a hit sensor.

    Now let’s talk about the complex component. The computer that controls the targets. According to Dave the WiFi Arduino module does not require an app or download to work with a smartphone or laptop.

    You can use your smartphone to control the targets and monitor your hits.

    As you can see above the phone allows you to control the targets. This also acts as a shot timer. It records how long the targets are up and the time between hits. It only registers and records hits to the target so misses are not recorded.

    Also unlike the ActionTargets Auto Target, Dave’s Invention does not have the ability to show where you hit on the target, only that you hit it or not.

    Some background on Dave. He is was in the British Royal Marine Commandos, did a tour of Afghanistan, worked as a contractor in Africa doing some of the first ever ship and hostage recovery contracts into Somalia, walked across Australia, worked as a security advisor to the Danish Embassy in Nairobi, now living in PA working a corporate security job.

    His goal is:

    . . . to have a model which can allow users to upload their scores to compete online: users could join existing categories i.e. rifle, 5.56, iron sights, 30 yards, three exposures, two hits each to go down. Or create their own categories and invite others to join and beat their scores. You could compete against best-in-class professionals or just mess around trying to beat your friends. The whole thing would require a validation system (probably some form of video to verify the shooter and what they were using) and some form of moderation but those are issues that should be fairly easy to overcome.

    This video shows and explains how Dave’s Invention works.

    Dave’s Invention looks promising. It is rather inexpensive and looks like it would be rather easy to repair. I think the system should be flipped around 180º and the stand armored against hits. However the cost to armor the stand vs replacing parts that people hit is probably higher. I can see this style of target system being useful for some forms of training. It is not a perfect system since it cannot sense where your rounds hit the target, only if it did or not. I wonder what the threshold is for a confirmed hit? Could it confuse something else hitting the target as a bullet? How does this target system handle the wind and rain? It is early days and Dave has a provisional patent on his target system. If you want to see more, Dave has some videos on his YouTube page.

    Nicholas C

    Steadicam Gun Operator
    Night Vision & Thermal Aficionado
    Flashlight/Laser Enthusiast
    USPSA competitor

    Any questions please email him at [email protected]


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