TFB Review: KST1000 Shot Timer by Kestrel Ballistics

Eric B
by Eric B
If Glock made a shot timer, this would probably be it.

This is a review of the KST1000 Shot Timer by Kestrel Ballistics. When Kestrel is mentioned as a company, most people think of their weather and wind meters. Rightly so (and we’re going to review one of those soon enough), but they also make an excellent shot timer that is designed and made in the USA.

Kestrel @ TFB

Below: TFB is currently reviewing a few devices from Kestrel Ballistics, with the KST1000 shot timer out first.

The Kestrel Shot Timer (Nielsen-Kellerman) is a bit bigger than most shot timers, but don’t let that stop you have a look closer at it. It’s also bright yellow, so you won’t miss where you put it on the table or in the bag. One of the benefits of having a larger size is that you get two good-sized displays, the main one on the control side and one on the top so you can see your times and par times with the timer in the belt.

The top display is one of Kestrel's many great features. Clearly visible, even to my eyes.

The look reminds me of the old, classical R U Ready 3000 timer, in bright yellow, and the Kestrel being a top modern version of it.

Both displays work great, with easy-to-read numbers and characters that are dynamic in size depending on which mode you’re in. I really should get myself some glasses, but I have no issues reading any of the displays, even with the smallest characters.

Below: Glock 45 MOS FS TB or Glock 17. Which one would you choose?

The display shows up to eleven split or total times (per shot), and three rows of these. That’s pretty useful when you’re training yourself, or a student, and want to analyze where you can find improvements. The only negative is that the display is sunk in a bit which can create some shadows around the frame. There’s a backlight which it’s not exactly visible in sunlight but offers help indoors in poor light.

The front side has ten controls, from on/off to a green ”GO” button. Most of the settings can be seen and edited by using the systems button, and then using the cursors and either enter or go back. It felt like a lot to learn, but I sat down for 5-10 minutes and pretty much learnt everything the timer can do.

There are five nameable setting presets, and it’s easy to change what you want these presets to do and include.

I used the Kestrel Shot Timer as an IPSC Range Officer official, as my only timer at the IPSC Handgun Police Nationals. I had my usual timer as backup, but I never needed it.

Below: Kestrel Shot timer at the IPSC Handgun Police Nationals competition.

As I say ”Are you ready?” I just press the green GO button and say ”Standby”. With my setting, the competitor gets a 1.8 to 2.3-second random delay before the BEEP.

You can adjust all of these settings in the menu, including sensitivity, start delay, random, buzzer volume, etc. You can even adjust the buzzer parameters, like duration, frequency, duty cycle, and more. I played around but decided that the factory sound was the best. On the loudest, it’s probably the loudest timer I’ve ever used. Medium worked well for me. Don’t underestimate the number of old shooters with double hearing protection (or no hearing protection ever, for that matter), so it’s probably not a bad idea to have a loud speaker.

Once the competitor was ready, I pressed the enter button, which kept the timer’s microphone muted (as in it doesn’t read any sounds) to avoid any extra time being added by accident. I kind of think I didn’t have to mute it, just putting the timer behind the back so the scorekeeper can read it would have been enough – and check the splits if the time seemed incorrect. Sometimes timers can add time, thinking the unload, show clear sound is a shot, but I didn’t have any of these issues.

You can also set the detection parameters for each preset. I never really had any issues, so I never played around with these.

I used the Kestrel Shot Timers with about everything but air rifles and .50 caliber and never had any reading issues with it. Even suppressed .22LR which I shoot a lot worked well. I’ve used it for handguns and rifles, from training to friendly competitions to the IPSC nationals.

The timer is Bluetooth Link Enabled, so you can update the firmware with time (pun intended).

If I had to complain about a few things it would be the batteries being 123A, but they seem to last forever so how much is my complaint worth? My other timer uses a rechargeable battery, but it means I have to keep track of a charger that I have to bring with me if I am an RO over a few days. I would prefer batteries like the Kestrel, or perhaps something chargeable with USB C that should be readily available on a shooting range?

Below: Choosing a riflescope for this LWRCI REPR Mk II Elite is more difficult than choosing a timer.

If there was ever a revision, I think there’s quite some space to be saved to make it just a tiny bit smaller. In that case, I think the depth of it is where I’d try to save space. Depending on how you hold it, it can be a bit difficult to reach some buttons with your right thumb (which is what I used to mute and control the timer).

Below: Shooting 22.LR suppressed didn’t pose a problem for the Kestrel Shot Timer.

Does the belt clip really have to add over an inch to the overall depth? I can understand that you want it to protrude a bit over the stomach, but it still seems a bit overbuilt.

I’m not saying that the Kestrel timer is expensive for what it is, but it’s probably more than a majority of Range Officers and shooters would like to spend. The price I found was in the region of $299, so it should still be within reach for most.

If you are interested in buying one, Kestrel has an excellent page including YouTube videos with instructions for specific needs:

Check Prices on Kestrel KST1000 Shot Timers

The main customer groups for this timer would in my mind be professional shooters and instructors (including those pretending to be or become) as well as range officers.

The design looks very durable to me, and it’s been drop-tested to MIL-STD-810G standards. The battery compartment is locked and sealed with an O-ring against water and dust.

If Glock ever made a shot timer, this would probably be it.

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Eric B
Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6x6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.

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Join the conversation
  • Jon_ Jon_ on Jun 13, 2024

    $300? I've made shot timers for less than a third of that.

  • Ken Ken on Jun 14, 2024

    I've been using one for more than a year now. Spendy? No doubt. Worth it? No doubt. After a short learning curve, came to really enjoy the two-screen capability, ease of programming and overall build quality. Like EVERY OTHER timer I've ever used, belt clip is annoying. When I put it (them) on my belt at an easy to access location, I bend over and it goes flying. The good part on this one is, so far, after hitting the ground, it still worked. Can't say the same for others. I keep threatening to make some sort of holster for it rather than the belt clip. So far, I'm just too lazy.