Music, banking, games – there's an app for nearly everything. Shooters haven't been left out in the cold. There are plenty of gun apps out there that turn smartphones into nifty shooting, reloading and general gun tools.
It’s no small statement smartphones fill a large role in our lives nowadays.
They have become our entertainment centers, mobile banks and occasionally, well, phones. But do these omnipresent gadgets have a place in the shooting world? You’re dang Skippy they do!
In fact, Google Play and iTunes are chalked full of more gun apps than you can shake a M1A at. There are game calls for hunters, timers for competitive shooters and cadre of other apps for every stripe of gun enthusiast.
The market is crowded, so much so an article about what is available could easily become a directory. Therefore, the following list is hardly exhaustive. It’s more like a few apps I’ve found handy on my iPhone and have passed one big test – they’re free or nearly so.
I got this ballistics calculator when it was still free, but to be honest I would shell out the $4.99 it now costs. The app is not as extensive as other calculators out there, but it has one feature that beats out most – its wind direction adjustment.
The interface is laid out on a clock face, all the shooter has to do is estimate where the wind is coming from relative to their 12 o’clock. It is very intuitive, it is more sensitive to this variable than most calculators and it is easily programed in the field. The app has a bunch of other bells and whistles, but this one feature makes the app one of the most practical and cost effective out there.
If you’re too cheap to shell out five bucks (I don't blame you), there are still options in ballistics calculators. Bullet Drop – the first calculator I tried – is a solid one. The app is plain vanilla with nothing but numbers for input and output. But the data it churns out is invaluable, giving shooters a fairly detailed ballistic table.
The table goes out to 1000 yards and is broken down in 50-yard increments. The bullet’s path can be expressed in inches, minutes of angle or mils. The table also details velocity, energy and drift. The drawback of the app is inputting variables can be a bit arduous, making it less practical as a field tool.
RCBS Reloading Calculator
Reloading not only allows shooters to keep tight reigns on their ammunition’s performance, but also its costs. RCBS’s Reloading Calculator is wiz at projecting costs for projects. The free app breaks down the expenses of a specific cartridge per 1000, 50, 20 and single rounds.
Certainly, for individuals that turn out few rounds yearly the app might be of marginal utility. But for high-volume reloaders/shooters the calculator is a gem, giving them a quick and simple way to compare and contrast the costs of different components in seconds.
Gun Values by Gun Digest
You didn’t think you’d get away without me talking about Gun Digest’s app, Gun Values by Gun Digest, did you? Well, you thought wrong, because the app is slick. Where else can you find an updated list of gun shows from around the county and a gun values all in one?
The handiest aspect of the app is the ability to search prices on a particular gun while at a show or store. A smartphone is a heck of a lot easier to tote around than the Standard Catalog of Firearms – a couple thousand-page reference. If you love to snoop for the best firearms deals, this app is worth its subscription rate — starting at $4.99.
Free Shot Timer
I wish I could boast that I’m a competitive shooter. Alas, maybe someday. Even without IDPA match involved, there is a lot to be said about having a shot timer. It can be a dynamite tool for general training.
Where I’ve found the Free Shot Timer app the handiest is pistol shooting, adding a layer of pressure. Quickly and accurately placing shots are important defensive skills. This app allows shooters to add exactly this aspect to their training, without investing $100-pluse for a shot timer.
Here are a few apps I’ve yet to try, but seem intriguing.
Gunbroker – App is exactly what it sounds like, the mobile version of the popular online gun auction.
Revolvr – Interesting app that facilitates gun accessory trades and sales.
Concealed Carry 50 State Guide – App gives state-specific information about concealed carry laws, including where your license has reciprocity.
Where to Shoot – NSSF’s app that helps you find the nearest shooting range.