Why Print Ballistics Data? Why not an app?

I get asked this question a lot so I’ll go in to it a bit here.

I originally started tinkering with Ballistic_XLR because I needed a way to systematize the way the code for another project I’m working on would be built and function and I needed a way to identify all of the elements that could or would need to inherit meta-data from higher level functions and which could be simply referenced without concern for meta-data. If that makes no sense to you then you’re not probably a computer geek and that’s fine. It just means that I needed to figure out how to do something and developing Ballistic_XLR was actually just me doing that.

Along the way I noticed that gadgets were a problem in the field. Batteries just don’t last a week without a recharge. Gadgets break. Shit happens. I was sick to the bone of having to leaf through my data books to try and find shot data that would work (when I was lucky enough to remember them) and memorizing and stock labels were only so useful. Ranging is simple enough (with practice) but ballistics is rough math to bust out in the field.

So now I see the need for printed tables and I’m working on my other project and Ballistic_XLR is in the very earliest stages and TiborasaurusRex’s YouTube series Sniper 101 comes to my attention and then he busts out his table designs and I got inspired to make Ballistic_XLR something really special. What could be better than data that doesn’t need batteries? A system to use that data to compute firing solutions by hand that doesn’t need any skills above basic 4-function math.

A few conversations with Rex and about 500 hours of work later I’m pretty happy with what has been built.

Why print them is simple. Why not? Would you like to use your iPhone/Android to crank out ballistics solutions? Sure. Sometimes I do. But when the devices fail what then? Do you go home or do you break out your waterproof and tearproof printed data and calculation forms and keep dropping rounds on target and not wasting them on walking misses in to the target.

Why I don’t build an app is equally simple. There are at least 3 of those already and they’re all very nice. I use 2 of them myself occasionally. I couldn’t add anything to those efforts or improve upon them in any real way so it would mean many thousands of dollars to hire someone to do the coding (they’re not languages I code in) to accomplish something that’s been done very well already. I see very little cause to build something I don’t need.

Ballistic_XLR solves a need and one that I don’t think has been adequately solved until now (pats self on back). I feel like I was able to make something really unique and exciting and useful to a broad user base and I think it feels like it was easy to do since it’s so easy to use and I know how hard that was to accomplish. Much of the credit does in fact lay with other people, Professor Pejsa and TiborasaurusRex specifically. Between the three of us the hole that was previously filled with apocrypha and guesses and stock labels and BDC reticles and the like; all of which don’t work, and now filled it with real field expedient, true and useful data and a system to use that data effectively.

Here’s a joke that might make my feelings on the matter more clear: http://www.danielsen.com/jokes/objecttoaster.txt

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