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Garmin Xero C1 Pro Chronograph Review

When it comes to ballistic chronographs, the all-new Garmin Xero C1 Pro Chronograph has real potential to be a game-changer. Why? Well, let’s dig into the details of this product and see what makes it so special.

The Garmin Xero C1 Pro is packed with a lot of great features. But, how does it perform? In this review, the Hunt Fish Shoot team tests it on the range to find out.

If you don’t know the purpose of a chronograph as it relates to ballistics, they are designed to measure the speed of the bullet from the muzzle. In fact, the Xero C1 Pro accurately measures feet per second (FPS) for everything from your modern compound bow to a bolt-action rifle. It can even measure the speed of air rifle pellets.

Why Do You Need the Garmin XERO C1 Pro?

Why is this important? For a rifle, like the Springfield Armory Model 2020 Redline in 6.5 Creedmoor we used during our testing, it can give you accurate muzzle velocities to input into a ballistics calculator.

testing the Garmin chronograph with a bow
Some chronographs struggle with pellets and arrows, while others have a hard time in the extreme cold. During testing, the Garmin chronograph performed well in the snow with both a bow and a hunting rifle.

Many people don’t realize the FPS data listed on a box of ammo can vary based on the barrel length, twist rate, atmospheric data, elevation, and even the temperature. For example, two of the same rifle builds, regardless of build quality, will not have identical muzzle velocities due to slight variations in the firearm as well as the ammunition you use.

This is why it’s important to get an average muzzle velocity from a chronograph like the Xero C1 Pro before you build ballistic data or input that information into any of your ballistics calculating apps like Applied Ballistics. For archery, if you are serious about your compound bow set-up, then you want to know how fast your arrow is flying.

Garmin Xero C1 Pro
The Garmin Xero C1 Pro has a modern-looking screen that is easy to read in all kinds of lighting conditions.

The Garmin Xero C1 Pro can give you the kinetic energy calculation of the arrow or bullet from the shot and, for a hunter, this is important to remain ethical.

Features of the Xero C1 Pro Chronograph

The Xero C1 Pro is the smallest ballistic chronograph on the market, and in our opinion it’s tiny size is a real game-changer. To put it into perspective how small it is, it’s smaller than a deck of playing cards. The dimensions are 3.03″ x 2.38″ x 1.36″ without the included mini tripod. In addition, it could easily be attached to an Arca-Swiss plate for larger cameras or rifle tripods.

Garmin Xero C1 Pro controls
The Garmin Xero C1 Pro controls are well marked and are accessible along the top of the unit.

It has a battery life of up to 6 hours or 2,000 shots and is chargeable with a USB-C charging cable. Protected by an IPX7 water-resistant rating, you will be able to use it in the snow like we did, or in light rain.

The four buttons on the top of the unit are easy to use and are as follows: OK, Power, and Up or Down. The limited buttons and easy-to-follow on-screen instructions make set-up a breeze. Even someone like my dad who has never used a chronograph a day in his life easily set up the Xero C1 Pro for recording.

On the Range Testing the Garmin Chrono

For testing and set-up, I used a Springfield Model 2020 Redline chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor while testing out the new Burris Veracity PH 4-20 scope on it. This particular combination is especially good because you need accurate FPS data for the ballistic-solution technology within the scope.

Garmin Xero C1 Pro screen
The screen of the Garmin Xero C1 Pro isn’t affected by cold weather. It remains perfectly visible in the snow.

To start the Xero C1 Pro, you turn it on, select new session, select rifle, pistol, bow, air rifle or other. I selected rifle for the Redline and then selected 1700-5000 FPS. After selecting the FPS, a prompt for projectile weight is shown, for which I selected 143 grains for the Hornady Precision Hunter 143 grain ELD-X bullet.

The Xero C1 Pro will next show you an illustration indicating where to set up the unit relative to the rifle’s barrel and muzzle. Once this was done, set-up was complete. The whole process took about 30 seconds, and we did not even try to do it quickly.

entering data into Garmin Xero C1 Pro
Entering data into Garmin Xero C1 Pro is straightforward using the controls mounted on the top of the unit.

We took eight shots to fully zero the Redline at 100 yards with the Burris Veracity PH scope, and the Xero C1 Pro read each of them in one second or less. It gave me a cold bore shot of 2634.9 FPS and an average of 2606.8 FPS. It recorded all shots and provided standard deviation, average FPS, lowest FPS, and highest FPS in the same amount of time it took me to run the bolt on my Model 2020 Redline rifle.

testing rifle rounds with entering data into Garmin Xero C1 Pro
The author tested the Garmin using both a rifle and a bow. The Xero C1 Pro captured all of the data as expected.

How does it work with a bow? The short answer? Exactly the same. The set-up is identical, minus the location of the unit vs. the arrow or rest on the bow. With our 450-gr. arrow, 65-lb. draw weight and 29” draw out of a PSE EVO EVL 32 compound bow, it registered the arrow FPS as 277.8. It registered the arrow speed faster than I could transfer my eyes from the foam block to the easy-to-read screen on the Xero C1 Pro. To summarize ease of use, if you can use a TV remote then you can use the Garmin Xero C1 Pro.

Closing Thoughts About This Chrony

What do we think about the Garmin Xero C1 Pro Chronograph? If you don’t have a chronograph or you have been thinking about getting one, we would advise you to buy the Xero C1 Pro. Yes, it will cost $599.99, but we think it’s worth every single penny.

adjusting the bullet weight on the testing rifle rounds with entering data into Garmin Xero C1 Pro
Adjusting the bullet weight and other information is easy with the Garmin Xero C1 Pro.

Garmin has made and does make some of the very best outdoor electronics on the market, and their new Xero C1 Pro chronograph is no exception. I have Garmin fishfinders on my bass boat, a Garmin Inreach GPS in my backpack, a Garmin watch on my wrist, and now a Garmin Xero C1 Pro chronograph in my range bag.

We couldn’t be happier with our purchase and how well the Xero C1 Pro performs.

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