Not long ago the editor of this intrepid magazine approached me via e-mail and asked me to review the 5.11 Tactical H.R.T. Watch. I figured he had lost his mind; 5.11 Tactical makes clothing, boots, gear bags…but watches?
OK, so I went to the 5.11 Tactical Website and I discovered that the company does indeed make a watch. Big deal. What’s so hot about a watch? I read further and found that it had all the usual features: day/date, timer, alarm, etc. Again, so what?
Then I noticed the feature that really sets the H.R.T. Watch apart from its competition: a ballistic calculator? OK, this is getting interesting.
The H.R.T. Watch comes in a padded zipper package, much like a pistol pouch. This pouch has formed spaces for the watch, extra leather watch band—for those moments when style is required—an Allen wrench for changing the bands, and an instruction manual.
The most obvious feature the 5.11 Tactical H.R.T. offers is a great analog face with digital features. I prefer analog watches; they’re easier to read. But I also like the features offered by digital watches. The H.R.T. Watch gives you the best of both worlds. The background digital readings let you easily use the watch’s other functions, be it the day/date calendar, timer, etc., and the big analog face lets you keep track of real time.
The digital functions are also readily visible at night thanks to the blue light. This light has a press on/off button, or you can press it a little longer and it will stay on for about 10 seconds.
OK. A lot of watches have these features. But what sets the 5.11 Tactical H.R.T. Watch apart from the rest of the “tactical” sports-style watches is the integrated point of impact (POI) calculator by Horus Vision. The POI calculator allows a sniper/counter sniper to input shooting data: ballistic coefficient, temperature, altitude, muzzle velocity, zero range, bore height, display for ranging-mils, tmoa, and smoa. Enter this data, then add range to target, wind direction, inclination angle, and wind speed, and the calculator will give you shot corrections for your shot.
Personally, I prefer to shoot by Kentucky windage, but I’m not a professional long-range shooter. So to get an authoritative take on the POI calculator I talked to some SWAT snipers, and they told me that the POI calculator built into the H.R.T. Watch can really help a sniper make that critical first shot.
Besides its features, one of the things I look for in a watch is toughness. If I’m wearing a watch, it’s going to take some punishment. And I’m happy to report that the 5.11 Tactical H.R.T. Watch can take all I can dish out.
While wearing the H.R.T. Watch I felled several trees and some of the larger branches banged off the watch; I went diving, I worked on my truck, clanging and banging the watch off the engine; and I even sent it careening down the basement steps. The watch is still working. And the crystal is unscratched, which is impressive.
When I was first approached about the 5.11 Tactical H.R.T. Watch and saw the MSRP of $249.99, I was skeptical. But after really giving it a test wearing and a hard one at that, I am impressed. The H.R.T. Watch has great daily-use features. And for a professional shooter on duty or for a serious recreational long-range shooter, its POI calculator is a must-have item.
Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active-duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman.