You may be aware of the King of 2 Miles competition. You may also be aware that Derek Rodgers hit the 2-mile target (see the video below) using a new ballistic computer: The Garmin Foretrex 701 Ballistic Edition.
For many years, the Garmin Foretrex 401 has been a preferred piece of kit for many special operations units due to its basic but powerful navigation capabilities and small size. Now the new Foretrex 701 Ballistic Edition comes equipped with upgraded navigation features and the Applied Ballistics engine.
Small Size, Big Brain
This new device has all of the Garmin Foretrex features in a standalone, 2.8-ounce unit that fits on your wrist. The 2-inch, night-vision-compatible screen has a 200×128 resolution, and Garmin improved the battery life to give it up to 48 hours of full navigation capabilities, up to one week in UltraTrac mode and up to one month in watch mode—all using just two AAA batteries.
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Also, as mentioned, Garmin has added a ballistics calculation capability to these existing navigation and tactical features. Now you can use the Applied Ballistics engine without connecting to a profile loader or app. The Foretrex 701 has the entire Applied Ballistics library built right into the device, and you can create your own profiles, adding loads and guns in the field. Furthermore, there is no limitation on the ballistic solution. This is an excellent tool for extreme long-range shooting, as it’s capable of running calculations beyond 10,000 meters.
With its own internal sensors, the Foretrex 701 is capable of taking environmental, locational and direction-of-fire measurements, allowing for accurate prediction of secondary effects. The processor and memory on this device can perform predictions at 2 to 3 miles in a matter of seconds, all while storing over 100 rifle profiles. This new Garmin is also a part of the Applied Ballistics Connect System, so its firmware will always contain the latest bullet library.
I have tested the Foretrex 701 thoroughly since June of this year and can tell you that it won’t leave my wrist anytime soon. I like the freedom that its sensors give me. The fire solution was dead-on at the ranges I was able to test it (out to 1,679 meters), and it was on par with my Patagonia ColdBore reference ballistics software.
This new Garmin has some features I really like, such as the Range Card screen, which is very versatile and easy to use. I also enjoyed the main shooting screen, which presents information in a very clear way. Now I never have to take my eyes from the target to check my paper dope charts. Military snipers will be thankful for the capability to configure up to 10 targets and have pre-calculated fire solutions only two clicks away.
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I only encountered two minor flaws. The first is that the wrist band included on the preproduction model (9.5 inches long) was too small for my wrist. The Foretrex 701 is compatible with Garmin’s exclusive QuickFit bands, so there is an easy fix, but it would have helped to include a longer one come standard. The second is the windage management, which could be improved. It is weird that it is not compatible with the Kestrel protocol to receive its wind data. This isn’t a huge problem due to the variable nature of long-range winds, but it would help shooters estimate the actual wind to input.
I will need some time to explore all of the 701’s features. I did not use many of them, such as Android/iOS/PC and ANT compatibility. I also didn’t test support for external ANT+ sensors, such as the Tempe temperature sensor, heart rate monitors and cadence/speed sensors. I never verified the remote activation of Garmin’s VIRB cameras, either. The Foretrex 701 Ballistic Edition is a great new addition to the Garmin line, and I’m sure it’ll be found on the wrists of most snipers very soon.
For more information, visit garmin.com.
This article was originally published in “Tactical Weapons” November/December 2017. To order a copy and subscribe, visit outdoorgroupstore.com.