Laser Training: Reinventing Dry Fire
If you’ve been in one of our classes, then you probably remember how much we love dry fire training! If you haven’t come out to a class yet, and aren’t familiar with dry fire, here’s a summary.
Dry fire is the process of practicing firearms handling (trigger control, sight alignment, drawing from a holster, etc.) with an unloaded or “dry” gun. During dry fire, we still make sure to follow all firearms safety rules. We make sure we’re pointing the firearm in a safe direction with an appropriate backstop, and we also remove all ammunition from our dry fire area.
Dry fire is a great way to refine shooting skills without spending a penny on ammunition or range fees. However, dry firing doesn’t give any feedback on shot placement.
Luckily, in 2018 we have some pretty awesome options to make our dry fire training much more effective.
Laser Training Dummy Guns
A number of companies make dummy guns with a working trigger and a laser. Two of the more popular brands are Laserlyte and SIRT.
Laserlyte offers three models each retailing around $100.
- The Laser Trainer Pistol Full Size, is similar in size to a Glock 17 or a full size Smith and Wesson M&P.
- For smaller hands, or to better represent smaller guns typically used for concealed carry, like the M&P shield or Glock 43, Laserlyte offers the Laser Trainer Pistol Compact.
- For those revolver folks Laserlyte also offers the Laser Trainer Pistol Revolver which is comparable to a Smith and Wesson j-frame or a Taurus M85.
Laserlyte training pistols are good training tools at an affordable price, but they aren’t a duplicate of any specific firearm. This means that standard accessories, such as holsters, will need to be custom made. Another common complaint is that trigger is not quite the same as a striker fired pistol, and has a more toy like feel.
SIRT pistols are more expensive ($250-$300), but they are a superior training tool compared to the Laserlyte trainers. They are much closer in size, weight, and appearance to a real Glock 17 or Smith and Wesson M&P. The similar size means that they will fit holsters for the M&P and Glock pistols and they have a functional accessory rail for weapon mounted lights, or lasers. In additional to the more realistic look and feel, the trigger is nearly identical to a striker fired pistol.
Laser Training Adapters
Rather than buying a dedicated laser trainer pistol you can instead purchase laser training adapters. Laser Training adapters fit to the firearms you already own. The upside, these usually cost less and allow you to train with your actual firearm. These adapters work really well with double action semi automatics and revolvers. But, if your gun is striker fired or single action you’ll need to rack your slide in between each shot.
A few different options exist for laser training adapters.
- Caliber specific laser adapters for 9mm, 40 caliber, 45 ACP, 380 ACP.
- Universal adapters which will fit in the end of most barrels with a caliber larger than 380 ACP.
- Rail mounted laser trainers which fit any semiautomatics pistol with a standard accessory rail.
Laser training requires a bit of an upfront investment, but it quickly pays for itself with the money saved in ammo and range fees. We’ve personally incorporated laser training into our daily routine and found it to be a safe and effective way to maintain perishable shooting skills.
Next month we will look into targets we can combine with our laser training devices for fun and effective dry fire.