Saturday, February 9, 2013

Two Words for a Lazy Saturday

Two words for a lazy Saturday, over a thousand miles away from the Great Blizzard Nemo or Snowpocalpyse or whatever you call it.  Dry.  Fire. 

It's no secret that good dry fire practice helps make you a better shooter.  If you live in an area of wide open spaces and can go out to shoot anytime you want (and your ammo stock pile is really deep), maybe you don't think of dry firing often.  For those of us in the "cit-tay" where we need to go to ranges, and even then can do nothing but shoot square range, a dry fire program has some training benefits.  Dry firing is recommended by everyone from the Appleseed Project to trainers/tactical ninjas like Rob Pincus at I.C.E.

At the Appleseed Event we went to, they recommended marking a dot on the wall that we could put our rifle sights on and dry fire.  Another approach is something like the Laserlyte Training System.  The system consists of the target and caliber-specific laser cartridges that fit in the bore of your gun.  The target is a combination of LEDs and photo sensors.  You fire the laser at it and the photo sensors record where the laser hits. Later, by putting the laser on the sensor at lower left, it turns on an LED at every place you hit. 
In this video, Rob demonstrates and explains an important part of the training.  You don't want to train yourself to not expect the BANG.  When you pull the trigger and don't get the BANG, program yourself to do the Tap-Rack-Bang drill.  If your EDC is the type of gun that doesn't require racking the slide to reset the trigger, like a revolver and some semiautomatics, it may not be a concern, but if you're using most Glocks or XDs or other polymer guns, program your brain to do that drill without thinking.  That way, if you ever don't hear that BANG in real life, when you really need to, you do the drill automatically.
As you can see, sometimes I put the trainer on a shelf and do various things I can never do on the square range.  These were shot from about twice arms length, shooting from a draw to just off my right hip, gun rolled over to about 45 degrees off vertical; in other words completely un-aimed.   An advantage of the system is that I can practice drawing and firing while moving around the room, something I just can't do at any of my local ranges.  I could get more aggressive with it, put in a tree or somewhere out in the backyard and make it a physical workout, which is actually a pretty neat idea, now that I think of it.  This is far more dynamic than putting a pencil dot on the wall and lining it up in sights for plain dry fire, but if you live in the boonies and can actually set up targets and do this with real, live, ammo, then you don't need one. 
The disadvantage, of course, is the cost.  The trainer MSRP is $231, but you can get those for much less.  Midway has them for $140 today (but out of stock...).  For any one caliber, the cartridges retail about $80, from a much higher MSRP.   If you plan to train with a lot of different calibers, it can get pricey, but you can get set for one caliber for $220-ish.  You could buy a lot of ammo for that, if you could buy ammo.  On the other hand, it's not expensive compared to most training classes.

Think about it.  It's a good tool.

Edit Sunday 1225P:  Added a missing word.  This sentence was wrong:  "You could buy a lot of ammo for that, if you could buy ammo." didn't have the second "could".


  1. I have one and it's a great tool as you say. Great write up Graybeard!

    1. Come to think of it, I think I got mine after reading your review of it! That's another "it's a small world" story, isn't it?

    2. Biggest problem with training aids like this which you use with a dry gun is that the weapon weighs significantly less than when it is loaded. I'll always remember a segment of one of the early James Bond books where he was practicing snap-aiming in his hotel room and realized his aim was high because he was aiming without the loaded magazine in place.

    3. Interesting! I have kept my magazine unloaded because, well, you know. As long as I don't rack the slide too far, the laser won't move - and I was worried not racking all the way might hurt imprinting the tap-rack-bang drill.

      I guess there's always a trade off in training accuracy.

  2. Anyone know if this works with any laser and if so, will it also work with a green laser? I use SIRT pistols with students which has both.

    Anon 1052 - FYI, SIRTS come with a weighted magazine, you can order it weighted for a full mag, half, quarter, etc, or get a couple fulls and take weights out/put them in yourself. (

    SGB - when you get a magazine that FTFs - which makes it scrappable junk - remove the bottom plate, take out the spring and follower (with no follower it won't lock the slide open), replace with weight of some sort. I use wood blocks and lead - trim a block to just fit inside the mag, push it to where you want (if it's a double stack mag a square edged block will go in only so far, or use a punch to dimple the sides of the mag into the block), pour in some lead (I cast), or a few bullets/fishing weights and some epoxy, add another block to take up the remaining space. Could be a dense wood (used any synthetic decking lately?) would do the whole job. If you've got a couple FTF mags you're throwing away you have reload practice. It'd be spendy, but I could see using 3-4 for a house clearing exercise - have someone place the targets without you knowing where. Maybe some friends who each have one could get together for the exercise.

    1. Anon - I have a green NcSTAR laser intended for an AR or a really big handgun with a Picatinny rail, so I had to test this.

      Yes, it does trigger the detectors, on the target as well as on the Display and Reset areas.

      It's a 5 mW laser, much like this one.

  3. Thanks, SG. I just got on Midway's back order list for one.

  4. One thing to consider with imprinting the Tap-rack-bang drill during this training.
    Dont over do it. You may be doing more harm than good. During a high stress situation you could possibly run that drill for no reason as you have been imprinting it as a process. The fact that you are expecting to only run that drill if you dont hear or feel a bang can be very unreliable. I was training with two mags. One I would load with 3 rouds the other with 2 rounds. This would be a single line form a standard box of ammo. I would fire to slide lock on the first mag (3 rounds) then run a mag change and fire the next mag with two rounds. I thought since I was running this to slide lock there would be no problem. I then took a class where we loaded about 6 to 8 rounds per mag. During one string where I was urgently trying to put rounds down range I heard three shots and mindlessly changed the mag to a second one that was empty in my pocket. Bad move. Now I load random numbers of rounds to prevent that kind of imprint.