There’s only one way to become a better shooter: you need to pull the trigger. A lot. And while some of that needs to be live fire, more and more people are recommending that the majority of your trigger pulling should be done in the comfort of your own home with an unloaded firearm. Dry fire practice is the quickest way to acclimate yourself to a new firearm or improve your skills, and it’s dirt cheap as well. But while it’s nice to point your gun in the general direction of a notional target and squeeze that trigger, it would be even better if there was some way to know when you actually hit the target. Enter the AIMTech Systems Laser Training System . . .
As I was gearing up for my season shooting with the FNH USA pro team, I needed to get acclimated to the FNS-9 handgun in a hurry. It was very different from my usual P226, and mastering it to the point where I would be comfortable using it in a competition wasn’t going to happen overnight. Thankfully Luke from AIMTech shot me an email offering to send me one of their laser systems to review, and it was perfect.
The primary component of the system is an orange barrel insert that slots into the muzzle of the gun and produces a short burst of laser light when given a sufficient enough jostling — such as the hammer striking the firing pin of the gun. It gives you instant feedback on exactly where the muzzle was pointed when the gun fired, meaning that you not only get better at trigger control but you can also work on target transitions and such with confidence. You can also zero the laser, making it line up exactly with your sights so that you know the laser is actually showing you the “true” impact location for that notional round you just touched off.
Installing the laser device was a snap, and once fitted I just left it lying on the coffee table in my living room. Whenever I was watching TV I’d slot it into the barrel and practice my aim as I was watching the latest episode of Breaking Bad, but that wasn’t all there was to the system.
Also included is a target that beeps when struck by the laser beam, letting you know that you did indeed hit your target and giving you a nice white background to easily see where the shot went. At first I just left the target over the TV, but I found that moving it from place to place around my apartment let me practice some of the more dynamic aspects of 3-gun (such as moving and shooting or shooting around corners) without needing to expend a single precious round of 9mm ammunition.
In my experience, the system works great. The ability to zero the laser is a great advantage in a system like this one, and the positive feedback you get from the laser target will keep you entertained for hours on end while perfecting your aim. And even after months of using the system, I have still yet to need to replace the battery in either device.
But there is one drawback: the price. All told, the package you see above runs right around $200 from their website. So when you’re considering buying something like this, consider whether the money you put into it might be better spent elsewhere. If you’re a pro shooter and need to get your practice in while the range is snowed in, then this is downright mandatory equipment. But if you’re a recreational shooter, consider whether you wouldn’t rather spend that $200 on ammo instead of a whiz-bang system when all you really need is a doorknob to use as a target.
AIMTech Laser Training System
Bore Laser: $119.95
Laser Target: $99.95
Overall Rating: * * * *
In terms of what’s on the market, this is pretty much the best deal for the money. The next best thing would be the SIRT pistol system, but that doesn’t let you use your existing gun. For a pro I can see this being a good investment, but for the average shooter you might want to invest in lead instead.
Sounds like a good product. The only problem I have is it sounds like your dry fire practice was extremely dangerous! Everything I’ve been taught was the opposite of what you describe yourself doing, i.e. setting a specific time, place and target for dry fire instead of just aiming at stuff around the house.
If you live alone as I do.
I use the same dry fire techniques as the poster more or less.
Mostly just sitting on the couch, picking out a target be it a light switch or door knob. Aim, pull trigger with no response as to where it would be if it was indeed live fire.
Clear magazine, clear gun, double check. Insert laser. double check gun is clear. Good to go. If you set the gun down, always clear it when picking it back up again. Everyone is safe.
If it actually works as described Id consider it.
I would also have to see it in use 1st.
Over the years Ive spent untold hundreds of dollars on gizmos of this type.
They were pretty all ineffective and for the most part.
A total waste of money.
I know I’m in the minority, but I’ve never appreciated the advice to dry fire. I know the experts all say it’s critical, and maybe it is for their level of accuracy, but I’ve not found it helpful at all. My last time shooting with the Marines about six months ago I scored 362 out of 400, so I’m not a bad shot, and I have no intention of getting to be competitive and shooting the nose off of a fly at 50 yards.
My objection to dry firing is illustrated by this gadget. I can point a gun at a target all day long and pull the trigger all day long. That doesn’t help with the biggest problem, which is coping with the recoil of a weapon.
Eh. Maybe ignorance is bliss. I don’t imagine I could put up with the boredom of dry firing either.
Depends what you’re trying to accomplish. Competitive shooters are trying to get the the point where it takes precisely zero thought to get on target, and have an intuitive feel for trigger break. Once that has been accomplished without a heart rate, you add in things like physical exertion and try to accomplish the same thing effortlessly. Doing all that with live ammo gets awfully expensive very quickly. As Nick points out, probably not worth it unless you’re shooting competitively, and frankly even then it depends on what kind of competition.
Skylar – “That doesn’t help with the biggest problem, which is coping with the recoil of a weapon.”
The biggest problem is not controlling recoil, it’s stopping the anticipatory movements to the expected recoil.
Proper grip (to control and minimize recoil) and trigger squeeze (to smoothly press the trigger to the rear) all to keep your gun on target (where you want) with minimal conscious effort and no counter movement IS the goal.
Therefore, getting to the point where you are accurate before recoil is in the equation is a great stepping stone to eliminate so many variables of “why your shooting sucks so bad”.
If your trigger finger movement is not INDEPENDENT of your grip fingers then you will always be inaccurate even on the first shot, before the recoil happens. Training with systems like this make it very obvious.
Another valuable training method is to put snap caps in random locations throughout your clips and as you are shooting, you will see how much you anticipate the shot and jerk the gun. Or have a partner put it in a random place when you don’t expect it.
I’ve been playing around with a similar system by Laserlyte. The difference seems to be the target. Laserlyte’s target gives you feedback on where you hit the target with LEDs indicating your “hits.” So far, I kinda like it.
These systems may not simulate recoil. But, I dare suggest they help with trigger control.
This appears to be a demilitarized version of a next-gen MILES. Good idea, but as the poster said, pricey.
One thought I always had on this is curiosity how much the weight of the handgun makes a difference. I know I can sense a round in the chamber verses an empty chamber but full mag and it’s obvious when a gun is unloaded…but that weight I would think would be important?
I wish they’d bring to market something that simulates the proper weight and operation of a firearm, an exact clone of your personal gun or rifle, and even simulates the blowback operation so reloading exercises can be done. I’d go so far as to want the actual sound of the gun as well. So basically something that simulates a live round in every way less the actual projectile. This way recoil, blowback, noise, feel, weight, operation are all identical… I know blanks do this but I do NOT feel safe using them indoors despite the idea they are blanks. Any suggestions?
Gas/air powered airsoft. Won’t get the loud bang but the gun will cycle, and will need to be reloaded.
Blanks don’t actually do that. The lack of projectile means that recoil isn’t the same on the basis of Newton’s third law.
Buy a cheap mag and fill it with BBs and wax to max a loaded mag weight after you take out the spring and follower. Make sure the wax level prevents you from putting a round in at all.
I thought about the laser trainers a bit but ended up purchasing an airsoft metal gas blowback version of the glock I carry. It may not offer the same accuracy training, but for the price I love that I can put holes in paper in my basement. It’s quite a bit more similar to the real glock than I expected. Everything is a bit lighter, but it fits all the same holsters and allows me to practice drawing from concealed and firing. I don’t take it quite as seriously as maybe I would training with a laser since honestly it’s just quite fun.
The main drawback as I see it with these systems is that you need to reset your hammer/striker every time on guns without restrike. If someone could come up with a system that could do that for you in your existing firearm, perhaps with the ability to set a resettable round count before a required mag change, then I would be all over it. I have no idea how you’d go about engineering such a thing, but I know I’d get one.
Laser Ammo makes resetting triggers for Gen 3/4 glocks: http://www.laser-ammo.com/Glock-reset-trigger-Gen-3-T0380A.html.
Several companies make dedicated laser trainers that can’t shoot real rounds, but simulate various firearm models with resetting triggers:
True. Unless you’re using a semi-auto with a hammer. Then you can continue to fire in double action mode or cock the hammer manually for single-action mode. (Or a revolver.) But, yeah… striker-fired pistols like Glocks… a bit of a pain.
It’s not perfect. But, it’s pretty cool, I think.
Should work great for a DAO like my P250, tho.
…nice pig nose on that FNS..
I’ve been looking at these, and now I think I’ll get one. Thanks for the review.
For this price the LaserLyte Training Tyme Kit seems like a better choice.
I’d personally combine the laser-sensing target with a SIRT pistol, which doesn’t require you to reset the striker each time.
Meh. A decent Airsoft system will cost less, have exactly the same functional mechanics for firing and malfunction drills, work with all your current accessories (holsters/lights/sighting systems/etc.), and provide better tactile feedback.
the point of laser training, as described, is to become familiar with the actual feel of your gun, and the actual point of aim for that gun. An airsoft will help with aiming in general, which will help you with any gun, but not as much as shooting with your actual gun that you are desiring to become used to. If you just want to shoot something, get an airsoft. If you want to make sure your muscle memory with your gun of choice is dialed-in, get a laser system, or shoot lots of real ammo at the range.
Great review. I ordered their product July 15 and my credit card was charged. Mid-September I have not received the product, voice mail at Aimtech is full, no responses to email, web site has disappeared and I’m fighting with my credit card company to have the charge reversed.
The company is out of business. They have kept the money from customers and other businesses for orders placed with them that were never fulfilled. The owner does not respond to any communications.