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Thread: Best Total All round Dry Fire / Laser system

  1. #1

    Best Total All round Dry Fire / Laser system

    So.. what would you say would be the best overall package for Home Dry Fire training including laser targets / software etc?
    Is there anywhere to buy a "kit" for home training that is perfect?

    Ideally one that fits into your existing weapon as opposed to a SIRT or something similar?
    Trigger reset? Is it necessary?

    I am looking for something that will assist with the usual Dry Fire benefits like drawstroke, mag change etc but I also want something to quantatively see where my first and subsequent shots are going after the point as well as times for that draw.

    I saw the iDryFire.com product. It is a trigger reset kit and a IR Camera for the computer with a laser cartridge. Has anyone used this? What are your experiences with this? This seems like a great system which covers all the needs, and is quite cost effective at around $300.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    I can't comment on the iDryfire or trigger reset systems but I am using a laser cartridge, dryfire mag and Mantis X for my various guns in dryfire and each has pros and cons.

    I use the Mantis X with my P10C and like the various training programs, automatic logging of every shot and having data and a baseline. It works for live fire and Co2 guns as well. The weakness is that it needs a WML holster to use for draw or a magazine base mount. Otherwise I like the unit very much and it is easy to install and remove as well as to use.

    I use the dryfire mag for my fullsize Glock with red dot optic so I have a resetting trigger. This allows for watching dot movement and not needing to reset the trigger. The pull is close in weight and adjustable but feel is not exactly the same and it doesn't activate the Mantis X even on high sensitivity setting.

    The laser cartridge works in any 9mm(there are other calibers) and I like the shot indicating location and chamber filling safety aspect of it. However all my 9mm guns are striker fired and require a reset to work the cartridge or a resetting trigger set up I don't have so it can be limiting for follow up shots.

    I am considering a Coolfire trainer set up with laser to get reset of natural trigger feel and multiple indications on targets as well as some recoil but haven't committed yet. The resetting trigger for multiple laser indications is the next best thing but usually with targets or software is close in price so it is a personal decision. Regular dryfire is just as beneficial so none of this is needed but the variety is nice for different skills and keeping interest up when you don't feel motivated to do it. I am in a dryfire group via Mantis X which keeps the peer pressure on to do it and compare performance so that's fun too.

  3. #3
    Highly Motivated EricM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by octagon View Post
    Regular dryfire is just as beneficial so none of this is needed but the variety is nice for different skills and keeping interest up when you don't feel motivated to do it.
    Well said. I've utilized laser training for several years with LASR software and for me it makes dry fire much more engaging when when I can track my times and verify my shots were as I called them.

    I am curious about the CoolFire setup octagon mentioned. A while back I watched some YouTube reviews and got the impression it worked but was very inconvenient as it didn't seem to last for as many shots as it was supposed to before needing to be recharged. Another option might be a laser conversion kit for an airsoft pistol.

    I have not used the iDryFire software personally, but from videos I've seen online it looks rather primitive in comparison to LASR. Here are some of my thoughts on LASR and resetting triggers from another thread:

    Quote Originally Posted by EricM View Post
    I transitioned from a SIRT to the Glock Store reset kit and have used it for a couple years in a Gen 4. From the pics it appears to be the same as the one you linked to. I think it's really pricey for what it is -- either it should be cheaper or it should be better -- but I cautiously recommend it if you don't mind a little tinkering. I had to change the connector and adjust the secondary striker spring (they provide one that installs between the custom striker and the slide cover plate) to get it to feel remotely like my Glocks while consistently activating my laser cartridge. The way mine is set up, I also have to remember to lock the slide back when I'm done otherwise it drains the battery (the striker tip protrudes at rest). I'd buy it again though, at least until something better comes along. Laser Ammo also makes a reset trigger kit, I do not know if it's any different but it looks like you may be able to find that one a bit cheaper. Buy somewhere with a good return policy just in case lol.

    I have not used the software you linked to, but I have used a different option extensively, LASR (Laser Activated Shot Reporter). To quote myself from another thread: "It runs on a laptop connected to a webcam mounted on a tripod, recording each hit by watching for the laser pulses. I mostly use infrared lasers to avoid any distraction. In addition to marking your hits, it can (optionally) sound a buzzer as a start signal and track the time of each shot, just like a shot timer. I've used it extensively working on my draw, for example, and my live fire draw times and quality of hits match exactly what I get from LASR in dry fire. The software has a few rough edges but lots of good functionality, I've definitely gotten my money's worth. If you scroll through my training journal you'll see a number of images from it."


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by CoffeeParamedic View Post
    I am looking for something that will assist with the usual Dry Fire benefits like drawstroke, mag change etc but I also want something to quantatively see where my first and subsequent shots are going after the point as well as times for that draw.

    What are your thoughts?
    Probably best to begin this with "YMMD", because I use live fire as dry fire practice but I recognize that many good men do the opposite.

    You know how practicing a martial arts technique at full speed can hide many mistakes? Well, live fire does the same (for me): many faults are concealed that dry fire would make obvious. So I use live fire to verify improvements made in dry practice.

    Dry fire, depending on how one structures it, aids all the things you mentioned: drawstroke, mag change, etc. You know exactly where your shot(s) landed: it was revealed by the sight picture you maintained between pressing the trigger and the follow through (the moment while you waited for the "dry fire" round to strike the target).

    Dry fire benefits the entire range of gun skills between "Yo! See this knife, M*thah F*ckah?" to Bang!. Thence comes recoil control and sight tracking, but those things are beyond the scope of dry fire.

  5. #5
    Member John Hearne's Avatar
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    I remain deeply skeptical about the various dry practice laser systems. I think that the Mantis X has some utility, but I don't know anyone who shoots well that uses the laser based systems.

    Why? My take is that dry practice has two main roles. First, to help you develop the kinesthetic index you need to pre-aim the pistol when you rapidly draw. This is accomplished by confirming the pistol alignment with the sights. Second, dry practice teaches you to call your shots. You learn to do this by watching your sights when the hammer or striker falls. This is information that is masked when you live fire and you can ONLY get it in dry practice. Both of these primary task are accomplished by visual information supplied by the sights AND your eyes adjusted to the focal distance of your sights.

    As soon as you start to look at something other than the sights, and at a focal distance other than that of your sights, you are defeating the primary purposes of dry practice. I think an IR laser might help with these concerns since there wouldn't be any flash to observe but a lot of people would be looking at their device to see where the hit registered.

    The only benefit I see to the laser options is that they make dry practice more "entertaining" and may get people to dry practice who might not otherwise because it is boring. For a lot of folks, repeatedly lifting heavy things is boring so they don't do it and never become strong. If you are willing to do the work, dry practice has huge upsides but there is that four letter word: w-o-r-k.
    • It's not the odds, it's the stakes.
    • If you aren't dry practicing every week, you're not serious.....
    • "Tache-Psyche Effect - a polite way of saying 'You suck.' " - GG

  6. #6
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    I donít dryfire often enough, but when I do, I use a LaserLyte cartridge and a target from the same company that beeps and flashes when hit.
    The one I use has about a 3Ē diameter sensor area, set in a slightly larger box. I duct-taped a sub-scale silhouette target to a piece of cardboard and imbedded the LaserLyte target in the whole assembly, so that the sensor disk is the relative size of a 5Ē circle in a normal silhouette at 7 yds. Prop the target on a cinderblock wall and step back to 3-4 yds, and I can tell (without peeking) when I get hits in my desired zone. Add a timer, and I can assess correct first-shot placement from the holster within the desired par time.
    The cartridge was around $80, and the targets were sold as sets of two for around $100, if I recall correctly.
    Looking at the LaserLyte website today, it looks like those targets are no longer available, but there are other (larger, more expensive) ones that would seem to serve the same purpose.

    For what itís worth, I feel like I benefit from using laser dry fire as a part task trainer for single shots (press-outs, etc) and first shot from the holster and from the ready on a timer. Like I said, I donít do it often enough, but have done some this week, and felt like it helped at my last match and my latest range practice session.

    Gyro
    Last edited by GyroF-16; 03-13-2018 at 10:11 PM.

  7. #7
    Highly Motivated EricM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Hearne View Post
    As soon as you start to look at something other than the sights, and at a focal distance other than that of your sights, you are defeating the primary purposes of dry practice. I think an IR laser might help with these concerns since there wouldn't be any flash to observe but a lot of people would be looking at their device to see where the hit registered.

    The only benefit I see to the laser options is that they make dry practice more "entertaining" and may get people to dry practice who might not otherwise because it is boring.
    I agree with your concerns as they would apply to a red laser or reactive targets, like the LaserLyte targets that light up or fall over when you shoot them...these present similar temptations to looking for hits on paper targets in live fire or watching steel fall, rather than staying on your sights and calling your shots.

    I do however see a lot of value in serious training using an IR laser cartridge (or SIRT) with software like LASR. In my experience, that setup is excellent for improving your relationship with your sights. There's nothing of interest in front of you except your sights and the target, and the target won't be giving you any feedback. But when the drill is over, you have the option to review data the software has gathered on your hits, and to me that's huge. For example, with learning to call your shots, I think an important aspect of that is understanding how much deviation from the perfect sight picture will produce acceptable hits, and applying that knowledge rapidly while taking into account target size and distance. Software like LASR provides a way to effectively train that in dry fire, helping you get comfortable with imperfect sight pictures at speed while holding you accountable for calling your shots correctly.

    The integrated shot timer is also useful. Lots of people use the par function of "normal" shot timers for dry fire, but then you are relying on your perception of when the beep occurs relative to the task you are performing to know if you made par. The software can give you real data (when shots are fired, of course -- no added benefit for something like Burkett reloads). Splits without recoil aren't very meaningful, but it's helpful for draws, reloads, and transitions...and you can combine all of those into a single drill too and see the detailed breakdown afterwards if you choose. You can also configure the software for repetitive drills, like a series of 10 draws where you can see the distribution of your hits and times, or add a level of randomness, by having the software call out targets for you (I like doing this with different sized targets, sort of a changing gears type drill).

    BTW, let me take this opportunity to add that I really enjoyed your podcasts on automaticity, and your sessions would be a priority for me if I ever manage to make it to the Rangemaster Tactical Conference. Thanks for all the information you put out there!

  8. #8
    One of the great things about dryfire is that it doesn't require any special equipment. If you don't see a benefit to using a visible laser cartridge then there is no need to get one and you can still benefit from dryfire. However using a laser cartridge with dryfire allows for verification of where a shot would hit confirming a called shot. It also aids in trigger pull quality by viewing a dot not a dash. It works when training and developing retention shooting positions where sights are not used and can help with discipline in not watching for the reactive target if you work at not chasing the dot of laser impact. If you have one you can use where it benefits your training and not when/if it isn't helpful.

    I generally have a dedicated second gun for dry work but I appreciate the safety aspect of the laser cartridge when I visually and physically verify the gun is unloaded and press the laser cartridge to activate it in the chamber, testing it simultaneously. Then no round can accidentally be loaded.

  9. #9
    Member John Hearne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricM View Post
    Lots of people use the par function of "normal" shot timers for dry fire, but then you are relying on your perception of when the beep occurs relative to the task you are performing to know if you made par.
    My solution is to use a PowerPoint presentation I developed years ago. It can display the target for a particular amount of time and then remove it. This has several benefits. First, you are operating off of a visual start signal instead of an auditory one. Second, you have to use your sights to learn whether you made the time or not. If the sights were where they needed to be when the hammer/striker fell and the target was still surrounding your sights, then you made time. If it's not there, then you didn't make the time.

    I tend to be a cheap bastard and tend to only invest my personal funds when there is a compelling advantage. My current cost to dry practice is some dummy rounds and PowerPoint presentation. That's a relatively low entry cost. I'm still waiting to see some compelling evidence that the laser systems have a benefit worthy of their cost.


    BTW, let me take this opportunity to add that I really enjoyed your podcasts on automaticity, and your sessions would be a priority for me if I ever manage to make it to the Rangemaster Tactical Conference. Thanks for all the information you put out there!
    Thanks for letting me know someone is listening. My efforts to interject an evidence/research based approach seems utterly Sisyphean. I'm supposed to have an appearance on Civilian Carry Radio in the near future. It will be my first video interview which may be interesting.
    • It's not the odds, it's the stakes.
    • If you aren't dry practicing every week, you're not serious.....
    • "Tache-Psyche Effect - a polite way of saying 'You suck.' " - GG

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by John Hearne View Post
    My solution is to use a PowerPoint presentation I developed years ago. It can display the target for a particular amount of time and then remove it. This has several benefits. First, you are operating off of a visual start signal instead of an auditory one. Second, you have to use your sights to learn whether you made the time or not. If the sights were where they needed to be when the hammer/striker fell and the target was still surrounding your sights, then you made time. If it's not there, then you didn't make the time.

    I tend to be a cheap bastard and tend to only invest my personal funds when there is a compelling advantage. My current cost to dry practice is some dummy rounds and PowerPoint presentation. That's a relatively low entry cost. I'm still waiting to see some compelling evidence that the laser systems have a benefit worthy of their cost.




    Thanks for letting me know someone is listening. My efforts to interject an evidence/research based approach seems utterly Sisyphean. I'm supposed to have an appearance on Civilian Carry Radio in the near future. It will be my first video interview which may be interesting.
    The Powerpoint idea sounds nifty, you could incorporate shoot/no-shoot targets and various accuracy or speed based targets and randomly present them.

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