Laser Dry Fire Training is a very cool way to hone your shooting skills. Even better, you can do it from the comfort of your own living room without using any live ammo!
We all know how expensive ammo is. But alternating between laser dry fire and regular live fire at the range is about so much more than just saving money! Many experts believe it is essential to your success as a shooter.
Confidence is vital to good performance. Laser dry fire creates a very rewarding learning experience by making it easy to identify and correct any errors your are making. Best of all, it’s affordable! And fun!
Laser Dry Fire: Overview
In my opinion, the single best thing about laser dry fire is that you use your own gun. Instead of using live rounds of ammo, you use a single dummy round that is outfitted with a laser. The round goes into the chamber of your firearm, and each time you press the trigger your shot is recorded by your phone. The laser round costs between $50 and $80, but the app for your phone is free. We will go into detail about how this works in a bit.
Laser Dry Fire: Benefits
Aside from saving a ton of money on ammo, laser dry fire has many benefits. Perhaps the biggest benefit is that it allows you to train out bad habits. Firing a gun is not a natural activity for the body. The body always and intentionally tries to avoid dangerous situations and loud noises, which happen to be the two main primary consequences of shooting. For many shooters, this unfortunately happens the second the trigger is pressed.
If you have ever been told you are “flinching” or “jerking the trigger,” laser dry fire is the answer you have been looking for. Dry firing produces no recoil or loud noises, so you can actually “train” the anticipation out!
By definition, “flinching” means to make a quick, nervous movement of the body as an instinctive reaction to something. “Jerking the trigger” means pressing the trigger in such a way that disrupts the gun’s aiming point. Many new shooters “flinch and/or jerk” the second before pulling the trigger. This puts your sights out of alignment, and your shots do not hit where you think they should have. Take a look at the picture below. Your eyes, front sight, rear sight and target should all be in a straight line. Even while you press the trigger!
The slightest movement will cause you to miss. Laser dry fire, and regular dry fire for that matter, removes the loud sound and recoil from each trigger pull. With consistent practice, you will be able to train bad habits out. If you are still having trouble, try placing a coin on the end of your gun’s barrel while practicing. If it falls, you are flinching or jerking.
Another benefit of laser dry fire is that it is a fantastic way to practice your non shooting gun skills! Drawing from a holster or purse, reloading a magazine, shooting one handed, and/or walking while shooting are all skills easily mastered in practice.
Laser Dry Fire: Negatives
There is one big negative to laser dry fire training if you are using a semi auto pistol. You must re rack the slide after each trigger pull. You can get by with a half or partial re rack, but having to do this after pulling the trigger each time is not natural. If you carry a revolver, however, this does not affect you!
So is it still worth buying due to this fault? I think so. Especially for beginning shooters. Being able to see how flinching and jerking the trigger affects your accuracy is priceless. I truly believe that we get better one shot at a time.
Laser Dry Fire: Where To Buy
While there are many companies who offer laser dry fire cartridges, I am only personally familiar with two. G Sight and I Target. I own G Sight, but have shot demo versions of I Target. They are both very similar. As of this writing, G Sight is completely sold out of their product! You can google search them to find vendors who may have stock, and also for youtube videos of how the product works. I actually bought mine at a local gun show.
The I Target company still has plenty of product in stock, and is the newer competitor to the game. Both companies are reputable, and I wouldn’t hesitate ordering from either of them.
Laser Dry Fire: Set Up Your Training Environment
As with products of all kinds, laser dry fire companies offer a ton of non necessary extras for purchase in addition to their laser cartridge. It is up to you to decide whether or not to buy them. Personally, I would rather spend my money on other things, and have gotten creative using things I already have to substitute for their fancy and expensive accessories. No judging on my creativity!
Some of the things they offer include cradles to hold your phone, and paper targets. You really don’t need these. When I dry fire without the laser, I aim at different light switches around my house. Yes they are really small, and yes they will work for laser training too. You don’t have to use paper targets, but I often do. It depends on my mood. You can use whatever you want for your target!
The picture above shows my typical bumpkin set up. I put a target on my fireplace, and wrap my belt and holster around one of my kitchen chairs. My phone sits perfectly in the holster, and records just fine.
Steps for Safe Laser Dry Fire Training
Here are the steps, in order, of how to use laser dry fire ammo assuming you already have the cartridge and have downloaded the app to your cell phone:
- Take all live ammo out of your firearm, and place it in another room. You can also place your magazine in the other room, as you will not need it unless it affects your grip. Double check that your firearm is not loaded, and then triple check.
- Set up your environment with targets
- Secure your phone to an item of your choice…the app must be open and your target must be fully acquired on the screen.
- Load the laser cartridge into your firearm. It only goes in one way, and you may get frustrated thinking it doesn’t fit. It will. Keep trying. If it gets stuck, which it may, place a cleaning rod down your barrel and gently tap it out. You”ll know it is in correctly when your slide is completely closed. Read the directions again if you are having trouble, or do a YouTube search.
- Go to your phone and press the start button
- Then either sit or stand and fire away!
The app records each shot. You get 10 shots per session, but the sessions are unlimited. You can upgrade the app to the paid version for $5, and it is totally worth it. The paid app adds in timers and more challenging target acquisitions. But don’t jump into that until you master the free version. By that I mean not only hitting where you are aiming, but also doing so without dropping that coin I told you to put on the barrel of your gun.
Laser Dry Fire Wrap Up
Both laser dry fire and regular dry fire practice should be a habitual part of your firearms training. I do it daily. It is so easy and inexpensive that you really have no excuse not to do it. If you are confused at all about any of what you have read here please reach out to me! And if you haven’t already, read my post on regular dry fire training. I promise this will help your shooting skills get better!