With the current spread of the Coronaviruscausing states to enforce social distancing guidelines and closures of non-essential businesses, shooting sports enthusiasts around the country are now left without a safe place to train. Not only does this affect those of us who have been shooting for years on end, but also those who bought their very first gun in the rush that preceded these closures. So how does one train while locked down in quarantine? Dry-fire practice, of course!
To begin with, we need to get some safety caveats out of the way. Here's some advice courtesy of Sheriff Jim Wilson: All dry practice should begin by unloading the firearm. Check your gun several times to make sure that there is no ammunition in it. In fact, you should put all of the ammunition for that gun in another room. During a dry practice session, you simply can't check your gun often enough to make sure it is unloaded. Practice sessions don't have to run very long – 10 to 15 minutes is plenty of time to focus on your shooting skills.
We have a wide array of options available that allow us to train with our very own firearms in the comfort of our own home, regardless of platform or discipline. Although there are many companies out there that offer various training products, today we will focus on a few different options from Laser Ammo USA Inc. Laser Ammo offers laser-based firearms training solutions for not only civilians, but firearms instructors, law enforcement and all branches of the military. With the use of their SureStrike laser cartridges, you are able to train with either your favorite paper target or a variety of their electronic target offerings. SureStrike laser cartridges are available in a wide array of calibers for handguns, shotguns and rifles. Lasers are also offered in kits that combine multiple calibers in a handy zippered pouch, allowing the whole family to train with their preferred carry gun, hunting gun or whatever happens to be locked up in the gun safe! The great thing about these electronic targets is that they run off AAA batteries, and require no wi-fi or cables, making them extremely portable and easy to use.
The LaserPET family of targets consists of the original LaserPET and the LaserPET II. These are a set of standalone targets that aim to train any level of shooter for increased speed, quicker reloads and higher accuracy, using the shooter's own handgun, rifle or shotgun. Laser Ammo's philosophy behind the LaserPET is "aim small, miss small." Each variant includes five assorted target cards with hit zones ranging from 2 inches to 1⁄2 inch, which can represent a full torso size target from hundreds of yards away. The LaserPET target will also help any shooter train to better their presentation, shooting from a holster, trigger control, reloads and overall marksmanship. Depending on the model chosen, the LaserPET targets can use either red or both red and infrared SureStrike laser cartridges, and contains between four to six preloaded training programs that provide not only real-time feedback and a shot counter, but also auditory and visual feedback as well. Each version comes with a handy tripod that mounds to the bottom of the Laser PET, allowing you to place it anywhere you plan to train.
The next electronic target available from Laser Ammo is the i-MTTS target system. The Interactive Multi-Target Training System (i-MTTS) is a fully interactive training system that enables wireless communication allowing each of the i-MTTS targets to communicate with each other to engage the shooter in a wide array of training modes, including standalone shooting, steel plate shooting, tactical training/chase the ball, shoot/no-shoot, double-speed shoot/no-shoot and double-tap. A great advantage of this target is that the user has the ability to arrange it in their own home or classroom in a manner that allows them to train using dynamic movements that they may encounter on the range during competition or during a defensive scenario. The i-MTTS targets do not require the use of a computer or phone app and run off of AAA batteries, which are included.
Each base unit also comes with four assorted targets, varying in both shape and size. These targets are designed to be used with a SureStrike laser cartridges (in either red or IR) in the shooter's own double-action pistol, or one of Laser Ammo's Advanced Laser Training Pistols/Recoil Enabled Training Guns. Laser Ammo is also planning to release the i-MTTS System controller this year. This System Controller serves as a wireless control unit which allows the user to control their target systems from a distance. A simple button will rotate between the different training programs, view, scroll and toggle between split time and total time performance results, set automatic or manual restart, choose random or define the delay time for the start signal, define needed hits on target, along with many additional features.
With training options such as these, you are provided with a safe and efficient way to train at home not only during the current pandemic but also during times where it may not exactly be 70 degrees and sunny. Another point that cannot go unmentioned is the fact that you will be saving a lot of money on the cost of ammo with all the dry-fire practice you will now be incorporating into your training regimen!
Regardless of how you choose to train during these tough times, it is important to keep up on your skills, as they will perish if forgotten like a New Year's resolution. Times may be tough but getting rid of bad habits is even tougher. The use of at-home training solutions, regardless of brand, is a great way to get the whole family involved in shooting, and also a great opportunity to teach firearms safety to the youngest of family members. Stay safe, stay healthy, and we'll see you on the range!