On the morning of the final day of Tac-Con 18, I had the good fortune to be standing in the right place at the right time talking with a few other attendees and presenters when we were approached by Todd Hunter, the Founder and CEO of United Tactical Federation. He was giving out free G-Sight Laser Training Cartridges to a few lucky Tactical Conference attendees.
I graciously accepted the gift, although I will confess I had some initial skepticism about the device. In short, it is a dry fire training aid. The cartridge is inserted in the chamber of your handgun and emits a laser beam when you pull the trigger. I envisioned some sort of SIRT-like contraption, and my concern was that it would encourage looking over the sights of the pistol for the laser rather than focusing on the sights. What I didn’t initially realize is that there is also a free smartphone app that records your hits for later review.
I waited until I arrived home before unboxing the training cartridge. The Laser Training Cartridge comes in a box with the requisite batteries and a folded page of instructions. Conveniently, the reverse side of the instructions features a reduced size silhouette target for use with the laser trainer. The Laser Training Pro app is available as a free download for both iOS and Android devices, with in-app purchases to expand its capability.
The cartridge itself features a hardened rubber primer that functions as a snap cap to protect the firing pin during dry fire. When struck by the firing pin, the cartridge emits a laser beam that is recorded by the app on your smartphone. The cartridge is held snugly centered in the chamber with two O-rings. The rimless design of the training cartridge allows you to practice reloads and immediate action drills (tap/rack). Of course, with a striker fired or single action pistol, you have to rack the slide after every shot in order to reset the trigger. One fringe benefit of the cartridge’s design is that it impossible to load the pistol with live ammunition with the laser training cartridge inserted (ask me how I know…). When you are finished training, you have to tap the cartridge out of the chamber from the muzzle end with a cleaning rod. After this is where the real danger exists, in that “just one more” shot could have disastrous consequences if you were expecting a laser beam and got a bang instead! Just because you can’t load the pistol with the training cartridge inserted, this in no way relieves you of the responsibility of exercising due caution when dry firing. Rule one is always in effect!
To use your smartphone with the trainer, it is necessary to mount it on a tripod or other stable surface, aimed at the target of your choice. I purchased an inexpensive cellphone tripod mount from Amazon, and used a photography tripod that I had on hand.
I’ve found that raising the cellphone to the height of the target is ideal, and that it needs to be relatively close to the target. The instructions advise placing the phone within one yard of the target and avoiding bright light hitting the target or camera. When you open the app on your smartphone, you are first reminded of the safety rules, and then presented with a menu of options. The basic free version of the app records ten shots before needing to be reset. In-app purchases include an unlimited dry fire shot recorder and a shot timer that allows you to specify par times and shots per session, among other things. Both of these extra options are inexpensive and well worth it, in my opinion.
I’ve used the system with both the included silhouette target as well as the 10-8 Performance scaled target that I regularly use. After you’ve set up your smartphone, you pinch and zoom to fill the frame with your target. The app calibrates when you start each session, and records your shots on target with a green indicator and a sound that mimics a hit on steel. After you complete your session, all the shots are visible on the target, so you can judge groupings and accuracy. I still have to concentrate on focusing on the sights rather than having my vision drawn to the splash of the laser on the target, but the effect is not as bad as I initially anticipated, and this only reinforces what I should be doing anyway. This system definitely helps you to call your shots during dry-fire, as the laser beam doesn’t lie. I’ve really been forced to concentrate on my sight picture, grip, and trigger press, since I can see the result of any of them being off on the target, just as if I was shooting at a range on paper. I have had a few issues with the app, but I’m going to attribute those to user error as I figured out how to best set up my camera phone and target. My only criticism of the app is that the shot timer function really doesn’t have any supporting documentation, so I’ve had to figure out the various settings on my own through trial and error. So far, I’ve only used the laser training cartridge with my G19. This thing really makes me wish I had a double action 9mm pistol!
At $49.99, I think the G-Sight Laser Training Cartridge is a good investment for those who want to take their dry fire practice a step further. I personally have found myself more inclined to dry fire since acquiring the laser training cartridge, if only because it makes dry fire a bit less monotonous. I would encourage our readers that want to purchase one to support United Tactical Federation and buy it from them, since this review is entirely due to the generosity of their Founder and CEO. As I get some more trigger time behind this device, I’ll report back with further observations.
My standard disclaimer applies. Aside from being at the right place at the right time at Tac-Con 18, I have absolutely no affiliation with either United Tactical Federation or G-Sight Solutions, LLC. One link in the text above is an Amazon Affiliate link. Using that link to access Amazon for your purchases benefits us at no extra cost to you, and we appreciate the support!
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