Dry firing sounds incredibly boring and can be a huge drag if you do it a lot. The interesting thing about dry firing is that it’s one of the biggest keys to becoming a truly great shooter. Ask any of the best shooters in the world how much they dry fire vs how much time they spend sending live rounds down range and it will be a huge difference. The more time you spend dry firing will have a drastic effect on your overall skill level. The big question is how can you make dry firing as effective and not mind-numbingly boring as possible?
Next Level Training SIRT (Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger) pistols are an incredible tool to help improve your shooting abilities in several different ways without costing anything more than the initial price of the SIRT itself. The pistols come in several different variants of two major pistol designs. The SIRT 110 is modeled after a Glock 17/22, the SIRT 107 is designed after a Smith & Wesson M&P, and the SIRT PP is similar to several different subcompact pistol designs. The variations include slide construction material, slide color, and laser color. You can opt to save some cash and go with a polymer slide or upgrade to the metal version for a true 1:1 weight and feel of a real gun. The slide color options are to help differentiate the training pistol from any live fire guns to help minimize training accidents. The laser color options are either red or green for the primary laser that indicates bullet impact. Each pistol has a second laser that can be turned on or off that indicates trigger take up leading up to the actual shot breaking. This feature is mainly for instructors working with students to help diagnose poor trigger control and other issues like slapping the trigger rather than smoothly and consistently pulling it.
The features that really set the SIRT pistols apart from just using your standard pistol of choice for dry firing are the resetting adjustable weight trigger, dual lasers, interchangeable sights, and 1:1 weighted changeable magazines. Dry firing with a standard issue pistol means you have to rack the slide to reset the striker/hammer after every shot. You also don’t get any kind of feedback as far as shot placement, sight alignment, trigger control, or grip. If you get lazy with dry firing, you can get into a groove of simply aiming in the general direction of some random target of your choice and pulling the trigger just to drop the hammer and rack the slide for the cool sounds it makes. Another drawback of using your actual pistol to dry fire is the lack of weight from a loaded magazine and the fact that if you want to practice magazine changes, you’ll have to use empty mags that weigh significantly less than a fully loaded mag.
The SIRT pistols have adjustable trigger weights to help strengthen your fingers and make pulling your actual trigger that much easier. They also feature precision cut slides that will accept actual sights made for either the Glock or M&P depending on the model you choose. The SIRT 107 (S&W M&P clone) also has interchangeable backstraps just like the real version. Because the SIRT pistols are designed to replicate either the Glock or M&P platforms, they will fit most holsters designed for their real counterparts. One exception to this I’ve found is that the 110 model (Glock) does not work with Safariland holsters that use the ejection port cut as the locking location for their retention system. They will, however, work with just about any other holster designed for Glocks.
Working with students just starting to learn how to shoot properly is extremely easy with a SIRT pistol. If the student fires a live ten round group, for example, and it looks like a shotgun grazed the general area of the target, there are obviously several fundamental mistakes being made. Instead of trying to explain the complexities of how each basic fundamental works (sight picture, sight alignment, trigger squeeze, grip, stance, etc.) I just hand the student my SIRT and tell them to hit the exact center of the target or some other easily identifiable small spot on the target, like a previous bullet hole outside the black so the student can see it clearly. Typically, the student will anticipate the recoil of their real gun so the first laser indication is very low and to the left. Once the student realizes the gun isn’t going to move or hurt them in any way, they tighten up their fundamentals and relax that anticipation reflex. After spending a few minutes with a harmless laser pistol, they start to realize how all the fundamentals come together and affect the overall shot placement.