SiRT Training pistol

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Dry fire practice is essential to honing in your skills, and it’s cheap too. While many of us dry fire with snap caps or an empty chamber, we know with semi-auto pistols we have to manually rack the action to reset the trigger. This can slow practice down.

The SiRT Trainer 110 model

The SiRT training pistol by Next Level Training attempts to speed things up to help the shooter get more trigger reps. They have a number of different models, and I chose one modeled after the Glock 17 since I shoot a Glock 34, which simply has a longer barrel. The SiRT gun comes with a plastic case and a dummy magazine so you can practice your reloads as well. There are two lasers, one that’s activated when the slack is pulled out of the trigger, and a second laser appears when you take the shot. What you’re trying to accomplish with the first laser is to basically have it lit the whole time, which indicates that you have the slack taken out.

View of the SiRT sights.

The sights are a typical three notch sight, all in black. The trigger is adjustable through a number of poorly marked hashes encircling screws. It’s very hard to see the hash marks on the plastic housing, and it’s also a cumbersome process to dial it in. Reading the instruction manual was a chore. I come from a technical background, but deciphering the adjustment protocol took me a good 30 minutes. I then spent another 30 minutes trying to adjust it to my liking. I would pull the trigger on my Glock 34, then pull the SiRT trigger and make adjustments along the way.

View of the SiRT trainer with the slide removed, exposing the trigger adjustment housing

When I contacted NLT about my experience, they informed me that the SiRT is really optimized for law enforcement and recreational shooters who shoot stock pistols. It was helpful for me to learn that it’s not designed to simulate competition triggers like the one I use.

That said, using the SiRT is a lot of fun and an easy way to get a lot of practice in. Even though there is no simulated recoil, I can still focus on my sight picture and trigger squeeze while transitioning from different objects in my living room. At $219 for the cheapest model, the SiRT training pistol is worth looking into. While there are some improvements I recommend like simulated recoil, I think it’s a solid training tool.

NLT hooked me up with a discount code if you’re interested in buying a SiRT. The 10% off code is “TS4” (TS=Top Shot) and if you’re LE/Military then you can get 20% off with “TS4LE”.

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. www.TopShotChris.com.


Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion, author of “Shoot to Win,” and an NRA News Commentator. A self-taught amateur (and former Googler) turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. www.TopShotChris.com.


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  • Sean

    When’s the Glock lawsuit gonna happen?

    • Brandon

      I was gonna post that comment! You beat me

    • gunslinger

      i wanted to say that, but for some reason when i tried to reply, i kept getting “website down” pages…

  • noob

    interesting! do you feel that the omission of the Patented, Trade marked and Trade dress protected blade trigger safety of the glock safe action trigger detracts from the feel on this trainer? or is it not noticible?

    • http://www.TopShotChris.com Chris Cheng

      I don’t notice it, but I would suspect that some shooters might

  • noob

    also, can this product be emulated with your real weapon using a laser bullet boresight and a reset trigger kit?

    http://glockstore.com/pgroup_descrip/336_Featured+Items/8076_Magic+Bullet+Laser+Ammo/?return=%3f

    • http://www.TopShotChris.com Chris Cheng

      Seems like a great setup, especially since you can use your own gun, but that setup would be even more expensive. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on these products for a test run!

  • Gidge

    Pick up two guns that are identical models from different batches with different usages and the trigger is going to be a little different. That’s why you so dry-fire practice with your own gun. Especially if you’ve had a trigger job

  • schizuki

    If you’ve got a 1911 and want a good practice gun, get a Winchester-labeled Daisy BB-gun version. With a fresh CO2 cartridge, the blowback feature gives you some snappy recoil.

  • Zo

    I rather use a KWA Airsoft pistol that has blow back.

    Biodegrable pellets are cheap and easily vacumed up and do not hurt the walls. I setup playing cards around the house and practice going through the house and around corners and then taking my shots. The KWAs weigh about the same as a real gun, in my case a Sig P226 or KWA M226 and has all the same controls and locks open on the last shot.

    I have used the SRT to intro new shooters and watch if they yank the trigger.

    • Nicks87

      +1

      Airsoft is an awesome way to train. Now that these Airsoft firearm manufacturers are making some realistic training guns many LEOs are using Airsoft to train.

      I have the privledge of working for a dept that can afford sim-munitions so I havnt done much with Airsoft but I have heard from some Officers that work for underfunded depts that use them and I know some guys in our dept that do it just for fun.

      For the cost of the SiRT gun you can buy a decent Airsoft pistol and some ammo, targets and gas refills/co2.

    • http://www.TopShotChris.com Chris Cheng

      I’ve heard a lot of awesome things about airsoft too. I haven’t got my hands on one yet, so I will put it on my list to try out!

    • Alex-mac

      Also you don’t have look for the laser dot, this would enable faster shooting.

    • Cymond

      These are 2 different areas of training. Dry fire is intended to perfect a clean, smooth trigger pull. It is essential to use a trigger that closely emulates the real trigger. My KWA trigger is clearly lighter than my real 1911. The KWA magazine release was so light that the mag would drop if I brushed the button with my thumb. I bought a standard spring and clipped coils until it matched my real 1911.

      Also, I don’t think simulated recoil is a good thing with dry-fire practice. Ideally, a good trigger pull means a perfectly stable gun when the sear breaks. It’s hard to judge trigger control when the gun is jumping around from recoil. Eliminating recoil is one of the advantages of dry-fire, because recoil can mask errors in the trigger pull.

      Airsoft is excellent for running drills and practicing certain things that would be dangerous with a live weapon. Drawing from a holster is forbidden at many ranges, as is speed shooting and shooting across lanes at multiple targets. With airsoft, I can safely practice these things at home. I can also practice point-shooting at targets across the room.

      However, I have one of the KWA PTP 1911s with the new NS2 gas system. It will most certainly leave dimples in our walls, even with biodegradable pellets. I wanted to practice shooting at home, but now I’m afraid of missing a target and hitting the walls. It also takes chunks out of the blinds. Repeated hits will eventually chew through a bath towel.

      • milo

        in addition to that many companies offer “real steel” air soft guns which have the same weight as the parent they are based off of, i would recommend if one wants to buy an airsoft rifle to practice to first look up a guide on how to boost the airsoft rifle’s recoil. i have copies of my sig516 and p226 that i use to practice along with my 90TWO, the trick is finding one with realistic weight and then you can add the recoil.

      • Zo

        @Cymond,

        You are correct, the Airsoft pistols do not take the place of dry fire drills but I don’t believe that the cost of the SiRT at least to me is justified. I do the wall drills and and the spent cartridge on the front site drill as well as others.

        I agree, dry fire drills are still necessary to help you keep the pistol steady.

        I don’t have the newer NS2 PTP versions so my pellets do not ding my walls. My brother uses 12″ x 12″ pieces of plexiglass as targets and tapes a bullseye target to the glass. The pellets bounce but do not do any damage and his wife has not killed him yet from breaking anything in the house plus they make a nice “pluck” sound when they hit.

      • Cymond

        “[...]but I don’t believe that the cost of the SiRT at least to me is justified. I do the wall drills and and the spent cartridge on the front site drill as well as others.”

        Oh, I definitely agree. I’ll manually reset my real gun before I’ll spend $300 on a trainer, especially since I’m currently shooting a 1911. I mainly just watch the sights when the hammer falls. Some people put a penny on the slide, but I have to replace it every time I recock the hammer. Lasers supposedly enhance dry-fire even more but I haven’t tried it yet.

  • Nick

    For a moment I thought it said Siri.

  • Doug

    Great idea, but the price sucks. For that money, I could buy a laser insert and target that tracks my shots across the room. I think I’ll save the money and just keep racking the slide after each dry fire.

    • http://www.TopShotChris.com Chris Cheng

      Ya, if you have the patience to re-rack with every shot, then no need to spend any more money. I think the extra cost probably gets you more reps in less time.

  • D

    I really like this; it’s a little spendy, but i like the overall idea of it a lot.

  • Levi B

    I really hope the discount is still available when the 107 comes out. My carry gun is a M&P and would love to be able to dry fire practice with something like this. $319 is a lot, but ammo costs more!

    • http://www.TopShotChris.com Chris Cheng

      The discount codes don’t expire, so hopefully you won’t have to wait for the 107 much longer.

  • Brice

    I recently listened to an interview with NLT’s owner. If you’re serious about training for competition, run that trigger heavier than your comp gun. If the lasers stay steady with a heavy trigger, they’ll still be steady with a light one. Also, if you’re transitioning from target to target with the trigger engaged the whole time, you’re setting yourself up for a DQ in USPSA competition. Finger must be out of the trigger guard any time you are not engaging targets. This includes moving, reloading, malfunction clearing, etc.

    • Hking

      I would assume he is talking about transiting the gun between targets while he is physically stationary. Like, dry fire at the lamp then dry fire at the stack of magazines on the coffee table. I really do not think anyone in their right mind takes their finger off the trigger to slightly move their arms horizontally.

      • http://www.TopShotChris.com Chris Cheng

        @Brice- what Hking said :)

        I like the school of thought around training with something that’s heavier than what you normally use. Like an earlier comment, I played baseball and would put a weight on my bat while in the on-deck circle.

  • Brandon

    For that price, I’d rather have a .22, or as someone mentioned a blowback airsoft gun. .22 is cheap enough for plenty of practice.

    Couldn’t you elminate the re-rack problem by practicing on a single action pistol, or a revolver? Just cock the hammer instead of having to rack the slide

  • fred

    Not all semi autos need the slide racked..
    In fact many of the best do not.
    Simply pull the da trigger or cock the… hammer?
    Not everybody uses the striker fired … things..

  • Mike Knox

    Why a training gun when there’s simunition?

  • http://blog.hsoi.com/ hsoi

    Been using a SIRT for a while in classes.

    Found that as a dry-fire trainer it’s not ideal because you end up spending more time looking at the laser dots on the wall instead of your front sight. That’s not the habit to ingrain.

    However, we have found it to be an excellent tool for teaching trigger control, taking up the slack, and how to work the trigger reset point. It’s hard to see such a thing in a classroom because it’s a very small movement… but when they can see the action of the 2 lasers, it helps illustrate things a lot better and more students grok the concept. Plus it’s just a useful prop in general in the classroom since it’s obviously inert. We can use it for general demonstrations, for showing how to reload, etc..

    • http://nextleveltraining.com Mike Hughes

      When I first toyed with laser training I was afraid of going 100% target focused, just watching the laser, but I found with the first “proof of concept” sirt model the opposite happened as long as we are training properly (e.g. not walking in shots). One tip: make sure the shot laser is right at sight picture so they don’t look over the sights after shooting. I only use the take up laser about 10% of the time for my personal own training (e.g.shooting on move, rapid transition drills to see over transitioning). Also, as I noted in my other post, walking in the shots is always bad form.

      But here is a drill, place a close target and a far target say 10′ and 50′, 8.5×11 paper works fine (or just use light switches). Now shoot each one, one shot each. you need more natural point of aim for the close and you need to gain sight awareness for the distant target. One shot on distant target, make sure take up laser is off. This drill really hones in using natural point of aim for close and transitioning to sights for the distant target. A lot of people will keep the same tempo and aiming system on the far target and miss. This drill forces sight awareness or the far target gets misses, no second shots.

      Now vary the distances, target sizes etc. Over time we drive our eyes to the target and viscerally assess how much we have to reference the sights given the target distance size. So every rep is another record in our intuitive database so to speak. Whats nice about the green laser is you can do this outside and peripherally see the laser impact even on the far target while having the hard core front sight focus. Not to mention if the laser sweep is a ‘dash’ you can self diagnose trigger mechanic deficiencies.
      sorry another quick comment turned into book. cheers Mike Hughes

  • darrel

    Or, you know… There’s always airsoft.

  • http://nextleveltraining.com Mike Hughes

    Hi friends,
    good comments above, but I think I can shed some light on training with the SIRT.

    By way of background, I developed the SIRT just to get more repetitions in gun handling. I like the other tools, such as dry fire, airsoft, .22 etc. but I didn’t have a tool to train daily, in the office, around the wife, in the living room all the skills of draws, reloads, awkward shooting positions, target transitions (width and depth), deceleration to shooting positions, etc. Here is what I found… as a big dumb ex-football player, I see the need to get repetitions in and ensure quality of movement of each rep. I found with regular dry fire the muzzle was not always where I thought it was. I like the retro fit laser tools but I had to rack the slide each time and I couldn’t keep the live gun around the house.

    Regarding watching the laser, walking in the shots is a potential issue. if a shooter is walking in a shot to the target, just limit one shot per target, in particular far targets. The green laser comes on after the shot so I found it forces me to get more sight awareness on hard shots.

    regarding recoil, we can only train recoil with live fire. This is due to pure physics. F=MA, the force on the body is a function of the mass x the acceleration. Unless we accelrate a mass we can’t emulate recoil. Now shooters should validate their grip and stance before hitting high volume training (I have a short video on this at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7P0sDAkg38)

    I am all for all training tools. What we found with our SIRTs is that they are accessible, meaning, when we have them around we can train them. I found airsoft irritated my wife, I couldn’t do mag changes, the triggers were way to light (I train with a 8 lbs.+ now with more overtravel) I had pellets around the gym, it was noisy, i ran out of gas… Still a good tool, but it didn’t meet my needs so I had to make something from the ground up for my training…. it just happened to turn in to a start up. :)

    Anyhow, shoot me any questions friends, we have some cool things in 2013! My focus is to aid shooters training, I find its about the small details to make it sustainable day in day out. I try to get seven 5 minute sessions a day, this way I have 7 ‘uncalibrated’ first shots from my appendix carry or competition Production rig. Right now I am big into this ‘distributed’ learning style as opposed to ‘block’ training in one big chunk. I could type for an hour on this so I will cut it off here. :) again feel free to ask any questions. Mike Hughes

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/RF6REY4FKBL7AE4BUVV4VHGS2U MikeT

      There is a way to simulate recoil. The military has these big machines with M16s built into them, and a rod going down into the barrel. Every time you pull the trigger, the rod would actuate the carrier group and simulate recoil, depending on the setting. You would aim at a miniature setting of figurines and houses and your hits would be registered on the computer afterwards. I spent as much time as possible on that thing and wound up scoring expert on my qualification.

  • SAR

    I thought I would add my 2 cents on the SIRT pistol. I have been using it in my firearms classes to help with the classroom aspects of grip, aiming, trigger squeeze, drawing, reloads, etc. Its been a great tool. As Mike said you have to not watch the laser and walk in your shots – when I see a student who is doing this I go back to multiple targets with one shot on each. This humbles the big egos and really puts the focus on the grip, sights & trigger.

    With that said I recently have been using it along with Mike Seeklander’s book on self defense drills to get better on the basics mentioned along with movement and more dynamic scenarios. Multiple targets, moving, rotate, draw & fire, etc. In a session I do the first set of 10 repetitions slow and to perfection. The next set I use a timer where I get 95% accuracy and work in speed. The last set is where I knock down the par time to push for greater speed but not get sloppy. So I end up doing a minimum 30 reps but I usually end up doing about 45 reps when all is said and done. So what are the results?

    In draws I have decreased from an average of 2 second draw and shoot to 1.41. My best time has been 1.21 seconds. Also been able to track and decrease reload times and other time critical drills. The one thing a lot of people forget is that not everyone is made of money and can go to the range everyday of the week. Purchase a SIRT pistol and you will make up those times you cannot go to the range and still improve &/or maintain your firearms proficiency. All in all I am very happy with the SIRT pro pistol. My next purchase is going to be the SIRT-AR bolt with green laser (I choose green because if works better outside in daylight and if you use a red dot sight you can marry of the green laser to the red dot).

    Now some people complain about not having recoil but take the SIRT for what it is and remember that its NOT an end all, be all of training. Your firearms training should include book learning, dry fire, laser fire, live fire with paper, steel and moving targets; or using firearms simulation technology, etc. I fully expect for NLT to look at the idea (if they aren’t doing it already – HINT, HINT) of making a SIRT pistol that adds recoil of the slide.

    Any I appreciate the folks at NLT – I have posted some video reviews on my youtube page “SafeArmsReview”…

    http://www.youtube.com/SafeArmsReview

    and the majority love the SIRT. I’m glad I can point them in the right direction to a product that can help people defend themselves, their family & excel in the shooting sports.

    Keep up the good work.

    SAR