Some years back I reviewed a product similar to this in that you inserted into your unloaded (that you've triple checked) sidearm and used to practice basic marksmanship skills. Through the firing of a laser beam / dot caused by the strike from the firing pin in your sidearm, you could see the "hit" on a given target. That other system was costly and required a briefcase-sized package for you to carry around if you wanted to use it. The SureStrike Laser Bullet dry-fire training system requires only a nice neat small package about five inches long, three inches wide and an inch deep.
As you can see from the photo (shown with an eight inch long ruler for reference) the SureStrike Laser Bullet (or SSLB for short) system is quite a handy (read "small") package. Inside of that black nylon zipper-shut case is the SSLB system, six targets and the User's Guide. What you have to provide is the firearm, a safe space and the motivation to practice your basic marksmanship skills.
Now, no electronic training system is perfect (in my opinion), so let me get the criticism out of the way early. Just like every other electronic system out there, the SSLB doesn't cause any recoil. No brass is ejected; no projectile fired. For those reasons it is safe to practice with in the comfort of your study, office, basement, garage, etc. Additionally, if you primarily carry a single-action or safe-action weapon, you'll have to cycle the slide manually in between each shot. Such action builds habits I'd prefer not to have in a true life-or-death shooting situation so this system is optimal for double-action weapons and not recommended for single-action only systems. For those same reasons you have to understand that you're practicing basic marksmanship, not combat handgunning. There is a distinct difference. Basic marksmanship consists of seven skills:
- Sight Alignment
- Sight Picture
- Breath Control
- Trigger Press
- Follow Through
With the SSLB you can practice those seven skills, mastering and combining them so that each laser shot fired strikes the intended target. That, however, is different from firing real bullets at any given target; feeling the recoil; seeing and hearing the spent brass being ejected; moving to avoid incoming rounds (if you're doing force-on-force training), etc. That said, it's imperative that all of us understand the limitations versus the value - and the value is great.
The convenience factor is great and allows limitless training locations as I mentioned above. As I type this review I'm preparing to leave for SHOT Show 2011 and I could even use this system in a hotel room. All anyone passing by would hear (if their hearing is good enough) would be the click of the hammer falling with each trigger pull. When the hammer struck the firing pin and the firing pin struck the laser emitter insert, then the laser beam is fired and you get your visual feedback. The number of shots you can fire depends on how many times you can pull the trigger. I've "fired" several hundred shots in testing this unit and haven't killed the battery yet so, for me so far, it's been more a matter of muscle fatigue.
The SSLB system's only feedback is visual. In other words, there's no computer tracking your shots, tell you how far off you are in your hits or giving you your average shot spread - none of that. It's unnecessary when what you're practicing is basic marksmanship. Using your mechanical sights, mastering your hand-eye relationship, moving the muscles in your hand(s) correctly and delivering a shot with a certain level of precision. In this case the level of precision has to be sufficient to strike the provided 2.5" square target from whatever distance you've chosen.
Now while that may not sound like much of a challenge, hitting a 2.5" target from 25 yards is daunting for most shooters. While most handgunners I know would have no trouble with such shots from 7 or even 15 yards (a few of them anyway), when you stretch out the distance it gets more difficult. Your minor mistakes make bigger misses down range. So the recommendation is that you start out "up close and personal". Start out at ten to fifteen feet - the comfortable width of your office, study or a space in your garage. Put out one target and practice your basic marksmanship skills until you can hit that single target 100% of the time.
Then put up another target at the same level and distance and shoot one shot on each back-to-back. Left, right. Left, right. Left, right. What you should be practicing is recovery time and tempo. Your shots should have a rhythm and your movement between them should be smooth. When you can consistently hit both targets, offset the height of them so that you're not just moving side to side but up and down as well. "Diagonal displacement" this is sometimes called. When you've mastered that add a third target... and then a fourth... fifth... and the sixth. When you can hit all six targets, having to turn, adjust your point of aim up and down and maintain your basic marksmanship skills to ensure your hits, then you're doing pretty well. And THAT is the kind of training this system empowers that can be difficult to do even on the "square range" outside.
With an MSRP of $159 and (so far) hundreds of shots available from the original battery, the per-shot cost of this training system is pretty low. For more information you can check them out online (link below).