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shinne

Laser or Airsoft for Dry Fire Practice

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I want to get an opinion from people who are more experienced.

I just did a practice class to be able to start doing local matches and it was fun. I'm hoping to get more serious and I want to be better quickly. I know dry firing is the way to go for practice. I do it sometimes but I get really annoyed by racking the slide back and not knowing if I actually hit the target and then quit after 2 minutes or so.

I'd like to get a more responsive way of dry firing which is either an airsoft gun or laser. I'm leaning towards airsoft since I can do it at home, hang up some targets and see if I hit. I'm worried that triggers won't be the same as my real gun, which is why i'm giving lasers a consideration but annoyed by the fact that I have to keep racking the slide for trigger to be reset. The advantage is I could buy one laser and use it in my 1911, CZ SP01 and M&P Pro.

What would you guys consider?

Edited by shinne

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you can dry fire the SP01 to your hearts content in double action. it's great practice to get a nice smooth DA pull. yes, it's a bit harder with the other 2 pistols.

personally I think the lasers and airsoft guns are a waste of money. dry fire is not about practicing 'hitting a target'. you are practicing stuff like gun handling (draws, reloads, slide manipulation etc) and drills that include transistions from target to target. it's about things like building your natural index so that as you draw and present the gun it comes to the same spot with the sights nicely aligned every time. it's never going to be as good or as fun as live fire, but it's still valuable for certain things. accurate shooting practice is not one of them. personally I think shooting too much airsoft will just give some bad habits. if you just want to do it for fun then that's fine and makes sense, but as a training tool it's questionable.

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+1 to what BeerBaron said. One other thing that needs to be learned in dry fire is hard focus on the front sight and calling your "shots" based on where the front sight was and what it did the moment the hammer dropped.

Dry fire, done wrong, can mess you up in all kinds of ways. Done right, it's a fast track to improvement. Ben Stoeger, Steve Anderson, and probably a few others have books on the subject. I suggest you pick one up and start reading so that you can a) learn how to do it correctly and b.) make a plan to train to. Otherwise, it's just a waste of time.

Edited by elguapo

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I'd like to get a more responsive way of dry firing which is either an airsoft gun or laser. I'm leaning towards airsoft since I can do it at home, hang up some targets and see if I hit. I'm worried that triggers won't be the same as my real gun, which is why i'm giving lasers a consideration but annoyed by the fact that I have to keep racking the slide for trigger to be reset. The advantage is I could buy one laser and use it in my 1911, CZ SP01 and M&P Pro.

Airsoft and lasers are a fun diversion, but the bottom line is that all the "response" you really need to have when you are doing home training is to see your sight wiggle (or not) during your training. Airsoft guns are ok, but they are a logistical hassle and when you start going really really fast the commonly available airsoft guns will not keep up.

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I'd like to get a more responsive way of dry firing which is either an airsoft gun or laser. I'm leaning towards airsoft since I can do it at home, hang up some targets and see if I hit. I'm worried that triggers won't be the same as my real gun, which is why i'm giving lasers a consideration but annoyed by the fact that I have to keep racking the slide for trigger to be reset. The advantage is I could buy one laser and use it in my 1911, CZ SP01 and M&P Pro.

Airsoft and lasers are a fun diversion, but the bottom line is that all the "response" you really need to have when you are doing home training is to see your sight wiggle (or not) during your training. Airsoft guns are ok, but they are a logistical hassle and when you start going really really fast the commonly available airsoft guns will not keep up.

When you say "see your sight wiggle" are you saying we should avoid having any wiggle at all? Do you treat a wiggle as a miss? I have been dry firing pretty regularly now and still get some wiggle when I speed up. Thanks.

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When you say "see your sight wiggle" are you saying we should avoid having any wiggle at all? Do you treat a wiggle as a miss? I have been dry firing pretty regularly now and still get some wiggle when I speed up. Thanks.

Not answering for Ben, but imo It Depends.

At 7 yards, you can tolerate a lot more junk in your sight picture than at 25 yards. As you dry fire, you get more familiar with your sight movement in various situations. Then you go live fire, and correlate what you saw during dry fire with reality. "OK, the amount of sight movement I have been allowing at 10 yards still gets me an a-zone hit, but the amount of sight movement I have been allowing at 15 yards results in a wide c-zone or close d-zone hit, so I need to make some adjustments there."

Then you go back to your dryfire, make the adjustment(s), perform many reps over a significant time period to burn in the adjustment(s), and then go back and live fire it again to confirm that you're doing it properly. If not, back to more reps / more time, maybe add in some coaching and / or video if you aren't "getting" it.

Once you confirm you're doing things properly, up the speed in live fire until a bunch of things break, and now you have more stuff on which to focus in dry fire.

For the OP's question about airsoft, look at Maria Guschina. She wasn't even allowed to dry fire legally with her own gun in Russia, so she had to use an airsoft replica. The big takeaway there is that she still didn't shoot anything with the airsoft...she still just used the airsoft gun for dryfire only, even though she could have shot the little pellets. That speaks volumes. You can listen to her talk about it on her episode of the Shooters Mindset podcast. So you've got Maria and Ben, both telling you that the pellets aren't worth it.

Edited by ummm

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I have tried the airsoft and found it to be a waste of time. I think you get so much more dry firing with the gun you shoot. Just make sure you are honest with yourself or DRYFIRE will hurt you more than help.

Edited by Onepocket

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When you say "see your sight wiggle" are you saying we should avoid having any wiggle at all? Do you treat a wiggle as a miss? I have been dry firing pretty regularly now and still get some wiggle when I speed up. Thanks.

Not answering for Ben, but imo It Depends.

At 7 yards, you can tolerate a lot more junk in your sight picture than at 25 yards. As you dry fire, you get more familiar with your sight movement in various situations. Then you go live fire, and correlate what you saw during dry fire with reality. "OK, the amount of sight movement I have been allowing at 10 yards still gets me an a-zone hit, but the amount of sight movement I have been allowing at 15 yards results in a wide c-zone or close d-zone hit, so I need to make some adjustments there."

Then you go back to your dryfire, make the adjustment(s), perform many reps over a significant time period to burn in the adjustment(s), and then go back and live fire it again to confirm that you're doing it properly. If not, back to more reps / more time, maybe add in some coaching and / or video if you aren't "getting" it.

Once you confirm you're doing things properly, up the speed in live fire until a bunch of things break, and now you have more stuff on which to focus in dry fire.

Thank you. That makes sense, now I just need to make it out to the range to correlate everything!

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+1 for airsoft. Some things you don't get from just dry firing is being able to train prepping the trigger shot after shot. Also, I've found my shot calling (both airsoft and real gun) have gotten a lot better, and I attribute that to the [probably] thousands of airsoft pellets I've fired while watching the sights bounce.

Also, a can of gas will last a few thousand shots and cost about $6. Has anyone mentioned that it's too damned cold to shoot outdoors during this time of year?

Certainly anything done incorrectly can impair your performance, and that's not exclusive to practicing with airsoft.

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It is possible to get benefit from a laser or airsoft.

I have personally used a SIRT. It is a good indicator of takeup and trigger break. I found the green laser paid for itself in saving of ammo by running through stages at the range after local matches. It kept me honest about where shots were going.

I no longer use my SIRT since I no longer use a Glock.

It doesn't sound like you're doing a program with your dry-fire.

I would suggest you buy Steve Anderson's first dry-fire book and a timer. Do the drills and write down the par times in the book. The book is also a log.

Buy a real timer.

Use real full-size targets along with reduced sized. It will help you hit the A zone or down zero rather than just shooting at the brown blur and hoping you hit well. http://www.benstoegerproshop.com/Build-Your-Own-Scaled-Dryfire-Target-Kit-p/byo-df-kit.htm

Don't pull the trigger on the first seven drills.

You will get better. Improvement of skills with a good dry fire program will take care of your frustration. It will be cheaper in the long run.

DNH

Edited by daves_not_here

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+1 for airsoft.

I've tried regular dry fire and I get bored too quick. 5 minutes and I'm looking to do something else. Maybe that's how it's supppsed to work?

I can setup a full course of fire in the garage with knock down targets. I used reduced size plates made from thin plywood and shoot from 7 yds. I like the clear feedback that I did what I was supposed to.

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Japanese shooter Tetsuya Sakai has won the Steel Challenge in past by mainly practicing with airsoft guns.

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+1 on the airsoft, especially with gas blowback guns.

Aside from practice, it can also double as pest control. ;)

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the problen with lasers is that they train you to do exactly the opposite of what you should be doing .... with a laser you learn to visually score your target by looking at the target to see where the laser hit when what you should be doing is learning to call your shot off your sights ....

use the money you save by not buying a laser or airsoft to buy more ammo ...

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I'm just now getting into using an airsoft gun for training. Having spent several years playing milsim airsoft, I can honestly say making the right choice when it comes to which replica you use will make all the difference in the world in your training. As a general rule, the Tokyo Marui gas blowback pistols will give you the best performance overall. I can run my TM HiCapa 5.1 every bit as fast as my STI Edge. Granted, I'm not all that fast to begin with, so that might not be a valid measure for some of y'all.

I just recently picked up a bunch of airsoft steel training targets from http://www.tactrainers.comthat are sized to simulate specific target types at specific distances. I've only got a couple hours "on-the-clock" with them, but the results I experienced at my last match were noticeable. I certainly wouldn't recommend using airsoft as the sole training method, but if you're strapped for time like I'm sure many of y'all are, you might not have the cycles to go to the range, get setup, do some meaningful shooting, tear down and go home. For me, that's a 2-hour excursion with minimal beneficial training time.

In comparison, I can come home from work, grab my airsoft stuff, take 2 minutes to set it up, get to it, and be done in plenty of time for dinner.

BTW, all you airsoft trainers out there, stop paying the insane prices for the cans of "green gas." Get yourselves a propane adapter (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003029OU2/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_3?pf_rd_p=1944687702&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000VVJ4T6&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1HZD4ZB30BQSD31696WT or similar), some disposable propane tanks from WalMart, and go. You'll be glad you did.

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I had a buddy of mine write a dryfire par timer app for me. It's called Par Timer and it is simply that with some nice little features like a random start and huge start/stop button. Just thought I would offer it in case you want something just for your dryfire times.

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I had a buddy of mine write a dryfire par timer app for me. It's called Par Timer and it is simply that with some nice little features like a random start and huge start/stop button. Just thought I would offer it in case you want something just for your dryfire times.

Have that buddy submit that app for App Store.

Need more phone timer options!

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the problen with lasers is that they train you to do exactly the opposite of what you should be doing .... with a laser you learn to visually score your target by looking at the target to see where the laser hit when what you should be doing is learning to call your shot off your sights ....

You can use a system with an IR laser to avoid that problem, FWIW.

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It seems to me that you have a sighting device that's as good as any laser already on the gun. If you can see where the sights are when you pull the trigger, you know where the shot went. If you don't see where the sights are when you pull the trigger, then you are probably doing it wrong.

It's pretty easy to get in the habit of doing it wrong, and just seeing the outline of the gun in dryfire, or sort of being aware of the front sight, but not it's relationship and alignment with the rear sight. It's also very easy to only see the sight for the first shot and pull your eyes off early. These are all bad habits that require some focus and attention to correct.

I'm not really worried about whether I hit the target or not. I know I can hit the target if I see the sights on the target.

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I had a buddy of mine write a dryfire par timer app for me. It's called Par Timer and it is simply that with some nice little features like a random start and huge start/stop button. Just thought I would offer it in case you want something just for your dryfire times.

Have that buddy submit that app for App Store.

Need more phone timer options!

It's on there :)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/par-timer/id959404082?mt=8

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I had a buddy of mine write a dryfire par timer app for me. It's called Par Timer and it is simply that with some nice little features like a random start and huge start/stop button. Just thought I would offer it in case you want something just for your dryfire times.

Have that buddy submit that app for App Store.

Need more phone timer options!

It's on there :)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/par-timer/id959404082?mt=8

Oooo

$2.99

Is it worth it?

I currently use the surefire app.

It is ... Bleh

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the problen with lasers is that they train you to do exactly the opposite of what you should be doing .... with a laser you learn to visually score your target by looking at the target to see where the laser hit when what you should be doing is learning to call your shot off your sights ....

use the money you save by not buying a laser or airsoft to buy more ammo ...

Not everyone has ready access to a range or year round weather to use that extra ammo. Airsoft is a valid training aid with and without the BB's. Just using the gas to cycle the gun and doing my dryfire has been very useful. Using the BB's and miniature steel challenge targets worked very well when there weren't any local steel challenge matches.

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If you don't have mini steel targets, you can even just setup a paper target (metric or IDPA) in the garage and do simple drills with your airsoft trainer. It's still not as good as the real thing, but when you're pressed for time like many of us are, being able to squeeze in 45-60 minutes of training can make the difference. A laser just can't do the same thing in this regard in my opinion.

As a real-world example, I've found that practicing "pushing" the first shot using my airsoft trainer has greatly decreased my first shot time with real steel.

Edited by shakman

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Oooo

$2.99

Is it worth it?

I currently use the surefire app.

It is ... Bleh

I'm obviously biased but I use it all the time

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