Productive (and fun) gun neutering
Most people think of neutering in a bad way. My dogs run away for days when they hear that word. Recently we had to retrieve them from a snow cave just outside the town of Alert, located in Nunavut, Canada.
In the case of the SIRT Training Pistol from Next Level Training, there really hasn’t been a neutering of a pistol, technically speaking. More accurately, it’s been designed as a eunuch.
Eunuch [yoo-nuh k]
- a man who has been castrated, primarily for some office or duty such as a guard in a harem or palace official.
Although painful, and kind of weird, our use of the term Eunuch here doesn’t necessarily imply weakness. Think about all those beefy palace guards in old Cleopatra movies. In this case, it implies strength and singularity of purpose.
You see, the SIRT is a practice-only pistol, made from the ground up as a practice-only pistol. It has a magazine, but you can’t put cartridges in it. It has a slide, but the slide doesn’t move. It has a trigger, but nothing fires – except a laser. Well two lasers actually. It has a magazine release button which drops the inert, but realistically weighted, magazine. It has a rail for tactical gun lights, rail mounted lasers, or even bayonets. If you want to make your eunuch dangerous.
In short, it has most of the components of a real pistol. But it’s designed not to fire. Ever. And that’s exactly what you’re paying for.
This ‘firing challenged” capability makes the SIRT Training Pistol a great training aid. You can draw. As fast as you like. You can run around the house yelling things like “Freeze!” and you won’t hurt anyone. You can aim at things (not people, people!) and pull the trigger. Thousands and thousands of times. And you will have zero risk of shooting the furniture. I shot the dining room table once, and I still hear about it at family gatherings. You won’t experience this type of social embarrassment if you practice with the SIRT.
What is the SIRT Training Pistol?
SIRT has a name. It’s Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger training pistol. Get it?
The idea behind SIRT is to make quality training easy. A quick look at before and after shooting practice scenarios will give you a good idea of what it does…
- Get your gun.
- Drop the magazine and empty the rounds. Assuming you want to practice magazine changes during your session.
- Rack the slide to clear the chamber of live rounds. Do it again. And again. Now look inside and make sure the chamber is empty. You really don’t want to shoot the sofa. It’s new and they’re not on sale again until Labor Day.
- Put your now loose ammunition in another room. I like to set it up on a shelf and use it as an aiming target for dry fire practice. This just gives me an extra assurance that the gun is not loaded as I am looking at its ammunition in the next room. If there are no loose rounds over yonder to aim at, I better check my gun’s status again!
- Rack the slide to achieve trigger set.
- Aim at something really, really, really safe. This IS a real gun, and although you’re pretty sure it’s actually unloaded, you have to assume it will go off when you pull the trigger. A word of advice here. That antique clock on the mantle? Yes, it has a target-like round face, but perforating it during practice may cause undue stress for your significant other. And you’ll have great difficulty telling time. Find something that makes a better bullet backstop and is less expensive.
- Pull the trigger. Assume you hit the imaginary target. You really don’t know however, as (hopefully) no projectile launched and made a vacuous circular indicator of where your muzzle was pointed at the exact picosecond of trigger break.
- Next, depending on your style of pistol, you can partially rack the slide to reset the trigger. If you use a double action pistol like a Beretta, Sig, or Walther, you can either partially rack the slide or cock the hammer to get a simulated “light trigger pull” shot. Or, if your pistol has a decocker, you can flip the decock lever after you rack the slide to get prepared for another double action trigger pull. Of course, if you have a single action pistol like a 1911, you can just cock the hammer. We’re not addressing revolvers in this scenario as the SIRT is a semi-automatic pistol training device.
- Repeat at least a few times before you get tired of the hassle.
- When finished, retrieve your ammo, fill your magazine, chamber a round, safe your gun if applicable, and top off your magazine if you so choose. Store your loaded gun back in a safe place.
- Pick up your SIRT Training Pistol.
- Aim at something safe. Eunuch gun or not, we never point at anything we don’t want to destroy right?
- Pull the trigger. Watch your hit via high-tech laser beam. Yell “whoopee” or maybe something less strange.
- Repeat until you are either bored or achieve Master Class.
That’s the basic idea. If you have a SIRT, pick it up and practice. If not, be really, really careful. As the SIRT pistol automatically resets its trigger, you can get a lot of quality trigger pulls completed in a very short amount of time.
SIRT Training Pistol features
The SIRT is modeled after a Glock 17/22. Same basic size, same basic weight, and same basic grip angle. The magazine is even the same size and approximately the same weight as a loaded Glock 17 magazine. Why a Glock? Well, at last count, 4,627% of law enforcement officers across the country use Glocks, so the potential LE training market for SIRT Training pistols is huge on this platform. Will Next Level Training offer other form factors? Perhaps, but I suppose that depends on market demand for specific models. What is announced on the Next Level Training web site is a variation with a similar grip angle to the Smith and Wesson M&P. This is scheduled for ‘soonish’ but that’s all we know right now.
While we’re talking about how the SIRT looks like a Glock, feels like a Glock, and smells like a Glock – well, maybe not smells – we should mention that all Glock holsters we tried fit the SIRT perfectly. We also tried a number of magazine carriers for Glock magazines and those worked perfectly too.
The slide on our tested SIRT is bright red. For most users of stock guns, this clearly differentiates the SIRT as a practice gun. If you’re one to paint and personalize your real guns, simply do the same to your SIRT in a color that you recognize as “safe.” So if your real gun really is red, make your SIRT blue. Or mauve. Or Hawaiian Sunset Lagoon Mango.
The SIRT features a standard front rail, so if you use a rail mounted light or laser on your real gun, you can put one on the SIRT also. Or you can mount a bayonet. And stab the sofa as you won’t be accidentally shooting it.
One of the really big deals about the SIRT Training Pistol is the adjustable auto-resetting trigger. This means you can get as many trigger pulls as you want without doing anything to reset the trigger. It automatically resets just as a real trigger would when firing a real cartridge from a real gun. Want to practice double taps? Triple taps? Emptying the magazine to reload? No problem. As far as adjustment, depending on the model, you can tweak the initial trigger location, overtravel, take up force, and trigger break force. The trigger break can be adjusted from 2.5 to 12 pounds.
SIRT Training Pistols actually include two lasers. A take up laser lets you know when trigger pressure is applied prior to the shot break. This allows you to practice and program your finger to allow the trigger to move forward just far enough to reset. If the take up indicator laser goes off, you have let off too much pressure from the trigger. The shot indicating laser pulses when the trigger sear releases. This indicates the exact moment of the shot. If you see a dot appear right where you were aiming, good job! If you see a line or other indication of movement of that same dot, get back to practicing! With a small lever switch on the top of the slide, you can activate or disable the trigger take up indicator. I preferred using the shot indicator laser only as I found the take up laser distracting, but that is a personal preference. If you want to work on optimizing your trigger reset technique, the take up indicator is a great tool.
The SIRT comes in a durable hard plastic carrying case and includes an instructional DVD.
The highlights are that the shot indicator laser is available in either red or green. Our evaluation model had a green shot indicator laser and a red trigger take up indicator and this seems the way to go as you won’t confuse which dot indicates trigger take up and which shows shot placement. Other model options include additional trigger adjustments, magazine weight adjustments, and metal or plastic slides. The metal slide model is recommended for any active motion training use. The metal slide version is also very near to actual loaded pistol weight.
10 ways you can use a SIRT Training Pistol
Based on our time evaluating a SIRT Training Pistol, there are many, many productive and safe ways to make good use of a SIRT Training Pistol. Here are a few we found useful.
- You can perfect your trigger pull motion. Due to the low overhead of getting ready for practice, you can get hundreds of trigger pulls completed per day with ease.
- Give a safety and pistol basics lesson to a new shooter before taking them to the range where it’s noisy and distracting. You can safely show a new shooter a proper grip, have them practice it, and start the process of getting their finger off the trigger until ready to fire! It’s also a great way to illustrate and practice inserting and removing a magazine.
- The SIRT is a great tool for transitioning a younger shooter from something simple like a .22 rifle to an auto-pistol. They’ll safely learn the basic operation and get the hang of a proper trigger pull at a cost per round of, well, nothing!
- Stuck on a marathon phone call? Practice a few hundred trigger pulls. Clearly this works better in home offices than corporate high rises.
- Teach someone how to properly draw a gun from a holster without risk of firing an unintentional shot.
- Practice your own holster draw. Try new holsters and methods without risk. To you or the sofa.
- Ever thought about how you would handle the proverbial bump in the middle of the night? With a SIRT and a rail mounted or hand held light, you can safely wander around your house testing out locations, cover, lines of fire, and of course light and or laser techniques. Yes, your family may think you weird, but it’s great preparation. And the dogs will be amused.
- Pinch your 11 year old nephew while he shoots. That is if you happen to have an aspiring young shooter in the family who is working on getting rid of a tendency to trigger slap. Editors Note: No actual child abuse occurred with this training method. Certified observers from Health and Human Services were present at all times. As I recall.
- Just for fun and profit, you can practice non-standard position shooting. You can even practice point shooting if you’re into that. We won’t get into the debate of relative merits or not, we’ll just observe that you can do it. So go ahead. Draw and shoot from the hip. The SIRT laser will tell you where the SHOT would have gone. And you won’t have run the risk of launching lead into the neighbors yard. Or the sofa.
- Bad day? Shoot the sofa over and over and over. Until you feel better. No harm done.
We were somewhat skeptical about investing time to evaluation the SIRT Training Pistol. The idea of spending a couple hundred dollars on a gun that doesn’t shoot seemed just a little weird. But we persevered. And guess what? The value of this training method became clear in about 5 minutes of use. I’ve been using it every day. It’s safe and convenient. And your shooting skills WILL improve noticeably. And you won’t be explaining to anyone why you need a new sofa.
Next up – The SIRT-AR Bolt…
|Three Nuns! This is one of those things that really grew on us. Once we started using the SIRT, the value of being able to safely practice thousands of repetitions of draws and trigger pulls became apparent. You can literally program your body to dry fire correctly, get good feedback on aim, and go a long ways towards eliminating any tendency to flinch. Practice with draws was equally valuable. The only minor drawback was the fixed slide. There must be engineering limitations to this, but it would be a real nice to have for the slide to operate in order to practice full magazine change and malfunction drills. I know, we’re being nitpicky and impossible. But it would be nice…|