How To Make Sure Your Handgun Fits You

Today’s handguns come in more shapes and sizes than a random assortment of Wal-Mart Thanksgiving sale shoppers. Not only that, many modern handguns come with replaceable grip panels so you can adjust the size to fit.

When deciding what’s best for you, comfort is a factor, but it’s not the definitive method of fitting a handgun. Just because one grip or another “feels good” doesn’t mean that you’ve got a proper fit. To be sure, you’ll want to check a couple of other things to help you decide which gun, or grip panel configuration, is right for you.

Trigger finger placement

Some experts will insist that you should press trigger with the pad of your index finger. Other equally credible experts insist that you should use the first joint in your index finger. Some of the difference in opinion stems from the anticipated “style” of shooting. Are you at a range doing slow and methodical shots? Or perhaps you plan to compete in bullseye target competition? Or you want to take up action shooting sports? Or maybe your interest is pure combat or self-defense. I don’t particularly care which trigger press placement you prefer. Settle on one, then let’s check to see if your guns grip size is too big or small.

With a very, very unloaded gun, assume a normal firing grip and point at a safe backstop. Now move your finger to the trigger as if you’re going to fire. Hold that position.

I want you to look at the lower portion of your index finger – the area from where it plugs into your palm up to the first joint. When your trigger finger is ready to press, do you see daylight between the gun and your finger?

Notice the gap between my whole index finger and the side of the gun. If I press the trigger correctly, only the tip of my finger will move against the gun.

Notice the gap between my whole index finger and the side of the gun. If I press the trigger correctly, only the tip of my finger will move against the gun.

If your finger looks something like the picture here, you’re good to go. If the bottom surface of your lower index finger is pressed against the side of the gun, you’re having to reach for the trigger. This means that your grip is too large for your hand size. That matters because as you flex your finger to press the trigger, your index finger will be contacting the side of your gun and gently encouraging it to move off target! The good news is that if you’re a lousy shot, you can blame the fit of your gun.

Alignment with your arm bone

This second test is a little less obvious. At the range, I see all sorts of shooters struggling with accuracy and ability to control recoil as a result of a crooked arm / gun relationship.

What does this mean? It’s simple. When you hold your gun in a firing grip, with your trigger finger placed to pass test one above, the gun barrel should be in perfect alignment with your “radi-ulni.” That’s short hand for the two bones in your forearm – the radius and ulna. You don’t just want the gun barrel to be parallel to these two bones, you want it to be a direct linear extension of these bones.

If your gun grip is too large for you, there will be a necessary tendency for you to grasp the gun so that the web of your hand wraps around towards the trigger, so your index finger can reach. This means that your thumb moves around and is directly behind the gun. Check out this picture to see an exaggerated view of what I mean.

If you have to “reach around” the grip to get your finger on the trigger, you might end up supporting the back of the gun with your thumb! Note how the gun will recoil in a direction with no support. Also, you’re fighting the natural pointing position of your arm.

If you have to “reach around” the grip to get your finger on the trigger, you might end up supporting the back of the gun with your thumb! Note how the gun will recoil in a direction with no support. Also, you’re fighting the natural pointing position of your arm. That means you’ll miss more.

With a properly fitted grip, you won’t need to reach around to get proper access to the trigger. Your natural alignment will look more like this.

Here’s what you want to see. Everything is in one straight line. You’ll control recoil better and have more natural ability to aim. Why is this so important? In the first photo, you can see that when the gun recoils, it’s going to press right against your thumb. There’s not much body mass in your thumb to control that recoiling gun, and you’ll feel the recoil. More importantly, your gun will be likely to jump radically off target with each shot.

Here’s what you want to see. Everything is in one straight line. You’ll control recoil better and have more natural ability to aim.

Why is this so important? In the first photo, you can see that when the gun recoils, it’s going to press right against your thumb. There’s not much body mass in your thumb to control that recoiling gun – even if you’re all thumbs. You’ll really feel that recoil. More importantly, your gun will be likely to jump radically off target with each shot.

By aligning the bigger and heavier parts of your body directly behind the recoil impulse of the pistol, your body mass controls the recoil. Additionally, the gun benefits from your natural pointing direction. If you close your eyes and try to point your fist at something, you’ll notice that your arm bones end up pointed directly at your target. Why not make the gun a simple extension of that natural process?

So pick up your verified unloaded handgun and try these two tests. If you struggle with either, try a different gun. Or, if yours has an adjustable grip, try a different size.

 

Be sure to check out our latest book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Single-Action Handguns: Not Much To Do With Chance Laundromat Encounters

Here’s an excerpt from our brand new book, The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition. It’s the second in the Insanely Practical Guide Series

Single-action is a pretty simple concept. And it has nothing to do with online dating sites, chance encounters at the laundromat or a night on the town with two wild and crazy guys.

A pair of single-action handguns

When a handgun is single-action, whether it’s a pistol or revolver, it does one thing, or action, when you pull the trigger. The descriptor, single-action, must be entirely coincidental right?

While I’m sure there’s an exception out there, in most cases, pressing the trigger of a single-action gun will release a hammer or striking contraption of sorts, allowing it to strike a firing pin that whacks the back of a cartridge and ignites it. So, pressing the trigger does one action – which results in firing the gun.

Here’s where it gets tricky. Some single-action guns need to be manually cocked between each shot. Perhaps the best example of this is the traditional cowboy six gun, or single-action revolver. The shooter must “cock the hammer” to prepare it for the single-action release by a trigger press. In old western movies, this is done really fast – sometimes with the shooter smacking the hammer with one hand while holding the trigger down with the other.

Gun words explained - Insanely Practical Guides

Hammer [ham-er]

- Noun

  1. The part of a firearm designed to provide energy to the firing pin in order to strike the primer of a cartridge. Some hammers, such as those on older revolvers, have the firing pin attached to the hammer and directly impact the primer. Others, generally on more modern designs, impact a transfer bar or mechanism to provide energy to the firing pin. The hammer of a gun does not have to be exposed or visible. For example, the Smith and Wesson 642 revolver and M1 Garand semi-automatic rifle both have internal hammers.
  2. Easily confused with similar terms. For example, Hammer Time is not an appropriate usage in the context of guns. Unless you got slick moves and a pair of parachute pants capable of providing wind power for San Francisco or maybe smuggling dozens of illegal immigrants across the border. Otherwise, you can’t touch this.

Important Safety Tip: While it’s OK to cock your hammer, don’t ever hammer your… Ummm. Never mind.

However, just because a gun is single-action does not mean it has to be manually cocked between each shot. Some single-action designs, like the 1911 pistol, are cocked for the first shot. Each subsequent shot uses the recoil action to automatically cock the hammer for the next shot. Since the trigger still does only one thing, release the hammer, these guns are still considered single-actions.

Ruger single-action revolver

So what’s the big deal about single-action handguns?

Generally speaking – again, I’ll bet a nickel someone will find an exception – single-action guns have relatively light triggers since the trigger only serves to release the hammer. That doesn’t take a lot of pressure. A light trigger pull makes for a gun that is easier to shoot accurately. It’s not technically more accurate, just easier to shoot accurately. This is because the force of your finger is less likely to pull the sights off target. If it takes 8 pounds of pressure to press the trigger, and the gun only weighs 2 pounds, then the shooter really has to concentrate to keep that gun perfectly still during a trigger press. On the other hand, if the trigger press requires 2 pounds, and the gun weighs 3 pounds, then the shooter is less likely to pull the gun off target while pressing the trigger.

So, all of that is a fancy way of saying that many folks like single-action guns because they can be easy to shoot accurately.

There’s a lot more to consider when deciding whether to use a single-action gun, so for now, let’s just stick to the definitions. We’ll talk about pros and cons later in the book.

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Insanely Practical Shooting Tips: Dry Firing – It’s Not As Dirty As It Sounds

Here’s an excerpt from our newest book, releasing June 15, 2013 – The Insanely Practical Guide to Guns and Shooting. Like The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters, now available at Amazon.com, it’s a direct, practical and amusing way to learn. We hope you find a useful tip or two about improving your shooting skills by dry firing your handgun!

Insanely Practical Tips Guns and Shooting

Some Shooting Tips About Dry Firing Your Handgun

You have to admit, “dry firing” sounds just a little bit dirty. (Tweet This)

Like something that might happen in a nightclub of ill repute. When it comes to shooting, dry firing is a great thing. Like the other less-desirable implication, it’s safe, but is far more respectable.

Dry firing a gun simply means practicing the shooting motions without actually discharging a projectile.

We’ll talk about the instructions on how to dry fire in a minute, but first I would like to make a money-back guarantee.

If you properly (and safely) practice dry firing on a regular basis, your shooting skills will improve by 312%. (Tweet This)

Or maybe 31%. Or 19.3%. But they will improve. You can bank on that.

I like to think that dry fire practice and teeth flossing fall into the same general category. Neither activity is fun or sexy, but both make a huge difference over time. So if you want to have teeth like Tom Cruise or Julia Roberts, then commit to dry firing on a regular basis.

Let’s talk about how to do it, without harming yourself, your family or your new love seat from Haverty’s.

The most important consideration is safety. You have to develop your own method that insures that you will never, ever, ever have bullets anywhere near your gun when you dry fire. This is because you will be pulling the trigger on your actual firearm when not at the range. All of the safety rules we discussed earlier still apply. You’ll treat the gun like it’s loaded. You’ll keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire. You won’t point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy – except perhaps that Haverty’s love seat. And you’ll be sure of your target, and what’s behind it. We’re going to follow all of these rules because if all the stars align just wrong, even for a second, and a live round is in your gun, you won’t hurt anything except your pride and maybe an ottoman.

The first step is to remove all ammunition from your gun. Remove it all from your revolver’s cylinder or the magazine in your semi-automatic. If you have a semi-automatic pistol, clear the round from the chamber. Stick your finger in there to make sure the chamber is empty. Now look at it. Now look through the magazine well and make sure you see nothing but air. Now do that again.

Those bullets you just removed from your gun? Take them into another room and set them somewhere you can see. Now count them. Are there as many there as were in your gun? Next take any full spare magazines you have and place those next to the bullets in the other room.

The end result of all this activity is that you have taken every round of live ammunition from your gun and anywhere else OUT of the room where you will be dry-firing.

While all this may sound excessive, just trust me and do it. Life has far too many distractions and interruptions to be anything less than obscenely safe. If if all of your ammo is in a different room, preferably where you can see it from your dry fire practice area, there is simply not a chance that you will absent mindedly fire a live cartridge.

A Dry Firing Target Tip!

I faithfully do all of the steps outlined above, but with a slight twist. You’ll notice I recommended to place the live rounds in another room where you can see them. I do this to use them near my dry fire target. I do this so that every time I pull the trigger on my gun while dry fire practicing, I am looking at the cartridges that were in my gun, but now in another room. When I dry fire practice in my office, I place the rounds on a dresser in the hallway. This dresser is visible from my office through a large doorway. So now, I’m using those live rounds near my target when I dry fire. If I am aiming a dresser when I pull the trigger, and I see the rounds on top, they can’t be in my gun can they? Of course the dresser backs up to a stairwell and three walls. There is nothing behind it, so I also have a safe backstop. One other additional trick is to line up the cartridges from the magazine right next to each other. Then I take the cartridge from the chamber and place that an inch or so away from the others. So I have a visual cue of the 7 rounds that fit in the magazine of my gun, plus the round that was in the chamber. In a sense, I’m looking at a representation of the full capacity of my gun. The rounds in the magazine and the extra that was in the chamber.

Dry Fire target idea

Here’s a dry-fire target idea that works for me. I take the rounds out of the magazine and line them up near my dry fire target. I remove the round from the chamber and separate that one from the others. If I am seeing these while dry firing at my target, I know the rounds are not in my gun as they are across the room.

How to actually practice with dry firing

Now that we’ve covered the safety aspects of dry fire practice, what do you do? Let’s start simple and add practice exercises.

Basic dry firing simply allows you to practice pulling the trigger pull on your gun without all that distracting flash and bang. All kidding aside, it’s a way to train your eyes, body and trigger finger to pull the trigger smoothly, without moving the sights off target. The real benefit is that you can do all this without that instinctive flinch when the gun normally goes bang. By conditioning yourself to a smooth trigger pull, without a flinch reaction, you’ll eventually find that you do the same with a real gun when it does go bang.

After you’ve completed the safety procedures outlined above, just follow these steps according to what type of gun you have.

First a note about .22 handguns! 

If you shoot a .22 pistol, you’re better off NOT dry firing that gun. Most .22’s do not react well to dry firing due to how the firing pin is placed. Repeated dry firing of most .22 guns will cause damage to the firing mechanism. Most center fire guns are perfectly safe to dry fire. Always check your owners manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.

Select your target. Get a comfortable stance. Find your natural point of aim by aiming at the target, then closing your eyes. When you open your eyes, are the sights still on target? If not, shift your stance and body position accordingly.

Here’s a great place to pause and remember to focus on your front sight only. Remember, your eyes physically cannot have the rear sight, front sight and target all in sharp focus at the same time, so you have to pick one. Pick the front sight. The rear sight and the target should both be a little blurry. That’s OK, you’ll still hit the target.

Now, slowly PRESS the trigger as smoothly as possible. The goal is to complete the full trigger press until the gun’s action releases – without moving the sights off target at all.

As the hammer (external, internal or striker) releases, see where the sights are aimed. That’s where your shot would have hit had you been firing a live cartridge. Think of this last step as follow through. Train your eyes to see the sight alignment just after the gun “fires.” Eventually, you’ll know where your shot hit without looking at the target. You’ll be “calling your shot.” That’s a really impressive gun term that simply says you know exactly where the shot impacted because, during your follow through, you were watching your sights relative to the target.

After your first shot, things will vary a bit depending on the type of gun you have, so let’s take a quick look at the steps for each major handgun type.

Revolver (Double Action)

Revolvers are the easiest dry fire gun. After you complete the first dry fire “shot” you don’t have to do anything to prepare the gun for the next shot. Simply get your body, grip and sight alignment back in place, aim at your target, and pull the trigger again.

Whether or not your revolver has a hammer, always practice it in double action mode. That is, pull the trigger without first cocking the hammer. That’s how you would want to use the revolver in a defensive application anyway, so you might as well get used to it in practice. When you master dry firing a double action revolver without moving the sights off your target, you’ll be a better shot than Ben Cartwright.

Semi-Automatic Pistols (Double / Single-Action)

With a double-action you can configure your dry fire practice depending on what you want to accomplish. Like a double-action revolver, you can always just pull the trigger to simulate a full, double-action firing sequence. However, in real life, after that first double-action trigger pull, your handgun will cock itself so the second shot is a light trigger pull single-action motion. When you’re dry firing, you’ll have to pull back the hammer manually to prepare the gun for a single-action shot. So it’s up to you if you want to simulate a first double-action shot, followed by a series of single-action shots or some other scenario. Do practice double-action shots, immediately followed by single-action shots though. The transition from heavier to lighter trigger takes some getting used to.

Single-Action Pistols and Revolvers

If you shoot a 1911 style handgun or a single-action revolver, dry fire practice is pretty straightforward. You’re going to have to cock the hammer manually between each dry fire shot. With a single-action revolver, you want to make the hammer cock part of your dry fire sequence as you’ll have to do that in real life. With a single-action pistol, you don’t want to build a habit of cocking the hammer each time you pull the trigger. When you shoot live ammunition, the gun will cock itself after each shot so you don’t have to. To help overcome building “bad muscle memory” when dry firing a single-action pistol, I like to fire the first shot, aim at a different target and simulate a trigger pull and repeat that a few times. After a few “shots” I bring the gun back from firing position, cock the hammer and repeat the exercise.

Striker-Fired Pistols

If you shoot a plastic fantastic pistol that’s striker-fired, you have to cock the gun after each shot also. To do this with most striker-fired pistols, you have to rack the slide, as there is no hammer. Fortunately, you don’t have to do a complete slide rack. With most pistols, you can pull the slide back ¼” or so and the striker mechanism will reset. Experiment with your gun to see how little of a partial slide rack you can get away with. Like the single-action pistol mentioned above, you don’t want to build a habit of racking the slide after every shot, so vary your firing sequence accordingly.

Add some complexity!

Hey, now that you’ve advanced beyond the simple certificate of participation for dry firing, you can add some steps to build your skills.

  1. Draw from your holster! You’ve got an unloaded gun, in safe conditions. What better time to practice your draw? Practice drawing your gun, keeping your finger our of the trigger and evaluating potential targets. Mix in some more complex sequences where you draw your gun and and dry fire one or more times. Be creative!
  2. Practice magazine changes. How about dry firing your gun and pretending that was the last shot in your magazine? Practice dropping that magazine, pulling a new one and reloading your gun? Be extra careful that ALL magazines you use are empty!
  3. Practice malfunction drills. When you dry fire, pretend your gun didn’t go bang. What do you do? Practice the clearing drill depending on your particular gun. If it’s a revolver, pull the trigger again. If it’s a semi-automatic pistol, smack the bottom of the magazine to be sure it’s seated, rack the slide, then re-evaluate the situation.

A dry firing tip…

Don’t rush your dry firing. That’s bad form and will help you develop rotten habits. (Tweet This)

Your brain is an amazing thing that will build memory of your actions regardless of the speed at which you complete them. Focus on completing your dry fire sequence slowly and perfectly each and every time. If you do that, speed will happen all on its own – perfectly.

Another dry firing tip…

After you’re practiced a bit, balance a dime on top of your front sight. If you can complete a full trigger press without the dime falling off the front sight, you’re getting good!

 

Find dry fire accessories here

SIRT Training Pistol – Are Eunuch Guns Firing Blanks Or Banking Firing Practice?

Productive (and fun) gun neutering

The SIRT Training Pistol from Next Level Training

The SIRT Training Pistol from Next Level Training

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]
noun
- 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?

Our test SIRT fit all of our Glock holsters and magazine carriers

Our test SIRT fit all of our Glock holsters and magazine carriers

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…

Before SIRT

  • 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.

After SIRT

  • 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

SIRT Training Pistol lasers

Look Ma! No muzzles! Well, just little ones for the lasers.

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.

Model Variations

You can get the SIRT Training Pistol in a number of variations. The Next Level Training website features a product comparison page to help you find the model right for your specific requirements.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. Stuck on a marathon phone call? Practice a few hundred trigger pulls. Clearly this works better in home offices than corporate high rises.
  5. Teach someone how to properly draw a gun from a holster without risk of firing an unintentional shot.
  6. Practice your own holster draw. Try new holsters and methods without risk. To you or the sofa.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Bad day? Shoot the sofa over and over and over. Until you feel better. No harm done.

Closing arguments

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

Our Rating

4 Nuns 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…

 

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Do you want a spanking young man?

Trigger discipline:

This really made me laugh …

 

 

[ Many thanks to Sven (Defense and Freedom) for emailing me the the info. ]

(Via The Firearm Blog.)

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