Without a doubt, many of you will recognize Mike Hughes from his recent appearance on Top Shot Season 3. What you may not know is that Mr. Hughes also owns a company called Next Level Training and he has developed a line of training pistols that, in my honest opinion, offer the best trigger mechanics training ever seen. The Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger a.k.a. “S.I.R.T.” pistol is a dry fire tool that can turn any location into a training range.
For many years, people have used snap caps as a “safe” way of training with handguns. The snap caps are designed to replace your ammunition with a plastic bullet which protects your firing pin from potential damage while dry firing. The disadvantage is that you have to rack the slide after every trigger pull and there is no interaction with a target so checking your accuracy and movement is fairly difficult. Those are two of the places where the S.I.R.T. Pistol shines.
Although additional models are currently being produced, the Pro version we are looking at here is modeled after the Glock 17/22/31 pistols. It comes in a case with 2 weighted magazines and a detailed instruction book.
What’s so fancy about this thing? Well, for starters, the pro model features dual lasers in both red and green. When it arrives, the red laser is set as the take-up indicator and the green laser is the shot indicator. You may also switch this internally by turning the electrical connection around. The deal is you point the gun at an object and as you squeeze the trigger, the take-up laser hits your target. As your trigger breaks, a green laser is projected showing you where you are hitting. As you let off the trigger, the green laser goes out at the point where your trigger reset occurs. You can now either pull again or completely let off the trigger and the take-up indicator goes out. This allows you to practice your trigger pull, trigger reset, and aim all without the need to manually cycle the slide. It allows you to see where you are hitting as well as spot the movements you make as you pull the trigger. I’ve been playing with this for the last week or so and immediately discovered a few problems about my technique that I had never noticed during previous dry fire practice. I was able to adapt easy enough and had some time to practice prior to my next day at the range. That day, was yesterday.
Last year I purchased a Glock 23 Gen4 and have spent a lot of time getting to know it. One thing I’ve noticed is that my best shot of the day is usually the first shot I take. That’s the shot where I stop and run every separate action through my head before and while pulling the trigger. From then on, it’s difficult for me to consciously think of each detail I need to retain in muscle memory. Distractions like recoil, sight alignment, and adrenalin can be hard to put on hold. After practicing with the S.I.R.T. Pistol, I can honestly say that my groups decreased across the board with each gun I shot and I just killed the steel targets.
It’s one thing to practice at a range but a lot of people buy firearms for home protection. Using this pistol, you can walk throughout your home, practice taking cover, aiming, and shooting from any and all areas with the added value of the shot indicator letting you know if you remain on target before, during, and after your shots. It’s been fun walking through my halls and turning light switch plates into targets. ;)
Every pistol is different and many of us make changes to the factory settings. Most of the common changes can also be accounted for with the S.I.R.T. Pistol. You can change the sights so your S.I.R.T. is using the same as your standard pistol. The initial trigger location, over-travel, break location, take-up, break force, and degree of sear engagement can all be tweaked, by adjusting the cams in the trigger housing, to mimic those of your custom settings. The weighted mags can be adjusted to match the weight of your loaded mags based on whatever kind of ammo you carry, making it easy to practice magazine changes too. This is absolutely the best and safest way to practice, that I have ever seen.
OK, I know this may not be a practical thing for the average gun owner but those who are serious about perfecting their skills will find is very useful. ANY CCW/Pistol instructor would benefit from owning this tool and utilizing it with their classes. The ease of use and immediate feedback is invaluable to new shooters. I’ve found that those who are not comfortable with real guns tend to be more relaxed when shooting it. They see it as more of a game but at the same time, they are learning trigger control.
Having witnessed the success of those who train with it like the King County S.W.A.T. at consecutive American Heroes Challenges, Mike Hughes on Top Shot, and now getting my hands on one of these myself, I can’t speak highly enough about the product. If I were a pistol instructor, the S.I.R.T. pistol would be at the top of my must have list along with eye and ear protection.