Laser bullet training
A laser bullet is a dry fire training tool that uses a device in the shape of a bullet that emits a split-second laser pulse. The laser bullet is inserted in the chamber of the weapon and activated when the trigger pulled. The point of impact of the laser dot, compared to the shooter’s point of aim, shows errors in technique. Laser bullet training allows repeated practice without the need for live ammunition or range facilities.
Firearms training requires time, money, and range facilities. To learn the basics of marksmanship, a user must expend hundreds of rounds of ammunition, often at a remote location. And because marksmanship is a perishable skill, even the most advanced users must practice regularly, sometimes daily, to maintain proficiency. But this does not happen often. For example, many U.S. police officers qualify with their weapon approximately three times per year. Compare this to the practice required to maintain the pistol-shooting standard of the US Navy SEAL DEVGRU commando team, where each unit member fires an average of 500 rounds per day during every day of training. Accordingly, studies indicate that, during an actual shooting incident, the average police officer in the United States scores one hit for every six shots fired. This is a 17% proficiency rate. By comparison, with little or no training, criminals have a 10% proficiency rate. Apparently, maintaining marksmanship proficiency requires regular training.
To address this issue, some firearms users engage in “dry-fire” training, in which the weapon is repeatedly aimed and dry-fired, meaning the trigger is pressed without a bullet in the weapon. However, the ultimate success of dry-fire training – increased accuracy – cannot be assessed until the user fires live rounds at a gun range.
Function and Use
Laser bullets address this problem by printing a split-second laser dot on the target. When engaging in dry-fire practice, a user can assess their technique as they train. The laser bullet, sitting in the chamber of the weapon, is struck when the trigger is pulled and the firing pin is hit, just as a regular bullet would be.
The technical advantages of using laser bullets are as follows:
- Allows the user to analyze and correct errors in technique. Besides simply missing the target when aiming improperly, a brief “tail” of laser light on the target indicates the nature of the shooter’s mistake.
- Allows training with user’s weapon. Because the laser bullet is inside the weapon, it does not interfere with holstering, retracting the bolt/slide, etc. The user can practice with their own sighting apparatus and any other personalized weapon features.
Laser bullets also provide important practical advantages. Shooters reduce the time and expense needed for training. Laser bullets can be used anywhere, so a civilian who wants to practice in the basement or the soldier who wants to practice in the barracks can do so safely.
When using laser bullets, the weapon does not recoil. Therefore, the user does not need to recover and re-aim as they would when firing a real bullet, a factor which some people find detracts from the realism of actual shooting.
Secondly, the action of the weapon is not cycled. For double action pistols and rifles that are always cycled manually, this factor is less of an issue. However, for single action pistols, semi-automatic, and automatic rifles, the user must manually cycle the action for each shot, which people may find bothersome and unrealistic.
Regardless of weapon type, users must always manually cycle the action for the first shot. According to many firearms experts, “the first shot is the one that counts”. Theoretically, if you properly aim your first shot, the others will strike more or less in the same place, if the user follows proper technique. Therefore, laser bullets help in practicing to get the first round on target.
In addition, there are a variety of simulator systems that provide “dummy” guns with recoil, and even systems that use pressured air to cycle a weapon incorporating a laser device. These systems, however, do not use laser bullets as defined in this article. Instead, they use some type of laser in combination with computerized simulator systems.
- "Laser Bullet" can also refer to a boresighting device. See Red-i-Laser SFS Short Flash System; Laser Bullet
- Based on various sources. See Officer Forums; Police Mag; Daily Nebraskan
- Richard Marcinko, Rogue Warrior, Pocket Books, New York, 1992.
- Morrison, Greg. (2002). "Police Firearms Training Survey: Preliminary Findings" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Anaheim, California, (March).
- Based on the Rovatec Handbook from Rovatec Ltd.
- See, for example, “Dead On: The Long-Range Marksman’s Guide to Extreme Accuracy”, Tony Noblitt and Warren Gabrilska, Paladin Press, 1999.
- See, for example, the websites of Laser Shot Inc.; IES Interactive Training; Advanced Interactive Systems; and FATS, Inc. Firearms Training Systems).