I love shooting, but it can get expensive these days, with ammunition inventories impacted by high demand and political influence.
One way to maintain your marksmanship level and save money is to adopt the dry-fire method to maintain good site alignment, good sight picture and proper trigger squeeze.
I learned this in the Marines, where we sighted in on 55-gallon barrels with targets painted on them.
We dry fired our M-16 rifles hundreds or thousands of times without any issues. We called it snapping in.
Dry firing has been a concern of firearm consumers for years, it started with owners of rimfire rifles like the .22 LR and the .17 HMR, which was legitimate at one time.
The concern was that a rimfire, when dry fired would damage the firing pin when there was no cartridge present. For modern centerfire weapons there is no evidence that dry firing causes any damage at all.
That is a good thing for the modern shooting enthusiast who wants to save a little or a lot of money.
So, in case you’re in a hurry, and don’t want to get into the details, here are the best laser dry fire training systems you can get today:
Why Laser Dry Fire Training Systems?
We all love range time, driving nails at 100 yards, the smell of charcoal or cordite; however, as responsible gun owners we also maintain jobs and raise families, and that takes time.
Now step up laser targeting systems and laser dry fire training – the perfect solution for folks who want to stay sharp with their marksmanship, but can’t drive to the range every week.
Personally, I rely on two firearms to protect my family and my property.
A Glock Model 21 is the best close quarters weapon I own. The weapon is indestructible and packs a wallop with the .45 ACP round brought to us by John Browning in 1904.
I love to be able to sling a 230-grain bullet at over 800 feet per second, especially when bad guys are around.
For the “reach out and touch somebody” weapon I go with an AR-15 platform that propels a 5.56mm round at over 3,000 feet per second.
I shoot both weapons frequently. I want to feel the weight and naturally achieve sight picture as quick as possible.
However, shooting the Glock has been getting a little expensive, with the price per round creeping up on $1.00/ round (compare with .30 cents per round for 5.56mm).
Busy times and an ammo shortage call for a solution for the target shooter or the home defense American Patriot.
The solution is the indoor dry fire training system, I prefer the term laser target system, mainly because you are not actually firing the weapon, that could be disastrous.
I was lucky because both of my chamberings had laser target systems available. Now I cannot stop shooting, well, snapping in.
Top 5 Reasons for Using Laser Target Systems
- You practice with your own gun, sights, trigger pull, weight.
- Low-cost training
- Have fun in your own home.
- No extra ammo required to train.
- Maintain your skills and muscle memory while not on the range.
What are Laser Dry Fire Training Systems?
These systems “a set of things working together” combine cellular technology and Lasers (Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation) which is an intense beam of light.
These target systems are simple and are composed of 4 standard components:
- Either a laser cartridge or complete weapon.
- A special target.
- A mount for a smartphone
- A smartphone APP that monitors shooting.
It is not the first time I’ve used a laser on a weapon.
My Ruger LCP in 9mm had a small 5mw red dot laser attached for quick target acquisition in low light scenarios. The sights on this pocket pistol were too small for my weakening eyes so I opted for a different solution.
Lasers have been mounted on guns since the 1970’s, however, they have never been used like this before, well unless you consider the highly advanced small arms simulation ranges used by the Department of Defense.
Though nothing can replace live fire training, there are advantages to being able to train in a dry fire fashion, especially when you cannot make it to the range.
What We Evaluated and How?
- LaserHIT Dry Fire Training Kit
- LaserLyte Training Kit
- ITarget Pro
- Mantis X10 Elite
We looked at the pros and cons of all these shortlisted products and the number and types of firearms supported. We also considered ease of use and cost of the products.
We did so because we purchased these products and we’re no Elon Musk, so budget had an impact on our decision.
Top 4 Best Laser Dry Fire Training Systems
So, here are the detailed reviews on each shortlisted dry fire system. We have tried to include as much info that would help you in choosing your preferred system, based on your budget and available features.
LaserHIT Dry Fire Training Kit
- Use it with any iPhone or any Android phone. The genuinely universal kit.
- Use it with any firearm, semi-auto or bolt action, SA or DA, except Hi-Point. Thanks to LASERHIT...
- Use included scaled targets to practice up to 25 yards shots in your living room.
This simple to use and fun system comes with a 9mm laser cartridge, 12” tripod, cellphone holder. Dual side target card, one free phone app and a dowel to extract the laser cartridge.
The cartridges are rimless, so they are not ejected when you rack the slide on the weapon.
Works great for double action weapons like my Ruger LCP in 9mm. You just pull the trigger and you can simulate tactical shooting – like the double tap.
Works as described by the manufacturer – camera, laser and target all collected and showed accurately the results of my simulated shooting.
I shot 100 rounds simulated the day we tested the LaserHIT and only had to figure out a few setup issues, but other than that I was satisfied with the system’s overall performance.
Weapons like a Glock model 17 must be racked in between shots.
Limited to 9mm training and system works better with some firearms than with others.
Weapons or Calibers Supported
LaserLyte Training Kit
- BRIGHTNESS: Training pistol features a 5mW peak, 630-670nm, Class 3A visible red laser that is in...
- EASE OF USE: Perfect for experts or beginners, train indoors without using live ammunition
- REALISTIC: Training pistol mimics the feel of an actual full-size handgun from its weight to the...
This fun to use system comes with 2 Steel Tyme Trainer Targets and a Trainer Trigger Tyme Compact pistol that many claim has the look, feel and weight of the popular Glock model 42.
The targets provide the shooter two forms of feedback – with bright LED lights and the sound of plinking steel.
The pistol is equipped with a resetting trigger with a quite common and popular trigger pull at 5.5lbs.
Great system for basic “dry fire” training. Integrated little blue gun allows you to shoot double action scenarios that does not require racking the slide between shots.
This system is perfect for training children and adults in both firearm safety and basic marksmanship.
I liked the fact that little blue pistol was integrated into this system – since it was just a toy gun with a laser, I felt safer that somebody would not inadvertently chamber a real round on accident.
Pretty simple training and marksmanship fundamentals development. With this system you get good sight alignment, sight picture and you squeeze the trigger, and you can simulate tactical shooting – with visual and audio feedback.
This system is caliber independent since you use the little blue gun.
Works as described by the manufacturer – the little blue gun and target all collected and showed accurately the results of my simulated shooting.
I shot 100 to 200 rounds simulated the day we tested the LaserLyte and only had to figure out the usual basic setup issues, but other than that I was satisfied with the system’s overall simplicity and performance.
During testing, the blue gun, however, was quite disappointing.
It reminded me of the slim, subcompact Glock Model 42 that was designed for concealed carry; however, the grip was too slim and appeared to make so a child could grip it.
During simulation, the gun functioned great for double action training like my Ruger LCP in 9mm.
For folks who prefer to train with their own firearm – You do not get to bring your own firearm to the party unless you skip the simulated gun and go with the additional charge of a laser cartridge.
This system appears to be limited to indoor use. I tried using it in my backyard on a sunny day and it just didn’t work.
Weapons or Calibers Supported
Caliber Independent. Which is nice, but once again, the little blue gun was just too generic.
Work on fundamental firearms skills such as proper grip, sight alignment and sight picture and trigger control with this easy-to-use system.
The system comes equipped with iTarget laser bullet, iTarget cell phone grip and the iTarget sled target sheet as well as an easy-to-use phone application.
Right out of the box, the iTarget system was the perfect fit for me, it looked and felt robust and not cheap. It was the only system that provides a solution for revolver shooters like me.
I have been carrying a Taurus .357 magnum for years and now I could “dry fire” practice at home, in the shop without all the recoil.
Testing this system was accomplished in my large outbuilding which let me train out to 30 yards.
The system performed without a glitch. Understanding that these laser-based system perform best indoors in low light conditions, I took it outside, where, if the phone could see the red dot of the laser, it worked simply fine.
I found that snapping in at 5 to 10 feet proved decent results; however, I would recommend keeping this system indoors.
Of the systems tested, it supports the most calibers, even 223/5.56 rifle round which makes it the most versatile system tested.
Made in the USA.
I bought 3 extra iTarget lasers so I could test my Glock model 21 in .45 ACP, the .38 special and the .223/5.56 to test my long gun. Things can start getting expensive, given that the basic system I less than $100.
The .223/5.56 may not work for you unless you have a roomy basement.
$99.95 – Gets you iTarget Sled and Laser Bullet package
$59.95 – iTarget laser bullets sold separately
Weapons or Calibers Supported
9mm, .40, .45 ACP, .380 ACP, .357 Sig, .223/5.56, 10mm, .38 Special (.357 Magnum)
Mantis X10 Elite Shooting Performance System
- Efficient Training: Get more from every live and dry fire training session with real-time,...
- One Unit to Rule Them All: Mantis X10’s functionality covers live and dry fire training for...
- Track Your Journey to Improvement: Free app (iOS, Android) analyzes performance, provides coaching...
This pricey system is the Cadillac of laser dry fire systems. So, what’s in the box? The X10 Smart Sensor, case, USB Cable and a QuickStart guide.
Unlike the rest of the systems I tested out in my basement, outbuilding and backyards, this system was hands-down the most versatile system, supporting both dry and live fire training.
Heck the thing even works on you bow (in live fire only).
Train like you fly – use your own weapons, peek down your own sights, feel the weight of your setup.
The Mantis X mounted seamlessly to the Picatinny rail on my AR-15 and Glock Model 19 with absolutely no slop.
While mounting this neat little device I noticed the superior engineering to include clean fit and finish and high durability.
Train on your whole gun collection. The company offers tons of rails and adapters so you can save money on pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammo.
For dry fire applications, that this system worked best, again, with my double action Ruger LCP in 9mm.
You don’t have to rack the slide and the shooting system doesn’t get confused.
In my basement I dry fired about 100 times to test the accuracy of the system and to my delight it recorded all my shots with the Ruger in the app.
Shot skeet on my property. I knew the company advertised that the Mantis X10 Elite works well with shotguns, so I gave her a try.
I attached the device to my Browning A-5, loaded up some shells, put my iPhone in my left breast pocket, confirmed connection between phone and sensor and had a buddy launch 10 clay Pigeons.
I fired away and hit 7. The Mantis application on my phone only recorded 5 shots, so I was not sure if it was the device, my phone, the Bluetooth connection or what.
I shot a few more rounds with less than stellar results from the Mantis X10. Not sure if it just a defect, or if the shotgun application has been tested well enough.
Safe for dry fire at home (please follow all gun safety rules), not so much at the range or in the field.
I would find myself not focusing on the weapon as much as manipulating this system that is attached to my weapon.
Muzzle discipline is critical in gun safety, and nothing should take your attention from that while at the range or in the field.
Weapons or Calibers Supported
Mostly modern handguns of any caliber and long guns with Picatinny rails, older handguns may require you to get creative, modern Bows with integrated rail systems.
At the End of the Day- The Best Laser Dry Fire Training System?
Each of the systems tested had pros and cons – that’s technology.
However, the Mantis X10 Elite stood out in one area more than the others – innovation. With that being said, the Mantis X10 has got a long way to go to work out the bugs, and from what I can tell, they have been and have been on top of customer service.
I know it is a $2xx product but these days you can waste that in a couple of hours on the range firing live fire.
The Mantis X10 in the long run can save you money while allowing you to hone your marksmanship skills.
Last update on 2022-12-07