Comparing The 3 Dry Fire Gun Options

I'm going to assume you've read one of the many pieces of content we have on our website explaining the importance of dry fire practice. If not, you cant check those posts out later. Right now, you probably wondering,“What Dry Fire Training Gun Should I Buy?”
Dry fire training gun options

What Dry Fire Training Gun Should I Buy?

As a full-time professional in the industry; and as a vendor who sells most of these products, I'm fortunate to have one of everything; so I am in a unique position to compare these products head to head. If you are looking for other dry fire tools beyond the guns themselves, consider this other article I wrote: Dry Fire Tools.

I do not mean this to be a comprehensive review of these products individually (and a quick Google search should yield plenty of reviews.) Rather, more of a head-to-head look at them compared to each other.

I'm dividing the products into 4 categories and roughly moving through them in order of cost. Let's get started …

The Use Your Own Gun For Dry Fire Options:

BarrelBlok, Glock Easy Trainer, Dry Fire Mag, & Laser Cartridge Inserts

Before we discuss ways to spend money on dedicated guns, we should remember you can use your own firearm in dry fire. That option may not be as ideal as others in this article. Still, it has some advantages, including the ability to use it with your holster, train with your sights and trigger, and no expensive dedicated training gun.

However, since safety is our most important consideration and feedback relative to accuracy, matters here are 4 products to consider installing in your own firearm before conducting dry fire practice.

BarrelBlok

  • Guarantees Safety

Barrel Blok for dry fire

The BarrelBlok is the lowest cost way to ensure safe, dry fire. It slides into the barrel via the ejection port and settles snug into the chamber. Smartly designed to be caliber specific, which ensures a good fit. Moreover, it protrudes from the end of the muzzle so the user and other observers nearby can all visually verify the firearm is inert and safe.

While installed, the firearm is incapable of chambering or firing. BarrelBlok is sold as a package with 3 “Mag-Bloks” which are inserted into the magazine. These items depress the follower and prevent slide lock. Because of this, training with reloads and other manipulations is more realistic.

Price: $12.99
Summary: Easily is installed in any gun without disassembly and ensures the gun is safe during dry fire. It will not work with laser cartridge inserts.
Link to purchase: Click here

Glock Easy Trainer

  • For repeated trigger presses on Glocks

Glock e trainer for dry fire

Striker-fired handguns, like Glocks, can be challenging to dry fire because, after each trigger squeeze, you must manually reset the slide by “racking” or cycling it. Thus introducing a potential training scar of racking the slide after each trigger squeeze.

The Glock E-Trainer (short for easy trainer) is installed with no tools or disassembly and prevents the trigger from “breaking,” thus allowing repeated trigger presses without having to be reset by racking the slide.

It removes the takeup, break, and reset feeling but can be used to train multiple shot drills, reloads, and other manipulations. Furthermore, when installed, the firearm is rendered inert and safe. Currently, only available for Glock handguns, as the name implies.

Price: $24.44
Summary: Slip it onto your Glock, and you will no longer need to manipulate the slide to reset the trigger.
Link to purchase: Click here

DryFireMag

  • For repeated trigger presses on Glocks and some others

dryfire mag used for dry fire practice

The DryFireMag solves the same problem as the Glock Easy Trainer, specifically allowing for repeated trigger manipulation without racking the slide.

However, it replaces your magazine, making it difficult to train reloads unless you purchase multiple of them.

It does, however, simulate a trigger break and reset, although different from your trigger's normal break and reset. It also has an audible click sounds for each trigger squeeze, which an equal number of users love and hate.

Furthermore, unlike the Glock E-Trainer, the DryFireMag is available for select Glocks AND Smith And Wesson M&P handguns.

Price: $98.99+
Summary: A magazine replacement that allows for repeated trigger presses without racking the slide. Available for select Glocks and M&Ps.
Link to purchase: Click here

Laser Cartridge Inserts

  • For accuracy-related feedback

laser dot trainer for dryfire

A laser cartridge insert (the most generic term for what many call ‘laser ammo' or ‘laser bullets') is a caliber-specific device inserted into your chamber. It projects a laser when your firing pin comes forward, simulating a shot.

The main advantage of the laser cartridge insert over the other options I've included in this section is the ability to provide accuracy-related visual feedback. Knowing if you hit your intended target is an important part of dry fire practice.

When used with a single action or striker-fired gun, you will have to rack the slide after each shot to reset the trigger, but when used with a double-action or double-action / single-action (DA/SA) firearm, you don't have any need to reset the trigger.

Price: $59.95+
Summary: A simulated cartridge inserted into the chamber that “fires” a laser when struck by the gun's firing pin.
Link to purchase: Click here

Laser Training Pistols for Dry Fire

LaserLyte Trainers, SIRTs, and the SF-Series

LaserLyte Training Pistols

laserlyte dry fire training handguns

LaserLyte makes three dedicated laser training pistols. These include a full-size model (think Glock 19,) a compact size, and a j-frame snub nose.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of these guns. The triggers do not feel realistic (except maybe the revolver), and there is no functional magazine or rail. Furthermore, the compact has a grip that is awkwardly thin and doesn't compare to any real gun.

That said, these are the lowest cost option in this category, but I recommend spending another $50 and getting a SIRT. Further, I've noticed they don't work reliably with the LASR software when the batteries aren't brand new.

Price: $149.99+
Summary: Laser dedicated training guns that are more economical but lack as realistic a feel as competing products.
Link to purchase: Click here

SIRTs from Next Level Training

SIRT training pistol for dry fire

The SIRTs dominate this category, in my opinion. They have more brand credit and for a good reason. SIRT stands for “shot indicating resetting trigger,” and true to the name, the triggers feel very realistic with true takeup, break, and reset.

The SIRTs are currently available in 5 models, 4 of which mimic actual, real firearms.

  1. the 110, which is comparable to a Glock
  2. the 107, which is comparable to an M&P
  3. the Sig20, which is comparable to a full-size P320
  4. the Sig20C, which is comparable to P320 Carry

The fifth model is called the “Pocket Pistol” and is similar, though not a near replica, like the other models, to a Glock 43 or M&P Shield.

All but the pocket pistol have removable weighted magazines. All models have a functional rail and a “take-up” laser, a quality training aid for advanced users or instructors. Oh, and the batteries seem to last near forever.

Price: $209.95+
Summary: The gold standard (in the author's opinion) of this category. Functional rail, removable magazine, realistic trigger, modeled after specific make of gun, and a great overall value.
Link to purchase: Click here

Training Guns from Smart Firearms

This product from SmartFirearms has come a long way. Some improvements are the removable magazine and a realistic feeling trigger. It comes in several models as well to please Glock and M&P users.

The ability to project a laser (which I consider a must-have feature) means purchasing an additional accessory that doesn't come with the gun (an additional $119).

However, there are features that make this option unique. These options include the ability to have a computer “shot sound” with each trigger press. As well as a “mode” in which the gun sounds an alarm should you accidentally slip your finger into the trigger guard. Changing modes to enable or disable those features requires a degree in rocket science, but I'm told future models will be easy to operate.

Price: $239.00+
Summary: A dedicated dry fire training pistol. A laser module is an additional expense, but it has a functional rail and removable magazine.
Link to purchase: Click here

Options That Just Take Air

Airsoft & Cool Fire Trainer

Airsoft Training Guns

airsoft for dryfire

Pictured above is my lovely Glock 19 Gen 3 Officially licensed airsoft pistol from Elite Force Systems. Umarex / Elite Force makes and sells many airsoft guns that may be the same as your actual carry gun (link below). This gives you an extremely close replica of your actual training gun.

Plus, as an airsoft gun, you get some recoil. It isn't the same as live fire recoil, but it still allows you to practice sight acquisition and recoil management in a way you can't with the dedicated laser training devices mentioned above.

I also love that I can use this for dry fire practice in addition to using it in force on force training at the range in classes I teach with my students.

One thing to remember is you can only use this with airsoft BBs, so you need a target and backer, and that is your accuracy feedback. You also need an ongoing supply of air.

Price: $99.00+
Summary: Airsoft guns give you some recoil and can be used with an actual physical target. They are also useful for force on force training.
Link to purchase: Click here

Cool Fire Trainer

cool fire trainer for dryfire

The Cool Fire Trainer is a conversion kit that replaces the barrel and the recoil spring in your actual firearm. They are available for 60+ models of firearms and allow you to practice with your actual gun. Your sights, your trigger, your magazines, etc.

The barrel is “charged” with CO2 air, and when you press the trigger, the gun recoils. Of course, it isn't the same as actual real recoil, but it's pretty good for dry fire. Additionally, if you want a laser, you need to purchase an additional add-on ($100) which I consider a critical component.

It is hard to get better quality dry fire “realism” than the Cool Fire Trainer but consider that the air “tank” is only so big, and depending on the gun, you will get between 15 and 30 shots on a single charge. The constant recharging is the downside to this product.

Price: $329.00+
Summary: A conversion for your actual firearm that uses air to create recoil. Laser is an optional add-on.
Link to purchase: Click here

UTM / Simunitions

This is the only product in this article I don't yet own. However, I have enjoyed having used it. UTM makes conversion kits for your real firearm that adapts it to fire UTM rounds. UTM makes several types of rounds, but none are deadly.

They have traditional “blanks” that don't fire any projectile (both silent and noisy options). Also, they have marker rounds that do fire a projectile and are similar to airsoft; if fired at a human protective gear is critical.

When fired, you experience actual recoil and an ejected cartridge. Ammo feeds from the magazine just like live fire.

The conversion kits aren't much more expensive than other product options in this article, but you also have the ongoing expense of the ammunition.

Price: $299.00+
Summary: A conversion for your actual firearm allows it to fire UTM training ammunition.
Link to purchase: Click here

My Conclusion

I don't think there is a single product on this page that you can purchase that will enable endless perfect dry fire of all kinds. However, as budget allows, having a few of these products is probably the best approach. Hopefully, this comparison helps you decide on the next tool you can leverage to increase your shooting skills from home!

Let me know which of these products you have and what you think about them. Further, if you have any questions leave them in the below comments!

About Jacob Paulsen

Jacob S. Paulsen is the President of ConcealedCarry.com. ConcealedCarry.com provides in-person and online firearm training for American gun owners. The Company is currently teaching in-person classes in 25+ states with a team of more than 55 instructors. Jacob is a NRA certified instructor & Range Safety Officer, USCCA certified instructor and training counselor, Utah BCI instructor, Affiliate instructor for Next Level Training, Graduate and certified instructor for The Law of Self Defense, and a Glock and Sig Sauer Certified Armorer. He resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with his wife and children.

18 Comments

  1. Lawrence Licata on March 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm

    I always use my EDC Beretta PX4 Compact for dry fire exercises. I utilize the Mantis X to gauge accuracy.

  2. John on March 21, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    I have used 3 SIRT pistols, barrel block in 9mm and .380 and laser cartilage in dry fire practice. Hope to use these in small classes as an instructor. Great products.

  3. Larry on March 24, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    I use a laser as part of iTarget. While It has limitations, it has been the best thing that I have purchased with respect to shooting skills improvement. With direct feedback it has allowed me to pinpoint where my problems are. My speed and accuracy made significant gains after a few days.

    • Dave Henze on June 24, 2022 at 6:50 pm

      I just spent over $600 on the Cool Fire CO2 trainer including the barrel and spring, bottle adapter, spare bottles and targets. I like it a lot. Expensive but worth it until I realized I had to drive 30+ miles to get a 20 oz bottle refilled. Quite a disappointment since Google shows multiple stores close by that refill these small bottles. No longer I guess because of a liability concern. As long as this supplier stays in business I don’t mind the drive for 4-20 oz refills every couple months, but he’s 72 years old.

  4. techs on March 30, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    I am more inclined to put an extra $300-400 toward a second/replacement pistol than spend it on a training gun. I use MantisX to train a “quiet” hand, and a laser cartridge with G-Sight to train accuracy and manipulations to the first shot. Followup shots and strings of fire more or less need to wait for range time. With careful shopping I can assemble 9mm rounds for about 10¢ (plus my time), so about a year and a half of live fire for the cost of an M&P SIRT. I’m fortunate to usually have time and access to a weekly range session.

  5. John Castiglia on May 31, 2020 at 10:56 am

    I have all these solutions and IMHO the best is the Coolfiretraining kit. Many different firearms supported and adding new ones all the time. Your firearm, your sights, your trigger, your mags. The recoil is very realistic. Filling the barrel with CO2 is a bit of a pain. Yes you heard right you get maybe 12-17 good shots, but for me that is good. I use it with the LASR app for a complete dry fire set up. LaserLyte trainer is just OK, allows you to make multiple shots but the trigger is crap, no ability to practice reload drills. SIRT is OK, I have both pistol and AR versions. Rifle is OK, haven’t used it in a while. pistol is OK but for the price for a trainer (again limited to a Glock or M&P). Airsoft is a little better because to can get a trainer that matches your gun, you can practice reload drills the nice thing about airsoft is the magazines hold the CO2, but if you have any trigger work to you normal gun you won’t be able to practice with that. DryFireMag. Only comes in Glock or M&P, it just allows you pull the trigger without racking the slide. It does not reset the firing pin so using it with a LaserAmmo cartridge will not work. Go with the CoolFireTraining pistol, It costs but its well worth it!!

    • George Perrin on June 25, 2022 at 9:47 am

      John, have you found the CoolFireTrainer to be maintenance-intensive? Seems like most of the time with mine, after a fresh recharge, I have to trigger pull and manually cycle the slide about six times before it finally starts working the way it should for another half-dozen or so trigger pulls. Then the CO2 is expended so repeat sequence.

      Eventually, it gets to the point that it doesn’t work at all, giving me a single-shot laser cartridge dry fire tool for $329+ (and its’s not because the CO2 charge has been expended). I haven’t had more than maybe two leaks which were fixed with new washers or retightening so I can’t blame it on that. It seems like barrel components are maybe gummed up with the kit-supplied grease (a drop applied every two or three CO2 recharges, fewer than that) or too dry because not enough grease has permeated through the barrel and block components after a full disassembly and cleaning, maybe. I don’t know, I’m grasping at straws for a reason. But it is as if there is a very narrow operational “window” of proper functioning (which makes it a fantastic tool when it is working the way it should, but very maintenance-intensive requiring frequent disassembly and cleaning and reassembly and other fiddling around; for me, about every four to six uses and even then I’m still battling with a half-dozen dead trigger pulls and tap-rack-bangs after fresh recharge. It doesn’t get any better than that.

      So I was curious that since you, too, own one, how has it been working for you, insofar as the frequency of preventive maintenance procedures to try to keep the thing running right, or even running at all? (Mine is for a G19).

      If you revisit your post here and see my inquiry, I’d love to read about your experiences with your CFT, as well as the experiences of other CFT owners that might want to chime in.

      • Dewey Garwood on June 28, 2022 at 5:51 pm

        I purchased the CoolFire Trainer for my P320 X-Compact (you won’t find that on their site, I used my drill press to modify the P320 Carry slightly; maybe they accounted for the change I had to make), and I have not had any issues with it cycling after filling the barrel. At worst, I’ve had to rack the slide _once_ after filling the barrel to reset the trigger, usually because I ran the CO2 barrel dry previously. (I always discharge the barrel completely before storing.)

        You might check your barrel tip (replaceable plastic) to see if it’s cracked; I recall having to replace mine at one point, which I think was prompted by poor/no recoil on trigger pull with a full barrel.

        For dry fire practice, I’ll always recommend CoolFire Trainer w/ Laser + Mantis X10 + Mantis Laser Academy. Multiple-round training, your gun /your sights /your trigger, full accelerometer measurement/feedback and target history to see how you are doing / improving. Most other dry fire options felt a bit too far removed from “how you’d want to use your weapon in real life.”

        • George Perrin on June 30, 2022 at 3:55 pm

          Thank you, Dewey, for your report. I think Glock CFT barrel assembly must be a little different than Sig; my barrel tip is 100% metal and threads into the barrel. All there is is a metal ball and spring and retainer pin on its inside, and O-ring under the threads on the outside. I don’t think it’s an O-ring problem, though; there is no venting (and concomitant buildup of frost that you get with leaking CO2). I’ll have to try contacting CFT and see if I can get them to maybe overhaul mine for hopefully much less than the cost of a replacement barrel.

          Again, thanks for your report!

  6. Tony Hill on November 29, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    Can the Glock E-Trainer be used in conjunction with a LaserLyte LT-PRE Universal Laser Trainer or another laser trainer, and if not, which one will work? Thank you

    • Jacob Paulsen on November 29, 2021 at 7:55 pm

      No, the Glock E-Trainer cannot be used with any laser trainer at all.

  7. Mike on January 11, 2022 at 8:36 am

    What is the best dri-fire option for Glock 43 and Sig P320 for training purposes? Thanks for the input!

    • Amadeus on March 20, 2022 at 8:00 am

      Coolfire is best for P320. DryFireMag has stated they will release a magazine with laser capability for the P320, but it will come after the Glock offering.

  8. Andre Biewend on April 16, 2022 at 4:27 am

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
    Your review was very informative. We are new to firearms (precipitated after a near home invasion–I was fortunate to have stopped him before he entered) and I want to be FULLY trained. My fear of owning a firearm has always been the fear of unintentional injury to the wrong person. Being an ex-hockey player, I know only perfect practice makes perfect.
    Feel free to contact me with any additional recommendations!

    Thank you again for taking the time to put this together!

  9. John Turrentine on July 8, 2022 at 12:01 pm

    I have the SIRT Glock pistol. I love it. The weight, grip, and removable mag are all spot on. I use it for practice, and as a demonstrator for grip, sight alignment and trigger pull in the classes I teach.

    The trainer was a great investment.

  10. Garry Thorner on July 17, 2022 at 10:48 am

    Is there a system that can be used on a rugar pro compact handgun

  11. Mark on December 3, 2022 at 6:26 pm

    This column was incredibly helpful to me as a beginning shooter. One thing I don’t understand is when you say the air soft needs a continuing supply of air. Where does it get air from? A pump? CO2 cartridge? Ty.

    • Jacob Paulsen on December 3, 2022 at 6:31 pm

      Most airsoft guns run on CO2 cartridges.

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