Dry firing used to be the closest you could get to practicing at home with a gun, unless you’re one of the lucky few who had a gun range on their property. Fortunately, advances in technology have allowed us to better simulate the experience of shooting, which is incredibly helpful for those days you just can’t get to the range, or weather doesn’t permit it. The downside, however, is that many of these systems can cost around $200 for the complete kit. All of these systems utilize a laser for tracking shot placement, and the specialized “laser bullet” alone costs nearly $80, regardless of which manufacturer you choose.
A New, Cheaper System
The iTarget Pro differs from other home gun training systems, in that the starter kit only costs $89! Unlike other systems, this gives you the sled and mount, target and laser bullet! The manufacturer keeps costs low by utilizing the one thing most of us already own: a smartphone.
The system consists of a sled, with a target holder that attaches, and a mount to hold your smartphone steady. The app itself is available for free on Android and iOS, and utilizes the smartphone’s camera function to track the laser.
Every time the firing pin strikes the specialized rubber pad on the back of the laser bullet, a laser is emitted for a brief moment.
The app then tracks where the shots land, simulates the sound, and places a bullet hole marker on the camera image, exactly where the shot landed. The app even keeps track of how many shots you fired, scores you, and allows you to save the image! The resulting image looks something like this:
How It Works
Setting the iTarget Pro up only takes a few minutes by completing the following steps:
1) Set up the paper target holder
2) Put your smartphone into the sled mount
3) Click on the app and read the safety warnings
4) Follow the safety warnings when loading the laser bullet into your gun
5) Once the laser bullet is inserted, slowly release the slide or bolt until it fully closes
Do not let it slam shut
6) Make sure the target is centered in the phone camera’s view, and next to nothing else is in the camera’s view
7) Enter the distance you will be shooting from
8) Tap the green cirlce with the “Play” (Triangle in a circle) icon and start shooting
9) When you’re done, tap the circle with the “Thumbs down” symbol
10) To save the results, tap the green circle with a curved arrow, and options will appear on how you’d like to share/save the image
As with all other systems, there is no recoil or automatic cycling of the slide when the trigger is pulled. This means that the bolt or slide must be cycled for each shot, unless your weapon is double-action or single-action with an external hammer. The good news is this doesn’t leave out revolver owners, since the company is continually adding to the different caliber laser bullets it supports.
I first tried the iTarget Pro with my Walther PPQ. Since the weapon is striker-fired, it has no external hammer, and does not have double-action capability. With this gun I have to rack the slide every time I want to fire the gun.
To contrast this, I also own a Stoeger Cougar. It has an external hammer, so I can cock the hammer each time and fire in single action mode. If I don’t want to do that, it also supports double action, which means the hammer is pulled back and released each time I pull the trigger. The trigger pull is heavier when using double action, but it can be beneficial if you don’t want to cock the hammer each time.
Overcoming The Limitations
The best part of this system is that it will work with other lasers. A user on Gab brought up the idea of using the SIRT pistol system as a way to use the system without racking the slide each time. To test the theory I opened the app and had my phone propped up and facing the wall. I set in the distance and then switched my Insight M6X laser/light combo to laser only. I then flicked the momentary pressure switch up and down. Sure enough, the app tracked the laser and registered each pulse as a “shot”.
The iTarget Pro home gun training system is a much cheaper alternative than those made by competitors. For $90, this system is less than half the cost of all the others. You can forget live practice when the weather isn’t the best, and save the ammunition for the range itself. Best of all, it allows anyone to practice from the comfort of their own home, through rain, sleet and snow. If you haven’t ordered yours yet, I would highly recommend it by clicking here.