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HANDS ON: dry-fire practice with the CoolFire Trainer

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Dry-fire is good. Dry-fire is boring. So how do we square that circle? There are a couple of ways to get some feedback into your dry-fire routine, and by doing so both make it more interesting and make sure you’re not practicing your mistakes. One of the means we’ve been trying recently involves the CoolFire Trainer. It uses a CO2-powered piston to replace your pistol’s barrel, and a visible laser to show shot placement.

The ability to dry-fire at home without having to sweep up 6mm pellets afterward.

Field-strip the handgun, swap out the barrel and charge from a pre-filled CO2 source (9-, 14-, or 20-ounce tanks can be used). When the striker or firing pin hit the system’s valve, a piston is activated, which cycles the slide and, if you add the optional laser module, provides feedback on your trigger manipulation and sight alignment.

Pretty well. Installation is simple and covers a wide range of manufacturers and models, and you’ll get around 35 shots per CO2 fill. In addition, the kit shown comes with everything you’ll need to service the unit in the field.

Safety. The system replaces the barrel, so there’s no way to accidentally introduce a live round into the chamber.

Realism. We’ve used airsoft guns in the past to train and provide feedback and while they’re a passable solution, they suffer from being imprecise replicas of our carry or competition guns. For example, most airsoft Glocks have way better triggers than the guns they’re supposed to emulate. With the CoolFire Trainer, you’re using your actual firearm. You can also use dummy rounds in your own magazines to replicate their weight and balance, which, coupled with a follower depressor that’s included in the kit, allows you to practice mag changes with increased fidelity.

While the slide does indeed cycle, there’s still no way to replicate actual recoil without repealing the laws of physics. This isn’t as big of a deal as you might think, especially with slide-mounted optics, as you’re still forced to track the dot throughout, but you’ll have to make a conscious decision to switch gears when loading up with live ammo.

CoolFire Trainer
1911 (other models available)
MSRP: $461, as shown

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