10-Feb-11 – 16:33 by ToddG

About a month ago, the guys from Next Level Training sent me one of their SIRT training pistols to evaluate. The SIRT is a Glock 17/22 form factor trainer that has an automatically resetting trigger and two lasers (one red, one green) that provide visual feedback during your dry fire routine.

Now I’ll be honest, when Britt at NLT first contacted me, I was interested primarily for the sake of writing about it here at, not for personal development. Let’s face it, I get to live fire a lot more than most folks so subsequently I don’t dry fire regularly. Much to my surprise, the SIRT has become my constant companion around the house and has completely reinvigorated my interest in dry fire practice.

So first off, what exactly is the SIRT?

  • Polymer frame with metal slide; very high build quality that far surpasses cheap Airsoft guns.
  • Fits in almost all Glock 17 holsters, accepts all normal Glock sights, and uses standard Glock magazines; allows you to train with your normal gear.
  • Self-resetting trigger; allows you to dry fire multiple shot strings without manually racking the slide between each one.
  • User-adjustable trigger; allows individual to customize the trigger to feel as close as possible to his actual pistol.
  • A red “take up” laser that projects as you press the trigger; allows you to see where you’re pointing the gun during a press out and provides feedback about what inadvertent movement you’re causing during the trigger press. Another benefit of the red take up laser is that it provides immediate notification if your finger putspressure on the trigger when it shouldn’t!
  • A green “shot break” laser that projects as the sear releases and stays on until you release the trigger to the reset point; allows you to see where the shot actually broke as well as indicating what if any trigger snatch or anticipation you may have.

Or just watch NLT’s intro video:

YouTube Preview Image

Basically, it all adds up to a dry fire tool that works exactly like your carry gun (especially if you carry a Glock) and allows you to dry fire naturally without the artificiality of re-racking the slide between shots. Furthermore, because of the visual feedback provided by the lasers, you can actually see where your hits are landing. Not only does this keep you honest while dry firing, but it makes the whole process much more interesting.

There is a small switch on top of the slide that allows you to switch off the red “take up” laser, so you’ll only see the green laser when the trigger breaks. Personally, this is the way I use the gun for most of my practice. I do turn the red back on when I’m working on press-outs, though, whether from the holster or as part of a reload.

The SIRT is also highly customizable. Both standard and extended length magazine release buttons are available. As mentioned above, the sights are standard Glock design so you can put just about anything in the world on there. You can even switch the connections for the two lasers if you want a green “take up” and red “break” for some reason.

The trigger is user-adjustable for:

  • take up resistance
  • take up distance
  • break weight
  • break location
  • reset location
  • overtravel

Candidly, the adjustments require a little effort to get right and don’t have enough range to cover every possible Glock trigger configuration. For example, I use the Glock “-” connector and the NY1 trigger spring to get ~6# trigger pull with noticeable resistance in the take up and a more rolling break; it also gives me a very positive reset. My SIRT comes close but doesn’t have exactly the same feel as my actual Glock. Having said that, even when I was shooting my LEM HK P30 the trigger was close enough that it made for beneficial practice. I spent an afternoon randomly shooting the SIRT weak hand only at objects around my hotel room during SHOT Show and the next time I did some live fire WHO with the P30 there was noticeable improvement.

The only other criticism I have is that the slide doesn’t move and there is no slide release lever. You cannot practice slidelock reloads or malfunction clearances.

A common question I’ve been asked is, “Doesn’t the laser cause you to look at the dot instead of the sights?” Actually, it does not. The green laser in particular is extremely easy to see even when your focus is on the front sight. You might not be able to tell whether you hit the light switch or just its cover plate from 10yd away, but you’ll know you hit what your front sight was pointed at. As a side benefit, though, I’ve found that running through the house with the take-up laser off has given me a great opportunity to see just how well I can point shoot.

However, in my opinion possibly the most useful aspect of the SIRT is as a force-on-force tool.

I’m a certified Simunition instructor with half a dozen Sim guns & kits in my locker, not to mention plenty of protective gear for multiple people. I’ve also got a handful of Airsoft guns. Those all have their place. But the SIRT has some serious benefits that you cannot achieve when running Sims/Airsoft. For example, by eliminating the need for a facemask, FOF training with the SIRT means your role players can use realistic facial expressions and eye movements as pre-fight cues, things that would be impossible for a student to notice behind a mask. You can also set up a FOF scenario or drill with no additional safety equipment or concern about damaging walls, furniture, etc. Just double check to make sure no one in the training area has a live weapon and you’re good to go.

Something like the SIRT opens up a whole new aspect of drills to people. Have you ever tried to hit a thinking, moving human being? It’s not the same as shooting a swinging paper target or a steel plate moving in a straight line at a constant speed along a known path. With the SIRT, you and your training partner can work on taking handgun skills to the next level by applying them against real natural movement, real cover/concealment, etc. And unlike with Airsoft,  you get an obvious visual indicator of whether you are scoring meaningful hits or not.

FOF training with the SIRT lacks the pain penalty that makes Simunition FX so useful, but it can be done for far less money and without all the safety equipment needed to do Sims per the manufacturer’s recommendation. As such, I don’t think the SIRT serves as the only FOF tool you could ever need, but it definitely opens up practical FOF to a wider audience with a few benefits that even Sims/Airsoft cannot give you.

And that is exactly what the folks at NLT think about their product. They’re not pretending it is the end-all be-all of firearms training. Their entire program is based on using the SIRT in conjunction with live fire, etc. This isn’t a company that pretends it’s found the recipe to the secret sauce. They’re providing a training aid that you can incorporate into a wider system of practice.

The SIRT is available in two different color combinations, both with a black frame: clear (silver colored) slide or red slide. I prefer the red version personally as it distinguishes the SIRT very clearly from any of my live fire weapons. This is particularly useful in FOF training.

The SIRT pistol isn’t cheap. Retailing for $439 (which includes a weighted training magazine), it costs about the same as two cases of ammunition. Is it worth it? My answer is that it depends on you. If you’re actually going to use the SIRT intelligently and diligently for dry fire and possibly FOF over a number of years, you’ll get far more out of it than 2,000 rounds of live practice.

The great folks at NLT have also generously offered readers a 10% discount for a short time. Use the code “pistol-trainer” (should be easy to remember) and you can buy a SIRT for $399.

There is also a SIRT system for the AR15 now, as well as an M&P version coming soon. I had a chance to play with the AR15 conversion (which is nothing more than a bolt swap that gives you both the laser and resetting trigger features on your own AR15-pattern gun) and I am confident it will be at least as popular as the pistols.

For something I thought would fall into the “mildly cool” category, the SIRT has been incredibly useful and impressive. I endorse it wholeheartedly. Huge thanks to Britt, Mike, and the rest of the guys at Next Level Training for introducing me to their SIRT training pistol!

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG
  1. 31 Responses to “NLT SIRT”

  2. Not sure if I want to put a green laser in people’s face.

    Some kind of filtering eyewear one could wear?

    By jellydonut on Feb 10, 2011

  3. I wish they’d make one that simulates an LEM trigger, but I imagine that would be pretty hard. Not to mention there probably isn’t a huge demand.

    By F-Trooper05 on Feb 10, 2011

  4. If I shot a Glock and had $400 burning a hole in my pocket, I’d order one today. Great review.

    By XKL on Feb 10, 2011

  5. Got to play with Ken’s last year and was intrigued when I saw the green “shot break” laser. I suspect I can put one of these to good use.

    By Jay Cunningham on Feb 10, 2011

  6. Been watching these with interest for awhile now. My budget doesn’t have the freedom to purchase one right now, but I can see one in the future, especially as more models are released. Although the Glock one would probably do it for me honestly.

    By Rob Engh on Feb 10, 2011

  7. I really want to get my mitts on one of the M&P models. Anything that makes dry practice less boring…

    By Chris Rhines on Feb 10, 2011

  8. I was playing with one of these at the last Indy 1500. If I shot a Glock, I’d have bought one.

    By Tam on Feb 11, 2011

  9. Will you PLEASE bring this to the AFHF class in ATL next month? I am very interested but am not 100% committed yet. I would feel about dropping $400 if I could handle it first.

    By VolGrad on Feb 11, 2011

  10. The SIRT will be in my range bag whenever I’m teaching from now on, no worries there.

    By ToddG on Feb 11, 2011

  11. I will be watching closely for the M&P model.

    This is exactly what I put together in my head for a dry fire practice tool. Only way I could see it selling better is as a conversion kit. Hopefully their M&P model takes back straps.

    By aczarnowski on Feb 11, 2011

  12. When I first heard about this in early 2010, I was not expecting much. Just another gadget.

    Or so I thought . . . until I handled a SIRT in person at the USTACRA SWAT Rodeo in Aug 2010.

    After that, I knew I had to have one.

    Now that I’ve had one for several months, I have found that it’s a very beneficial training tool for myself individually, for individual students, and for teaching classes.

    My SIRT G17 has replaced my red-gun and my airsoft guns.

    A few things I’ve found.

    +It makes dry practice FUN
    +The instantaneous feedback (what you did right, what you did wrong) is much like what you get when shooting steel.
    +The mags have internal weights that can be changed out to simulate the weight of a real loaded mag
    +the mags are very rugged: you won’t break them dropping them on concrete
    +you can use real G17/G22 mags, loaded or not
    +the default laser setup (red for takeup, green for shot indicating) clearly shows pre-ignition push, or trigger search
    +for Force on Force, the lasers can be reversed and the green turned off, so that only the red is in use
    -due to the barrel plug my Safariland 6360 holster, the SIRT will not fully fit in in the holster. It fits about 95% of the way in, though
    +The SIRT fits all my other G17/G22 holsters
    +The lasers and their adjustments are independent. If you have a trainee, for example, you can set up the SIRT so that the red laser impact point is below the trainee’s line of sight, so you (and not they) can see whey they are doing during takeup. You can also do the same with the green laser, so you (and not they) can see if they are hitting consistently. They get to see the sights, you get to see how the gun is affected by their operation of the gun
    =While the slide doen’t cycle and the slide stop is functional, I still physically simulate operation of these items when appropriate to the drills that I’m practicing.

    Bottom line – it’s not just another gadget. It has real training value. Try one and you’ll understand.

    By SF on Feb 11, 2011

  13. Anyone hear anything about a 1911 model in the works? I’ll buy 6 of those!!

    By GhettoSmack on Feb 12, 2011

  14. What is the warranty? All I could find is:

    “BUILT TOUGH You break it, we fix it.”

    Is that a lifetime warranty?

    I have no problem dropping $400 for something if it is quality and has a good warranty. So many training aids I have seen break far too easily and have too short a warranty.

    By P30man on Feb 13, 2011

  15. I bought one several months ago. At first I absolutely loved it, but my performance in USPSA and IDPA actually suffered somewhat and I sold it. I attribute the reduced performance to the SIRT, which trained me to transition my focus from the front sight to the green laser every time I pulled the trigger (which is sub-optimal when calling shots is key). Looking at the laser might be avoidable, but it just wasn’t worth it to me, especially considering that the trigger didn’t feel the same as on my real pistols. I think it’s probably a great tool for a lot of people, but it wasn’t good for me. I ended up selling mine, though I did really like their practice magazines and ended up ordering one for dry fire practice with my G34.

    By Andy on Feb 13, 2011

  16. I saw and played with it at SHOT last year. I want to pick one up to play around with a bit more.

    I’m guilty of doing little to no dry-fire practice. I’m usually lucky in that I can get on the range for live fire every week or two. But this last little while it was about 5 weeks or so, and it showed in my shooting….

    Something like this would probably make me more likely to do some dry practice around the house.

    By LJ on Feb 13, 2011

  17. I got to play with one of these today for a few minutes. Seems like a very workable bit ‘o kit.

    Can you actually get the trigger adjusted to feel like a Glock trigger? The one I fingered today wasn’t even close in feel to a Glock trigger.

    By chuck on Feb 14, 2011

  18. chuck — I know that NLT is working with some folks at Glock to get the trigger even closer to an identical “Glock feel.” Exactly how close you can make the current setup probably depends at least in part on how your real Glock is set up. The NLT crew is made up of a lot of USPSA Grandmaster shooters and as such the system is a little biased toward the lighter/competition end of the trigger pull scale.

    Having said that, even though I couldn’t get the pull to feel exactly like the -/NY1 combination in my Glocks it still feels close enough to be extremely useful. YMMV, of course, but the self-resetting trigger far outweighs the slight difference in trigger feel to me.

    By ToddG on Feb 15, 2011

  19. Thanks Todd

    The one I got to play with felt like it had a 3# pull, not what I’d be looking for. I also run the – and NY1 trigger set-up on most of my guns.

    By chuck on Feb 15, 2011

  20. Speaking for myself, I’ve had good results with the SIRT.

    Background – longtime LEO, longtime USPSA (Open A, Limited A) and IDPA (CDP EX) shooter.

    Over the last year have been using a G19 instead of a 1911 for duty and off duty and have been improving my skills with it, but the best I could do on the IDPA classifier with the G19 was around 101.

    After doing a lot of dry practice with a SIRT, and some live fire, over the course of a month, I scored an 83. Big improvement.

    Sorry you didn’t experience something similar.

    When using the SIRT, I call my shots using the the sights as my visual reference for aiming, NOT the green laser.

    The laser just makes it more obvious when I mess up, which I already see/know because I’m calling my shots. In this way, it’s very much like how one uses a “negative target” (the center of the target is cut out).

    As Todd notes, there are 2 GMs and 1 M in the NLT crew. I’ve seen them shoot in person at matches, and they are not “paper GM” type shooters. They win. The SIRT has become a big part of how they practice. I don’t see it hurting their performance.


    By SF on Feb 15, 2011

  21. It appears the discount is over, could that be true ? I’m really interested but 399 is the right price for me.

    Thanks, Never would of considered without your review.

    Bob S

    By Bob S on Feb 17, 2011

  22. I ordered one yesterday and received the discount. I had to type in “pistol-trainer” a couple times. The discount will show up at checkout. I’m hoping this new toy will encourage more dry-fire practice.

    By JT45 on Feb 18, 2011

  23. I split the cost of one of these with a shooting buddy. We swap it back and forth every week or so, which I find helps prevent me from developing bad habits, and also makes me feel better about the cost. It is not a substitute for dry fire, or for live fire, but is a wonderful addition in many areas.

    I also take it when I travel – don’t have to worry about a ND in a hotel from dry-firing, or worry about the hassles/theft of transporting a real gun in areas that might not have gun-friendly laws.

    By Lentulus_Batiatus on Feb 20, 2011

  24. Order placed at 2100 PT, discount still applies.

    By Jon on Feb 22, 2011

  25. Warranty Issue: only 90 day warranty on the SIRT not “BUILT TOUGH You break it, we fix it” [implied lifetime] as the SIRT website says.

    Trigger pull from factory is significantly lighter than sock (it does feel like 3 pounds)–although reset is closer to stock.

    By P30man on Feb 28, 2011

  26. my socks weigh much less than 3lbs

    By Rob Engh on Mar 1, 2011

  27. Rob:
    No edits = “sock.” You can tell I’m not one of those “accuracy is final” guys; looks like my BSA is a little off. 😉

    By P30man on Mar 1, 2011

  28. Have to agree with Andy. We train our students to focus on the sights, not on the target. This tool causes the student to look to see where the light shows up on the target, causing all sorts of problems – like taking their eyes off the sights, dropping the gun to see over it and get a better look at the target to see where the light is hitting, which changes the grip position, and affects trigger control, the list goes on and on.

    When I first saw this product I was intrigued – a great dry fire practice tool – I thought. Then as I got to think about it more, and use it a few times, I came to the conclusion that this tool will create and reinforce more bad habits that it is capable of solving.

    If it’s working for you, great. But it seems like a lot of money for me to be spending on a training tool to build bad habits.

    By ETG on May 6, 2011

  29. Team,
    I have spent over 34 years shooting a 1911, and I have qualified many times with it. I spent two days emersed in the NLT training program and I used a Springfield XD elite (new to me)I will admit on day one I was very fustrated having to learn new methods of markmanship. However with the excellent NLT trainers and the SIRT pistol, during the live fire shooting day I shot the best groups I have ever shot over the last 34 years, I highly recommend that you remove all excuses and get one of these training pistols it will imporve your markmansship guarnateed.

    By Walter Sinchak on Jul 20, 2011

  30. now this is what i call a solid piecee

    By t sump on Jan 31, 2012

  31. I picked up 6 of these training pistols.

    GREAT product. The student will not focus on the laser because WE TRAIN THEM to focus on the front sight and explain that the laser is for the instructor to use as a guide. The laser can be adjusted so that it is slightly below the point of impact and the student will never see it. (so that only the instructor can monitor it)

    As far as the “user” using it for dry fire practice, we know better than to focus on the target (laser) we focus on the front site. this is a non issue.

    By NY Police Firearms Instructor on Feb 13, 2012

  32. Would green or red googles mask the laser by any chance. This would help “watching target problem” and yet instructor will still see

    By SA Tactical supplies on Apr 1, 2012

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