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Monday, November 16, 2015

PPRMG: Three LaserLyte Targets

(Palette's Product Reviews Monday Gunday)

Since May, I have had the pleasure of testing several LaserLyte training products. This has been especially convenient for me as laser targets do not require ammunition (aside from the occasional battery change) and I can practice shooting in the air-conditioned comfort of my own home.

For someone like me, who is both stingy and on a fixed income, and hates getting hot and sweaty, these qualities are godsends, and so I have been happily pewpewpewing at electronic targets with my honest-to-goodness laser gun -- and let me just tell you that, as a science fiction nerd, I am positively thrilled to be able to say "my laser gun."

Because I have six products to review, doing them all in one blog post will be huge. Therefore I will break them into "targets" and "emitters", and -- you clever readers, you -- you've no doubt deduced that this review will be about the targets.

All LaserLyte targets come with batteries included, which is very convenient.

Trainer Target Plinking Cans
These are three plastic "cans", about the size of mini-sodas, with battery-powered laser sensors and an electronic peg that knocks them over. Operation is simple: You turn the cans on, you set them where you want them, you shoot them in the sensor with the laser, the plunger deploys, and the cans fall over dead.

This is very fun until you've shot them all, at which point you have to walk over to them and re-set them. Which, to be fair, is a drawback of a lot of plinking targets. 

I use mine in two ways. The most common is to set them up next to the other targets and then them as a fun "big finish" right before I end the routine. Despite the scoring system of the others, there's something viscerally satisfying about shooting something and making it fall over, and by putting them at the end (when I'm going to walk over to the target anyway), it feels like less work. 

My second use for them is to set them in in various places inside a room, which then gives me a miniature "shoothouse". For example:
  1. I draw from retention and shoot the can in front of me.
  2. I pivot to my left and shoot the can a few feet away, on the table. 
  3. I complete my pivot and shoot the can that was behind me. 
I don't know if it's anything resembling practical, but it's certainly fun. 

Retail price is $115, but you can buy them on Amazon for $65, which is a much better price.

My Rating: B
They're fun. I'm not sure if they provide good training, but if you're looking to introduce a child to the shooting sports, this would be a fine first step: easy to hit, instant feedback, lots of fun from the comfort of your home. I expect adults will get bored with these easily (unless multiples are bought) and will get more out of the other two targets reviewed. 

This target has more utility than the plinking can by simple virtue of not needing to be manually reset every time. 

To operate it, simply turn it on and shoot at it with a LaserLyte emitter; when you're ready to see your progress, just shoot the "display" sensor to the lower left. To erase that progress and try again, shoot the "reset" sensor to the lower right. Repeat this as many times as you'd like until you're ready to turn it off. 

Retail price is listed at $230, but Amazon has them for $150

My Rating: A-
Don't let the "minus" in the rating fool you; this is a very nice target. My one complaint about is is that the sensors are so very small; the target is 5 inches across, and the display and reset sensors are only 1.25 inches across. While I can appreciate the space-saving benefits of a small form factor, I think that the target is a bit cramped and the interactive sensors too small for inexperienced shooters. Apparently LaserLyte agrees, because they made an extra-large version, which is better in every single way. 

Form factor comparison

Target size comparison
When I say better in every single way, I mean it:
  • Larger controls
  • Generous target
  • "10 ring" markings
  • Automatic scoring system
  • 5, 10 and 15 second modes for timed shoots
  • Still uses only three AA batteries
The Score Tyme is my absolute favorite of the targets. The larger controls are easier for a poor shooter to hit, and the bigger target makes it plain how well or how poorly I've hit. I can just shoot until my finger gets tired and then see what kind of groups I have, or I can set the timer and see how well I do when drawing from retention. 

This target has improved my accuracy and technique over the course of the summer. I'm not quite at the "Draw and put two in the 10 ring" stage, but I've been able to diagnose and then correct a lot of flaws in the way I gripped and shot a pistol from the instant feedback the Score Tyme provides. And that practice has paid off; my performance with real pistols and real bullets has dramatically improved. 

My mother (76 years old now, arthritis in both hands, and cataract surgery in each eye) also likes this target, and has added shooting it to her morning exercise routine. If I can ever get her to the range, I expect that her performance will have likewise improved. 

Retail price is a whopping $350, but once again Amazon comes to the rescue at $258.

My Rating: A+
Just get it, you'll love it. The only way it could be better would be if it had an electronic voice saying "You are awesome!" after each session. 

Yes, it's expensive. Believe me, I know this better than anyone; I am both poor and cheap. But you will save money with this system, because
  1. Practicing in the comfort of you home means you won't spend money on range fees and gas to and from the range
  2. You can shoot as often as you like without having to buy expensive ammunition
  3. Points 1 and 2 mean you will practice much more than you would with real ammo. For example, if I need to stretch my legs or clear my head, I'll fire up the target and take about 20 shots -- and I do this several times a day. That is something you simply can't do at a range. 
If you can't bring yourself to spend $260 for a target, I understand; get the smaller one for $150 instead. It still works fine -- I just gave it a minus because its big brother is so much nicer. 

In short, get one of the two laser targets, pair them with one of the emitters I will review next week, and shoot, shoot, shoot. You will have fun and your skills will improve. It's like a video game, only better!

Obligatory FTC Disclaimer:  I received this products for free. I was not paid for a good review. I do what I like. Go away. 

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