Monday, November 23, 2015

PPRMG: LaserLyte Emitters

Last week I talked about the targets; this week I'll talk about the emitters.

Universal Pistol Trainer (LT-PRO)
The LT-PRO is essentially a laser boresight with a universal collar that allows it to fit any pistol from .380 to .45 caliber. This has both good and bad points.

Good: You can put it in a Trainer Pistol (see below) for a dedicated training platform, or you can put it in your carry guns and practice with your actual firearm. This allows for realistic training and one LT-PRO ought to fit all of your needs.

Bad: The emitter is sound-activated and listens for the click of a falling hammer or striker to trigger the laser. This works very well if your pistol has an easily thumb-cockable hammer or is otherwise dual action; however, if you have a striker-fired, single-action pistol like a Glock, you will have to rack the slide after every single shot. As you can imagine, this gets old very quickly, and will probably spur you to purchase one of the trainer pistols.

What's more, this system has a significant drawback: because it is sound-activated, it is listening for hammer-fall all the time. This means that if you forget to remove the batteries after a training session, they will slowly drain as the inbuilt sensor actively listens for the next click, and the next time to you go to train you will end up with dead batteries. (Fortunately, the LT-PRO runs on common LR626 batteries, which can be easily ordered in bulk from Amazon.)

Like all LaserLyte products, the LT-PRO comes with a fresh set of batteries.

Retail: The LT-PRO retails for $120, and while it is available in combo packs, it cannot be bought separately on Amazon. This is because it has since been replaced with the LT-PRE, or Laser Trainer Premium, which also retails for $120 but can be purchased at Amazon for $87.

I have not tested the LT-PRE. From what I can tell, it is similarly sound-activated, so it still has all the drawbacks of the LT-PRO in terms of  slide racking and battery drain. It does, however, have an on/off button for the microphone, which mitigates the hassle of having to unscrew the battery compartment each time.

My Rating: C
My metric for a C is "Functions adequately, but something pisses me off." While the LT-PRO laser emitter does indeed work, the need to turn off something which is not visibly on or risk draining the batters is a source of annoyance for me. Far more irritating is the poor synergy it has with my carry pistol, which is a Glock 26; considering that many law enforcement agencies issue Glocks to their LEOs, I consider this a major drawback. 

I received the full-size pistol (stated as "approximately the same size as a Glock 23"), although a compact-size trainer is also available. These trainer pistols are a cross between blue guns (nonfunctioning pistols shaped and weighted to realistically mimic actual guns for training) and toy guns which go "click" when you pull the trigger.

It's listed as being "weighted and balanced to give the realistic 'feel' of most semi-auto pistols," but on that point I must vehemently disagree; my unloaded Glock 26 weighs about 20 ounces, while the full-size Trigger Tyme weighs only 13.25 ounces.

It does have a working trigger, though, with a 5.5 pound trigger pull (just like my G26), and when it breaks it makes what can only describe as a click-sproing sound; the click is from the trigger breaking, and the spring is from a spring resetting in some manner. The sound echoes down the metal-lined barrel to facilitate the activation of the LT-PRO.

Retail: The full-size Trigger Tyme retails for $55, but can be bought on Amazon for $35. Alternatively, a combination trainer and laser set can be purchased for $98.

My Rating: B
It's not realistically weighted, nor is it shaped like an actual pistol, but considering that proper blue guns cost around $50, this makes an excellent tool for hand-to-hand training or a costume prop. I do not think it makes a good laser trainer, both for reasons related to the LT-PRO's performance and for the following anecdote.

An Anecdote Is Not Data, But...
The first LT-PRO and Trainer Pistol I received had issues:  I would put the laser arbor into the pistol, and it would take several trigger pulls before the laser would realize that I wanted it to activate. It would then activate most of the time, but not always. The problem persisted when I placed the LT-PRO inside of an actual pistol.

I mentioned this to the folks at LaserLyte, who promptly sent me a new LT-PRO. When I placed the laser within the trainer pistol, the problem occurred again, but interestingly enough the problem did not present when I placed the laser within actual pistols.

This leads me to suspect that either both the original LT-PRO and trainer pistol were broken in some manner, or if the laser was broken and the pistol just poorly built. As I am just one reviewer, I cannot draw a definite conclusion.

Trigger Tyme Laser Trainer
Also available in a compact version. this trainer (which I shall refer to as "Laser Tyme" to differentiate it from "Trigger Tyme", above) is leaps and bounds better than its non-laser sibling.

Slightly heavier (15 ounces) and with a trigger that breaks sooner and heavier than the Trigger Tyme, the Laser Tyme solves every problem I have with the LT-PRO and is an honest-to-goodness laser gun.

(I just have to stop and giggle about this. One of my earliest memories is of watching Star Wars at a drive-in, and ever since then I've dreamed of having a blaster. While this trainer doesn't do any damage unless you flash someone in the eyes with it, the fact remains that this is a laser gun and it's mine and I'm holding it in my hands and I'm shooting things with it. Pewpewpewpewpew.)

Where was I? Oh, right. By having a laser integrated into the pistol itself, there's no need to worry about the sound hitting the sensor and activating the emitter; it's all hard-wired into the trigger. Every single trigger pull results in a crisp burst of light, and I don't have to worry about the batteries running out because I forgot to take it apart afterwards.

It also has enormous endurance, with a battery life of 50,00 shots, compared to the measly 3,000 shots of the LT-PRO. (Like all LaserLyte products, batteries come included.)

Retail: Of course, all of this comes at a price: the full-size Laser Tyme retails at $150, and costs the same on Amazon. However, the compact version can be purchased with a single plinking can (reviewed last week) for as low as $90 if you can find them in stock.

My Rating: A+
It does everything I want to do it, and it does it smoothly and perfectly. Unless you truly need a laser that will fit inside your carry gun, save a bit more and get the Laser Tyme instead. You will not be disappointed in its performance.

Combine a Laser Target or a Score Tyme with one of these and you will have so much fun you will practice every day. As I said previously,
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. 
Besides, when you think about it, $258 for the Score Tyme and $150 for the laser pistol is still cheaper than a brand new gun. You're actually saving money when you buy this.. or at least that's what you can tell your wife when she asks you how much it cost.

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

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