Option 1 - Recommended for most handguns
.40 Caliber Laser Training Dryfire Cartridge aka Laser Ammo
A laser training cartridge is a cross between a snap cap and a bore sighter. It gives you the best of both worlds with only a few minor draw backs. It is the ideal solution for most shooters interested in laser Dryfire training.
The laser training cartridge only engages when the firing pin puts pressure on a pressure point at the back of the cartridge, when this happens, a laser is emitted for a fraction of a second, usually 1/30th of a second. This saves on batteries (this type of device is usually good on batteries for up to 6,000 shots). It also allows the trigger to be engaged (as it protects the firing pin like a snap cap). These are a great solution for using laser Dryfire training software as it best simulates a real life hit on a target. They also typically come zeroed, so there shouldn't be manual adjustments needed out of the box.
Note, Single Action / Double Action handguns work best with this type of laser training device. In SA/DA, the hammer will reset every time you pull back the trigger, meaning the laser will operate just like your handgun does semi automatically. In striker fired weapons the laser won't stay engaged, but the trigger won't reset either (so the slide will need to be racked enough to reset the trigger between every shot). This isn't a big deal for most shooters. However, in Hammer fired guns, the hammer can often put pressure on the firing pin and on the cartridge, resulting in the laser staying down. This means in hammer fired weapons like the 1911, you must pull the hammer back every time you pull the trigger, which isn't a great way to train. In these situations, a laser training pistol that mirrors the feel of those pistols may be a better option (see below).
- Lots of options for any budget
- Battery efficient
- Most realistic solution
- Easy setup, shouldn't need to be zeroed
- Protects firing pin from damage like a snap cap
- Useful for reloading drills as it won't eject, but it should not be fed from a magazine
- Best for SA/DA hand guns
- Works well with striker fired handguns
- Not universal
- Works with hammer fired weapons but not ideal
- Not great for revolvers
- The back caps on these will go bad over time with heavy use as the firing pin slams the pressure pad repeatedly (some products offer replacement back caps for sale). The back caps are usually good for thousands of dry fires however.