While I’ve always been a proponent of dry firing for the early stages of skill development, the recent lack of ammunition in stores has forced me spend a lot more time pulling a trigger on an empty handgun.
While there are many theories on the recent disappearance of ammo, I really don’t know why ammo seems to be so hard to find. I do, however, lend a lot of credibility to Mark Keefe’s well-reasoned idea that shooters are buying everything they can get their hands on out of fear of running out.
Regardless of the reason for the ammo shortage, I’m having a hard time finding ammo for training, which creates a real damper on my shooting lifestyle. I like to train weekly, if possible, and lately that has been impractical.
As such, I’ve been conducting dry-fire training using some of the available laser targeting systems on the market. Lately, I’ve been working with the Optical Computer Aided Training (OCAT) System from OutWest Systems. The OCAT System works as both a laser and live-fire training system by using a camera to mark your shots and record them on a laptop computer. Using a laser module, the system even records your movement as you squeeze the trigger, and it includes a shot timer for multiple shot strings under pressure.
The OCAT is definitely more expensive than some other laser systems—the basic model retails for $495, and you still need a computer—but with the ability to record live fire, even with rifles at longer ranges, the OCAT is a much more advanced training system than most.
I’m still in the early stages of trying out the OCAT System, but so far I really like what it can do. Sure, it’s expensive, but it can provide trigger time without costing hard to find ammo. Right now, that might be good thing.