Pat’s Product Review: SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt

If there’s one thing I stress in my firearms classes, it is safety! Any instructor who doesn’t stress safety in their classes or on the range, isn’t doing his job. Students are always asking me about different ways they can practice without going to the range. Of course, one of the best things you can do is dry-firing. Needless to say, you have to make absolutely sure your firearm is unloaded, before undertaking dry-fire practice. More than one person has shot a hole in their wall with an “unloaded” gun.

When you dry-fire, you are accomplishing a couple of things. First off, you are learning trigger control and sight picture, as well as many other aspects of gun handling. A lot of folks are hanging lasers on their guns, for dry-fire practice, while this is a nice idea, it still isn’t quite up-to-par, if you ask me. Now comes the SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt. The SIRT is a great idea, and the concept is not restricted to ARs. Next Level Training manufactures several different SIRT lasers. They sent me the SIRT for an AR-style of rifle.

One of the first things I thought, when I opened the package containing the SIRT-AR Bolt was, “this is gonna be complicated to install…” Well, I hate to admit when I’m wrong, but I was. The SIRT-AR Bolt replaces the bolt/bolt carrier in your AR rifle. You simply remove your bolt/bolt carrier and place the SIRT-AR Bolt in the upper receiver. Okay, there is one other little thing you have to do, and it’s also easy. You have to place a little “filler” in the lower receiver, and this activates the laser when you pull the trigger on your AR. The instructions said it was easy, and you can also find a video on the Next Level Training web site that shows how simple it is to install the SIRT-AR Bolt and adjust it.

So, where does the SIRT-AR Bolt come into play? Well, you can safely train, with an unloaded weapon, with the SIRT installed. There is no way to introduce a live round into your AR – even if you mistakenly inserted a loaded magazine into the rifle. The SIRT-AR Bolt won’t allow this to happen. You can’t operate the charging handle on your AR, because you removed it when you installed the SIRT. However, what you can do is practice weapons manipulation, mag changes, presentation shots, etc. You can also practice trigger control. When you pull the trigger on your AR, the SIRT laser is activated, “firing” a red beam of light down the barrel, onto your target, so you know where you “hit” on the target. And, when you release the trigger, to “fire” the gun again, you simply release the trigger, just as you’d do with a live AR, and pull the trigger once again, and another last bean fires down your barrel, onto the target.

When using the SIRT, you safely train in the fundamentals of grip, stance, sight alignment, sight picture, target transition, reloads, and above all, trigger control – all while handling a totally unloaded firearm. According to the Next Level Training web site, the red lasers (and you can get the laser in green, too) are safe to the eyes, so role players can realistically train without cumbersome safety gear. This is a good thing, if you ask me.

I have to admit, I was a little leery about how well the SIRT-AR Bolt would operate. It really only took me a few minutes to adjust the linkage between the bolt and the trigger that allows a trigger pull to activate the laser. I tried the SIRT in several different ARs, and it only took a slight adjustment to make it operate in different ARs – maybe a minute or two – that’s it! With each pull of the trigger, the red laser “fired” down the barrel, hitting my target, so I knew if my sight alignment and trigger control were working. I must have “fired” my AR at least a thousand times, and each time I pulled the trigger with the SIRT installed, the gun “fired” without fail. It was just a lot of fun, and it helps with your dry-fire practice.

More than anything, what I liked about the SIRT-AR Bolt was the fact, that you could safely operate the gun – and as I mentioned, there is no way to introduce a live round into the chamber of your AR with the SIRT installed. When lasers first came out for use on firearms, they were big and bulky, and there really wasn’t a good way to install them on your firearms and carry the guns – holsters weren’t made for handguns with lasers. Of course, a lot of that has changed over the years, and many holster makers are making holsters that will allow you to carry a laser installed on your handgun.

With the SIRT installed in your AR, you can set-up a target across the room, or from one end of your house to the other, and dry-fire all day long, without worry of a negligent discharge (NDs) into your wall, or through the wall, into a neighboring apartment or home, and wounding someone. If you look at the web site, you’ll also notice that Next Level Training, is also producing a Glock form factor SIRT pistol. This is a great idea, and it allows you to practice your handgun skills without worry of accidentally loading a pistol with live rounds.

More than anything, what really excited me about the SIRT was the safety factor. Any students who have trained with me will probably tell you how sick and tired they got hearing me preaching safety. As the saying goes, “safety is no accident” and we don’t want any accidents when we are handling firearms, on the range or in our homes. The fact that you can repeatedly pull the trigger on your AR with a SIRT-Bolt installed is great – just keep on “firing” with each pull of the trigger, without the need to charge the gun with the charging handle. Just pull the trigger, and a laser beam fires down the barrel. It can’t be any easier than that.

The SIRT-AR Bolt sample I received seemed very well made, and it should last you many years. I liked being able to watch how quick and easy it was to install the SIRT-Bolt on their web site. I believe that if you install a SIRT AR-Bolt in your rifle, and do lots of dry-fire practice with it, your next range visit will show that you improved your skills when you pull the trigger on a live-round, really! With the price of ammo these days, the SIRT is a darn good idea. And, it sure beats the heck out of having an accidental discharge in your home – none of us want that to happen.

So, if you’re looking to improve your trigger time, without the benefit of going out to the range a couple times per week, check out the SIRT from Next Level Training – I think you’ll be as impressed as I was, with the quality, and more importantly, at least to me, the simplicity of how the SIRT worked. I like it when something works as advertised. How many times have your saw something advertised on television or the ‘net, and when you got your own sample, the darn thing didn’t work as advertised? Yeah, I’ve had that happen way too many times myself.

Check out the Next Level Training web site, and watch the video on how easy the SIRT is to install, and then think about all the benefits of installing a SIRT in your AR, or buying the SIRT Glock, and doing some serious dry-fire practice. I think you’ll see the benefits of having a SIRT, and you’ll see the benefits on the range, from all that reactive dry-fire practice in your living room.

Retail on the SIRT-AR Bolt red laser is $150 and the green laser is a hundred bucks more. The savings in dry-fire practice alone is worth the investment. You also can’t put a price tag on the safety aspect of “firing” an eye safe laser, without fear of introducing a live round into your dry-fire practice. We can never be too safe, when we’re around firearms, and using a SIRT assures you that you have an unloaded firearm when performing dry-fire practice.