Security forces need to thoroughly drill the handling of weapons. Besides knives, pistols also come into play at close range. That's why training rubber versions are produced, preventing injuries and taking service preparation to a new level.
Published 30.01.2024 / RaptorX
The simplest training pistols are not meant to simulate a real firearm during disassembly or shooting. The goal is to have a dummy of the same shape, dimensions, and ideally weight as the sharp model in hand, allowing you to realistically try various self-defense elements. This includes both defensive moves with a pistol and counter moves against a pistol, including strikes to sensitive areas. For this purpose, rubber models are ideal. Forget about moving parts; these are usually products made from a single piece of material. They have a soft surface and rounded edges, making it possible to train without the risk of injuring oneself, the „opponent,“ or the instructor.
You might think, why spend money when a little caution and an unloaded gun would suffice? Experts will dispel this misconception. Grips and movements need to be practiced perfectly so that you can perform them subconsciously and routinely. However, with an empty gun, doubts about whether a cartridge remained in the chamber might linger in the back of your mind. Have I really checked everything? With such a mental barrier, some elements simply cannot be executed with full force or speed, which is where a rubber pistol comes in. Its red or orange color also indicates its training purpose and prevents confusion.
Last but not least, using a dummy prevents damage to your sharp weapon. During opponent disarmament training, the pistol falls to the ground many times, which certainly doesn't benefit it. The same applies to the training surface; unlike a steel frame, rubber won't cut through carpeting and won't scratch the floor. Note that the law doesn't consider training tools as category D weapons, so you can buy them without restrictions or registration.
Manufacturers primarily focus on widely adopted service models. For example, the Czech company ESP Products offers orange silicone dummies for Glock 17 and Walther P99Q. The steel tube inside the dummy reinforces the area, similar to the metal slide of a real gun. This element distributes weight like the metal slide of a real firearm and prevents the dummy from bending upon impact. The disadvantage of both mentioned tools is their lower weight compared to the original – the real „seventeen“ weighs 625 g, while the training version only weighs 430 g.
Previously, ESP also produced a training CZ 75 Compact, which, priced at 1,800 CZK, boasted rubber grips and a black magazine base. It was popular among Krav Maga instructors, but it's now difficult to find.
Slightly more sophisticated are the red rubber pistols from the American brand ASP, which offers a wide range of "red guns": from Beretta 92 through Browning HP or Colt 1911 to Caracal. For brands producing multiple pistols with a similar design but different weights, ASP prepares several training models. For example, for SIG Sauer, customers can choose a training dummy that corresponds in weight to types P220, 226, 228, 229, 239, 225, 2022, 320, and the military version M17. Each piece can be engraved for an additional fee, such as with the unit's logo. Another peculiarity is additional training tools from ASP made of red rubber, such as shotguns, submachine guns, tasers, flashlights, walkie-talkies, and magazines. In the Czech Republic, you can buy pistols from the „red guns“ series for about 1.900 CZK (www.hayashi.cz).
Training pistols take it to the next level with products from the SIRT (Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger) series from the company Next Level Training. Again, these are polymer dummies with a realistic appearance, but this time designed for shooting practice using built-in lasers. The primary laser indicates hits on the target (taking into account the deviation of the projectile in flight), and the secondary laser, which can be turned off, provides feedback on aiming. Both light sources are powered by a common CR 123 battery, which allows the „firearm“ to function for several months even with intensive use. The trigger automatically resets and is fully adjustable. It includes a functional Picatinny rail, interchangeable sights, and a removable magazine.
In the domestic market, you can buy the SIRT Subcompact model, which imitates smaller pistols like Glock 42/43, Ruger LCP, LC9, and Smith & Wesson Shield. There is also the SIRT 110, a replica of the Glock 17/22 – either in a lightweight version with a polymer slide for beginners or with a metal slide of real weight. Unfortunately, the price, given the sophistication and integrated software, approaches that of real firearms. The Subcompact costs 8.600 CZK, and the laser Glock ranges from 8.700 to 12.100 CZK, depending on the version (www.armed.cz).