Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review – LaserLyte Training System – 9mm, .45 Cal Training Cartridges and the TLB-1 Laser Target Trainer System


Training: intended for use during an introductory, learning, or transitional period

System: an assemblage or combination of things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole

As I type these words I realize that the philosophy of “Training” is probably a multi-post series in-and-of-itself. Let me chuck that in the back of the memory bin to chew on a bit and focus on just this post and my review of the LaserLyte Training System.

One of my catch phrases with new shooters and students is:

“When you say the word “Training” or “System” - (fill in your own word here)what does that mean to you??”

That process helps me know what questions they are truly asking – which may bear no resemblance to the words that originally came out of their mouth.

For the purposes of THIS post, the skill set I am using the LaserLyte Training System for is my draw, target acquisition, time to first shot, movement with draw and weapon malfunctions – in this case a misfire or failure to fire.

The System I am using for this training is the LaserLyte Training System with three primary components – a 9MM and .45 Cal training cartridge and their TLB-1 Laser Target Trainer.

With the cost of 9MM in the $.30 - $.40 and .45 ACP in the $.40 - $.50 range, practicing the basics of draw, target acquisition and first hit can get expensive, both in cost of ammunition and in travel to the range. Honestly, I enjoy a trip to the range as much as anyone, but I have limited time and I’ m a cheap bastard as well. In light of this, I have constructed a “range” in a corner of my office that allows me to practice those all-important basics of draw, acquisition and first-round hit without expending a single round or driving a single mile.

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The cartridges are milled out of brass and have a stiff rubber/nylon O-ring on both ends. The muzzle end of the cartridges are slightly tapered. They have an exit window for the beam generated by the laser contained in each cartridge. Each cartridge is powered by three “LR626” 1.5 volt batteries that fit into a compartment accessed by unscrewing the rear half of the cartridge.

The cartridge is simply inserted into the chamber of either my Glock 17 or my Springfield 1911 with the muzzle end of the cartridge entering first. The slide is closed and you are ready to press the trigger and “fire” the weapon. The rear of the cartridge acts as a snap-cap providing relief for your firing pin. When the firing pin strikes this “primer” a short duration laser beam shoots out of your weapon. Its duration is long enough for you to clearly see where your hit occurred.

A simple “slap, rack and shoot” drill can be used to continue to engage a single or multiple. Or, you can re-cock the weapon, re-holster and begin again.

My only caution on inserting the cartridges into the chamber is that they really like the chamber to be clean. My Glock 17 had a fair amount of range time on it without the benefit of a good cleaning. When I first attempted to insert the cartridge into the chamber, it simply would not go. A quick tear-down, barrel clean and reassemble and we were off and working.

I did not have that same experience with my 1911, but it really likes a little loving after every 500 rounds or so, so it has a tendency to be quite a bit cleaner than my Glock 17.

Both cartridges have worked flawlessly to date. I probably have about 1000 “rounds” on each over the past six months – more than paying for the entire training system - cartridges and target.

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The TLB-1 LaserLyte Target System comes complete with batteries and a small screw driver to remove the rear cover to insert the batteries which powers the system. A single page of instructions is all it takes to tell the user how to get it rolling and how to use it. There is one little bit of info missing – more on that in a minute.

There 62 laser activated sensors behind the “target”. Each will record a “hit” when you press your trigger, “fire” your weapon at the target and it is struck by the laser beam. Your hits are not immediately displayed. Once you have ended your course of fire, you point your laser at the “Display” area to the left of the words “Laser Target”, fire – and all your hits show on the target. This is great to stop a shooter from “chasing the hole” on the target.

To clear the target, you “shoot” the “Reset” area just to the right of the words “Laser Target”.

Honestly, nothing could be simpler with this entire system! It is easy to use, convenient, easily covers typical engagement distances from 9 feet to 50 feet and is available on a moment’s notice regardless of time of day, weather conditions or whether you have a box of ammo in your range bag.

I did encounter a bit of trouble though with the startup of the Target System.

I put the batteries in, turned it on and “shot” it by just pressing the rear of a cartridge with my fingernail. I did this a couple of times then lit up the “Display” area and sure enough – all my hits were recorded. Lighting up the “Reset” area with the laser cleared the target as well – I was ready to rock!!!

The next day at the office I set up my “range”. When the Balloon Goes Up had posted a link to download some IDPA target that were resized to 1:3, 1:4 and 1:6. They were originally posed by Steve Koski on the Brian Enos forums. This allows me to simulate targets at 21ft., 28ft. and 42 ft. while standing 7 ft. away from the wall– all without needing to move to a greater distance. I pinned these targets on a blank wall and then set the LaserLyte TLB-1 on a stool beneath the targets. My wall looks something like this:


I was all fired up and ready to rock!! I “loaded” up my 1911 and just put a couple “rounds” down range. Then I went to the target, shot the “Display”


area . . . . nutin’, nada, zilch! Really?????

Recycle power, repeat above . . . . nutin’, nada, zilch! REALLY?!?!?!?

Replaced batteries, recycled power, repeat above . . . . . nutin’, nada, zilch! REALLY?!?!?!?


To the phone Batman!! I called LaserLyte – and got a human right out of the box! Very nice! I deal with clients all day – most issues are software related – most of which involves serious “cranial – rectal – insertion”. So I know what’s coming . . . .

Sir – are the batteries inserted in the correct direction??

Yes Ma’am. (I am polite)

Are they fresh batteries”

Yes Ma’am, right out of a new box.

Have you recycled power?

Yes Ma’am, a number of times.

Well sir, looks like you have done everything exactly right! I will email you a RMA sticker and you can call for a FedEx pickup. We’re sorry for your trouble and will get it repaired right away.

And . . . . within moments my RMA shows up in my email. And that was it, what a wonderful experience! The next day – off it went!

Sometime later – but I am sure it was less than 2 weeks – my unit returns. Honestly I didn’t check to see if it was a replacement or a repaired unit, I just wanted to “play”!! So, outta the box, new batteries are inserted, it’s placed on the dining room table, my LC9 is loaded with the 9MM cartridge, I “fire” off a couple of shots and then “shoot” the “Display” area – IT WORKS!! Yes!!! So I play merrily the rest of the night with my LC9 and the target, could not have been happier!!

Next day, to the office! I place it on the stool on my “range”, load up my 1911, “fire” about 5 “rounds” and then shoot the “Display” area . . . . NOTHIN’!!!!! @#$%!@*&%$#@%!!!!!!!!!!!

Recycle power, repeat above . . . . nutin’, nada, zilch! REALLY?!?!?!?

Replaced batteries, recycled power, repeat above . . . . . nutin’, nada, zilch! REALLY?!?!?!?


I am now concerned that I have “reached that age” . . . .

Just to show the lovely lady from LaserLyte I have not completely lost it, I shoot a short demo video showing her exactly what I am doing, that the “shots” hit the target, that I “shoot” the “Display” area and that I see nutin’, nada, zilch! I post it to my YouTube account and email her a link. And I wait . . . . a surprisingly short amount of time.

Have you ever noticed that some folks can just write a “cheery” or a “perky” emails?? This young lady (actually have no idea of her age – she writes “young” too) writes “perky” email, cheery email, polite email. Her “perky” email said that in viewing the video she may have the answer to my problem – the area seems very well lighted. (It is, I also use the area to film different training videos) the TLB-1 does NOT LIKE very well lighted areas, it prefers a dimmer venue. (kinda shy I guess). She suggested I turn out some of the lighting in the area and see if my performance improves.


They could have dropped a hint about this in their user’s sheet. But, that little speed bump over with, I could not be happier with the entire system’s performance. It does exactly what I want it to do, and has worked flawlessly.

The cost of the system varies from vendor to vendor. You should be able to find the TLB-1 for under $175 and each cartridge for under $95. So, total system cost: Under $365 – a buck a day.

It’s a great value, a great system and something that I have no hesitation in recommending as part of your training system.

(Full disclosure: e.IA.f.t. accepts no “freebies” to review. Everything I review, I buy. I figure if I’m not willing to spend my own money on a system, why should I suggest that you should? )


  1. I have the same set up, and concur, it is WELL worth the money! I try to at least dry fire 1-200 rounds a week using it.