CoolFire Trainer: First Impressions

Ammo is starting to come back, but it’s all still super expensive. And that’s an issue, because I feel like where I stand to gain the most improvement is in aspects of shooting that require recoil. I can (and have) dry practice and really clean up my trigger pull, focus on building my grip, etc., but how do I focus on recovering from recoil? How do I practice tracking my front sight post or red dot through a recoil cycle? How do I see if my grip falls apart or stays good during a string of fire?

I haven’t been a high volume shooter for about 6 years now, and even then it was not that much volume. So, what’s a guy to do? Enter the CoolFire Trainer.

What Is a CoolFire Trainer?

Glad you asked. A CoolFire Trainer (CFT) is a training system that renders your gun completely safe from accidental firing of real ammo but simulates the recoil of firing real ammo. The system is comprised of a pressurized CO2 device that replaces your gun’s barrel, a replacement recoil spring assembly, a filling adapter (user selectable for a variety of CO2 sources), and various optional lasers, capacity extensions, etc.

My M&P9 with the CFT installed.

The way it works is that when you pull the trigger on your gun, the firing pin hits a button on the pressure chamber that releases a ‘puff’ of compressed gas out the muzzle-end of the device. The release of gas pushes the device backwards, ‘cycling’ the gun. The slide is cycled due to the forward ejection of high pressure gasses, which is what cycles a gun when real ammo is fired. It feels like real recoil because it is real recoil.

Each system is designed specifically for the gun you will be putting it in. You must specify what make & model you will be using upon ordering. New barrels for new guns you want to use it in can be purchased later, making your system compatible for multiple pistols.

How Will I Use It?

I plan to use it to track my performance under recoil. I plan on doing drills that will allow me to increase my ability to track my red dot under recoil. I will also be using it to try and train my recoil recovery (getting back on target faster).

What drills will I use? I’m not entirely sure. Right now I just plan on doing Bill Drills and trying to get better at holding the dot in the center and/or getting it back to center faster. Maybe play with doing Bill Drills under increasingly faster time constraints? Dry Fire apps are good for that sort of thing.

To track my performance, I decided to get a baseline reading a few weeks ago. I set up a target at 5 yards and performed a Bill Drill cold. I then repeated the exercise at 7.5 yards and 10 yards. These were the first 18 shots I had fired in about a week, so I consider this to be a good representative of my ‘on-demand’ performance capability. I tried getting a time to go with it, but the shot timer app I was experimenting with is useless. I should probably get a real shot timer for these sorts of things…

I’m going to try and use the CFT once a day for a month and retest my Bill Drill skills. Maybe I’ll have an actual timer I can use, or maybe I’ll get video of it that I can put here. Either way, I’ll definitely have a new target to put up, good or bad.

I am happy that only 2 of the 18 rounds left the A-Zone

I’ll have an update in 4 or 5 weeks [editor’s note: more like 18 months. Sorry, guys]. That should give me enough time to get a month of practice in and also get back to the range and see if my on-demand baseline has improved or not, and then do a write-up and real review on the CoolFire. Hopefully it turns out good.

Stay safe, stay sharp, and we’ll see you next week.


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