Blade-Tech, a company who is well known for their handgun, Taser, and accessory holsters, also produce many other great products for the gunfighter, trainer, or weekend shooter. One of those products is their training barrel, which were developed exclusively for the professional LE/MIL and Civilian Firearms Training Industry.
When I was searching for a training option for building clearing, non-firing movement drills, and introducing new shooters to a firearm, I had considered purchasing a blue/red gun. Though the blue/red guns have their place in training, they do not offer the realistic feel and function of a real firearm. In reality a blue/red gun is a chunk of plastic that is molded to simulate what a specific handgun looks like. Blue/Red guns do not have the functionality of a true firearm and obviously do not have the same feel with weight and texture. If you are going to train, train realistically. If your handgun has a safety, shouldn’t you practice disengaging and reengaging the safety throughout your training sessions?
Aside from wanting a training option for what has previously been mentioned, one of my training rituals is “dry-fire” practice. It should be in every shooters ritual. Prior to “dry-fire” drills, the individual performing the drill shall ensure that a magazine is not inserted into the handgun and both visually and physically check that their handgun’s chamber is clear of any ammunition. Once the handgun is determined to be clear, the individual should ensure that they do not have any sources of ammunition on their person, or around their training area. Once all of these tasks have been completed, the individual conducting the “dry-fire” practice should ensure that they point their weapon in a safe direction and not to point their handgun at anything that they are not willing to destroy. I could go on and on about how many checks and balances are needed when ensuring your handgun is clear, having it pointed in a safe direction, etc. However, time after time I hear about someone performing “dry-fire” practice and even after they think that they have mitigated any possibilities that their weapon will not fire, they still end up shooting something (TV, cat, wall, loved one, etc.) either during or directly after the training session.
Enter the solution. As long as you are capable of field stripping your handgun to the point of being able to remove the barrel and correctly putting it back together, you have the capability of switching out your “functional” barrel for a “training” barrel. The Blade-Tech Training Barrel is made out of a strong yellow impact-resistant material that will resist harsh chemicals and withstand intense training scenarios. The Training Barrel has a solid core which will not allow ammunition to inadvertently be chambered. And with its bright yellow appearance, there is no mistaking to you and to others around you that the weapon is completely safe and incapable of firing. However, while handling your handgun with the Training Barrel in place, you should still treat your handgun as if it were loaded and continue to only point it in a safe direction. Also, aside from the inability to actually fire ammunition out of the barrel, or performing full malfunction clearance drills (with ammunition), the Training Barrels allow you to have full functionality of your handgun to include racking the slide and performing Primary Malfunction Clearance drills (Tap, Rack and Roll, Assess).
The benefits of the Training Barrel far outweigh the drawbacks when using this barrel. Honestly, the only drawback to using the Training Barrel is having to field strip your handgun to replace the barrel. Depending on what type of handgun you are using, this could be negligible. Breaking my 1911 down takes me a little bit more time than my Glock, which I can have broken down and reassembled in just under 30 seconds.
In all I own three Training Barrels, one for my Glock 21, one for my Glock 19, and one for my Colt 1911 platform. At a cost of around $13.99 each, it is very reasonable to have one for each handgun owned. If I were to purchase a blue gun for each of the three handguns I have Training Barrels for, it would have cost me around $144.00 instead of around $42.
Available for the following handguns: 1911 (Commander/Full Size/Officer), FN (P9/P40/P45), Glock (17/19/20/21/22/23/31/32), Kimber Custom TLE, Para Ord (12/13/14/16) , S&W M&P (9/40), Sig (220/220R/226/228/229), and the Springfield (XD40/XDM40).
Click HERE for more information on the Blade-Tech webpage.