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Review: New Sustained Fire Training Aid - CoolFire Trainer

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Post by Oleg G on Sat Jan 11, 2020 1:30 pm

I recently purchased a CoolFire Trainer and would like to share my experience and thoughts on this product.

The CoolFire Trainer is a CO2-operated barrel that can be inserted into your pistol to simulate handgun recoil. Because this gadget cycles a pistol and resets the trigger, it makes possible multiple consecutive trigger presses. Thus, CoolFire Trainer allows simulating sustained fire drills without use of live ammo. To me the biggest selling point of this tool was that it allows using your own pistol, with your trigger, grips, sights, etc. I have tried other dry fire aids (an airsoft pistol and a SIRT pistol) and came away not fully satisfied because the feel and action of the simulator was significantly different from my pistol. Thus, I decided to try the CoolFire Trainer.

I decided to use the slide from my backup .45 and installed the barrel and the accompanying recoil spring into that slide. For me, an important part of this setup is the 2-piece full-length guide rod, which allows quick swapping of the slides.

Here is the view of the backup slide with the CoolFire barrel installed:


Review: New Sustained Fire Training Aid - CoolFire Trainer Slide10

Here is the backup slide installed onto my main frame.

Review: New Sustained Fire Training Aid - CoolFire Trainer Traini10 

You have an option of purchasing the barrel with or without a laser that can be attached to the end of the barrel and used with the appropriate targets.
I chose to not buy the laser for the reasons I will explain below.

I am using my primary .45 pistol with the CoolFire slide to train the trigger operation during sustained fire. For this, I mostly shoot two-shot drills on the blank wall. At intervals, I will shoot full 5-shot strings on the blank wall as well. And at even greater intervals, I will shoot the CoolFire trainer on a turning target. To simulate the training target, I use the Bullseye Timer Android App, which has a picture of the B-8 repair center that actually turns on edge, while the time counts the prep commands, and then turns to face, for 2, 4, 10 or 20 secs, depending on the chosen mode. I have carefully measured the size of the bull on the old Android phone I use for training (Samsung Galaxy 4) and I stand at a distance that is proportionate to a real B-8 target. (In my case, this distance is about 16.8 feet). I hang the timer on the wall using a magnetic mount:

Review: New Sustained Fire Training Aid - CoolFire Trainer Bullse10

To use the CoolFire Trainer, you need to charge it with CO2. The charger is inserted into the end of the barrel:

Review: New Sustained Fire Training Aid - CoolFire Trainer Barrel10

The tool comes with multiple charging options. I selected a 90-grams disposable paintball CO2 tank. You can buy them on Amazon for $12.95 for a two-pack. I have used the CoolFire Trainer for almost 3 weeks now and have not yet used up a single tank.

Slide with the tank and the charging adapter:

Review: New Sustained Fire Training Aid - CoolFire Trainer Slide_10

A single charge yields about 25 dry fire shots. However, I prefer to not charge the barrel fully. CoolFire Trainer has a very sharp and quite unpleasant recoil, which seems to almost wrench a pistol from your grip. I grip the pistol pretty hard - shooting live .45 rounds lifts my arm but does not move the pistol in my grip. In contrast, fully-charged CoolFire Trainer almost make the pistol to jump out out of my hand.

The recoil is focused in the wrist and does not lift up the arm. Thus, the tool cannot be used to learn recoil management but is very good for trigger operation training - moving the trigger!

Therefore, I charge the Trainer for about half-a-second or less, which results in 10-15 shots per charge but removes the unpleasant and distracting recoil. This is yet another reason to not purchase the laser - it has to be removed in order to charge the barrel. In my view unscrewing and reinstalling the laser every 10-15 shots will get old very quickly but will not add any tangible benefits for Bullseye-specific training.

A word of CAUTION for people with tendinitis (tennis elbow)!!!!!

Recoil from Fully-charged CoolFire trainer aggravated my mostly-dormant tendinitis in less than a week. Granted, during the first week, I was very trigger-happy! Smile
Once I figured out that I don't have to charge the device fully to get the benefits, training became much less unpleasant. Still, I would recommend to people with Tennis Elbow to limit the training sessions to about twice per week. The sharp recoil of the fully-charged CoolFire trainer is much worse than the recoil from a .45 Wadgun.

With this caution, I can wholeheartedly recommend the CoolFire Trainer to supplement a dry fire training regimen for Bullseye shooters.

Best Regards,
Oleg.
Oleg G
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Post by mspingeld on Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:38 pm

Thanks for the review. Could the recoil be controlled with different springs?

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Post by Oleg G on Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:39 pm

Mike, that is a very interesting idea. I am willing to try. Should I go with lighter or stiffer springs?
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Post by mspingeld on Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:02 pm

I would think stiffer if you want to tame the recoil a bit.

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Post by Vociferous on Sun Jan 12, 2020 2:54 am

I have used it extensively in a 1911. Bought it at Perry a couple of years ago. This is my take-away, as of today:
Pros: Dry fire practice is made easier because you don't have to rack the slide (or cock the hammer) between every shot. Does allow rapid fire practice and training for the fundamentals. It will increase hand strength because the recoil is significant. The recoil is enough to pull the sights off the target.
Cons: Recoil is not the same as 45. The slide snaps back very quickly, but does not push, like a 45. I didn't experience any shooter elbow problems, but I never have before, anyway. For me, I developed some very bad habits adjusting to the different recoil, that translated in to lower scores. That said, once i identified the problem, I used it to work on my shot process, namely recoil recovery; pretending it is 45 recoil and not C02 recoil.
It is not quiet. I wear hearing protection because it's loud. I have to fill up the C02 barrel every 15 shots; not too inconvenient, but nowhere the number of shots they claim you get with every recharge (the bottle is held upside down when charging). I've had to replace the seals/valves in the C02 bottle and barrel, but it took several months of regular use. And the last: I have no other place in the Raleigh area to refill the C02 bottles, (and you will have to refill the bottles often) than dicks. I hate dicks. I don't like to patronize dicks.

I combined my cool fire trainer with a mantis x, for awhile. That is a lot of gadgetry going on. I found, between the two, something went wrong more often than I liked, so I went back to plain 'ol dry firing.

Proviso: I think the cool fire trainer is a very neat gadget. I use it more now for action pistol dry fire, and in that capacity, and like it a lot. YMMV.

PC
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Post by james r chapman on Sun Jan 12, 2020 11:06 am

I only get 7-8 shots with a full charge
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