The Pistolero Laser Training System – Gear Review

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The Pistolero is a laser training kit for handguns. It comes with these aluminum “spuds” that fit .22, .357/9mm, .40, .44, and .45. The blue one is hooked up to the laser head and trigger activator on a Springfield 5.25 XD(M), and the 9mm and .45 are on those versions of the same gun. The .44 is inserted in a .44 Colt converted 1860 Army, and the .22 is in a Kel-Tec PMR-30.

This is the $279 Pistolero kit. It comes with two trigger activators.

The calibers are color coded to the spuds.

This is the finger clip. It curls around your finger and you insert your finger into the trigger guard. The problem is that it is nearly impossible to quickly draw and fire your weapon while positioning your finger correctly on the trigger to activate the laser. It is like a good idea that nobody ever tried to see if it actually worked. It isn’t that the laser activator doesn’t work. The laser lights up. The problem is that it has no relationship to the way you would pull the trigger to fire your weapon.

The trigger activators themselves are clearly hand made from electronic parts. You have to take that circle off to insert into the other clip if you want to change the style of your activator.

The trigger clip is a little more practical than the finger clip, but it doesn’t work well on these lever type triggers, and even the cowboy gun was awkward. The Pistolero just isn’t a good product.


Robert Louis Co. Pistolero
http://www.robertlouisco.com/pistolero/

Occasional when we run a story a comment will come in from the maker of a competing product offering to send us a sample to review. This product came in from an email to GA customer service after the article that Guy Sagi did on the Laserlyte ReactionTyme target system. That system is $179 and works with a dummy cartridge that activates a laser target downrange. This system, called the Pistolero, is a full $100 more, but it allows you to practice with not one but five different calibers. Ammo supply is starting to equalize back with demand because Obama has had to distract himself with keeping his job instead of registering your guns in a twisted gun confiscation plan, but ammo is EXPENSIVE. You can shoot up $279 worth of ammo in an afternoon these days, without even inviting any friends. The Pistolero is made by the Robert Louis Company, actually located in Newtown, CT, and it is clearly a hand made product created for serious shooters. Robert Louis makes the same kinds of systems for competitive shotgun shooting, and this pistol kit is made with the same attention to detail and care. Though I think the patent potential is dubious, it is a great idea and a nifty little product that will allow you to practice your competitive shooting, reactive shooting, and tactical shooting with a laser on target, without burning precious ammo. At $279, it’s a little steep for a lot of us, but that is what you pay for a hand made product from a smal company that makes them one at a time.

Functionally the Pistolero works much like any push button laser that you would mount on your firearm, except that the laser is on the bore axis, not on a different part of the gun. This makes the laser pretty much true down to 50 yards or so with most calibers, and well within the range of most competitive shooting. Each caliber has its own color coded”spud” that screws onto the main laser housing. The laser is powered by three included watch batteries, and it is activated by a cord and trigger mechanism, similar to the activator switch on rail lights. This kit comes with two trigger buttons, one that fits your finger, and one that clips on the trigger. The spuds are made of machined aluminum and the captured ball bearings that hold them in the barrel are brass, so the system is designed to not damage your gun. You screw the correct spud into the laser head, set up your trigger, and aim your laser at whatever you need to practice on.

The Pistolero system works, and it is somewhat useful. What I am having trouble figuring out is how much skill will the product help you to build. Because the laser head of the Pistolero is connected to the trigger, or to your finger, it is impossible to draw your weapon and fire from a holster. And because there is only one laser head, it won’t do you much good in practicing something like a Cowboy Action Shooting stage, because you would have to unscrew the laser head for each position and re-attach it to each staged weapon. They actually sell a Cowboy Action set, but it also has only one laser head. The Pistolero, and the entire system, from a handgun, competitive tactical perspective, seems to have gone from idea to production without any real thought as to how the product would be used. Practically speaking, you can buy a Crimson Trace laser for your handgun for about the same money, and Chinese knockoffs for a lot less, and you can probably get them to work with a holster.

We love to support small companies with inspired products here at GunsAmerica. The Pistolero looks like a well made, hand made, shooting product that will save you some money, but crude clip on trigger pads aren’t going to improve your trigger game. They system is impossible to use with pretty much any kind of holster, and it costs $279. My cat loves to chase that little red dot, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how the Pistolero would improve your shooting. This product is unfortunately not a suggested purchase.

{ 11 comments }

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Gary June 3, 2013, 9:40 am

    Thanks for the heads up but I do like to draw and shoot and if you need it for self defense I that thing is no good. Please tell us what will work.

  • Peter June 3, 2013, 9:59 am

    The trigger is everything – especially on a DA revolver. An adjustable release behind the trigger that is linked to the actual break point would be necessary. – Peter

  • Shane June 3, 2013, 12:49 pm

    One one of the pictures you state “Notice that it says caliper, not caliber.” Maybe it is my eyes but I read Caliber not Caliper in the image…

  • Ken June 3, 2013, 4:32 pm

    I must say, it takes courage and character to write a less than favorable review for a promising product that may not yet be well-executed.

    I do feel for the Robert Louis Co., though.

    The fact remains, however, that if we cannot offer up constructive criticism about products, manufacturers will never learn how they can improve an idea that’s close but not quite there.

    Ammo is hard to come by right now. But so is money in general. And if a product truly doesn’t improve your shooting you might as well just save up and spend the money on ammo.

  • RAP June 5, 2013, 5:55 pm

    Without the ability to use with a holster, and the fact that the biggest problem most shooters have is recovering from the kick of the gun to recover sight picture and hold a tight grouping – I see any product of this type more of a toy than a teaching tool.

    IMHO

  • bob foege June 19, 2013, 5:49 pm

    As the manufacturer of the PISTOLERO I would like comment on this review.
    1. The PISTOLERO is not made one at a time but is a production item where a typical assembly setup comprises 50 units at a time.
    2. The PISTOLERO was not designed as a draw-from-the-holster product but as a practice/introduction product for new shooters learning, with their own gun, safe gun handling, sight picture and trigger control.
    Also as a Real Instant Feedback Training device for instinct and tactical shooters, using their own gun and in the confines of their own space–with the gun already out of the holster.
    4. As much as we tried we cannot be all things to all people. Other muzzle insert type laser shooting devices may allow quick draw practice but they come with their own limitations:
    A. a red laser burst lasting about 100 milliseconds is very difficult to see and requires the use of the reactive target to be truly usable. That limits your shooting/sight area to the target size–about 6×8″. The PISTOLERO continues the laser beam as long as the trigger is held down making shot confirmation instantly observable. For both the shooter and the coach.
    B. one must either rack the slide for each shot ( example GLOCK) or cock the hammer for each shot ( example 1911). After a couple of hundred practice rounds per session the shooter can get mighty weary and the gun starts to take a beating. It is also not good practice to snap a revolver–we all know that.
    c. With the exception of the no draw capability of the PISTOLERO one can fire thousands of rounds by just putting pressure on the trigger at multiple targets in any kind of light and any environment and shoot away. Doing so puts no wear on the gun and when the trigger is held the red laser continues to fire.
    You cannot confuse apples and oranges and the PISTOLERO fills a real need for many shooters if just the garden variety target shooter who can now dry fire at select targets without with instant feedback results.

    Bob Foege, President, Robert Louis Co, Inc

  • PT June 25, 2013, 8:20 am

    I can see the functionality of the product for beginners. Lets them see how everything is lining up upon their initial raise and pull. People who are already shooters wouldn’t benefit much since that is usually the first thing we do is check sight alignment point of impact. The craze of people always looking to buy something to make them better shooters will never end. In some ways, it DOES work (trigger jobs). But as we know, nothing substitutes live fire practice and continued training.

  • Diego Martin August 17, 2013, 12:14 am

    Thks for the detailed review. Since it seems to be a product basically for beginners, perhaps I should give it a try!

  • phrack November 14, 2013, 6:50 pm

    I run an open source project that aims to solve the target side of the laser dry fire training equation. Check it out:

    https://github.com/phrack/ShootOFF/wiki

    Would love feedback.

  • Muhjesbude January 8, 2014, 1:43 pm

    Just a reminder that most of you experienced shooters probably already know. There are several phases to attaining a skill level that makes you a likely survivor in any shootout. Never forget that static precision shooting is always trumped by dynamic high intensity muscle memory practice in real life firefights. I know a former Olympic pistol champ who can consistently put .22’s in the same hole off hand at 10 meters, but during our first paintball team fight didn’t even hit anybody in the high speed 30 second shootout, while he looked like a color sample from Home Depot!

    But you do have to learn the basics first and almost all shooter fail to properly execute the trigger press so this, in my humble opinion, would work as good or maybe better than anything else for that purpose.

    You quick draw people need to understand real time gunfighting tactics. If you have to draw and fire at someone who surprises you with a weapon already brandished and ready to fire–or worse, already spitting lead in your face, then how fast you draw and get it out would probably be a terminally moot point. With you losing the ‘debate’.

    In most cases a person of good situational awareness will have time to get his gun out and instantly go-ready before they make the critical choice to escape or engage. Total surprise ambushes notwithstanding, and of course, the ultimate advantage. But It’s probably good to also train with your pistol out with elbow and forearm across your ribs, with the pistol closer to your belly, sort of like you would carry the beer you were drinking when you are cautiously walking around the garage to see what’s making all that noise, and then spin and shoot at your target set at a sharper angle. Not many attacks come at you straight on. Notice all those ‘knock out games’ psychos wait until they pass and flank and then obliquely attack. Or directly snake up from behind for the ‘kill’ shot.

    So quickly turning and shooting more closely replicates reality firefight dynamics. By the way, there are people out there that can stand in front of you and if you try to draw and fire, or worse, draw to get the drop and ‘self defense control’ over the subject like many LEO’s do, who can take your gun away from you and jam it where only surgery will find it, before you can even think to say ‘oh shit’. Back in the days I used to demonstrate this at shot shows when i hear the salesman says things like ‘with this holster you can pull and drop them before they blink’. I especially dislike the holsters that pivoted for a supposedly advantageous response. I don’t reveal my favorite non defeatable concealed carry ‘draw’ technique unless you are one of my advanced students. It was developed and refined in the early 70’s in Chicago, when my cousin, also a tac cop, and i were standing under the L platform in civilian clothes looking like a couple dumb ass college students. The two bad dudes walked right up to us with a gun out and in the face of my cousin. I said ‘hey man! All i got is 20 bucks but it’s yours…” as i started to reach around to my back pocket for the wallet which was where my Browning Hi-Power was resting in my waistband, three shots instantly exploded exploded from nowhere right there surprising me as well as the robbers who both jumped backward, stumbled and tried to run. One fell from the first surprise hits and the other ‘obeyed’ my commands to stop after i rapidly popped a few rounds at his legs. (yeah, I know. we were supposed to say, “Stop or I’ll shoot”, but we were a little ‘backwards’ back then.)

    Anyway when i found out how cousin Jimmy managed to instantly turn the tables instantly with his three shots the perps never saw coming, I was impressed. He was a skilled martial artist at the time and no doubt this helped his ‘tactical awareness and preparation’ because we certainly didn’t have the training they have now. Most cops back then rarely practiced outside of the mandatory range visit and one box of shells fired every six months or so. That’s why when you see an old Smith model 10 police from the original cop over his career, the are in such ‘nice’ condition outside of holster wear.

    I still teach and use this technique today if i’m in something like one of those parking garage situations like those unfortunate people in New York not too long ago. Had he carried and used this discreet tactic, the serious odds would be that the robbers would be dead, instead.

    Anyway, I know cops have to draw on situations without firing a lot but NEVER do it within arms reach of a potential or in progress aggressor. If the rare chance of this occurs, like you are walking alone in a place and time where you shouldn’t be and someone somehow gets the surprise shock drop on you in an armed robbery, orders you to put the hands up and begins to dig in your pockets while his gun is cocked on your face, well, i hope you are more of a hand to hand combat expert than a quick draw artist. If not, well… good luck with the fast draw from your concealed carry position.

  • Bob West May 5, 2014, 1:04 pm

    Looks very interesting, look forward to good read :)

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