Dry Fire Training: Laser Pistol Or Laser Cartridge? That Is The Question

Dry Fire Standoff: Laser Training Pistol vs. Laser Cartridge with Your Personal Handgun

When it comes to preparing for possible real-world scenarios, there’s no such thing as too much training. For this reason, we target practice at home using either laser training pistols or cartridges.

Dry fire training is a great way to keep your shooting skills sharp and improve your accuracy both on the range and in real-world situations. Both laser pistols and laser training cartridges are great options as they provide visual feedback with each trigger pull. They can be paired with apps like Mantis Laser Academy that record each shot and provide drills to keep your training fun and engaging.

While both are beneficial for dry fire training, there are distinct differences between them. Let’s compare the two options so you choose the path that’s right for you.


Laser pistols, often resembling popular firearms in appearance and operation, are standalone devices designed explicitly for laser firearms training. These devices are equipped with integrated laser modules, which emit a visible laser beam (or sometimes infrared laser) upon trigger pull, simulating the discharge of a live round. Laser pistols provide shooters with a familiar shooting experience without having to rack the slide between each trigger pull. Thus allowing them to practice their shooting fundamentals, sight alignment, and trigger control in a manner akin to live fire.

Keep in mind that dedicated laser training pistols, even when they match your make, are usually much lighter and made of plastic, thus they tend to contain no moving parts other than the trigger. While the gun itself may feel familiar when held, you don’t have the benefit of familiarizing yourself with the realistic weight, trigger break or racking your slide to clear a malfunction.

On the other hand, laser training cartridges offer a more versatile and cost-effective approach to laser-enabled training. These laser cartridges are inserted directly into the chamber or barrel of your actual firearm, effectively converting it into a laser training tool. Compatible with a wide range of firearms, including pistols, revolvers, and rifles, laser training cartridges provide shooters with the flexibility to train with your preferred firearms, maintaining familiarity with your grip, sights, triggers weight, break and reset.

Additionally, laser training cartridges are particularly advantageous for dry fire laser training. They allow shooters to practice in virtually any environment, from the comfort of your own home with your own gun. Plus it will save a lot on ammunition costs.


When considering the differences between laser pistols and laser training cartridges, several factors come into play, each influencing the suitability and effectiveness of these training tools for individual shooters. One notable distinction lies in the cost and accessibility of the devices.

The current market for laser training pistols are in the range of $100-$1,000, with some exceeding this depending on how intricate of a system you’re looking to build. The higher in price they go, the more features they have, such as using accessories and offering electronic or gas driven blowback for additional realism. If you’ve opted for a blowback system that uses compressed air, then you’ll have to factor that into your overall cost.

Conversely, laser cartridges are relatively inexpensive and are widely available. The Pink Rhino Laser Training Cartridge is a prime example of a high-quality, high-rated training laser that’s available in the most common handgun calibers, and priced around the same as a week’s worth of commuter coffee, $39.97.

Without a doubt, both the average laser training pistol or the laser training cartridge will save you money. The cost per trigger pull is substantially less than an actual bullet leaving the chamber on the range.


Furthermore, the level of customization and adaptability varies between laser pistols and laser training cartridges. While some laser pistols come with no ability to accessorize, others boast adjustable sights, trigger weights, blowback, and other configurable settings. Thus allowing shooters to tailor their training experience to meet their specific needs and preferences. Remember, the more customization that you add the more costly this will be.

For the vast majority of gun owners, you may not choose to accessorize your training tool at all and instead opting to switch your accessories between the real firearm and laser pistol each session But that can become tedious as well.

Conversely, laser training cartridges offer a standardized approach, compatible with a wide range of firearms (caliber specific) without the need for modifications or adjustments. This versatility makes laser training cartridges an attractive option for shooters seeking a simple yet effective solution for dry fire laser training and target practice.


Regardless of budget, there are pros and cons to both options for the everyday firearm owner who wants to keep their skills sharp. When it comes to laser pistol features, it simply boils down to this: the higher the cost, the more features available and the higher level of realism offered. The primary benefits being the auto resetting trigger so you don’t have to break position between each shot. The best laser dry fire training systems are usually not the cheapest, but there’s a reason for that.

When it comes to the laser training cartridge, the realism with feel, weight and accessories is greater, however it falls short on recoil realism and auto resetting trigger. This is assuming, of course, that you’re not using your own blowback system in addition to a laser cartridge.

No matter which training option you decide on, the suite of MantisX training products can suit any training scenario, from dry fire to live fire practice. The Mantis Laser Academy app and our unique set of printable targets takes your training to your next level while providing you with valuable feedback.