Dry fire training is an essential component of improving your skills as a shooter. For anyone reading this that is new to shooting, dry fire training is the practice of shooting a firearm without live ammunition. It can be used for any kind of firearm. It helps you improve your shooting skills, weapon handling, speed, and proficiency. You can do it at home, with or without a dry fire system that provides feedback.

Although not a replacement for live fire training at the range, dry fire training is important because it allows you to save on ammo and practice important skills in the comfort of your home. You can build up your basic skills such as sight picture, sight alignment, trigger press, and breathing techniques. You can also practice clearing your cover garment and drawing your gun and presenting it to a firing position.

Dry fire training can also help you to overcome any bad habits you may have developed, such as the anticipation of recoil, flinching, or jerking the trigger. By dry firing regularly, you can train your mind and body to execute a smooth and consistent shot without any distractions.

Dry fire training is recommended by many professional shooters and instructors as a way to improve your shooting performance. The U.S. military, police departments, and competitive shooters all use dry fire training to become better shooters. Dry fire training is a low-cost and effective way to enhance and maintain your shooting skills and confidence. As all shooters know, shooting is a perishable skill.

Tap Rack Training Aid (TRT)

The Tap Rack Training Aid (TRT) was developed to safely practice dry fire and reloading drills with the magazine in place. It keeps the magazine follower positioned so that it will not engage the slide stop or bolt catch.

The Tap Rack Training Aid (TRT) is a device that allows you to practice dry fire and reloading drills safely and efficiently with your pistol or auto-loading rifle. It is the is the brainchild of Bill Rogers, a former FBI agent, world-ranked International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) shooter and the founder of the Rogers Shooting School, located outside of Atlanta, Georgia

When the magazine is empty, the slide lock or bolt lock (with a rifle that has a last round bolt hold open) will engage when the slide or bolt is racked. The TRT prevents the slide or bolt from locking back and also visually shows that the magazine is empty. It also eliminates the need for dummy rounds and the risk of introducing live ammo. It allows for continuous dry fire training without having to load or unload magazines.

Both dummy rounds and the TRT have their pros and cons for firearms training. Depending on preference, and goals of the trainer, either can be a useful tool to enhance shooting skills and confidence. They both have their place.

Dummy rounds are inert cartridges that can be loaded into magazines and chambered. They are used for training purposes, such as loading, unloading, dry fire and clearing malfunctions. Dummy rounds also have some drawbacks. They can be easily lost or mixed up with live ammunition. They also require manual loading and unloading of magazines, which can be time consuming and tedious. Dummy rounds cannot be used in conjunction with a laser training cartridge.

The DryFireMag trigger reset magazine from DryFireMag LLC is another popular dry fire training option. It simulates dry fire but is only available for a limited number of handguns and won’t work with firing pin activated laser cartridges. The only laser that works with the DryFireMag is the Smart DryFireMag Laser Combo.

On a side note, for dry fire training with an AR-15 pattern rifle, you may want to consider the Mantis Blackbeard™ AR-15 auto-resetting trigger system. It automatically recocks the hammer after each “shot.” The Blackbeard supports both direct impingement (DI) and piston-operated AR-15 platforms, both semi and full auto. It is compatible with most but not all AR-15 pattern firearms. The Blackbeard is available with an optional laser indicator, as well as an integrated MantisX® firearm training system.

The TRT pairs perfectly with dry fire laser training systems, such as the Mantis Laser Academy™. The integration of laser training will greatly enhance your dry-fire training. Laser training with a laser training cartridge provides real-time visible feedback that simulates where a bullet would have struck.

The TRT is available in 9mm/.40 (orange), .45 ACP (yellow), and .223/5.56mm (blue).

The TRT is made of polymer and is available in 9mm/.40, .45 ACP, and .223/5.56mm versions. The TRT is caliber color coded in high visibility colors, making it easy to see and identify, and let you know without a doubt that the magazine is unloaded. It should be noted that many magazines now have high-visibility polymer followers. For example, the traditional black follower has been replaced by a bright orange follower in Gen 5 GLOCK® magazines.

The TRT fits into an empty magazine and depresses the follower to prevent it from actuating the slide stop or bolt catch. It stays in the magazine and is not stripped out when the slide or bolt moves over it. To remove the TRT from the magazine, you push it out in much the same way as you would unload a magazine. With the pistol caliber TRTs, you simply use a pencil or a small tool and push the TRT out by engaging the small recess molded into the top of the TRT. The .223/5.56mm can easily be pushed out with a finger.

The TRT fits and functions in virtually any magazine in the appropriate caliber. I have tried them in a wide variety of magazines for different guns and they have worked perfectly. Minor modification of the TRT is necessary to fit S&W Shield magazines. There is a video on the Rogers Shooting School website showing how to easily do this using a nail file. It takes only a couple of seconds.

You can use the TRT for different types of drills:

  • For reloading drills, start with an empty magazine to lock the slide or bolt back. Then release the magazine and insert another one with the TRT. Drop the slide and dry fire at the target.

  • For immediate action drills (tap, rack, bang), start with a magazine with the TRT not fully inserted. Dry fire and when you hear the click, tap the magazine, rack the slide or bolt and dry fire again.

  • For standard dry fire practice, just insert a magazine with the TRT and rack the slide or bolt before each dry fire.

The TRT is available at dealers nationwide and online. I obtained mine from Mantis. They sell it in packs of three for $8.99 USD. The TRT is made in the USA. It is an excellent dry fire training aid.


DryFireMag LLC

Mantis Tech

Rogers Shooting School

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Eugene Nielsen

Eugene Nielsen provides intelligence and security consulting services. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California. His byline has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.

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