Safety first. That should be the top priority in everything we do as police officers—safety of the public, victims, ourselves, partners and suspects. But what about safety during training? Do we sometimes get lax or sloppy because we know it’s “only training”? Shouldn’t we be held to the same safety standards in training that we have on the street? Of course we should.
This is not to say that certain necessary risks should not be taken or that we should shirk our duties or responsibilities. Calculated risks come with the territory of being a cop. During training, however, those risks can be greatly reduced by the introduction of two products made by Blade-Tech Industries
The Pistol Training Barrel and Rifle (AR/M4) Training Bolt are tools that should be in every officer’s toolbox. The Pistol Training Barrel has been available for a couple of years and is becoming the standard for use during dry fire practice, firearms handling drills and role-player scenarios. The barrel is made from a high-strength, bright yellow polymer that is a direct replacement for your handgun’s actual barrel.
Simply swap out the barrel, and you now have your own gun to use during training that is totally incapable of actually chambering, let alone firing, a round, yet retains the actual functions of the gun. Before I had the training barrel, during dry fire practice I would make sure my gun was clear, use an appropriate backstop, check and recheck the chamber of the gun, and then commence my practice.
Even though I made sure the gun was clear again and again, my comfort level of the gun being totally clear was never 100 percent. With the use of the training barrel, I clear the gun, remove the actual barrel and set the training barrel in place. I now know that the gun is not capable in any way of having an accidental or negligent discharge, and I can commence my dry fire training in complete confidence.
Have you every used a “training” or “red gun” during defensive tactics classes? They’re great for hard use, DT skills training. But, they are expensive and have no gun functions at all. By dropping the training barrel into your own gun, you step up to a level of real-world training not experienced before.
Have you ever taken part in a role-player-based scenario and had to place either colored tape or ribbon around your handgun, rendering it totally inoperable? Imagine being able to drop in the training barrel, with its bright yellow color visible both through the ejection port and from the end of the receiver, and retaining all of the gun’s actual functions while signaling to others that it has been cleared and rendered safe.
Although I conduct dry fire practice with my handgun regularly, I’ll admit to being a little lax to do so with my M-forgery carbine. No excuses, just a reality. I’m hoping to change that now that I have been using the Rifle Training Bolt for the past several months. Just like the training barrel, the training bolt is a direct drop-in replacement for your AR/M4’s bolt.
However, it’s not just the bolt that makes it great for all of the same activities listed above. Attached to the front of the bolt is an elastic cord with a brass tip on the end which you run down to the muzzle-end of your barrel. There it mates up with a bright yellow end-piece which secures the elastic cord and is long enough to use with barrels up to 24 inches. The elastic cord allows for the correct functioning and cycling of the gun.
Between the yellow bolt peaking out from the ejection port and the yellow end-piece at your muzzle, both you and everyone else will know that the gun is clear and rendered safe.
The end-piece forms a sort of “cross” that does not interfere with the use of any rifle add-ons, such as lights or red-dot sights, and also stores any of the extra elastic cord. Once again, you can now use your own firearm to conduct safe, realistic training without the need for additional, expensive “training guns.”
As a firearms instructor, I can now use the training barrel and bolt to conduct drills inside the comfort of a classroom that previously would have taken place on an outdoor range with a proper backstop. Defensive tactics instructors can use the Blade-Tech Training Barrel and Bolt to teach firearms retention drills to students using their own gun, holster and accessories.
The training barrel and bolt are great tools for use not only during dry fire or small, structured classes, but also during large-scale active shooter response training or tactical team mission rehearsals. With prices of $13.95 for the barrel and $19.95 for the bolt direct from Blade-Tech, how can you not afford to pay for this small piece of safety? Richard Hecht has been a full-time deputy sheriff since 1991. He served 11 years with his department’s SWAT team, has been a member of the firearms training cadre since 2004 and currently works patrol. Hecht served four years with 2/75 Ranger Battalion and participated in Operation Just Cause in 1989.