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Recoil Enabled Trainers: Coolfire vs Laser-Ammo. CO2 vs Green Gas.

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Tried out 3 recoil enabled training options for my Glock.  Laser-Ammo Gen 3 Glock 17 with Green Gas (propane with oil), Laser-Ammo Gen 4 Glock 17 with CO2, and Coolfire Trainer with C02.  

 

Laser Ammo Recoil Enabled Green Gas Training Pistol Umarex Glock 17

The Laser-Ammo uses Umarex (Elite Force) Glock 17 6mm Airsoft pistols.  These are Glock licensed products.  Airsoft are considered toys and do not have to be registered (unlike BB guns).  The frame looks and feels exactly like a real Glock.  The trigger feels exactly the same.  The slide is aluminum and the recoil spring is very light.  This is a VERY noticeable difference to the real thing when you rack it and the reduced overall weight of the gun is also noticeable when you hold it.  However when you add the steel gas magazines, the overall weight of the gun feels very similar to the real thing.  

 

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The Umarex Glock 17 Gen 3 comes with a Green Gas magazine.  You refill the magazine with an 8oz Green Gas bottle that costs around $15.  Green Gas is basically unscented propane with oil.  The oil lubes the parts and makes for less maintenance.  Green Gas is also lower pressures than C02 so less and wear and tear on the gun.  The downside to the lower pressures is that it has slightly less felt recoil vs CO2 which is noticeable if you try them out back to back.  You probably would not notice much of a difference if it was like a day apart or something.  

 

 

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The Umarex Glock 17 Gen 4 comes with a CO2 magazine.  This is an extended grip magazine, which I did not like since I don't have any of these for my real gun.  You reload the CO2 magazine with standard 12gram CO2 cartridges (about $1ea).  The Umarex Gen 4 uses a dual recoil spring which seems to reduce felt recoil some . Enough that the Gen 3 with Green Gas felt fairly close to the Gen 4 with CO2.   However you can use either magazine in either gun.  So when using the CO2 magazine in the Gen 3, it was a little more noticeable recoil than with the Green Gas in the Gen 3.  The Gen 3 with CO2 was definitely more recoil than the Gen 4 with Green Gas.  

Either way, its enough kick to feel it and cycle the slide properly, but not enough to really move your hand where you need to actually regain your sights for follow up shots.    

An issue I had was that the interface between slide and frame was not up to the same acceptable tolerance level of the real Glocks.  Also with my real Glock, you have to pull the trigger before you can release the slide.  With the Umarex Glocks, the trigger must be in the forward position to release the slide.  Also the slide release button looks similar, but feels different when pulling it down.  It requires attention and effort to pull sides of the button down evenly in order for it to release.  Also on the Gen 4 I had, I there was interference with the trigger lever, preventing the slide from releasing.   I ended up having to bend a piece of coat hanger and pull the trigger lever down in order to allow the slide to release on the Gen 4.  Not ideal.  This may have just been an issue with the one I got.  

 The CO2 magazine lasts for around 110 shots or so.  The slower you do it, the warmer the cartridge stays the more shots you get .  Each cartridge costs around $1.00 so that's just under $0.01 a shot.  

The Green Gas magazine lasted just under 100 shots.  I was unable to fill it up consistently (some times I did not insert it straight on and it would leak out the sides).  I haven't gone through a whole bottle yet, but I'm told cost is similar to C02 per shot.  One nice thing is that it is fairly easy and quick to refill Green Gas, where as with the CO2, you need a 6mm allen key to remove the old CO2 cartridge and install the next.  Also you can top off the Green Gas at anytime, whereas with the C02, you need to wait until the cartridge is completely spent otherwise you are wasting CO2. 

What's nice is that if you run out of gas, you can just swap magazines, and re-rack just like you would if you ran out of ammo.  Extra Magazines are around $50.  I tried a flat bottom CO2 magazine and it did not seem to work on either the Gen 3 or Gen 4.  

REAL Conversion Barrel and Vibration Activated Laser for Umarex G19 ...

You can purchase the Laser-Ammo guns for around $400, or you can buy the Umarex Airsoft Glocks for $169, and the Laser-Ammo barrel for $250.  For the extra $16 you could then use the pistol for Airsoft as well if you want since it would come with the Airsoft barrel.   

A downside to the Umarex/Laser-Ammo recoil trainers is that if you have lights and red dot or whatever on your gun, you would have to buy them for this gun as well if you wanted to train with them.  This can end up making the overall cost of the Laser-Ammo more expensive than the Coolfire.  

 

 

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The Coolfire Laser Trainer replaces the barrel and recoil spring of your stock handgun.  This is nice because it uses all of your upgrades and accessories to make the training more accurate to what you use.  It uses C02 to cycle your slide and the recoil is significantly higher than the Gen 3 Umarex/Laser-Ammo Glock with CO2.  It is not the same as real live fire, not even .22LR, but it is certainly a lot closer to .22LR than the Umarex/Laser Ammo trainer.  It will move your hand and you will have to regain your sight picture between shots.  For some reason the action seems slower than the Umarex/Laser Ammo.  Its hard to describe, but it just seems like it takes longer to cycle.  

The regular Coolfire trainer lasts only about 15 shots before the recoil is significantly reduced and fully depleted by 20 shots.  For all of the gas guns, it seems to shoot very consistent right up until the last 5 shots, and then it significantly drops off quick to the point that you would want to refill/reload as soon as it drops off.  The Coolfire uses a massive 60L CO2 SodaMaker bottles which cost around $25ea.  I don't know how many shots each 60L bottle lasts, but I'm pretty sure the cost per round will be cheaper than the Laser-Ammo options (ie, under $0.01 per shot).   With the Coolfire trainer, you can top it off at anytime.  It did however seem to leak down though.  Like practically gone after 30 min.  This wasn't a noticeable issue with the Umarex/Laser-Ammo magazines, however you aren't supposed to store them full though (not good for the seals).  

The biggest issue with the Coolfire Laser Trainer is that the pulse of the laser lasts too long.  Because of the movement of the recoil, you cannot get a single dot with the Coolfire Laser trainer, instead you get a vertical line 4-6" long (depends on distance to target).  If you use a laser trainer app, the app cannot determine where you hit, so it is totally inconsistent.  It essentially makes it very pointless to use with a laser trainer app if you care about accuracy.  It's completely useless for shooting bullseye type targets, etc.  

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The Coolfire Laser Trainer starts around $500+ depending on options.  If you plan to practice holster draw, don't get the optional Extend-a-shot (looks like a silencer), or the Quick Refill adapter as they significantly extend the length of the gun.  Since the laser is practically useless for laser trainer apps, you could opt not to get the laser and save $100 and just practice grip and recoil management.  Only issue is that to me it feels like it recoils forward rather than backwards (kind of hard to explain).  If you have a RDS or light on your handgun and wanted to train with it, you would have to purchase those for the Laser-Ammo gun, making it more expensive than the Coolfire in the long run.  

 

In my opinion, the  Umarex/Laser-Ammo Glock Gen 3 with CO2 would be the best recoil laser trainer tool to use with a laser app like Mantis Laser Academy.  

 

 

 

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Nice write up.  I've played airsoft for many years - gone through several Green Gas guns - the slide weight is always a lot lighter than the real thing.  Also - in general, the trigger pulls are much lighter.  Even with the weight of the mag in the gun - it's still just a bit different (balance-wise).  Still a great training tool though!

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