CoolFire/Walther evaluation day (August 4 2018) AAR


KR Training, in collaboration with Dvorak Instruments, Walther Arms, and Paulus Consulting, offered students an opportunity to evaluate the Walther PPQ M2 pistol and the CoolFire Trainer simulated recoil system.

The event held August 4th, from 9-12, was a beta test for a possible new research study, evaluating the relative benefit of the Cool Fire product vs. live fire for shooter development.

All attendees will shot a live fire pre-test, and were then divided into two groups. One group did additional training using the CoolFire product. The other did additional live fire training on the range. At the end of the training block, all attendees re-shot the live fire test. The data was recorded and scores compared to pre-test scores.

About the Coolfire product

Some video of the mixed CoolFire/live fire training part of the event.


Karl Rehn, Dr. David Paulus, and Albert Dvorak (CoolFire inventor) at the A-Zone.


For the month of August 2018, you can save $20 off the purchase of a CoolFire Kit by using the code KR20 at checkout.


Testing evaluated split times on two different targets (small and large bullseyes), and transitions (side by side rectangular targets). Each was printed on 11×17 paper.

The tests were all shot live fire, starting at a low ready position.

1) Small circle, 5 shots in 4 seconds.
2) Large circle, 5 shots in 4 seconds.
3) Transitions, 1 shot each L-R-L-R-L in 4 seconds
4) Transitions, 1 shot each R-L-R-L-R in 4 seconds.

Total of 20 rounds, 50 points possible on each of the 4 targets.

Targets were scored, and all tests repeated using a 3 second par time for each test.


Par times were set so that shooting a perfect score would be difficult for most shooters at the 4 sec par, and very difficult for most with a 3 sec par. This gave us some room for shooters to improve as a function of training (live or CoolFire) before being re-tested.

All participants used Walther PPQ M2 9mm pistols, loaned to use by Walther for this event. The guns performed well, with no problems.  Participants completed a survey form at the end of the event giving us their feedback on both products.


Full results will be published in a paper we’ll submit to a refereed journal.

Initial results indicated that those using the CoolFire product for the training block improved slightly more than those shooting live fire, running the same number and sequence of drills.   Our sample set was small (11 in each group) and the training block was only 1 hour — but the general trend is clearly that CoolFire practice offers at least equivalent gains to live fire.


I’ve had a unit for several months. I use it in classes all the time as a way to introduce beginners to recoil before they fire live ammo.  The laser works with all the different laser-based dry fire products on the market, for those that want that functionality.  I put the kit in my backup M&P (I have a clone of my carry gun as a backup) and the kit basically stays in that gun as a classroom and personal training tool.  Not everyone has that convenience.

Having an exact duplicate of your primary carry and/or competition gun is very useful, particularly if you shoot major matches or attend multi-day courses.  That’s much more convenient than unloading the carry gun, swapping slide and barrel, training, and reassembling & reloading the carry gun.

It simulates the full firing experience better than any other training tool, using your own gun, your trigger, your sights. You can practice reloads and draws with it. (Some holsters may not accommodate the laser that attaches to the barrel.)  C02 fill gives you roughly the same number of shots that a full magazine does, and you can get thousands of shots from a 20 oz CO2 tank.  Academy Sports will refill C02 tanks for $3.49, and they sell the tanks.

The biggest benefit of the CoolFire kit is recoil simulation.  All other dryfire options have no simulated recoil.  Reaction to recoil (pre ignition gun movement and followthrough after the shot to see the sights again) is the biggest problem for most shooters.  I’ve coached many shooters that can dry fire perfectly but will still flinch and blink shooting live ammo, or fail to followthrough.  This provides a way to get used to the gun jumping in your hand without the time and expense of driving to the range.

I occasionally do everything-but-live-fire private classes in students’ homes, either as prep time before a live fire session or for people that don’t yet own their own firearms but want to learn about them.  For this application, the CoolFire kit is very useful.  The NRA now has a no-live-fire lesson plan instructors can use for this type of training.

A few years ago when I finally made the improvement from Master to Grand Master level in USPSA, one of the key things I changed was cutting down on live fire sessions and replacing them with dry fire sessions.   I own my own private range with target stands, steel, props, etc, but it’s 60 minutes from my primary residence – and time is a cost of its own.


CoolFire kit (with KR20 discount) is under $400.
Tippman 20 oz tank is around $25.
One 20 oz tank fill is $3.50 (round up to $5 to include gas to drive to Academy).
A set of dryfire targets from the Ben Stoeger Pro Shop is $10.
So the minimum cost is $440. You’ll get at least 2000 shots for that investment.

9mm ammo can be found for around $0.20 a round.  So 2000 rounds of live ammo is $400.
The other $40 can easily be spent on targets, pasters, range fees and gas getting to/from the range.

What about cost for the second 2000 rounds?

Cost to do that training with CoolFire is….$5 to refill the tank.

Cost to do another 2000 rounds of live fire training is another $440.

Those serious about achieving high levels of skill, such as IDPA Master, USPSA Master or USPSA Grand Master are likely to fire far more than 2000 rounds annually, making the cost savings significantly larger.


To do live fire practice you have to purchase ammo, load gear in the car, drive to the range, set up targets, shoot the drills, reload magazines, tape targets, shoot more drills, pick up brass, tear down targets, drive home and clean guns.

To do CoolFire practice, you stick some dry fire targets up someplace you have a safe direction (much lower risk of firing a live round unintentionally with the kit, since it’s mechanically impossible to fire live ammo with the kit installed), shoot the drills, refill the barrel w/ C02, shoot more drills, repeat, until your hands are tired or you are bored and want to stop.

In my case, not driving to/from my range, doing dry fire (or now CoolFire) freed up 2 hours just from the commute, plus an extra hour per session from all the other tasks.

“But I need holes in targets to know how I’m shooting!” is a common complaint.  It indicates a lack of understanding of the process involved in good shooting.  If you aren’t ‘calling’ your shots (predicting where the shots will hit based on the sight picture you saw when the front sight lifted), you’ll never get really good with a pistol.  With the recoil simulation of the CoolFire, you can develop the skill to pay attention to your sights, at the moment the sights move, without live ammo.  And if you need the additional downrange confirmation, put the (supplied) laser on the kit, and either look for the dot using a target focus (not recommended, as this creates a training scar that teaches you NOT to focus on the sights) or invest in one of the many phone apps, standalone laser targets, or LASR software, to get that confirmation.

One big reason people don’t practice more is lack of time; another is cost. The main reason people don’t dry fire is that they find it boring because of the lack of recoil and noise compared to live fire.  The CoolFire kit is one solution that addresses all those issues.


A commonly misunderstood concept is that you have to have projectiles flying in order for live action scenario based training to be valuable.  Investing in Airsoft guns, Simunition kits and safety gear is expensive (one reason why many live fire instructors do not offer force on force training), and projectile impacts damage structures.  Wearing full face gear makes it impossible for roleplayers & students to read the non-verbal cues that come from facial expressions, and decreases the realism of the scenario simulation.  Non firing “red guns”, SIRT pistols, or other simulators can be used, but the CoolFire, used for this application, provides a very realistic simulation, with recoil, limited magazine capacity, and some noise.  If the scenarios are recorded, or simply if the exercise coordinator is paying attention, and the laser is used on the CoolFire kit, the student’s marksmanship on the “threat” roleplayer(s) can be assessed.  Even without hit assessment, the kit provides a way to run full context scenarios, with recoil and noise, in any facility, classroom or home — dramatically decreasing the investment required for instructors or serious shooters to expand their training.


CoolFire is a great training tool, particularly for instructors and those that plan on shooting more than 2000 rounds a year working to improve their shooting skills.  And it’s a great tool for those that don’t currently shoot 2000 rounds a year who are limited by time and cost.  It’s a way to do that training for equal (or less) cost in much less time – a longterm investment that will yield more skill and cost benefits the more you use it.








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