By now, if you consistently carry a defensive or duty role pistol, you’re more than familiar with off-range firearms training. Pointing and shooting your carry piece at a target is one thing, but attempting to simulate high-stress firearms retention, scenarios, or demonstrating weapons handling with a group of people presents a whole other challenge in safety.
Every firearm, loaded or unloaded, presents a potential health risk for those involved as more external factors are involved (additional individuals, no clear safe direction for a muzzle, etc.).
This is an issue Armaments Systems & Procedures (ASP) actively addresses with their new Enhanced Drop-Mag Red Gun M17 training tool. Building upon their years of experience developing tailor-made law enforcement training devices, ASP has created products that are accessible, reliable, and, most importantly, safe to use.
Material Construction and Features
ASP’s M17 Red Training Gun is a true-to-life replica of the Sig Sauer P320/M17 model of pistols, with exact dimensions of the entire exterior. The slide, the trigger guard, grip, iron sights, and the rail are all true recreations. The thick polymer construction is specially made to be reinforced for repeated use in physically intensive training sessions. Like their other Red Guns, ASP’s M17 features a functioning magazine release and catch along with two red training polymer magazines. These magazines are non-loadable and solely used for building the repetitions and muscle memory of reloading the firearm.
The value of having a one-to-one replica only adds to the realism in training, and this is immeasurable. By having the correct dimensions of a real-life pistol counterpart, the user is able to use their same holsters and rail attachments during their non-life fire training. This both saves on having to buy any additional accessories as well as recreates how a user would normally carry their defensive firearm.
Ergonomics and Functionality
Additionally, a true replica firearm will naturally inherit feature the same ergonomics and comfort of your personal weapon. Objects that are familiar in the hand during training will translate to how you use them in a real encounter. As I’ve done dry runs with the Red Gun M17, nothing about it felt cheap or weak in its overall design. I’ve repeatedly whacked the sights on hard surfaces and dropped the training gun on wooden floors with no damage or bends to its construction.
The iron sights are durable and line up as intended. I’ve stated in my other review of ASP’s H&K 416 Red Gun that having irons or some sort of aiming device is a must-have in training as it adds context. Something as simple as knowing that your mock firearm was lined up correctly and your intent to shoot occurred simultaneously only adds to the realism for everyone involved. This is something I’m very much happy ASP did not compromise on with their M17 model.
My only real gripe with the M17 Red Gun is the magazine catch. While mags fall out very easily, the actual retention can be inconsistent at times. Upon first opening the box and handling the gun, I only immediately had issues with the magazine staying seated after a reload. If I aggressively punched forward, the magazine could fall out completely. The catch seems to be a bit finicky and there is a noticeable wobble when moving the gun around. However, over time these have occurred less and less. I do wish the tolerances could have prevented this from happening at all.
The ASP M17 Red Gun accomplishes exactly what it set out to do by providing a durable and realistic training device. I can easily see how this tool would enhance training sessions such as fighting for weapon retention, conducting disarms, practicing firearms handling, and demonstrating room clearing tactics. The only real issue here is the consistency of the magazine catch but all things considered, this is still a great long term investment in your personal defense training.
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