I met Andrey Safanyuk at SHOT Show in 2012 where he demonstrated his shooting simulator on a laptop. I wanted to test it out, but soon I realized it could not work on an Apple platform. Andrey contacted me this past June and told me that he had developed an iPhone app that worked with the iMarksman Laser Bullet. Given the lack of availability and the cost of ammunition, this product is a timely one in my household.
In May 2013, iSniper, Inc., introduced the iDryfire app that allows shooters to conduct dry-fire practice. Updates since the initial release include the addition of a par timer, an automatic start and reset option and the ability to store the shot history in a photo album. This innovative and inexpensive app works with a few simple pieces of equipment. You will need an iPhone, the app, iMarksman laser bullet, laser ammo, 8X zoom lens, tripod, a target, firearm and magazine.
This iPhone app is a hit with my son and me. We spent many hours sitting on the couch, shooting at a deer painting on the wall. I’m going to ‘fess up, my 12-year-old is faster than I am … but, my shots are more accurate. My son became so competitive (and wasn’t sharing) that we ended up buying another laser bullet and downloading the app on my husband’s iPhone. It was easier that way. Trust me.
Besides the cost of the firearm, the most expensive accessory needed to utilize this application (assuming you own an iPhone) is the laser bullet. The laser bullet retails for $100, and is available in 9mm, .40 caliber and .45 ACP. You can purchase the 9mm laser bullet and additional adapters to make the bullet compatible with other calibers and gauges, like a 12-gauge. The laser bullet runs on lithium ion batteries, which allow approximately 80,000 shots. The cost of the 8X zoom lens and tripod is fairly reasonable and can be purchased on Ebay. I purchased mine for roughly $20. The app (that retails for $4.99 on iTunes) can be used with SIRT training pistols (developed by my Top Shot buddy Mike Hughes, aka Superman) and laser ammo.
Using a striker-fired or single-action pistol with a drop-in laser device requires a user to charge the firearm after every shot. Whereas, the use of a SIRT pistol will allow for multiple shots without having to manually charge the firearm. This is important because any action repeated enough times will develop muscle memory. I noticed that sometimes, when using the drop-in laser ammo with a DAO pistol, subsequent shots didn’t always activate the laser. I believe that the firing pin would lodge the laser into the chamber just out of reach of the firing pin. I could remedy the problem by removing and resetting the laser bullet.
Set up of the iMarksman application requires a few simple steps:
- Place iPhone in the case that attaches and aligns the zoom lens with the phone’s camera
- Attach phone to tripod and point at target
- Place the laser bullet in the chamber of an unloaded firearm
- Insert an empty magazine
- Open the app centering target phone screen (the app requires low light or non-direct light)
- Push the manual start button or set the application to start automatically
I used the app effectively at roughly 12 to 15 yards. The app can be used to improve a variety shooting skills, such as drawing from the holster, shooting one-handed (dominant or support hand,) and shooting from a variety of positions. Purchasing caliber adapters allows this application to be used with a variety of firearm platforms. The app tracks the shot placement and any movement made by a shooter after the trigger is pressed. This is helpful in identifying shooter errors. Your shooting history can also be saved to track progress.
The iMarksman app is just the beginning. Andrey has future plans for further application development, such as iDryfire Tactical, that will have voice commands for use with New Balance of Speed and Precision Targets (tactical training targets,) iDryfire Law Enforcement Qualification app with voice commands and an IPSC iDryfire app.
My son and I liked to practice with the iDryfire app during commercials of our favorite TV shows. I’ve seen a big improvement in my skills and in his, too. We are anxiously awaiting the release of the other apps.