Originally developed in 2015, the newly redesigned and improved AimWell Laser Target System was re-released a few months ago after over a year of testing and beta trials.
The laser training system is designed to allow you to practice your marksmanship anywhere. Batteries are pre-installed in each of the three targets, as well as in the laser pistol, which is a replica of a Glock 17. You also have the option of purchasing an in-bore laser insert for use with your own pistol.
The targets and laser pistol or in-bore laser insert wirelessly connect to software that you download to your computer. A receiver, which plugs into the USB port on your computer, makes that connection. No Internet connection is required.
Here’s how it works: The AimWell targets react with sound when they come in contact with the laser beam sent out by the integrated laser pistol or the in-bore laser. Their system is proprietary, meaning you cannot use just any laser to make the targets/software react. When the beam hits the target, sensors in the target send a “hit” signal to your computer. If you’re working on a timed drill, the software knows how many repetitions you are shooting and times it accordingly, displaying your time at the end of each drill. The system will store your times until you close out of the application, so you can watch your times improve as you train.
The pistol has a brightly colored orange slide so that it won’t ever be confused with an actual pistol. It is properly weighted and will fit in a Glock 17 holster for draw-and-shoot drills. The magazine is removable, and you can buy additional mags if you want to practice magazine changes during shoot-and-move drills.
The trigger pull is nearly identical to that of a Glock 17, which contributes to the realism of the system. Because the laser fires on every trigger pull, you can see immediately where your shot went, hit or miss. The pistol’s replaceable batteries are good for over a quarter of a million trigger pulls.
The in-bore laser insert, for use with your own pistol, comes with an assortment of O-rings and a tiny hex-key to properly fit calibers from .38 to .45 ACP. (One caveat: Depending on your pistol, you may have to rack the slide each time you want to shoot at a target. Check your owner’s manual as well as the instructions on the AimWell website to see if your pistol is compatible with the in-bore laser).
The system’s software stores your data so you can work on improving your reaction time. The drills are voice prompted, and when you hit the target, it sounds as if you’d shot a steel plate with a real bullet, making it both satisfying and fun. If you choose not to use the software, you can still use the laser pistol to hit the targets, but you won’t have the voice prompts, the sound of steel, or your timing statistics.
Currently, the software is only available in a PC version, but a Mac version is in development and is expected to be available in the very near future. Installation was a simple as plugging in the flash drive into my laptop; the software did the rest. Setting up this system is simple, even if you are computer-challenged. I was able to set up the system on my laptop, as well as on my Microsoft Surface for easy portability.
Three targets come with the system; you can purchase an infinite number of additional targets to add to your system. The targets measure 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches, so you can place them in various locations throughout your home or outside, wherever you decide to train that particular day. You also can temporarily affix the targets to walls with the included mounting strips.
The receiver in your USB port picks up any targets in range and adds them to your drills. I had targets set up over 40 feet from the receiver and my shots were still registering—this was indoors with a wall in between the target and receiver. Outdoors and unobstructed, the system was registering shots at just over 40 yards for me; it may go farther.
The AimWell software is regularly updated and registered users will receive notifications that will alert the user that a new update is available. According to the manufacturer, for the foreseeable future all software updates will be provided at no charge to the user. The developer is working on an update that will allow historical data to be stored in the program. Currently your times are deleted when you close out the program. I love that change, because knowing previous times will enable shooters to learn how their speed and agility improved over time.
Currently the system contains 4 drills:
Bill Drill: This drill is designed to time the shooter drawing the gun from a holster or picking it up from a tabletop or any stationary position. The user shoots at single target six times. The software randomizes which particular target lights up, which indicates that it is the one to shoot at, each drill session.
Defend Attack: This drill simulates multiple attackers at one time. You are timed on how quickly you hit each of the three targets when they light up simultaneously.
Chase the Ball: This random target drill measures the time it takes you to hit each target as it lights up. You can specify how many targets you’d like in a cycle.
Freestyle: Here you engage as many or as few targets in your preferred order, as you’d like.
Each drill is fun and offers the ability to train with a partner, which makes training both competitive and entertaining. New drills are being integrated into software updates and will be available for download from the manufacturer.
I found that the AimWell is a legitimate laser training system, not a toy. While it may feel like you’re playing a game, you’re actually working on your trigger and marksmanship skills. As a firearm instructor, I’m eager to bring this to my next NRA Women on Target Clinic; I think it’ll be an essential tool for teaching the fundamentals, especially to a new shooter who lacks confidence. It’s the type of system that a shooter can grow into, from shooting basics to a home invasion drill, as they progress in their training.
The only downside I found with this system is lack of blowback/recoil. Then again, you don’t feel recoil when dry firing an actual firearm. It’s just the nature of training with a laser.
I loved the portability and flexibility of this system. I could use it with the software, or without, and still gain real-time feedback as to where my shots were hitting. I look forward to training with AimWell and improving my speed and accuracy, as well as using it in the classroom as a teaching aid for my students. You can keep up with what’s new by following AimWell on social media: @aimwelltargets.
Three laser-activated 7.5 x 4.5 x 2.5-inch targets (batteries pre-installed)
One laser pistol with removable magazine
Allen key for sight adjustment
Six adhesive strips for wall-mounting the targets
1 USB flash drive containing AimWell installation software
1 USB receiver that wirelessly connects the software to the targets
MSRP: $599 with laser pistol; $499 with in-bore laser insert