Between the pandemic languishing and a diversion/dallying with 5.56/.223/.300 firearms this summer, I’d fallen off the dry fire practice wagon. And like a good Space Wolf, I recognized my failings and resumed the practice of practicing with the Mantis X10 widget and the G-Sight ELMS laser training cartridge. Not too far down this revisited trail, the wagon wheels started to wobble and eventually fell off. Before I go any farther with this Oregon Trail-esque analogy and someone dies of dysentery, I’ll get on target and talk a bit about the death and reincarnation of the G-Sight ELMS.
It’s Dead Jim
I’ve been singing mid-level hosannahs about laser training cartridges (the praise losing some altitude due to the lack of accuracy of the G-Sight Gen 2 and its clones where the laser’s point of “impact” is always off from the point of aim), as they close one feedback loop in dry fire practice (i.e., am I hitting what I’m trying to hit). The G-Sight folks introduced their Expert Laser Marksmanship System (ELMS) earlier this year, and as also blogged previously I got my hands on one and was quite impressed with the improved accuracy. The discrepancy between POI and POA was markedly reduced with the new design (which incidentally cost markedly more than the Gen 2, but what price progress?).
About a month ago when I restarted practicing at home sans ammo, I noticed that the ELMS cartridge would intermittently fail to emit a laser pulse. Dying batteries? Nope, replacement with a fresh set didn’t seem to help. Perhaps the back cap switch was starting to wear out. I definitely wore out one of those on the Gen 2 model and eventually had to get a new back cap, but alas G-Sight didn’t have replacements for the ELMS at the time.
ELMS Plus… Something
Well, fast forward a week or so and not only did G-Sight roll out a replacement back cap, but they “new and improved” it with swappable rubber plugs. A prompt web order and priority mail shipping later, I got an ELMS Plus back cap.
Here’s the new cap next to the old cap:
Unfortunately the celebration was very short-lived, as the ELMS cartridge would not activate with the new back cap. A bit of cussing and fussing and some disassembling and I basically figure that it’s dead, run down the curtains, and joined the bleedin' choir invisible.
I dunno about you, but that spring looks mighty crooked, and despite my best efforts at straightening it out, it stays crooked. As Jerry Garcia once sang, mama tried.
Papa’s Got a Brand New Cartridge
Fortunately the price of an ELMS cartridge has decreased quite a bit since its introduction, and thanks to some Amazon credit/funny money, I got myself a brand new unit. It came with the original end cap which I replaced with the ELMS Plus, and it worked totally fine in a CZ P-10C and a CZ 75B, very much on target with respect to accuracy at 5 yards. In a CZ Scorpion EVO 3 and a Palmetto State AR-9, however… not as well, in fact, not at all.
An interesting solution was to use the back cap from a Gen 2 cartridge which fits the ELMS perfectly. The larger striking area for the firing pin made all the difference, and I’m making little red pulses of light. Since the “front end” is the ELMS, the accuracy doesn’t seem to be affected by this mix’n’match.
Back in Black
And thus we return to the practice of practicing at home, with the Mantis gizmo harping at every weak trigger press, while the hybrid G-Sight marks the dots on a scaled down paper target across the room.
Nature may be healing and ammo’s in stock again, but I am not writing off the ‘Rona by any stretch. Anyway, it’s a great habit to dry fire at home, as there’s a whole ritual of safe setup, handling, and takedown. And it’s still cheaper than live fire.