Laser Ammo Interactive Multi Target Training System (i-MTTS)
By Chuck Hawks
The shooters at Laser Ammo introduce their i-MTTS training system this way:
"The i-MTTS is an electronic targeting system for firearms training with Laser Ammo SureStrike cartridges, both red and IR. Using wireless communication, the set of targets will act out multi-target shooting drills to create a training system, or may be used as stand alone targets. i-MTTS is useful in practicing home defense, IPSC, tactical, or even combat training for law enforcement, while developing target recognition speed, firing accuracy and "shoot/no-shoot skills."
This is quoted from the first paragraph of the User Guide that comes with the i-MTTS set. You will be well advised to read the User Guide when you buy your i-MTTS set, whether you choose the single target set, three target set (as reviewed here), or the five target set. (The system can be used with up to 10 targets working together.) All sets come with four different target cards and the electronic base(s) operate in five different modes, so you need to understand how the system works before you start shooting with your laser pistol.
There is an i-MTTS instructional video on the Laser Ammo website (www.laser-ammo.com) that explains the system and shows it in action. For those who can read, the User Guide that comes with the i-MTTS has detailed and easily understood operating instructions.
All i-MTTS targets can communicate directly with each other for multi-purpose practice, without a central computer. Simply position them around a room, choose a mode and begin training. You can shoot with Laser Ammo SureStrike Cartridges in your own gun, or any recoil enable gun with red or IR lasers, such as AirSoft.
To get started, install three AAA alkaline batteries in each base unit, then insert the target card of your choice (supplied) in the slot on each base unit. There are three inch and five inch round targets, a 1/5 scale size B27 target (approx. 6-3/4 inches tall) and a 1/4 scale IPSC target (approx. 6-3/8 inches tall) from which to choose. The base units measure about 4-1/4 by 2-5/8 inches and are about one inch thick (without a target card). They can be placed on any reasonably flat surface.
Place the targets at least three feet above floor level and away from walls or other objects. Set them at least eight inches apart, but no more than 20 feet apart. (The operating range may be affected by the environment and surrounding objects.) Avoid using in direct sunlight or any other very bright light source.
Low battery power is indicated by a weak or different light color from the indication LED. The audible tone and indication lights will also be weaker as battery power drops.
Pressing the mode button sequentially cycles through the operating modes. Here is a description of the five operating modes.
Mode 1, Stand Alone: Mode indicator off. Shoot, then hear and see shots on each target. Each target will respond to any hit. There is no communication between targets.
Mode 2, Steel Plate Shooting: Mode indicator "A." A white light illuminates each target. Shoot all targets as fast as you can. The targets will light up red and then extinguish when hit. Targets will automatically re-set after hitting them all.
Mode 3, Chase the Ball: Mode indicator "B." Perfect your tactical training and work on transitional drills around the room. One target, at random, will light up with a green light for two seconds. Shoot this target. Shoot the green light as it moves between the targets. Hitting the target will turn it off and another random target will turn on.
Mode 4, Shoot/Don't Shoot: Mode indicator "C." Targets will light up green or red for two seconds. Shoot ONLY the green target that lights and move to the next random target that turns on green. Shooting a red target will result in a "penalty" (all targets flash).
Mode 5, Double Speed Shoot/Don't Shoot: Mode indicator "AB." Similar to Mode 4, but runs at double speed for faster and more proficient shooters.
As this is written (November 2016), the i-MTTS sell on the Laser Ammo website for $99.95 for one unit, $249.95 for a set of three, or $349.95 for a five pack. They are made in China (the PRC, not Taiwan).
Most of my solo shooting was done in my living room with the targets about 12 feet away and three to nine feet apart. The system is fun to use and it can be challenging, depending on how distant from the shooter and how far apart the targets are placed. Obviously, the larger targets are easier to hit, but I found using the three inch round targets most rewarding.
However, there is a catch regarding target selection if you are using a real gun with SureStrike laser cartridges. Since handgun sights are designed to account for the recoil of live ammunition and laser cartridges do not kick, their point of impact will typically be low. The lighter the gun the lower the laser cartridge will generally register. In many guns, the laser cartridge will shoot below the three inch target with the sights perfectly aligned on the center ring. A workable solution is to use the miniature B27 target and aim for the neck/upper chest area, which will usually allow the laser to register in the body area.
I tested the i-MTTS system in my home with the room lights on and it worked fine. I also tried it outdoors under overcast skies at about 15 feet and it still worked properly. (It would have worked farther away, but that was a convenient distance, given my small yard.) I was not able to experiment with the i-MTTS outdoors on a sunny day, as such days are few and far between in western Oregon in November.
Next, I set up the i-MTTS system in Guns and Shooting Online Gunsmithing Editor Rocky Hays' shop, which is much larger than my living room. Using a .357 Ruger GP-100 revolver loaded with .38 LaserStrike cartridges Rocky, G&S Online Chief Technical Advisor Jim Fleck, Technical Assistant Bob Fleck and I then had fun competing and playing with the system's different modes.
We found that, for us, the shoot/don't shoot settings (Modes 4 and 5) were the most challenging and fun. Rocky had a good suggestion: Change Mode 5, which is just a faster duplicate of Mode 4, to a double tap mode, requiring two hits on the same target to take it "out."
Everybody enjoyed their time with the i-MTTS. We all agreed it was good practice, as well as much cheaper and less time consuming than a trip to the range to shoot live ammo.
Incidentally, this GP-100 revolver is equipped with a red LaserGrip and, when turned on, the red laser dot did not false trigger the i-MTTS targets. When we put the laser dot on the target and then pulled the trigger, a hit was properly registered.
I later tried another .38 revolver with a green LaserGrip and the brighter green laser dot interfered with the proper functioning of the system. Apparently, the i-MTTS system is compatible with a red laser sight, but not a green laser sight, presumably depending on the ambient light and the intensity of the green laser.
Of course, nothing can replace the recoil, muzzle blast and satisfaction of shooting with live ammunition. However, the i-MTTS is an excellent indoor training system and it provides valuable practice at reasonable cost with maximum convenience.
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.