When activated by the firing pin, the Bullite emits a laser ‘point-of-impact’ pulse that can be visible for at least 12 yards during the daytime, in poor light, or indoors on a reflective target. (Photo: David Crane/Defense Review)Anyone who uses a gun – from a sharpshooter with elite armed forces or a weekend firing range hobbyist – knows that training with live ammunition is the best way to improve and maintain accuracy. However, they also know there are also considerable costs and risks involved.
Although it is universally acknowledged that there is no substitute for live-fire exercises, military units do not train with live ammunition as often as they should or would like to. In both the military and in civilian life, the high cost of bullets for training can be prohibitive. In addition, firing live bullets introduces a stress element into training that can lead to tragic accidents.
Now, thanks to a major technological advancement by Israeli company Rovatec, US service personnel and civilians alike are receiving the training they need with zero safety risk.
Rovatec’s “Bullite” laser training bullet is a microprocessor “intelligent” electro-optic device shaped like a standard ammunition cartridge. When activated by the firing pin, the device emits a laser point-of-impact pulse that can be visible for at least 12 yards during the daytime, in poor light, or indoors on a reflective target. It does not alter the physical attributes of any weapon or affect the owner’s ability to draw and rapidly fire.
In the approach to training shooters, whether competitive or combat, there are two traditional systems, “dry fire” and “live fire.” Dry fire is a process where a shooter deploys his weapon without live rounds in the chamber and works on the mechanics of shooting by squeezing the trigger, but he doesn’t get the experience of actually firing bullets.
The Bullite is the size and shape of a standard ammunition cartridge that fits into the chamber of any personal firearm, from pistols to assault rifles and simulates live-fire action. This solves one of the main problems encountered by the transition from dry fire to live fire – someone can load a live magazine, forget about it, and have accidental discharges with tragic results.
The device was invented by a young Israeli soldier named Moshe Charles. During his army service, Charles worked as part of a team writing the IDF’s marksmanship training manual. Recognizing the inherent problems in shooting practice, Charles began developing the idea of the Bullite, and continued working on it after his discharge from the army, even as he purused a career as a chiropractor. In 2004, Rovatec was established based on Charles’ designs.
Former US Army career man Shimon Klein serves as CEO of the company and Charles, on a leave of absence from his chiropractor practice, fills the post of Chief Technological Officer. In addition, Rovatec boasts some of the most senior and respected combat weapon specialists in Israel.
“The Rovatec concept is to transform the way people train through convenience and a combination of technology and practicality that provides inexpensive, realistic marksmanship practice,” Klein told ISRAEL21c.
According to Klein, the first series Bullite laser training devices are currently in active use in North America and Europe by some 1000 civilian shooters. And since launching the device last year, the Bullite has been used by members of the US Air Force shooting team, US Secret Service, FBI, members of the Commandant of the US Coast Guard, elements of the US Navy, and frontline serving troops in Iraq.
He pointed out that an interesting phenomenon is developing whereby enquiries and orders are received from units and individual infantrymen who pay for the orders themselves.
“This is remarkable bearing in mind the average pay of a corporal or sergeant. This is one of the most interesting developments in the past few months, and seems to be gaining momentum,” Klein said.
In the US alone, there are well over 200 million privately owned firearms including more than 70 million handguns. Most civilian gun owners never practice or train with their weapons. According to Klein, if someone is in possession of a gun, and doesn’t practice, they are a danger to themselves and to those around them in crisis situations.
Klein explained that the Bullite allows trainers to observe the problems of the shooter and correct them more rapidly. While not a substitute for live fire, the device makes dry fire more efficient and represents a tremendous cost efficiency.
The Bullite also makes target practice safer. One of the important features of the Bullite is the safety pipe, which screws through the barrel into the Bullite which is seated in the chamber. With the highly visible orange safety nut in place and the safety pipe in the barrel, there is no risk of a live round seated in the chamber.
For security personnel such as customs agents and law enforcement officers it is impossible to use live ammunition in the course of their work simply to maintain their skills. In this situation they are able to use the Bullite to practice anywhere and sharpen their skills so that when they are faced with highly stressful situations they can be accurate and not present a danger to innocent bystanders.
The Bullite is also used by highly trained persons in Force On Force (FOF) scenarios which simulate or depict realistic scenarios using service firearms. Usually when teams simulating terrorists or troops begin their assault, the emphasis is so much on safety that the training suffers as a result. With the Bullite training, the troops are able to focus on their shooting because of the absence of danger.
Last year, Rovatec demonstrated the Bullite at the Shot Show in Las Vegas, the world’s largest trade show for hunting, military and law enforcement materials.
“We were swamped with journalist interviews and people wanting a chance to shoot with the Bullite and experience the concept first hand,” said Klein.
Last month Rovatec completed the second production series of the Bullite and are in the process of implementing a range of technology upgrades based on the results seen with various weapons. Production of the Bullite is now in progress for M-16s, 223s, 556s and 762s and the 308 Winchester, which will also feature safety pipes and safety nuts.
The plan for 2006, Klein said, is to go into mass production. “We have set a large production target and we are simultaneously developing relationships with retail distribution agencies such as large ammunition and hardware stores in North America. At present distribution is done in Europe by catalogue.”
Tremendous budget pressures in the military and police departments all over the world limit the efficiency of training marksman. When personnel go to the firing range they are given only two dozen rounds. Economically, at $180 per 10,000 shots, the Bullite can allow far more generosity on the training field, and can produce more expert marksmen to keep Americans safe, said Klein.
“Rovatec’s focus is to rapidly bring to market advanced marksmanship training products and services for the military, for law enforcement community, and for civilian shooters globally.”
(Based on an article in ‘Jane’s Monitor’)