Aside from struggling to keep the rifle steady in unsupported positions, I am subconscious of the tendency for me to get just sloppy enough to introduce some bounce when the trigger sear releases. The only time I notice the bounce is when dry firing at targets, so trigger practice in the reloading room has always left me feeling unsatisfied. Enter DST Precision and the Gen 2 Dry fire, Focus, Adapter, Training (D.F.A.T.) HD.
Having not owned any similar devices, research leads me to believe the DFAT is pretty much the same principle as the Indoor Optical Training Aid (IOTA) that is sold by Check Neller, and homemade devices that the DIY crowd makes from scope caps. I elected to go with the DST unit since it appears the IOTA is only available by making direct contact with Chuck, and I was not in the mood to take on a project even if it only meant drilling a hole and gluing on a lens.
As for the Gen 2 HD, that was just dumb luck. Being of the deliberative mindset, I did the normal research and came to a conclusion on the DFAT. Bullet Central carries the unit and I simply could not prevent myself from validating my decision one more time before checking out. It was then that I noticed DST’s website had a note that they had just released the Gen 2 HD version. As far as the difference between the Gen 1 and Gen 2, DST says the visual acuity (aka, sharpness) is better. Since I found that IOTA/DFAT owners frequently add light at the target, I figured having better clarity may help alleviate some of that need. The Gen 2 also comes with 10 targets which they sell for $20 separately. In other words, I paid $10 for what is supposed to be a clearer lens. It seemed worth the risk.
The kit came in a bubble envelope. A small box held the D.F.A.T. with a lens cover. The targets, dual sided business card/range conversion chart, receipt, and information sheet were lose inside the envelope. All were in perfect condition. Shipping took 4 days, although DST’s site warned they were out of town when I placed the order.
I immediately noticed the lens cap is a higher quality than I expected. While not a big deal, I have lost my share of pinch caps for camera lenses so it caught my attention. The other thing that jumped out is the unit is void of anything about being a Gen 2 or HD. However, the box indicates it is the newer version thanks to a label that was added to it. I also took a good look at the threads since DST has a warning about being careful about installing. Based on the condition of the threads, I am guessing people just don’t pay attention or have had problems with bad scopes. The machining on the device matched up perfectly with both the Kahles K525i and the Steiner T5Xi.
The instructions say to set the target 11′ – 15′ away. I assumed that was to the center of the scope. Anxious to see how it worked, I dropped a rifle on the cleaning cart and then found I could comfortably get behind it and have a target 13′ away if I taped it to the wall inside the storage area. There is not a lot of light in that area so it seemed like it would be a really good test.
Using the Steiner, I was easily able to see all the targets with the parallax down. 10x was about max for the light in the storage area. The more power, the more light you need. What was probably 15 minutes and somewhere around 75 “shots” later, I realized I was hooked. I grabbed another rifle with a Kahles mounted on it to see if the target would be brighter. It was. With the Kahles, I was able to work the power up to 15x with it still being at least a bright as the Steiner at 10x. I am reasonably certain that with a bit of added light powering up to 25x won’t be a problem with either scope.
Taking photos through the scope is a bit of a pain (I don’t have an adapter) so I stopped once I captured a decent one. The photo through the objective is with the Kahles powered down and the target 13′ from the center of the scope.
The reloading room is a bit small for positional practice so I will undoubtedly be spending more time in the basement. I am guessing that I will also add in a light pack at the target as well. There is definitely something to be said for being able to use your objective and range your targets without having to go out in the blowing snow!
Overall I am impressed. Within an hour of opening the package I had taken a couple of hundred dry fire shots and was compelled to make every one of them count. Cost wise, it is absolutely worth it. The only gripe I have is other than the sticker on the box, there is no indication that the Gen 2 is really a Gen 2. Not having a Gen 1 to compare it to, I can do little other than to trust DST that the unit I received is in fact the new an improved version.