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Field Test: Dummy Launchers

Dummy launchers that will take your gun dog's retrieving to the next level.

Field Test: Dummy Launchers

To be honest, tossing a bumper at thirty yards for your dog in freshly-trimmed grass will not adequately prepare him for sailing birds—especially if you like to shoot the occasional mallard. You need your dog to learn to mark birds much further, and to do that you need him looking out where the birds will fall. The best way to do this in training is with dummy launchers. Here is a list of some of our favorites.

Retriev-R-Trainer: Handheld Launcher 

The beauty of this handheld launcher lies in its simplicity and portability. Retriev-R-Trainer (RRT) invented this launcher in 1965, and it is still a favorite amongst trainers. With three different load options in .22 caliber blanks, you can advance as your dog is ready. Close, simulated gunfire adds to the realism when using this launcher and is fantastic for working on steadiness. Maintenance is a breeze, and it is about as simple and user-friendly as launchers can be. Use it on land and water with a variety of dummies available to purchase, including streamers to build confidence on early marking drills.

Starting at $85; rrtlauncher.com

DT Systems: RDL 1209

DT Systems RDL 1209 dummy launcher

This remote launcher from DT will stretch your dog out as far as you’d like with a 1,200-yard effective range. You can also create any hunting simulation with an adjustable launch angle from 0 to 75 degrees. That means you can tuck it on the edge of the pond, behind cover or wherever you please. You can also work on doubles and triples because this rugged unit allows you to sync up to 16 different RDL 1209s on a purchased remote transmitter. With this unit, the possibilities are endless.

Starting at $420; dtsystems.com

Thunder Equipment: 500 Launcher

Thunder Equipment 500 launcher dummy launcher

The Thunder 500 is as reliable as remote launchers come. You don’t have to worry about misfires, and you don’t have to dread walking 100 yards to reload your single-shot every time. This powerful launcher is fully self-contained and offers up to five shots. This is ideal for those of you working several dogs, a specific setup, or anyone working on continual denials for steadiness. The utility of this launcher is clear and given the fact that all five dummies fit in one unit, its portability is a huge advantage as well.

Starting at $1,200; thunderequipment.com


Retriev-R-Trainer: Versa-Launch 4-Shot  

RRT versa-launch 4-shit dummy launcher

Another good option from RRT is the Versa-Launch 4-Shot. This launcher charges quick and lasts up to 80 hours on a single charge. The strong receiver stand is reliable and allows for custom trajectory angles on each individual dummy launch, making it ideal for those who want to work on a variety of retrieves. It can be used up to ½ mile away and is fully waterproof and submersible for those of you who enjoy training for waterfowl in the fall.  

$1,370 w/SportDOG Remote; rrtlauncher.com


Zinger Winger: II G4 

Zinger Winger II G4 dummy launcher

Zinger Wingers are truly unique in the launcher category. Their design offers a lot of options for training. You can launch cold game, Dokken Dead Fowl dummies, or bumpers all from this launcher’s catapult-like design. You can quickly adjust direction and arc, and with a remote transmitter you can download a variety of audible sounds to draw your retriever’s attention. There is also a special edition available for this unit that includes green powder coating and an improved multi-shot release system. Whether you are preparing for hunt tests or just getting ready for duck season, a Zinger Winger will work for you.

Starting at $350; zingerwinger.com

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