Posted on Nov. 14, 2017 by VirTra Inc

Every day when law enforcement officials go to work, they are unsure of what might unfold. They may have a simple day filled with a few routine traffic stops, or they may find themselves in the middle of an active shooter situation in a local mall. While every officer hopes the latter never happens, preparedness and experience are key. While firearms training simulators do have some value, they lack the proper virtualized scenarios and de-escalation training officers truly need.

What is a Firearms Training Simulator?

A firearms training simulator is a bundle of software and equipment designed to teach police officers how to properly use their firearms without the inherent risks. For example, some firearms training simulators use real guns that have been modified to empty harmless rounds, and the officers simply fire at targets or objects on a screen rather than a target at an actual firing range. The goal is to allow officers to get more firearms training without the expenditure of ammunition, and without the inherent dangers that come from human error on the firing range. Though it is certainly helpful, it does not do enough to prepare officers for the dangers they may face on the job.

Firearms Training Simulation Benefits

Of course, there are many benefits associated with firearms training simulation.

  • Officers can learn how their firearms will react when they are fired.
  • Vests and other equipment can simulate an officer’s injury, which can help train that officer to think more quickly to avoid an undesirable outcome.
  • Some firearms training simulators allow for scenarios, which provide even further preparation.
  • Simulators allow officers to train around the clock, even during the night hours, with complete safety. There’s no need to worry about weather conditions as with outdoor firing ranges.

Simulated Firearms Training vs. Judgmental Use of Force Simulation

Though the benefits of firearms training simulation certainly do exist, these simulators alone can’t do enough to properly train officers. They cannot train officers to use their best judgment when it comes to using force appropriately, and they certainly cannot help officers de-escalate situations without the use of force. After all, that’s what a firearms training simulator is – learning how to use a firearm. Judgmental use of force simulation training takes this even further and presents officers with hundreds of scenarios (as well as scenarios users can create themselves) that can help them improve their judgement.

For example, whereas a firearms training simulator can help an officer learn how to hit a target moving toward or away from him or her, it cannot help that officer learn whether a situation can be de-escalated without any use of force at all. It cannot help an officer learn to use verbal and non-violent physical cues to determine the scope of the scenario, either. That’s why judgmental use of force training simulation is vital to any police department or law enforcement agency.

There is simply no denying the benefit of firearms training, whether it takes place at a firing range or via a high-tech simulator. However, these simulators cannot provide the same training as judgmental use of force simulations, which were designed to put officers into virtual situations they must assess before reacting. It is this sort of training that can inevitably save lives.

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