Posted on Jan. 28, 2020 by Emily Hatch

Firearms Training Simulation Using 3D Space and 4D Time

Imagine watching a movie in a theater. If the film has good acting, excellent set design and smooth dialogue, you may find yourself immersed in the story. But no moviegoer will feel engaged, as if they were interacting and a part of the action.

While this is fine for entertainment, it is sub-par in law enforcement training. Training must be engaging, communicative and dependent on the trainee’s actions. The expert team at VirTra has spent years developing immersive firearms training simulators that help teach judgmental use of force. Departments have the ability to upgrade the training environment to support a 3D environment by using props. Then, adding, moving or removing props as the simulation evolves can further incorporate a 4D time element.

Why Does VirTra Put So Much Emphasis on Realism?

VirTra understands that realism is the most important factor in creating a useful firearms training environment. Members of the military and law enforcement understand that gaining personal experience is the best way to prepare for high-stress scenarios in the field. While some teams gain their knowledge from lectures or videos, these training tools fail to prepare participants to make decisions in real-time or show the consequences. Further benefits of VirTra simulations include:

• Applied protocols in real-life situations
• Increased ability to make good decisions under pressure
• Heightened awareness in a dangerous situation
• Practice with judgmental use of force
• Freedom to make mistakes without real-life consequences
• Scenarios adapted to common circumstances

After sessions with VirTra’s training content for law enforcement, instructors can reap these benefits and more.

Creating a 3D Environment with 300-Degree Walls

The first step to creating an immersive experience for law enforcement and military is building a 3D training environment. VirTra offers several systems, training courses and simulators for clients to choose from, depending on their needs, agency size and budget. However, the V-300® system is recommended as the higher standard for decision-making, immersive simulation. With five screens spanning 300 degrees, participants can observe and interact with their surroundings and make decision based on those observations.

Adding 3D elements to the simulation increases realism by providing participants objects to hide behind, obstacles to dodge and elements they may find in the field.

Add to Realism with 3D Props, Live Actors, and Audio

A 3D environment requires props to be as realistic as possible. If an instructor is staging a simulation involving an active threat in a park, props may include trees, lawn chairs, etc. For scenarios showcasing indoor threats, good props would be desks and chairs.

Further adding to the realism is psychological fidelity, also known as the mental side of training. Psychological fidelity refers to how closely the situation engages students in the same mental processes experienced in the field. This can best be increased through stress, such as by adding background or distracting noise to make it more difficult for the participant to think through the situation.

Another option is to invest in live actors, thus adding a human element to your de-escalation training. Actors can help, distract or confuse the participant as they continue through the simulation, reflecting the realism the participant may encounter in the field. Each of these elements work in tandem to create a powerfully immersive environment to help participants practice judgmental use of force.

Incorporating the Passage of Time into Training Scenarios

Each scenario is designed by in-house Subject Matter Experts to maximize training while accounting for the fourth dimension: time. In the real world, bystanders and offenders move around, which is shown across the V-300®’s five screens. To mimic the passage of time, instructors can move props around the simulation space, taking away or adding as necessary. Now, participants can adjust their position to get an open shot, move the public out of harm’s way or conceal themselves behind props. This level of detail and on-the-fly decision-making is unique to simulation training—unlike with traditional training lectures and videos.

Unmatched Results of 4D Firearms Training Simulators

After training with VirTra’s firearms training simulators, instructors can analyze the trainee’s actions in a debrief. Here, instructors and the trainee can unpack the actions made in the scenario and the ensuing consequences, in addition to unmade choices that could improve the situation in the future. With de-escalation training taking place in a 3D environment, participants learn how they may react in similar circumstances in the field and how to prepare. If you are interested in a firearms training simulation for your department, contact VirTra for more information.

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