Just how important is it for law enforcement officers to practice transitioning between lethal and less-lethal tools? VirTra’s V-300® simulator was used in a recently published, peer-reviewed study in The Police Journal titled “Lost in transition: The effects of transitioning between firearms and electronic control devices (ECDs) on perception-response times (PRTs)” involving the effects and response times while transitioning between firearms and Axon® TASERs®. The surprising results of the study show that not only do officers not get enough of this type of training, but they also need it.
The study, written by industry experts Dr. Paul Taylor, Paul Sipe and Lon Bartel, involved a group of 139 active law enforcement officers who had their response times measured between firearm to TASER and vice versa. Officers demonstrated these actions through the VirTra simulator using rotating targets on the simulated range and firearms/tools modified for use within the simulator.
The results show that transitioning between the two tools is not simply a mindless task. It takes 2.49 seconds on average for an officer to transition from TASER to firearm and 4.7 seconds to change from a firearm to TASER, proving that the two are “not equivalent tasks.”
The study made clear that the results show implications for law enforcement training. According to the authors, 70% of the study participants were not required by their agencies to perform weapon transitions and did not appear to be fully comfortable with the task, with some having to look down at the tool they are drawing from their belt.
Transitioning through use-of-force options is needed as sometimes the force option required changes depending on how the subject acts. There have been high profile instances where the wrong tool was grabbed by mistake (such as the Daunte Wright shooting) that show the dangers of not being well-trained or properly equipped.
VirTra is the only simulation company that offers a certified Weapon Transitions course. Part of the V-VICTA™ library, Weapon Transitions is a 5-hour course that has passed rigorous review by IADLEST and received NCP certification. With changing scenarios that trainees cannot predict, instructors can use VirTra’s simulators to replicate a situation where they may need to suddenly go up or down the use-of-force continuum.
To read the abstract and download the study, click here.