Realistic training is the obvious ideal for training officers to handle the different calls they might experience. Knowing how to draw and handle the weapons on their belt, knowing when or if they even need to draw their weapon, and being able to accurately use their weapons are all situations where realistic training would help to improve officer performance. This training can be executed in a few ways such as live role-playing or virtual scenario training.


Realistic Training with VirTra

VirTra helps prepare officers for the real-world by offering them a true-to-life experience within our virtual simulators. With four different simulator size options, ranging from one screen to five screens, our five-screen V-300® is our most immersive, realistic experience for training.

Additionally, each simulator is a comprehensive decision-making tool and equipped with our nationally-certified V-VICTA® curriculum that covers topics such as Active Threat/Active Killer, Injured Officer Handgun Manipulation, De-Escalation, and more. The scenarios for each topic are professionally-produced with real actors – departments even have the option to insert locations from their own communities in order to have a more accurate training experience!

We even provide a realistic firearm and less lethal weapon experience with our drop-in CO2 recoil kits and laser-based CEW device cartridges that fit into live handles. When weapons are utilized within the scenarios, the on-screen characters react accordingly, helping to teach officers the results of their different actions.


Training Through Stress

Not only does realistic training with a simulator help officers experience different situations but it also exposes officers to those situations in a stress-inducing environment similar to the one they might experience on an actual call.

A study done by R.R.D Oudejans states that “Reality-based practice under pressure improves handgun shooting performance of police officers” ¹. VirTra helps accomplish this by providing a fully immersive experience that requires officers to keep their head on a swivel and practice their situational awareness skills.

They also have the option of wearing our stress inoculation device, the V-THREAT-FIRE®, which simulates consequences within the scenarios such as gunshots and dog bites. With both of these training factors, the pressure is on and with that pressure can come improved performance and confidence for officers.

If you want to learn more about receiving realistic training for your department, contact a VirTra specialist.



  1. Reality-based practice under pressure improves handgun shooting performance of police officers’

R.R.D. OUDEJANS; Ergonomics; Vol 51 No. 3; March 2008

Originally Published in IADLEST Magazine

Think about when you first became a law enforcement officer—whether it was a few years ago or decades. Either way, few officers had Red Dot Optics/Sights (RDS) mounted on their duty sidearms. But as time has gone on, technology has advanced and evolved to bring modern officers a tool that produces increased accuracy in the field. As such, pistol mounted RDS are becoming increasingly popular and departments everywhere are discussing the accessory.

A simple Google search will display dozens of departments nationwide who have made the switch to RDS, and often, their means of purchase. Since RDS isn’t exactly a cheap accessory—accuracy is critical, so understandably quality materials and precision cost more—some departments have to get creative with finding funds, whether it be through a fundraiser, donation or grant. This goes to show the dedication departments have to improving their officer’s abilities in the field.

So why do departments care so much about RDS? Simply stated, RDS allows officers to focus on the threat while overlaying the dot on its intended point of impact. It is easier, quicker and more accurate, making it a valuable tool to decrease liability in officer involved shootings. But as with any new technology, before jumping in, departments must fully understand both the transition from iron sights to RDS, as well as the pros and cons of this accessory.

To begin, the pistol mounted RDS was originated and popularized by Aimpoint®, which offers several models and versions, depending on the specific need. Differences can include MOA dot size, night vision settings, weight, submersible abilities, length and more—providing departments with the best accessories to fit their officer’s jobs. However, with all of these abilities comes a learning curve. The learning curve will be especially steep for veteran officers who have spent their careers relying on iron sights. It becomes a matter of learning to rely and familiarize oneself with a new sighting system. This, in addition to cost of new equipment and training, are the biggest cons to RDS.

That said, the pros to RDS are substantial. Some of the most notable are:

  • A pronounced jump in accuracy and passing scores for new recruits
  • Ability to aim with both eyes open, increasing situational awareness while reducing cross-dominance eye issues
  • Aid in shooter diagnostics, particularly isolation of the trigger

While the RDS is revolutionary, it does not replace the already-established fundamentals all officers know and were trained on. Stance, grip, trigger control and follow-through do not change, so officers simply need training on using the accessory. This reduces the learning curve to just learning the accessory, not having to change or relearn anything previously taught by instructors or the academy.

To aid in easing the learning curve, while also increasing one’s familiarity and expertise with the accessory, VirTra created a 4-hour nationally-certified course on the pistol mounted RDS. Titled “Red Dot Optic Training & Sustainment,” this course was created in collaboration with Victory First® utilizing the Acro P-2 by Aimpoint®. Instructors receive all materials needed to teach the course, such as pre-tests, surveys, rosters, instructor’s manual and, best of all, 21 training drills that are compatible with VirTra simulators to test the officer’s knowledge and RDS skill.

After all, classroom teaching can only get an officer so far. Extensive range training—whether it be on a physical range or virtual—allows for increased practice and familiarity that easily transitions to the field. VirTra’s virtual range is especially beneficial, as instructors can easily provide range training with the RDS right there in the classroom. Gone are the days of expensive marksmanship training, or that done with iron sights.

Since Pistol mounted RDS is a relatively new technology, your department may not utilize it, or at least not completely. But as your department transitions and modernizes, to ensure your officers are properly trained on this accessory, remember to train with nationally-certified materials. “Red Dot Optic Training & Sustainment” can help your department, no matter the size, unique difficulties or learning curve. Now is the time to embrace new technology, implement it and stay two steps ahead.

During and after the pandemic, people became much more aware of how many disease can spread. Mitigating the spread of disease as a first responder goes beyond just COVID-19. Officers are in close contact with many people, and any of them could – knowingly or unknowingly – have an infectious disease.

Understanding the diseases and sicknesses that are at the highest risk for law enforcement officers to obtain is the start. Officers also benefit from understanding how diseases can spread and what the signs and symptoms are.

VirTra’s “Infectious Diseases” course provides 4 hours of material for officers to learn from. There are also 3 associated scenarios to help officers practice interactions.


Common Diseases and Infections

Disease can be caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, or fungi. Viral infections are a common way for first responders to become sick due to contact with the public. HIV, tuberculosis, COVID-19, hepatitis, and the common cold are some examples of viruses obtained through direct or indirect contact.

To become infected with a virus/bacteria, typically one of the following contacts have occurred:

  • Exposed to the saliva or respiratory droplets of an infected person. This can happen when the person coughs, sneezes, or even speaks loudly in close proximity. Tuberculosis and COVID-19 may spread in this manner.
  • Contact with the blood, urine, or excrement of an infected person. This occurs when a person encounters an unclean environment that contains traces of the listed substances. It can also happen if pricked with a needle used by a person with the disease or if these substances come in contact with an open wound. Hepatitis and HIV may be spread this way.
  • Contact with an animal carrying the virus. A scratch or bite that exposes you to the saliva can transfer a viral infection. Rabies is a virus spread in this manner. Animal excrement may also carry disease.
  • Consuming contaminated food may lead to both viral or bacterial diseases. E. coli and some Hepatitis variants may be obtained through contaminated or expired food.

The list above is certainly not exhaustive. Some organisms may even linger on objects that were handled by someone with a virus. This is why it is important to take reasonable precautions if there is a risk of becoming ill.


Preventing the Spread of Diseases

While it is not always foolproof, there are several ways to greatly mitigate the spread of disease. Decreasing the risk of infection can be as simple as washing your hands or avoiding touching your nose and mouth.

Washing your hands frequently – not just when you believe you have touched a sick person – is important. If you unconsciously touch your face with unclean hands or eat without washing them, you could pick up an organism. Make sure your hands are either thoroughly washed with soap, or that you use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Using personal protective equipment (PPE) may be necessary to avoid contact with contaminated surfaces or airborne particles. Gloves, face masks, and eye protection are some examples of PPE that can be used on the field if needed. N-95-rated masks may be required for specific organisms to be effective.

It is also recommended that you stay home if you feel ill. You may have a weak immune system and expose yourself to other viruses, plus you may spread a virus to other colleagues. If you are predisposed to infection or have a weakened immune system, taking more precautions helps you better prepare for possible exposure to germs.


VirTra’s Infectious Diseases Simulated Scenarios

Our V-VICTA® course, Infectious Diseases, allows not only for classroom learning, but for real world practice. Some scenarios deal with an individual coughing, letting the officer decide how to handle the situation while protecting themselves. Another deals with irate people who do not wish to comply with a business’ PPE rules.

The scenarios help supplement the learning of this important topic. The course comes with an entire manual containing instructor guides, note taking materials, tests, scoring rubrics, and more. Even better? When the course is completed, students receive a certificate of completion and earn NCP credit.

If you are interested in VirTra’s coursework and want to learn how to incorporate it into your agency’s training regime, contact a specialist.

There’s no such thing as a professional bystander. You can’t consider yourself a “professional” if you aren’t going to take action when you see something wrong being done by a co-worker. In law enforcement, your failure to intervene could result in discipline, losing your job, being sued civilly or even being charged criminally.

Not only can this affect the individual officer, but it also has a direct effect on the public perception of law enforcement as a whole. These types of incidents thrusts law enforcement into the national spotlight. A spotlight that has played a role in American’s confidence in law enforcement dropping to 48%.

What does it mean to fail to intervene? In a nutshell, it means that an officer who purposefully allows a fellow officer to violate a person’s Constitutional rights may be prosecuted for failure to intervene to stop the Constitutional violation. (Department of Justice, n.d.)

The next question you might have is, “Who does this apply to?” When it comes to an officer’s duty to intervene, courts have stated that it applies to EVERY officer of EVERY rank, including all levels of command staff. (Putman v. Gerloff, 1981). The duty to intervene even carries across situations that might involve officers from different agencies working together.

Courts recognize that not all situations can be stopped by an intervening officer. For example, an officer that runs up to a suspect and punches them before you even had time to realize what was happening. In cases like this, courts recognize that an officer does not always have an opportunity to stop the other person’s action. While you may not be able to stop the action when it occurs, you still must follow through with reporting the unconstitutional act in an appropriate and timely manner.

Failing to take action is only half of this discussion. The other half must deal with HOW you should take action. Many officers have never been exposed to this type of training, so they are unsure on what their options are, as well as what their obligations might be.

But don’t worry, VirTra has you covered!

In our upcoming V-VICTA® curriculum, “Duty to Intervene: No Such Thing as a Professional Bystander,” we will give your agency all the tools needed to work through or even avoid a circumstance where officers need to intervene.

You will learn how having the correct policies in place can help avoid these types of situations. It also discusses the types of training officers should stay up to date on, as well as best practices that have worked in other agencies.

Included with the curriculum is a set of custom-made videos for students and instructors to watch and discuss how they would handle what occurred in the videos. There will also be brand new scenarios that were designed around the duty to intervene training. The new scenarios include a vehicle contact, a suspicious person, and a large-scale protest. The entire course can be done within your VirTra simulator and can provide your officers with 2 hours of IADLEST certified training.

Stay Safe. Stay Dedicated.




When training your officers, it is a priority to ensure that they receive quality de-escalation training with a curriculum that contains applicable and reliable knowledge. Creating your own curriculum is a process – it takes time, it takes money and both of those are valuable things that you would like to save! On the other hand, when looking at purchasing a curriculum, there is a chance that some courses may have not gone through a certification process that meets State and POST requirements for de-escalation training.

With all these factors to consider, you may be wondering what the right answer is. That is where VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum comes in. Our curriculum mitigates 60+ hours of research, prep and approvals of instructor man hours per one hour of finished curriculum. It also maximizes training session time for optimal learning and retention.


Training Certification

On top of those benefits, VirTra puts our V-VICTA courses through a rigorous approval process with IADLEST. IADLEST offers the National Certification Program (NCP) of which sets a high standard in providing quality education for law enforcement nationwide. This means that all of our courses are equipped with extensive training materials for your team to work through.

NCP certified courses are also accepted by all participating POST organizations providing a trustworthy, time and cost-effective way for your officers to earn their de-escalation training certifications.

VirTra is also the only simulator company that provides a certified curriculum for law enforcement, which is free when included with our training simulators.


Bring Your Training to Life

In our training simulators, officers can put their de-escalation certifications to practice with intensive training scenarios. Our professionally-produced scenarios include real actors simulating real-world situations. Most of the scenarios contain on average over 85 different branching options based on the officer’s actions. In the scenarios, trainees must use quick decision-making skills to de-escalate the situation to the best of their ability.

The additional scenario training adds immense value to the curriculum by allowing officers to test their classroom knowledge in a stress-inducing environment, preparing them for the real-world.


Online Training Courses

If your department does not have the current means for a VirTra simulator but still wants to experience our V-VICTA curriculum, you have another option!

VirTra partnered with other industry-leading partners to develop Certified Training Alliance (CTA). CTA is an online learning platform with certified law enforcement training courses that officers can train through at their own pace, wherever they want! Including certified courses generated from our V-VICTA curricula such as Autism Awareness, Crisis De-escalation, 10 different Mental Illness courses, and more.

You may also find courses from Force Science and Tony Blauer. It’s FREE to sign up and browse the courses online.

Click here to sign up for Certified Training Alliance!

…and if you want to learn more about VirTra’s V-VICTA curriculum, contact a VirTra specialist today!

Creating training material for 1 hour of training can take at least 82 hours (1). This only includes writing the course, not the effort of presenting or certifying material. You do not have to go through all the work that adds up to extra staffing hours and cost. The option of online learning is a smart and effective alternative. Start with Certified Training Alliance (CTA).

Designed for First Responders and Public Safety Officials, CTA is a simple-to-use, easy to access online learning system that relieves the burden of scheduling time to train and certify personnel.


VirTra’s Online Courses

Certified Training Alliance features several of VirTra’s certified coursework. These courses do not require your agency to have a simulator. If you do, however, many work in tandem with simulated scenarios. Learning online and then putting newly-acquired skills into practice in the simulator further reinforces learning.

Additionally, if you are waiting to be able to obtain a VirTra simulator, a good way to get started on coursework would be to utilize the courses in CTA. It can allow students to familiarize themselves with the topics at hand and give instructors a chance to review the material as well.

We do our best to include courses that are timely and relevant to what is important to law enforcement. These include:

  • Weapon Transitions
  • De-Escalation
  • Mental Illness
  • Autism Awareness


Benefits for Adult Learning

VirTra’s material uses iconography and imagery to ensure the user stays focused, and provide great opportunities for long-term learning. With the right amount of storytelling and video content, the goal is to keep the learner engaged and not thinking about what they are going to order for dinner instead. We are using adult learning methods to help to ensure transfer (learning long-term).

Additionally, all courses on CTA – even those not authored by VirTra – do not have the option to be skipped or sped through. Even if a user were to minimize the window, the course would simply stop – resuming when the user has the window up again. A certificate of completion will be available for download only when the course is completed and the test is passed.


How to Get Started

It’s free and simple to get started – you don’t need to pay to sign up! To see the full list of courses available by VirTra, Force Science, ILET and Tony Blauer, just create an account and scroll through!

You can utilize essential or premium courses with the ability to access them for up to a year. Premium courses are created in partnership with leading industry experts. There are also course bundles available!

To sign up, all you have to do is create an account on the website here. Courses will be added over time, so be sure to keep an eye out.



Chapman, B. (2010). How Long Does it Take to Create Learning? [Research Study]. Published by Chapman Alliance LLC.

Just as police officers go through intensive training on skills such as firearm manipulation and de-escalation, peace officers must also. Though the positions of certain peace officers may look different than a police officer, they still are protecting the public, enforcing the law and, depending on their position, carrying firearms.

Whether a state trooper, detention officer, border patrol, or even game warden, proper peace officer training is crucial in keeping communities safe and getting people home safely.

VirTra’s training systems provide various scenarios and curriculums to educate and train those who keep us safe.

De-Escalation Tactics

When protecting the public, there is always the possibility that peace officers will face a situation where they need to use quick decision-making, situational awareness, and other important skills that VirTra training simulators put to the test.

VirTra’s V-VICTA® curriculum contains various de-escalation scenarios dealing with mental illness, emotionally disturbed people, autism awareness, and more that officers may come in contact with when working. Our curriculum provides 60 hours of nationally certified coursework including PowerPoints, manuals, pre-tests and post-tests. Instructors have all the necessary tools to instill proper training and knowledge transfer to its students.

With different branching options for every scenario, officers can explore different ways that their decisions affect people and themselves. With this, they can learn from both their mistakes and successes.

Firearm Training

It is necessary for all peace officers to properly train with their firearms in the case that they will need to utilize it on a call. VirTra provides an array of firearms training for peace officers to hone in on their skills.

This peace officer training might include marksmanship, weapon transitions, and even gauging the right times for them to draw their firearm. VirTra’s firearm training is the most accurate in the industry. It even includes structured scenario debriefs for trainers and officers to analyze their skills.

The curriculum also includes training scenarios including active shooter, tourniquet application and even more that officers might experience.

We Are Here to Help!

Our curriculum and simulators are an effective and educational addition to any peace officer training. Those who protect us deserve great training that is proven to work and VirTra is just that.

To learn more about the V-VICTA® curriculum and our simulators, contact a VirTra specialist.


One thing can always be counted on: there is nothing constant but change. One change that has come to many law enforcement agencies is the switch between iron sights and red dot sight (RDS) optics for pistols. There can be a learning curve like there is with acquiring any new skill – but VirTra provides solutions to help overcome the nuances.

If you have a VirTra simulator, you can access the “Red Dot Optics Training and Sustainment” course. This NCP-certified curriculum has 21 accompanying training drills. It was created in conjunction with Victory First® utilizing Aimpoint® red dot optics. The goal is to allow officers to learn skills in the simulator, then practice on the range with minimal transfer time.

One of the ways officers have gotten to practice both in a VirTra simulator and on the range is through the recent Action Target Law Enforcement Training Camp (LETC). VirTra’s Subject Matter Expert Mike Clark taught the Red Dot course to several members of law enforcement. Those who completed the course received a certificate as well as new knowledge to bring back to their agencies.


The Effects of a Smooth Transition

An agency that is about to switch out their iron sights for RDS is Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. Sgt. Micah Evans took Mike Clark’s Red Dot course in preparation for the change. Sgt. Evans and his colleagues currently utilize the simulator at Utah Attorney General’s Office.

“The simulator drills help get the officers dialed into using the optic,” said Sgt. Evans, referring to how training in the simulator helped his performance on the range. “The transition to live fire using the same drills really helped get the officers familiar with the optic.” While no training can imitate real-life ballistics with 100% accuracy, VirTra gets close with accuracy up to 2,500 meters within .02 milliradians.


Hands-On vs. Classroom Training

It is common to hear people say they are visual learners. Many say that they learn better by doing rather than listening to a lecture. Practicing the motor skills is far more engaging than reading about it in a textbook or listening to a presentation. It also helps acquire the skills as well as learning the difference between RDS and iron sights.

The Red Dot Optics course at LETC allowed attendees the experience of having an indoor classroom with pre-tests, indoor simulator sessions, then going to the live fire range to apply the knowledge learned.

When asked if the style of training completed in the LETC Red Dot Optics course was something he would continue to practice, Sgt. Evans stated that it is a style he attempts to do with officers whenever they train. “I am a strong believer in situational based training over flat range and class room,” said Sgt. Evans. “Using the combination that this program offers is exactly the type combined training I strive to provide to my officers.”


Action Target LETC Red Dot Range Training


Certified Coursework

As mentioned above, the course is NCP-certified – but what does that mean for you? VirTra ensures its V-VICTA® courses (such as Red Dot Optics Training and Sustainment) are certified by IADLEST to ensure quality of content. NCP certification is recognized by POST in 36 states, allowing officers who complete the courses to receive continuing education credit.

This type of coursework allows learning to be done beyond just listening to an instructor verbally explain a topic. Students practice and are tested using the VirTra simulator while learning topics based on case law and real after-action reports. Courses being pre-certified saves time for instructors. Normally approvals would be needed, coursework would need reviewing…and it would have to be written! Just one hour of curriculum saves an instructor 65 hours of research, preparation, writing, reviewing, and approving.

Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment is much more than just a lecture or repetitive range drill. It contains 21 drills to test the student on what they have learned – plus accurate debrief sessions that follow. It only takes a second to pull in the target so you can see the point of aim over point of impact and repeat!


VirTra highly recommends situational-based training as it prepares trainees and officers for the real world better than any lecture could. If your agency is switching to red dot optics and interested in practicing the skills in a simulator, contact a product specialist.

Online learning is a popular and effective way to receive education. It is a convenient and engaging way to share learning content. Online learning allows students flexibility far beyond the traditional classroom.

Certified Training Alliance (CTA) was designed by a network of industry-leading partners as a hub for public safety personnel to access numerous training courses. Leading experts have vetted each certified course to ensure maximized education and retention for adult learners.

CTA is an innovative way to train officers and provides valuable benefits to departments. It offers courses such as V-VICTA® Autism Awareness, Force Science Realistic De-Escalation, Tony Blauer: Immediate Threats, and more!



After courses are purchased, individuals have access to them for a full year. With this access, learners can work through content at their own pace and in their own time. They have the freedom to do their coursework whenever and wherever is most convenient. This frees up time for both trainers and students.



CTA includes IADLEST NCP-certified courses in order to ensure that learners receive reliable and effective training that they can bring with them into the field. As students work through and complete the CTA courses, they can earn certifications that signify that they successful course completion.

Students can immediately put newly developed skills to the test on the street or inside the VirTra simulator. VirTra’s high-quality, immersive training scenarios were designed to be used alone or in conjunction with the CTA courses for a fully immersive experience.



CTA online courses are designed for adult learners to maximize retention and engage the learner. The courses are interactive and keep officers engaged. The CTA platform stays up-to-date with the critical topics keeping officers well-trained in essential and relevant areas.

Officers can work through lessons more effectively and retain the information more successfully. This builds and transitions newly learned skills into the field with confidence.



Certified Training Alliance has several purchase options to choose from for online learning. Join for free and see what we have to offer!


You’re on an active shooter case and your partner has taken a shot to the leg. The shooter is not yet contained and you have to handle this situation as quickly, but carefully, as possible. Your partner is in need of a tourniquet but you have to keep your guard up and keep your eye out for the threat all at the same time.

Remaining focused and staying calm is key in this situation because incorrectly applying a tourniquet could potentially make the bleeding worse. In some cases, you may have a third officer there to guard your back, other times you may need to call for back-up. Being able to quickly assess the situation and then find the solution are the most important parts in assuring the safety of everyone involved, including yourself.

Training That Saves

It goes without saying that officers can’t be expected to walk onto a live scene knowing exactly how to respond without being trained. For example, in a case like this, tourniquet application under threat is extremely valuable knowledge for officers. That is where our scenario-based training comes into play.

In order to practice correct application along with situational awareness, VirTra created the Tourniquet Application Under Threat training under our V-VICTA® curriculum.

The scenarios for this topic include teaching officers how to apply a tourniquet on themselves in some cases and someone else in others, while simultaneously protecting everybody from the threat. It also educates officers on the different types of tourniquets (R.A.T.S, C-A-T, and SOF-T) and even covers ways to reduce blood loss in the moment.

Officers are able to fully immerse into our tourniquet application scenarios as if the scene described above was actually happening to them. They also are able to explore the different branching options and see the results of the different actions that they take. This helps them learn exactly what to or what not to do in that situation.

VirTra’s Commitment

We are committed to helping officers get home safely every day and we developed our immersive law enforcement scenarios in order to play our part in making that happen. Our tourniquet application scenario is just one of many that we have created to help officers in their training.

Including our curriculum into your department’s training regimens would help ensure that your officers show up ready for anything and are fully equipped with all of the knowledge they need to keep your community and themselves safe.

To hear more about the training we offer, contact a VirTra specialist.