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.

In today’s day and age, information is at everyone’s fingertips thanks to the internet and social media. Because of this, police officers are constantly under scrutiny for their actions, even in life-or-death situations. Many police departments have turned to virtual reality and Judgmental Use of Force training simulators in order to help better train officers for real-world scenarios. With these systems, officers can better learn when to use force.

Real-World Scenarios

Judgmental use of force training simulators like the VirTra V-300 give officers the opportunity to experience a variety of scenarios they may encounter in the real world, but without the inherent dangers. For example, unlike many of the simulators in the past, including firearms training simulators, VirTra gives officers the ability to participate in multi-incident scenarios. In real life, most dangerous encounters are not simply one incident – these encounters consist of many different incidents with multiple confrontations as active threats at the same time on multiple screens. The results and outcomes vary based on the officer’s decisions, and with VirTra, officers can see how their decisions might impact the scenario.

Training for Multiple Situations

When a police officer puts on his or her badge or uniform before a shift, he or she has no idea what may happen that day. In order to properly protect and serve, these officers must be prepared to handle anything that comes their way. That’s why VirTra, which consists of anything from single-screen to 300-degree wrap-around use of force simulator loaded with real-life scenarios, takes almost any situation into account. For example, officers can receive judgmental use of force training for any of the following scenarios:

  • Ambushes – Officers can learn when to use force if they are ambushed in the field. Often, it is difficult for officers to make spur-of-the-moment choices when they are taken by surprise, so this type of training is invaluable.
  • Active Shooters – Active shooting situations are intense, and learning when to use force and when to wait can be tricky. There are numerous active shooter scenarios included with the judgmental use of force training simulator.
  • Low-Light Searches – Police officers don’t always have the luxury of a well-lit encounter, so judgmental use of force training also helps officers learn to search for, control, and even apprehend suspects in low lighting.
  • Suspect Control – The training simulators assist officers in learning proper suspect control, both with and without use of force.

Real Firearms Training Simulation

Today’s police & military training simulators go above and beyond traditional firearms training systems by making the experiences and encounters as realistic and lifelike as possible. Realistic scenarios are important, but so are realistic firearms. Judgmental use of force training simulators allow officers to use CO2 firearms, and they even provide true-to-life recoil. Officers who use the simulator regularly will better understand what to expect from a variety of firearms, which include shotguns, rifles, and pistols. Aside from this, officers can learn when to use Axon® TASERs® and OC rather than lethal force.

Law enforcement officials and police officers alike can benefit from judgmental use of force training in several unique ways. In the end, it’s about making situations these officers may encounter on the job feel like second nature. A well-trained officer is better equipped to protect, serve, and make the best possible choices in every possible situation.

youneedhelpthumbThere are words and ideas that pass right through our brains like truthful reporting zips past the network news. In the shooting world, one of those words is “training.” Lots of respectable people talk about the importance of training. In response, we nod our heads and think “Yes! I need to get some professional training! I’ll get right on that!” But the moment passes, we go back to our daily life, and the next thing you know, we’re back to the normal routine – visiting the range once a month and perforating paper targets with great enthusiasm and vigor.

You Need Professional Help!

Once you’ve made the decision to carry a firearm for self-protection (you can read more about it here), nothing can improve your ability to protect yourself and your family like professional training. Not equipment. Not ammunition. Not lights and lasers. Not watching Steven Seagal movies. Nothing. (more…)