With the cost of ammunition continuing to rise, how about a training solution that still allows officers to practice marksmanship with their duty firearms, but for a fraction of the price?

VirTra’s Indoor Shooting Range

Each VirTra simulator is equipped with V-Marksmanship®, a program that allows for training on a variety of targets and courses in the convenient location of a department’s classroom. V-Marksmanship allows instructors to use customizable environments and add an unlimited number of targets, environmental effects—wind direction and speed, weather, altitude, humidity, etc.—and other variables in a variety of distances to test and hone an officer’s skill.

To increase the training factor, targets can be programmed to move front-to-back, left-to-right, or in a box shape and all at different speeds. Training in this manner allows instructors to help officers develop firearm manipulation skills in a safe environment that otherwise could not be performed on a live fire range.

The Realism Behind V-Marksmanship

Having a simulator that looks like a firing range is only part of the equation. V-Marksmanship also boasts the most accurate ballistic calculator in the industry for the most training realism. The ballistic calculator mimics the real-world ballistics based on bullet grain, barrel length, twist rate, sight height and even environmental conditions!

Furthermore, VirTra’s V-Marksmanship ballistic calculator has been independently verified and tested for accuracy up to 2,500 meters within .02 milliradians—thus providing your department with powerfully realistic training that no other training simulator can provide.

The last key of realism is the weapon used. Officers can train using their duty firearms, once outfitted with VirTra drop-in laser recoil kits. This renders the weapon safe, allows it to communicate with the simulator and produces realistic recoil to make training feel like it is on the range.

How Departments Save Money

In addition to saving costs by not having to pay for transportation to a range (or reserve a time or the time spent traveling) departments save in ammunition cost—big time.

Currently, each round of 9mm ammo costs $0.90 for civilians. While departments receive a law enforcement and bulk discount, the price can still be steep, and continues to climb.

Training with VirTra allows officers to use their own weapons with the addition of the drop-in laser recoil kit and CO2 magazine. These magazines help supply the recoil with an approximate cost of $0.02/shot—a dramatic reduction compared to current ammunition costs. As your officers’ train in marksmanship, image how much the department saves in a minute, five or ten. Now multiply this by the number of officers needing training and see the savings pile high.

VirTra understands that budgets are tight, but training after this manner provides high-end training with reduced cost. Learn more ways simulation training can save your department thousands of dollars each year by talking to a VirTra specialist.

Article written by Lon Bartel, VirTra’s Director of Training and Curriculum, and David Blakes, Ph.D., a retired California peace officer and a court-certified expert on human factors psychology and police practices with a focus on officer-involved-shootings. 

148 certified Arizona Peace Officers (.2 years to 30 years of experience) from the same agency were tested on response time from an audible signal to draw and fire one round at the 3 yard line. This was a single attempt with no warm up and no practice prior. The performance that was captured was how the officer may perform “at the first call for service of the day”. Officers varied in weapon used (Glock & 1911) and holster design (Safariland ALS & Safariland 6280 w/ hood). Data was collected by AZPOST (Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training) certified firearms instructors using a CED 7000 shot timer. Time comparisons were collected and analyzed. Average times for these officers to draw and fire one round after an audible signal 1.777 seconds (SD .329). It should be noted that 3% of the officers missed the designated target zone at 3 yards.

In 1986 SWAT officer Dennis Tuller wrote an article that presented information on drawing and firing one round compared to running speed times of a hypothetical suspect. This drill has often been mislabeled and miss-characterized as the “21 Foot Rule”.  Mr. Tuller has stated himself that it is not a rule it was a drill. The Tuller’s basic premise was that the “average” officer could draw and fire one round in 1.5 seconds and the average person could travel 21 feet in 1.5 seconds. Tuller was contacted via email to confirm some of these details.

Hitting a subject with one round in no way establishes that the subject is no longer a threat or even that the subject is guaranteed to slow down or even change behavior. The internet has numerous video of subject being hit with gunfire and continuing to fight and present a deadly threat to those around them. In theory firing at the subject and missing (intentional or not) may or may not cause the subject to change behavior, but may also place others at risk.

Since 1986 weapon design and holster design has changed. The original testing by Tuller was done on a thumb snap holster and with a Smith & Wesson Model 64 .38 Special revolver. The question was evaluated if the “average” time to draw and fire one round for a trained officer has changed. The officers from the same agency were all used for this initial study. The commonality in training was an important constant that was held. Most attended a AZPOST certified academy in Arizona, but all of them have met the AZPOST firearms standards.

WEAPONS

Officers at the tested agency were issued two different weapon systems based on their choice or assignment. One is the Sig Sauer Tacops 1911 chambered in .45 ACP (N=53). The 1911 comes with a grip safety as well as a manual thumb safety that must be disengaged prior to firing. The shooters were not allowed to disengage the thumb safety until the weapon was drawn from the holster. The other weapon was the Glock (N=95) chambered in 9mm. .40 S&W as well as .45 ACP. The variation in caliber choice and weapon choice was a philosophical decision made many years prior to this testing. This was done to fit the weapon to the “shooter” not forcing the “shooter” to fit the weapon.

Figure 1 – Glock

Figure 2 – Sig Tacops 1911

HOLSTERS

The holsters primarily looked at were the Safariland ALS holster (N=70) and the Safariland 6280 (N=66). There was also a small sampling of open top holsters or holsters with a thumb break. The ALS (automatic locking system) is a retention that is disengaged by sliding a lever posteriorly. This lever is located between the holster and the body of the officer. The 6280 holster has a hood that wraps around the back of the slide of the firearm. The hood is disengaged by pushing down the rotating the hood forward clearing the back of the slide.

Figure 3 – Safariland 6280 w/ 1911 holstered and Sarafiland ALS empty

TARGET

The target was a TQ-21 that was placed 3 yards away from the officer. The target has a lighter grey “target zone” where the officers were expected to place their shots. Any missed shots were recorded (N=5).

METHODOLOGY

Officers tested were given direction on the specific task. They were advised that when they hear the tone from the shot timer they were to as quickly as they could draw their weapon and fire one round. The first attempt was the only one recorded. It was recorded for both time and if it was a successful hit or not. Officers were given no “warm ups” and no time to practice. This was done to more closely represent the response of an officer that could be responding to their first call of the day. This task is not novel to the officers and is part of a required task on the AZPOST mandated qualification. All officers in Arizona must pass this qualification. In the AZPOST qualification the shooters must draw and fire two rounds to center mass on a target (3 yards) and one round to the head in under 4 seconds. This task is to simulate a failure of the first two rounds to stop an aggressive attacker. Some of the offices tested used either an open top (no retention) or a Safariland 292 holster and were excluded from the final analysis (N=12).

RESULTS

The overall average for these certified peace officers to draw and fire one round at a target 3 yards away was 1.777 seconds with a SD +/- .329. This is a different average than what Mr. Tuller established in 1986. In speaking with him via email he stated that it may have been their method of using a stop watch as opposed to a shot timer that could account for the difference. The shot timer is a more accurate measurement device and eliminates reaction/response time of the evaluator from the testing.
Holster and weapon combination times were also evaluated.

The fastest times were seen with the Glock and the ALS holster. The slowest times were seen with the Glock and the 6280 holster.

Of the 12 tested officers that were eliminated from the primary analysis the open top/no retention holsters (N=6) were on average faster (1.493 seconds SD .126). The Safariland 295 holsters (N=6) were typically slower (1.896 seconds SD .055)

DISCUSSION

The difference in times between the 1986 data and the current data could be attributed to methodology. The implications however do show more of a disadvantage to the officer. The slowest time average of the Glock in a 6280 holster places the officer at 1.87 seconds to hear the tone then retrieve the weapon and fire one round. This was the most common weapon and holster combination and based on the researchers experience one of the most common seen in Arizona. The implication for the officer facing an edged weapon or impact weapon may be even more problematic. Data presented by Dr. William Lewinski at the 2017 Use of Force Analysis Certification in Scottsdale Arizona is of concern. Lewinski presented a table that showed a comparison of stride length, step time and velocity for sprinting. In this data subjects could cover 3.32 feet in the first stride with a time of .34 seconds. Each step after that covered more ground and took less time to take. On the 6th stride which took a cumulative time of only 1.67 seconds subjects were able to cover 25.72 feet. This 6th stride took .25 seconds to complete and covered the distance of 5.22 feet. There is still a time difference (.20 seconds) between the 1.67 seconds of Lewinski’s data and the 1.87 seconds that was established in this testing. Using Lewinski’s data conservatively and assuming that there is no speed increase/decrease in the 7th step subjects sprinting are going to cover an additional 4.176 feet or a cumulative distance of 29.89 feet in 1.87 seconds the time it took the tested officers to drawn and fire only one round using a Glock and a 6280 holster.

“I’m sure you recognize that the “Tueller Drill” is an exercise in reaction and response time. And that there is a sliding scale of time and distant, as a person’s “reactionary gap” will vary depending on skill level, equipment, situational awareness, environment, number of assailants, and a host of other factors.”

-Dennis Tueller, April 17, 2017

Reference

Blake, D. and Bartel, L. (2018) Holster and handgun: does equipment affect response time? Law Enforcement Executive Forum • 2018 • 18(2)

How could your department benefit from the ability to train on a virtually unlimited variety of targets and courses? Naturally, this would be an incredible asset for any agency. Fortunately, this ability is provided via VirTra’s V-Marksmanship program, which is installed on every VirTra simulator.

Granted, there are some individuals who hold reservations about simulation training, stating that in-person marksmanship training is best. While VirTra believes range training is the best form of Marksmanship training, relying solely on this form of training limits an officer’s ability to train, as it costs the department significantly in time, money and personnel to have constant on-range training days.

Benefits of Simulated Range Training

Instead, range training should be balanced with simulation range training, which brings the range into the classroom. Here, instructors can use customizable environments and add an unlimited number of targets, environmental effects—wind direction and speed, weather, altitude, humidity, etc.—and other variables in a variety of distances to test and hone an officer’s skill.

Targets can be programmed to move front-to-back, left-to-right or in a box shape, all at different speeds. Training after this manner allows instructors to help trainees develop firearm manipulation skills in a safe environment that otherwise could not be performed on al live fire range. Furthermore, instructors need not fear about training scars or inaccuracies in the system, as independent third parties have verified VirTra’s firearms training simulators to be ballistically accurate.

How Customers Benefit

While verification is good to know, what does it mean for customers? Showing that VirTra’s V-Marksmanship program is equipped with ballistic accuracy ensures an officer’s time spent training on the simulator can increase skills—skills that are ultimately transferred to the field.

For VirTra, it also shows the fruits of our labors to produce training simulators with the highest level of realism. All of the years of engineering effort, software development and testing were combined to create a powerful product any agency can benefit from.

But most of all, third-party verification shows that your officers receive the maximum amount of training and preparedness—no matter your department’s size, budget or other constraints.

To learn more about V-Marksmanship, instructors can watch this program in action below or contact a VirTra representative to learn more.

Train hard, train realistically, train for the field.

Many trainers utilize the common red or blue training weapons. They are useful for training drills with trainees who have never used a firearm before; helping them become familiar with the weapon’s mechanics. It also allows both convenience and safety while training within a simulated environment.

As you may already be aware, VirTra typically provides recoil kits and CO2 magazines for use within our use of force simulators. This allows law enforcement trainees to use their duty weapons in the simulator by outfitting it with our CNC machined hardware. However, there are more options than this – besides the blue-colored training pistols, VirTra offers a patented M4/M16 non-gun.

The non-gun is a highly realistic laser replica rifle that is designed for simulator use that has an orange tip to mitigate real weapons brought into the training environment. Not only does it replicate the shape and size of a real M4 or M16 rifle, but it includes necessary and customizable functions such as:

• Toggle between auto and semi-auto fire, as well as safe mode
• 30 round capacity with the ability to remove the magazine
• Attachable sight, configurable stock and Picatinny rail

Having a training weapon such as the M4/M16 non-gun ensures safety within the police training room and gives law enforcement trainees a chance to make mistakes in a safe environment. It serves its purpose as a learning tool in both interactive scenarios and marksmanship practice, working with all of VirTra’s simulators and suites.

Additionally, non-guns can be cost efficient for agencies who do not want to spend extra money refilling CO2 magazines. While recoil kits and CO2 magazines are the most realistic option, they do involve the use of a real weapon and require refilling to maintain the lifelike recoil. If your department is on a tight budget and wants the safety of knowing the training weapon cannot be used to fire real ammunition, the M4/M16 Non-Gun may be a good choice for your agency.

For more information on how to add this customizable and effective law enforcement training tool to your belt, contact a specialist.

VirTra’s V-ST PRO® firing range simulator is an excellent marksmanship tool for police departments worldwide. It’s V-Marksmanship® program is a highly effective tool for training and maintaining law enforcement marksmanship. (While the V-Marksmanship program is equipped on all simulators, this article focuses on the abilities of the V-ST PRO’s V-Marksmanship program.) Here are a few ways VirTra’s firing simulator provides a superior training experience and helps supplement training in a traditional firing range:

Customizable Ranges/Variables

The V-Marksmanship program allows instructors to use pre-designed environments and add an unlimited number of targets, environmental affects—wind direction and speed, weather, etc.— and other variables in a variety of distances to test and hone an officer’s skill.

Training after this manner allows instructors to test in multiple situations; something that is not able to be duplicated on the range. For instance, a certain day at the range may offer 80 degrees with a 5mph wind coming from the north and 30% humidity. This is the only variable an officer will train on that day. But with a simulator, instructors can change the variables drastically for every single shot.

Customizable Targets

Traditional firing ranges offer minimal variables for marksmanship training. For example, targets on ranges often are only able to “move” along motorized wires, track systems or are attached to robotic systems. While these options are certainly better than standard stationary targets, it could be more.

The V-Marksmanship program allows targets to be programmed to move front to back, left to right or in a box shape—and at different speeds. Now when officers stand in front of the V-ST PRO, they can engage in a training situation that would not be possible in the field.

Accurate Ballistics Calculator

Going into the V-Marksmanship technology, the program is equipped with an accurate ballistics calculator. This ballistics calculator duplicates the speed, trajectory and aim based on the type of weapon fired and the selected weather conditions. Furthermore, it is independently verified up to 2,500 meters with .02 milliradians accuracy—thus providing a powerful training that other marksmanship training simulator programs cannot provide.

Realistic Firing Experience

While the simulator, programs and technology are excellent, training is taken to the next level with the officer’s weapons. VirTra offers multiple weapon options to best fit the department’s needs:

Recoil Kit— The drop-in laser recoil kit is just as it sounds. This kit is dropped into an officer’s duty weapon and outfitted with a laser, allowing it to interact with the simulator.
CO2 Magazine— As for the CO2 magazine, this provides realistic recoil as the officer pulls the trigger. Instructors can choose to outfit their trainee’s weapons with the just the recoil kit, or the recoil kit plus the magazine for added realism.
Non-Guns— VirTra also offers non-guns, which mitigate real weapons being brought into the training environment. For maximum realism, each non-gun tool has replicated the shape and weight of the weapon it represents: the Glock 17/22 will look, feel and act like a Glock 17/22.

VirTra’s firing range simulators and accessories are much more customizable and powerful than any traditional firing range, making them an ideal supplement for officer marksmanship training. With a wide variety of pre-programmed and customizable environments, variables and weapons, this program can take marksmanship training to the next level. Learn more by contacting a VirTra specialist.

How often does your agency train with their simulator?

Surveys have shown that most law enforcement agencies only train with their simulator once a quarter; or even worse, only once a year. While agencies are busy completing other tasks and jobs, this lack of consistent training simulator use creates considerable downtime. Instead, your department can use the simulator in other areas to improve the agency while maximizing on your investment:

Customized Environmental Scenarios

Each VirTra scenario library is packed with a variety of scenarios, locations and events. However, agencies can take training to the next level with the V-Author program. Utilizing this software, agencies can take pictures of local landmarks or high-activity areas and upload them to the software. Once there, instructors can add characters into the image, making the training more personal and beneficial.

Cop Talks

The Utah Attorney General’s Office uses their simulator in various ways to maximize their use of force training. For example, the Office has seen a great improvement in an officer’s ability when using their system for items such as remedial training and educating prosecutors. By showing prosecutors how memory is encoded and recalled, they can teach them about common perception distortions experienced in a critical incident. These videos, Cop Talks, are released as a monthly series on YouTube.

Reinforce Classroom Training

VirTra’s V-VICTA curriculum is especially applicable in this case. Instructors can teach a lesson, tactic or principle in the classroom through slideshows and tests. After, trainees can put the lesson into practice, thus moving it to long-term memory, by engaging in the correlated scenario. Training after this manner allows instructors to maximize time while providing the best training experience.

These are only a few examples of how to incorporate training into other agency avenues. Innovative ideas, such as these, can give training a boost while keeping it consistent. For more ideas on how to maximize your training simulator, contact a VirTra specialist.

Posted originally on blog.berettausa.com by Sara Ahrens on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 @ 07:30 AM

Introducing stress to a firearms training program can help inoculate shooters against stress and preventing panic. Those who consistently train outside their comfort zones will be better able to handle the stress brought about by competition, and even deadly force encounters. There are several methods that shooters can use to artificially replicate or heighten stress during training. Which training method to use is many times dictated by the location of the practice. Some training methods are not conducive to certain locations. Some more common methods law enforcement officers use in training to increase stress levels include: physical exertion / cardio and strength training exercises, use of a shot timer, competition between officers, the Dieter Drill (or Hood Drill), and reality-based training employing the use of airsoft, paintballs, or Simunitions® weapons, all the way to more complex simulators, like the VirTra System. Whatever method is used, it is critical that proper safeguards are identified and followed. (more…)

TEMPE, AZ – February 07, 2011 – Bob Ferris, VirTra Systems’ CEO (VTSI.PK), today announced that VirTra was selected as the simulator supplier for the world’s largest civilian firearms training academy rollout, the new Gander Mtn. AcademyTM. Developed by Gander Mountain, the nation’s largest retail network of stores specializing in hunting, fishing, camping and outdoor lifestyle products, the Gander Mtn. AcademyTM will offer the most advanced firearms training ever made available to the public on a wide-spread and convenient basis. The first training academy is located at the Gander Mtn. store in Lake Mary, Florida, with additional locations set to open in 2011 and beyond.

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