With all the conditions and variables that occur on the field, shouldn’t your training reflect as many of them as possible? Not every room has lights on or available, and the sun is down for about half of each day. It is for this reason that VirTra made sure that low light training is available for both marksmanship training and scenario training.

Training Benefits

We don’t realize the benefits of a well-lit space until we are without one. In the dark, stress levels go up and even with the beam of a flashlight, there are still areas we cannot see. Looking for a subject that is on the move and possibly dangerous in a dark place is a great way to increase officers’ cognitive load and help them make the right decisions under stress.

Additional training points include using a handheld flashlight while suddenly having to get your lethal or less-lethal tool. What if you have to transition weapons while holding your handheld flashlight? Going from lethal to less-lethal or vice versa is a vital skill to practice, with even more challenge if it is done in low light.

Low Light in Scenarios

Many people are only familiar with the variable light settings in V-Marksmanship. In fact, you can make any scenario a low light one. For example, in the new Mass Chaos active threat scenario, you can dim or eliminate light as if the power went out, adding an extra element of uncertainty.

Of course, to combat this just as one would in real life, users can pull out their flashlight. VirTra’s V-G2X handheld flashlights utilize laser technology to light up the direction it is pointed in. V-Lux™ technology allows the beam to smoothly go from screen to screen for agencies with multi-screen systems. More than one flashlight can be used at a time, making it just as useful for training multiple officers at once.

Low Light in Marksmanship

Along with the variable weather conditions, wind speed/direction, and layout of our simulated ranges, instructors can also control the lighting. It can be nighttime on the range in your VirTra simulator, with the only light to rely on being your rifle-mounted flashlight.

Just like with the handheld flashlight, the V-TLR-7A rail mounted flashlight allows for efficient transitions between screens without interruptions. Since both lights utilize the OEM housing, there will not be training scars as it perfectly replicates one of the popular rail mounted flashlights.

Situations do not often occur under perfect conditions. Make sure your officers are prepared for low light events – plus many others that VirTra has available. Talk to a specialist to incorporate a VirTra simulator into your agency’s training regimen.

There is a lot of discussion—and consequently, increased training—on the majority of tools found on an officer’s toolbelt. Currently, the devices receiving the most attention are lethals and less lethals. Granted, knowing how to utilize an Axon® TASER® or when to draw a firearm is critical knowledge. But what about an officer’s flashlight?

Why Officers Need to Train for Low Light

While it may seem frivolous in comparison, an officer’s flashlight is still a critical tool. Especially considering ever-evolving technology producing new rail-mount flashlights, handheld, LED types, differences in lumens, etc., officers need constant training using their flashlights in low-light situations.

Besides training to increase familiarity with the tool, officers need to train in low light situations since these moments can occur at any time of day. Officers assigned to day shifts may need to respond to buildings or large structures with little light. Whereas officers on night shifts obviously find themselves constantly in light-diminished environments. Familiarity with a flashlight is as beneficial to officers as they are to civilians, as proper flashlight use could reduce mistake-of-fact shootings.

According to David Blake’s article “What We Don’t Know CAN Hurt US: Training for Low-Light Encounters” published via Police Chief magazine, there is information published by various reputable sources showing higher numbers of officer-involved shootings in low-light situations. One example the article states is: “A study conducted on low-light shootings sampled mistake-of-fact incidents from Los Angeles County, California, between 1998 and 2002, and the author found mistake-of-fact shootings were based in part on, ‘Misidentification of the threat level due to impaired visual ‘contrast sensitivity’ in low levels of ambient light.’”

How to Train for Low Light

Instructors don’t have to wait until nighttime in order to train in low light situations. Instead, VirTra’s training simulator can convert any real-life scenario into a low-light situation for low-light training anytime, anywhere. How it works is simple: instructors select the scenario and the low-light option. This instantly significantly reduces the light shown on-screen, forcing trainees to rely on their simulator-corresponding flashlight to complete the scenario.

The flashlights communicate with the simulator, so wherever the trainees point the device, a beam of light is shown and displays that part of the scenario. This applies to both the rail-mount and handheld tactical flashlights for the most realistic experience. Speaking of realism, these lights also provide a smooth screen-to-screen transition and localized ground light spread, acting in the simulator as a light would in the real-world. See VirTra’s simulation flashlights in action here.

Officers can better protect themselves and the communities they serve with additional training with low-light tools in light-diminished settings. This form of training benefits all: new recruits, experienced officers, day-shift and night-shift officers. Start reducing the misidentification of a threat and increasing safety in your area with modern training simulators. Contact a VirTra representative to learn more.