VirTra’s V-ST PRO® firing range simulator is an excellent marksmanship tool for police departments worldwide. Its 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:
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.
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.
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.
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 Kits— The drop-in laser recoil kit is inserted 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 the real thing.
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.
Less than 5 miles from VirTra’s HQ, Gilbert Police Department has built an impressive training program for officers from rookies to veterans. The goal behind it is simple: keeping officers and the community they serve safe. There was no denying that Sgt. Bill Campbell, Gilbert PD’s Training Sergeant for the Gilbert Police Academy, cares greatly about the success of the training program and those he instructs.
The 52-acre facility in Gilbert, Arizona is shared by both their police and fire departments. Not only is the building integrated for all aspects of public safety, but training is too. There is no need to drive across the city to get to a range or a driving test track.
Scenario-based learning – or even classroom learning where students learn the theories behind their actions – is traditionally segmented from marksmanship training. Sgt. Campbell believes it is not enough to teach only on a range and in a classroom – there must be a way to get students into the environment to practice, but in a safe and secure way.
Gilbert PD officers and recruits at the Gilbert Police Academy can use real firearms within their 5-screen V-300® simulator. This allows them to not only get practice with their real duty weapon, but also go through a multitude of scenarios. Each scenario is modeled after real life incidents and authored by subject matter experts who are retired officers themselves. The video below shows two Gilbert officers going through an active shooter scenario, learning how to respond at the right time.
What can also be seen in the video is a custom Action Target range. While VirTra’s V-Marksmanship program is highly accurate, nothing can quite mirror the training provided on an actual range. Their indoor range is big enough to allow a squad car to enter, stop, and have students exit the vehicle and begin shooting targets.
Sgt. Campbell spoke highly of the capabilities of both his simulator and indoor range. As an experienced instructor, his words are not only inspiring to us, but helpful to other law enforcement agencies who wish to find an integrated training style.
“I have been a professional instructor for more than 25 years now, and I teach all over the country. I have seen pretty much every type of range there is and every type of simulator there is. My experience has been that the VirTra simulator system is the gold standard.” –Sgt. Campbell
It is also important to mention the evolution of training over the years. Sitting in a classroom for the entirety of the learning process will not engross students in the topic(s) or give them the proper practice needed to succeed in their careers. “A practical test may have worked in my day, 30 years ago, but it’s not as effective today,” said Sgt. Campbell, addressing the need to keep students engaged so learning retention increases.
Unlike training for other careers or job positions, law enforcement is one where mistakes can be costly – and not just monetarily. Lives are at stake, and that is why it is important to dedicate as much as possible to a well-designed training program. To learn more about VirTra’s simulator training options, contact a specialist.
Proper recoil is essential for training, which is why VirTra designs high-quality recoil kits. When an officer or military servicemember is training, they must account for the weapon’s recoil and how it may affect their position and aim. Training with a non-recoiling weapon in the simulator is simply not realistic, as real guns produce the “kick-back” sensation each time a bullet is fired. This is especially true for rifles such as the M4 and AR-15, as they produce heavier recoil than a pistol.
One of VirTra’s latest hardware developments is the M4 Recoil Kit. They are designed to convert real firearms with no weapon modification required. This allows a duty weapon to go from live to simulator-ready within minutes with a simple exchange of the barrel. The recoil kits operate with liquid CO2 magazines to provide the most realistic recoil on the market. This hardware can be used within a simulated environment without the limitations of a cord or tether.
M4 recoil kits allow an officer or warfighter the ability to use their own rifle in their VirTra simulator. This maximizes skill transfer as the student is training in a similar manner to the way they would perform on the field. The kits can be used in all VirTra suites and in either scenarios or marksmanship ranges.
VirTra’s recoil kits are manufactured in the company’s own CNC machine shop in Arizona, never sourcing from overseas. Using ArmorGen® coating exceeds the durability of other coating options, such as DLC. Black nitride coating over a carbon steel body ensures that the product will not corrode. This also reduces the need for lubrication.
M4 recoil kits as well as recoil kits for many other weapons are used by VirTra clients not only around the United States, but in 40 countries worldwide for training. Instructors have noted positive experiences using VirTra’s hardware. This is due to their transferability to a real-life setting, including a live fire range.
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Starting today, VirTra is at I/ITSEC at Booth #641 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL! It is also our first Orlando-based event since the grand opening of VirTra’s new facility in the same city.
Every year we add new training scenarios, marksmanship capabilities, and add to our list of supported weapons. I/ITSEC is where we display the latest technology available to military units with the goal of keeping servicemembers well-prepared for the field.
If you are at the show, or will be in the next few days, come visit Booth #641 or reserve a private demonstration. Contact a product specialist to skip the lines and schedule time to experience the V-300 4K!
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Service members must be highly proficient with their primary weapons systems this requires early training for them – almost day 1.
Unlike a red or blue inert training weapon that some use to build skills, training should be as close to real as possible. Without the recoil, accurate ballistics, and the weight of a real weapon to contend with, you simply lack training fidelity and will not be as prepared.
For any military branch, basic marksmanship is a crucial skill to acquire immediately. Skills may also become rusty if they are not practiced enough. Though nothing can compare to live fire training, VirTra’s marksmanship training options are an accurate supplement.
V-Marksmanship® allows for customizable environments and a staggering number of targets. Targets also can be programmed to move in different directions, speeds, and set up in various ways. The virtual range can be customized to include wind, rain, direction of sunlight, and nighttime conditions. With these features, a new environment is possible every time your squad steps into the simulator.
VirTra takes ballistic accuracy seriously. The ballistic calculator on our systems mimics real bullet trajectory based on the weapon being used. The ballistics have been independently verified for accuracy up to 2,500m and .02 milliradian accuracy.
Taking realism even further, VirTra’s recoil kits and CO2 magazines provide critical recoil in the firearm that creates a disruption of a soldier’s sight picture, that must be re-established for follow-up shots. This allows skill transfer from the sim to the range. Because recoil kits and magazines fit numerous rifles and pistols, there is one out there for your duty weapon.
Installation is simple and takes around two minutes. For a rifle, remove the bolt carrier and replace it with the stainless steel, durable recoil kit. If using a pistol, the kit is a barrel replacement. Magazines fit snugly into your weapon and have the same weight and feel as a real one. The VirTra kits also preclude the loading and chambering of a live round to ensure high levels of safety.
Besides simulating an empty magazine, the custom VirTra mags can also simulate a malfunction. Firearms don’t have unlimited ammo and they sometimes “malfunction” so we make sure you are prepared for those situations too. Practice clearing a malfunction and reloading your weapon quickly and accurately while moving or finding appropriate cover.
The V-ST PRO training simulator excels in supporting marksmanship training due to its range-like structure and ability to create six firing lanes per screen. It also provides the option to add up to five screens to train as many as 30 servicemembers simultaneously.
Clinical studies have shown that when officers are in a great deal of stress, they sometimes make the wrong judgement call. The high-definition, realistic environment shown on-screen can help trainees experience stress and learn to work through it – all while still accurately using their duty weapon as needed.
To learn more about how VirTra helps soldiers and warfighters excel in marksmanship training, contact a product specialist.
A windy and rainy day out on the battlefield is difficult to prepare servicemembers for when the shooting range that they practice on stays at a steady sunny and 95 degrees on most days. Or maybe they are having to shoot at moving targets when all they have ever practiced on are stationary ones.
You can’t control the weather and you can’t shoot at moving vehicles safely in live range training. But it is beyond important for warfighters to be keenly trained on the various conditions that they might face once they hit the field. Making sure their marksmanship skills are sharp and accurate will result in many lives saved and give them the ability to do what they set out to do – serve our country. So how can these military squads accomplish this kind of training?
Live fire ranges are crucial for servicemembers to practice on. Getting used to the way that their firearm shoots live ammunition, getting to see a real bullet sink into their target – these are things that they can’t miss out on when training for the battlefield. But with that type of range, also comes the lack of variability in conditions for them to train in.
That’s where we come in.
VirTra’s marksman simulator, the V-ST PRO® is able to provide the complete firearms training experience for a team of warfighters. Rain or shine, moving vehicle or stationary, change in altitude – we cover all of the bases. Equipped with our V-Marksmanship® training and the ability to drop our recoil kit directly into their own weapons, teams will learn how to hit their target under any circumstance.
Additionally, the V-Marksmanship® technology provides a powerful training experience with the most accurate ballistic calculator in the industry. The calculator holds the ability to mimic a real-world trajectory of a shot based on the type of projectile, weapon specifications, and the environmental conditions. With this, teams have the opportunity to practice their marksmanship skills through our shooting range simulator that prepares them to take on their missions with confidence.
In addition to the marksman simulation training, VirTra offers a variety of military scenarios that teams can train through. With each scenario, we designed an immersive and complex way for teams to learn resilience and accuracy.
This training includes:
To learn more about the chosen defense simulation by the military, contact a VirTra specialist.
When recruits go through the police academy, not only do they need to train for various scenarios and situations, but marksmanship is essential as well. Each state has its own requirements for range performance, and if students do not meet them, they risk being dropped from the course.
There are ways to help improve range training without being on the shooting range. With VirTra’s accurate ballistics, training on a customizable, virtual range helps marksmanship skills transfer to the real range.
One example of how marksmanship simulation training can improve skills occurred with Garden City Police Department in Georgia. Sergeant Dess with the Training and Recruiting Division was concerned that two recruits were experiencing difficulty at the range. With the help of a VirTra System Installer, they were able to recreate the George Pistol Qualification Course on the simulator.
Both recruits had one more day of practice, according to Sgt. Dess, before they would take a range qualification test that they must pass or risk being dropped from the academy. After two hours of simulator practice, the students passed the qualification test the next day and are able to continue on their law enforcement training path. Their qualification scores on the Georgia Pistol Qualification Course were accurate to the scores they achieved while practicing on their V-100® simulator.
“Had they not been able to qualify, they would have been dropped from the academy class which unfortunately would have resulted in being released from employment,” said Sgt. Dess. “That afternoon I spoke to both of the officers via text message and asked if they believed the simulator attributed to their success and they both agreed it did.”
VirTra’s marksmanship program – V-Marksmanship® – allows full customization of the virtual range. Targets and shooting times can be altered to match a qualifications test or just your preference as an instructor. Law enforcement trainers can change the weather, time of day and landscape to test recruits’ proficiency in all conditions.
To learn more about how VirTra can help your agency keep their marksmanship scores high, contact a product specialist.
Making multiple trips out to the range and spending money on ammunition can be expensive. Simulation technology allows trainees to practice in their agency’s own facility and hone their skills before switching to live fire. While this technology is not meant to replace live fire training, it is designed to enhance it and prepare officers or servicemembers so that they perform better on the range.
With the proper simulator that has enhanced ballistics and tracking capabilities, instructors can deliver a training experience that not only saves time and money, but will give students better scores when they step on the range. By practicing in the simulator first, students can perfect their aim and waste less ammo on the live fire range.
Dave Patterson, a Criminal Justice Instructor at Northwest College in Powell, WY, uses his VirTra V-300® to teach three firearms courses that range from introductory to intermediate. Amazingly, during Patterson’s 2018 Fall and Spring semesters, roughly 70% of his students began with little or no pistol experience prior to the course. But by the end of the semester, the average on-range POST score was over 90%. Through extensive practice and use of VirTra’s simulation, students learned transferrable skills at a higher percentage than in years prior. Patterson noticed that students who get high scores in the simulator only experience a 2% score drop on the range.
Real world conditions are never perfect, so why should they be in your simulator? Instructors have the freedom to customize range conditions all from the click of a button; whether its snow, wind, rain, fog or dust. Change the position of the sun to add the distraction of glare, or even let trainees practice in complete nighttime.
The same applies to targets and obstacles within the range. Train in a situation where moving targets pop into view from behind obstacles and through windows, or use traditional human-shaped targets that fall when shot.
VirTra’s technology lets officers and warfighters train using their own weapon – anywhere from a Glock to an automatic assault rifle. This is possible through the numerous recoil kits and CO2 magazines that fit dozens of firearm types. The V-ST PRO® is the best simulator for marksmanship out of all VirTra’s options due to its range-like structure, .02 milliradians accuracy and the ability to have up to six firing lanes per screen. Up to five screens can be added, allowing 30 trainees to practice at once.
Aside from precise ballistics, all of VirTra’s marksmanship simulations are designed to have perspective accuracy; meaning users can kneel, crouch or lay prone without having to tilt their weapon upwards to meet the target onscreen. During the after-action report, students and instructors can view performance, such as targets hit and missed as well as bullet placement.
Warfighters and soldiers in the field face numerous dangerous and life-threatening situations every day. Not only are the enemies they face unpredictable, but they must also make decisions based on their unique environments, which are difficult to mimic or simulate using common learning methods. A simulator that utilizes real video is a highly effective way to train soldiers, and with time, this style of training can lead to better reactions and decision-making skills.
In many cases, recruits learn how to handle situations they may encounter in the field by listening to a lecture, watching a video, or going out into the field and practicing a variety of maneuvers. Though these things can and often do help members of the military learn what to do in certain situations, these methods lack realism and do little to properly train soldiers. When faced with a life-threatening situation, soldiers who have experienced that situation before are far more likely to react appropriately.
VirTra’s simulators are designed to provide a completely immersive experience and help soldiers feel as if they are truly out in the field. They utilize high-quality video and sound, and they come with dozens of pre-programmed scenarios that can be customized for unique situations. This makes a simulator one of the best tools available for training.
Another of the biggest benefits associated with utilizing VirTra to train warfighters is the simulators’ ability to recreate almost any scenario in any possible environment. For example, a vehicle may react differently in dry conditions than in the rain, and by simulating both experiences, soldiers can learn the differences and make appropriate decisions. Types of military scenarios include green-on-blue, active threat, key leader engagement and more. Essentially, with the ability to control the scenario, the weather and the visibility, it is possible to help soldiers and warfighters learn what it is like to work in a wide range of conditions that they may not experience otherwise.
The same goes for virtual range training, where VirTra’s marksmanship programs are both customizable and ballistically accurate. This makes it a perfect supplement for live fire range training. Instructors can change the setting of the range from the time of day, weather, wind and more so military members can experience the effects different conditions have when firing. Instructors may also change the types of targets and how they appear, turn or pop up.
VirTra gives military service members (and their instructors) an opportunity to review the actions that were taken during the simulation and improve their behaviors based upon the result. In other words, it is possible to measure soldiers’ progress objectively and completely. Simulators track everything a soldier says and does, and they can even record reaction time. Following a simulation, it is possible to review footage for debrief of any given individual’s performance. The more a servicemember experiences these scenarios, the better he or she will become at making quick decisions.
Service members out in the field experience a wide range of unpredictable situations. Because of this, it may seem impossible to train based on real-life experience, but this is not the case. Simulators can provide an incredibly realistic simulation of any imaginable situation in any environment, and when soldiers can learn by doing, they are far more likely to make the best decisions when faced with those scenarios in the field.
To learn more about how VirTra can help train your military squad, speak to a specialist.