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.

 

Our Showcased Technologies

  • V-300® 4K—Ultra HD resolution that more accurately reproduces subtle visual details. This technology more perfectly replicates real-world encounters.
  • V-Threat-Fire®—The new version of the patented consequence device that delivers an electric impulse to simulate gunfire, explosions, etc.
  • V-Marksmanship – The program that gives warfighters customizable range options and accurate ballistics.
  • The Newest Recoil Kits & CO2 Magazines—The newest developments in hardware that transforms a live weapon to simulation-ready in minutes with no permanent modification. Now available for even more weapons!
  • Latest Development— Live real-time data analytics demonstration thanks to Vialytix! See the new way to collect and report training data.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Marksmanship Training

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.

Recoil Kits and Magazines

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.

V-ST PRO®

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?

Prepared For Any Condition

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.

Advancing Warfighter Performance

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.

From the Sim to 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.

Customizable Range Conditions

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.

Superior Ballistics

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.

Virtual Simulators are Immersive

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.

Experience Any Imaginable Scenario and Environment

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.

In-Depth Progress Measurement

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.

As a way to ensure servicemembers are well-prepared for any given situation, VirTra’s subject matter experts and content department work together to create high quality, realistic simulator scenarios. Just one example of the dozens of scenarios focuses on vehicle traffic control point training.

Traffic Control Points (TCP), like their name suggests, are locations where military police control the traffic – but it is not just about telling drivers where to go and ensuring orderly flow. Soldiers and warfighters must maintain situational awareness during searches and in case of militant attacks.

The scenario shown in the video below simulates a Traffic Control Checkpoint where a search turns suddenly escalates and an enemy militant opens fire on the student and their squad. This military training scenario allows trainees to understand how quickly situations can turn deadly and how to provide cover for fellow soldiers.

In addition to TCP training, soldiers and warfighters also have access to scenarios for Key Leader Engagement, Combat Training, Green on Blue, Active Threats and much more. Marksmanship is also an important focus, as VirTra has ensured our customizable virtual ranges feature incredible ballistic accuracy so skills transfer properly to the field. Combined with our durable recoil kits and CO2 magazines that fit right into a soldier’s duty weapon, VirTra’s training is the perfect supplement to live-fire.

To learn more about how VirTra can provide intense, realistic and effective training for servicemembers, contact a specialist today.

There is no question that VirTra’s Marksmanship Authoring program is an amazing tool. With marksmanship authoring you can pre-program an entire course of fire with turning targets that expose themselves for select periods of time at pre-designated distances. You can virtually author your entire department’s firearms qualification course into your system to help struggling shooters get their reps in before range qualifications. It’s truly a great tool.

Recently, during an Advanced Trainer Certification Course (ATCC) at our HQ in Tempe I found that many of our clients are not using the free-range portion of our marksmanship program to its fullest potential. As firearms instructor myself, I find our free-range feature to be incredibly functional as a skill builder.

At the last ATCC I had an individual approach me to ask how to counter the argument that simulator training can’t replace live fire. While I can’t counter that argument, I can wholeheartedly endorse the use of our marksmanship package as a supplement to live fire training. Let’s take a minute to discuss the fundamentals of marksmanship.

Stance – Simply put, stance is your foundation starting from the feet up. Just as you wouldn’t want a house built on a weak foundation you can’t shoot well from an unstable platform. Gone are the days of the “Weaver Stance” (I’m old enough to remember that) and current modern law enforcement techniques are teaching a more modern modified isosceles stance with body armor facing the threat in an athletic stance with weight evenly distributed on the balls of your feet to allow for mobility.

Grip – Grip is the manner in which your hands interface with the weapon. Terms like “strong hand” and “support hand” signify which hand you use to manipulate the trigger. Building a proper grip with the principles of leverage, friction, and pressure will enable shooters to manipulate the trigger with an isolated trigger finger allowing for faster more accurate shots.

Sight Alignment – We have all been taught clear front sight placed between the rear sight notch, flush across the top with equal space between each side of the notch and front sight (equal height/equal light). That’s sight picture, but with the advent of pistol mounted red dot sights we need to be open to more modern tools and techniques. (Coming soon… VirTra’s Red Dot Transition and Sustainment program).

Sight picture – This is simply where we place that perfect sight alignment that we discussed above on our target.

Trigger Control – Probably the most important fundamental in marksmanship, trigger control is proper manipulation of the trigger without disturbing your sights. I would go so far as to say that many problems that I’ve solved for problem shooters took place within their trigger guards.

Follow Through – This is a multi-faceted principle. Follow through is a process by which we reset the trigger during recoil and re-place our sight picture on our target. Commonly shortened to reset on recoil, we are setting ourselves up for follow up shots should they be required.

Now back to the VirTra free range function. Completely different from the Marksmanship authoring function, our system provides any number of ranges with or without backstops. Depending on the training objective that you want, you have the option to have a virtual “square range” in your training venue. One of the staples of firearms training is drills.

Once your cadre has established the drills that they want to accomplish, it’s as simple as selecting a free fire range and using the “target management” button to place your targets wherever you need them, just as you would on a square range. There are a number of targets to choose from and there is no limit to the number of targets you can place in your virtual square range. The target “offset” button can used for lateral movement and the “distance” button is used to place your target at various ranges within your virtual space. Quite literally one of the more valuable tools for teaching students’ proper fundamentals without the need for authoring an entire course of fire.  Once fundamentals have been mastered instructors have the option to introduce time standards for the drill by selecting our pro timer.

While nothing can replace live fire, our system is equipped with options that enable firearms instructors to analyze their shooters performance close up and personal, without the normal concerns associated with live fire range practice for pennies on the dollar. Students are likely to feel more comfortable with simulator guns and may be more susceptible to trying new techniques if they aren’t worried about having a negligent discharge and damaging property or hurting themselves or others. There is no need for eye and ear protection so students can clearly hear tips or techniques and the recoil from our recoil kits is substantial enough to give the shooter feedback about their recoil management. Finally, of course, is the advantage of not having to brass-up at the end of the training day.

Feel free to reach out and speak with any of the VirTra SMEs for questions or advice on how to set up your free fire range if you have any questions and as always…

Stay Safe and Train Hard.

 

This article was written by Mike Clark, VirTra Law Enforcement Subject Matter Expert

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.