For decades, police officers have been training and re-certifying on a regular basis with their police-issued firearms using traditional indoor or outdoor shooting ranges in facilities across the United States.
Police shooting ranges typically include multiple lanes where police officers practice firing their service weapons at targets located in front of dirt mounds or into specialized systems which use “bullet traps” made of rubber, metal or other materials to safely capture and hold bullets from discharged weapons.
The Problem with Firing Ranges
The problem is that over time there are substantial financial costs and occasional safety issues when officers are firing large numbers of lead bullets within these indoor and outdoor environments. Lead is a hazardous substance and there are strict federal environmental laws which mandate costly clean-up processes and remediation when it is found in high concentrations, including in soil, air and groundwater near police shooting ranges and other locations.
One way to lessen those growing problems is to supplement traditional physical police firing ranges with police use of force simulator training systems that can also be configured and used by officers as high-tech force option simulator firing ranges.
VirTra’s law enforcement judgmental use of force simulator scenario training systems, such as its five-screen V-300 simulator, provide police officers with video-enhanced, real-world scenarios utilizing virtual reality training systems that mirror situations officers experience on the street regularly in their jobs. The VirTra V-300 allows police officers to be surrounded by 300 degrees of realistic video simulations which allow police officers in the realistic police simulator to become enmeshed in the crime incident scenarios unfolding around them. The VirTra V-300 has range courseware for target and accuracy testing as well. VirTra also offers a full line of other simulators in three-screen and single-screen configurations for every simulation training systems requirement.
VirTra’s V-ST Pro
VirTra also builds a dedicated V-ST PRO firearms shooting simulator and interactive skills training systems which allows one to 30 officers for use of force training to train at the same time, with the realism of a live fire range and real-world, accurate ballistics behavior. The police training software allows officers to use their standard service weapons which have been specially-modified to use safe CO2 bursts, while providing realistic kick-back when a “shot” is fired, rather than live ammunition on a shooting range.
Police departments and other law enforcement agencies which require custom qualifications standards can even have those standards built right into the VirTra firearms virtual reality law enforcement training simulators, giving them a custom fit for their needs. Officers, however, would still have to perform their final qualification demonstrations at a live firing range to regain their weapons certifications.
Indoor & Outdoor Ranges
Indoor and outdoor police firing ranges can be hit with costs into the tens of thousands of dollars for lead cleanup each year, and can face substantial fines for lead pollution in nearby water sources and groundwater as well if it is not cleaned up.
Outdoor ranges also have additional safety concerns, including “hot spots” when lead bullets aren’t properly cleaned out of the dirt mounds or bullet traps regularly, which causes high densities of spent bullets that can enable newly-fired shots to ricochet or bounce back to officers who are training. Another concern is the possibility of a live round leaving the controlled area of the shooting range and migrating to nearby populated areas. This doesn’t happen often, but it has happened and it is a safety worry for live fire facilities.
In addition, costs for live fire bullets can also be substantial – as much as 30 to 50 cents per shot or more – making it an expensive proposition to only train a police department’s officers at a live fire range several times a year so they can maintain their weapons skills.
The Advantage for Police Departments
For police departments, the huge advantage of adding VirTra’s virtual reality police training software and scenario simulators to the mix is that officers can conduct most of their practice shoots on the simulators instead of using live fire, saving money on costly ammunition while also reducing concerns about pollution, environmental issues and community safety.
Another important benefit of simulator firearms police use of force training is that it provides repeatable training opportunities for officers who struggle to qualify at the range each year. This allows them to improve their skills with a higher level of success through increased repetition at low additional cost compared to a live range.
Law enforcement agencies will never get away from using traditional police firearms training ranges as they have for many decades across the nation, but supplementing those facilities with high-tech electronic simulator systems can expand and improve training options for police departments and their officer and communities.