How simulation training helps improve police shooting performance
Meggitt Training Systems showcased new offerings at SHOT Show 2018 that raise the bar (and stress level) for police firearms training
You’ve probably heard the “lowest level of training” statement many times, but how about some proof? In his 2008 paper, R. R. D. Oudejans proved that training exercises involving increased pressure can acclimatize shooting performance of police officers to those situations with elevated pressure that they may encounter during their police work.
I am a huge fan of low-cost simulators that can be used in your own living room, but static targets that don’t shoot back are only good to enhance your speed and shot placement. They cannot be used for moving target or stress training.
The training quoted in Oudejans’ paper uses Simunitions, but there are less expensive ways to run more realistic training sessions.
Atlanta-based Meggitt Training Systems sells virtual and physical indoor and outdoor systems to private range operators, law enforcement and the military.
In addition to its ranges, the company also offers tethered and BlueFire wireless weapon simulators. These weapons are real firearms that have been highly modified to provide robust diagnostics and after-action review to the shooters, including hold, target dwell time, trigger discipline and recoil recovery.
But remember that this article is about training under stress. The instructor can use the Meggitt training console to set magazines to start off with a specific number of rounds, initiate weapon jams, change the scenario time, or alter the number of shots fired. When used with Meggitt’s target systems, your staff are getting as close to real as possible.
Wireless target carrier new for 2018
Meggitt showed off its XWT GEN4 wireless target carrier on the SHOT Show exhibit floor this year.
Designed for indoor ranges, the XWT consists of a bullet-proof carrier that moves down a track, along with a wireless lane control unit. Advanced features include programmable maneuvers and scenarios for skill set development.
For group training, the entire range can be run from a control room area using a master control computer. For more realism, the XWT offers programmable distraction lighting that integrates red, blue and white LEDs.
No more zombies, evil clowns
If you go to the range as much as I do, you are probably getting tired of the same selection of zombies and evil clowns printed on static targets. Meggitt thought so too, introducing the ProImage projected target system.
The system consists of a compact video projector and camera that attaches to Meggitt's XWT target carrier.
Wirelessly connected to a 10” lane control unit that is mounted behind the firing line, the XWT ProImage projects range- or user-uploaded digital videos and images onto white paper or cardboard targets.
Meggitt packages interactive bowling pin, dueling tree, and a handful of shoot/don’t shoot scenarios with the system – and more can be added.
The range controls the thumb drive-based upload station to help ensure that inappropriate targets don’t get used.
Because the ProImage system also has a camera, shooters don’t need to use a spotting scope or guess at their hits. This makes rifle sighting a pleasure because the rock-solid track and carrier prevent targets from swaying back and forth, while the video feed shows exactly what’s happening downrange. The longest installed XWT system is 150 yards at The Range at the Preserve in Rhode Island.
Choose virtual or physical ammo
Using live ammo for training is expensive and loud. Many communities, including the one I live in, prohibit law enforcement from shooting at night or on weekends due to the noise. What if you could use one system to train with simulated firearms or live fire? Could your agency use more training time at lower cost and with less noise? And what if the entire system could fit into a couple of suitcases?
The beauty of Meggitt’s new natural rubber Live-Fire Screen is that you can use the exact same FATS 100LE system for virtual (using tethered and BlueFire wireless weapon simulators) or live ammo. Imagine outfitting your live fire shoot house with video for much more realistic scenarios.
Unlike competing live-fire offerings where screen integrity affects hit detection capability, Meggitt’s screen surface is used only for showing the image, and not detecting the hits. The easy-to-install, self-healing screen can be used with various types of weapons ranging from revolvers to submachine guns and is designed to withstand up to 50,000 rounds over the entire surface area before replacement or repair.