This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
A few years ago I went to the Vehicle and Darkness D3 course with Haley Strategic. At this course, students learn how to fine-tune fundamentals while manipulating lights and shooting in and around vehicles. A vehicle ballistics lab was also very informative. After the course, I realized how detailed and intricate these scenarios could get. I would have been very surprised to find a course that could top the knowledge I had learned over those three days.
Enter Haley Strategic’s D7 with VirTra… While live fire is incredible training and much needed, D7 offers simulated return fire and many scenarios, despite never firing a live round. Unfortunately, the event I attended with VirTra and Haley Strategic at SHOT 2018 was quite packed and I was unable to take good pictures. The included pictures from both VirTra and Haley Strategic should give an idea of the capabilities of the simulation system.
D7 is a 2-day course, where round counts are expected to reach 3,000-3,500 rounds. These repetitions help establish correct habits. The sim guns are CO2 powered Glocks, AR’s, or a host of other weapons that allow the shooter to engage with realistic but simulated recoil. The slide races back and forth with each shot. Less lethal simulators are also available to test students in proper use of force. With a simple barrel and magazine swap, a standard firearm is able to be used. This allows for the student to use their own weapon in the scenarios. While the smart mag technology has not been perfected for use with pistols, VirTra has been able to employ the use of smart mag technology on rifle platforms. Smart mags allow for simulated malfunctions programmed by the instructor.
The system has also been vetted and utilized by the United States Air Force, Phoenix Police Department, and a host of other law enforcement agencies.
Unlike other simulated engagements, VirTra allows for up to 300-degree immersion, ensuring that situational awareness in all directions is a major focal point.
The scenarios are a mixture of actual video footage and CGI. Designed to have valid psychological and physiological impact. The human brain is able to detect irregularities within 30 meters. For engagements within 30 meters, an actual prerecorded video is used to trick the brain into believing the scenario is real. Numerous recordings in endless variations were recorded to ensure the playback matches the students’ response.
A Threat-Fire system is also employed to add another level of realism. The student wears a wireless electronic impulse device and feels a shocking sensation. This sensation is designed to distract while engaged and hit by the threat. Thinking through the scenario while taking fire helps take the experience to the next level.
Other simulators often need a marking cartridge that must be shot at the student by the instructor. The problem with those systems is that the instructor is distracted by engaging the student instead of analyzing the students’ actions. Instructors also cannot target vital zones that in a true scenario would be fair game and even targeted. Rounds must also be policed off the floor requiring more time and hassle.