Training begins, like most concerted tasks, with a plan. Any successful trainer or training program has a plan and an outcome objective clearly established at the onset. This statement is true for any firearms training program, whether it be live fire or simulated training within a virtual environment.
What’s a Simulator?
It’s important for departments to understand that virtual marksmanship and judgmental trainers are a tool to be used as part of a weapons training program. Whether an officer is using the virtual marksmanship trainer for remedial firearms training or operating within a virtual judgmental training scenario, it’s critical that the training officer have a teaching/training objective that leads to a learning experience based on KSAs (knowledge, skills, abilities).
“There are two elements to a successful training program when using a virtual firearms training system,” said Chuck Oblich, law enforcement sales manager for Meggitt Training Systems. “First, the trainer needs to understand all elements, features and capabilities of the training tools at his or her disposal. Second, only after the trainer understands the full capabilities of a system, can the system then be integrated into a training program that addresses the officer’s training needs.”
These training tools, when used effectively, correct issues with officers’ marksmanship skills and prepare them for potentially lethal situations in a non-lethal environment. Part of the benefit of a simulator is its adaptability to new training needs. With changing training needs comes changing technology.
“At this point, it is often our imagination that limits us in the development of new technology,” said Bobby Chung, vice president of technology and advanced engineering for Meggitt Training Systems. “We rely on officer feedback to help us identify what is needed for that next level of training.”
Wireless weaponry, integrated chemical spray, batons, Taser, look-back and hostile return fire systems all benefit the officer by creating a true-to-life experience. It’s critical for the training officer and the department to fully understand its firearms training needs. A trustworthy manufacturer can assist in this research process.
What to Ask?
When considering an immersive firearms training simulator, a training officer and/or procurement officer needs to ask about system and firearms capabilities, warranties, a manufacturer’s history and system reliability. Additionally, the training officer needs to look at weapon types and quantity needed and whether or not the system will be a shared resource. While it’s important to ask questions of the manufacturer, it’s important to speak with other departments and agencies that have already integrated a firearms training simulator into their training program. Look at their facility, their training needs and their training volume and see how it compares to what’s needed. Ask about pros, cons and lessons learned.
Today’s systems can be built to a department’s needs. From wireless weaponry to shoot-back systems, it’s important to speak with a manufacturer that understands the needs of law enforcement. Based on the department’s need, the manufacturer’s representative can assist in identifying what is and isn’t needed in order to develop system pricing.
David O’Meara is director of law enforcement systems at Meggitt Training Systems. His career at MTSI (Caswell/Detroit Armor Corporation at that time) spans more than 19 years. Joining MTSI in 1993 David has held various positions within the Meggitt organization. Prior positions include installer, service manager and sales manager LE sales, live fire and virtual.