VIR­TUAL BATTLESPACE

Tactical World - - Contents - TEXT BY DOUG JEF­FREY PHOTOS COURTESY OF LASER SHOT

We’re talk­ing bet­ter speed, ac­cu­racy and judg­men­tal tar­get­ing. We’ll also tell you how to get them. By Doug Jef­frey

IN RE­AL­IS­TIC SCE­NAR­IOS, LASER SHOT’S TRAIN­ING SIM­U­LA­TORS ARE DE­SIGNED TO IN­CREASE YOUR SPEED, AC­CU­RACY AND JUDG­MEN­TAL TAR­GET­ING

From a dis­tance, it was dif­fi­cult to tell what was go­ing on. The crowd—about five or six deep— sur­rounded the en­tire booth and was eerily silent. As we neared, we made our way through the peo­ple and fi­nally reached an open­ing, where we saw a man, prob­a­bly in his 30s, in the midst of a sim­u­lated hostage sit­u­a­tion that was pro­jected onto a 180-de­gree screen.

Likely run­ning through his mind at about 200 mph was the thought, “Do I en­gage?” Sud­denly, on the far side of the screen, an armed man en­tered the sce­nario. The “good guy” glanced over … just as the bank rob­ber made his move …

At the 2018 NRA An­nual Meet­ings, train­ing sim­u­la­tors were all the rage … and Laser Shot was one of the big­gest draws. In the fol­low­ing story, Anderson With a 3.9- inch Kith, Laser Shot’s cre­ative di­rec­tor, bar­rel, the Sig P320 RX takes is easy us to in­side con­ceal this pop­u­lar train­ing and ev­ery­day carry. method­ol­ogy.

Join the crowd.

01.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: TELL US ABOUT LASER SHOT. WHEN WAS IT FORMED AND WHY?

Anderson Kith: Laser Shot was formed in 1999 as a tech­no­log­i­cal so­lu­tion for shoot­ing sports en­ter­tain­ment. Laser Shot soon evolved into de­vel­op­ing firearm train­ing so­lu­tions for mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment agen­cies, as it be­came a nec­es­sary train­ing tool. To­day, Laser Shot’s tech­nol­ogy is uti­lized to train var­i­ous top-tier spe­cial op­er­a­tions units and elite law en­force­ment agen­cies world­wide.

02.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: DE­SCRIBE WHAT A FIREARMS TRAIN­ING SIM­U­LA­TOR IS AND HOW IT WORKS.

Kith: Laser Shot sim­u­la­tors con­sist of the fol­low­ing com­po­nents: a pro­jec­tor, a screen, a sim­u­lated firearm or firearms, and a laser hit-de­tec­tion cam­era. These all are uti­lized to­gether to run var­i­ous soft­ware train­ing pro­grams. The pro­jec­tor dis­plays the train­ing soft­ware on the screen, and us­ing a sim­u­lated firearm, the shots are tracked, while feed­back is sent from the hit­de­tec­tion cam­era, back to the com­puter.

Laser Shot sim­u­la­tors project the train­ing soft­ware on ei­ther a sin­gle screen, mul­ti­ple screens, or curved screens around the trainee. Course­ware ranges from ba­sic skill drills to bat­tle­field sim­u­la­tions. Sim­u­la­tors can be as sim­ple as a sin­gle screen or as com­plex as en­tire con­voys with mock ve­hi­cles and crewserved weapons.

03.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: WE UN­DER­STAND YOU MAKE THEM FOR MIL AND LE, AS WELL AS THE PUB­LIC. EX­PLAIN HOW THESE ARE DIF­FER­ENT.

Kith: Al­though these sys­tems func­tion in the same ba­sic way (pro­jec­tor, sim­u­lated weapon, hit-de­tec­tion cam­era, soft­ware), each el­e­ment is catered to its in­tended user. For ex­am­ple, for sports shoot­ers, we have

“… THE IN­STRUC­TOR CAN TAKE THE SCE­NARIO IN A NUM­BER OF WAYS TO TRAIN AND TEST THE STU­DENT’S JUDG­MENT, RE­AC­TION TIME AND AC­CU­RACY.”

sev­eral soft­ware ti­tles that ac­cu­rately sim­u­late com­pe­ti­tion shoot­ing cour­ses. For the mil­i­tary, we uti­lize Vir­tual Battlespace 3 (VBS3), which can sim­u­late geo-spe­cific bat­tle­fields, in­clud­ing ports around the world. Our core course­ware for law en­force­ment is Judg­men­tal Train­ing Soft­ware (JTS), which boasts the largest and most in-depth sce­nario li­brary ad­ver­tised on the market at 929 and count­ing.

Like­wise, our sim­u­lated weapons mimic the firearms each seg­ment would use in the real world, in­clud­ing re­coil and reload char­ac­ter­is­tics. 04. TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: WHAT MAKES YOUR PROD­UCT UNIQUE? Kith: There are a num­ber of things: One, we have the fastest setup and user-friendly op­er­a­tion. Most of our cus­tomers are shocked to see how fast and easy our por­ta­ble sim­u­la­tors can be de­ployed from a fully packed state. This means more time can be ded­i­cated to train­ing, rather than fuss­ing with equip­ment.

Two, we have the small­est foot­print in the in­dus­try for many of our sim­u­la­tor mod­els. The Sim­range, for ex­am­ple, can be placed within 18 inches of the pro­jec­tion sur­face. Other sim­u­la­tors also fea­ture short­throw tech­nol­ogy, which re­quire the least amount of space for sim­u­la­tors in their class.

Three, we have the largest se­lec­tion of sim­u­lated weapons with trueto-life look, feel, and func­tion. If there is a weapon model that we

don’t of­fer in a sim­u­lated ver­sion, our in-house team of en­gi­neers will de­sign and man­u­fac­ture it to fill any or­der. Our sim­u­lated weapons can also come with key fea­tures like count­ing mag­a­zines and sim­u­lated mal­func­tions, and are de­signed to repli­cate the look, feel and func­tion of real weapons.

Four, we have the largest li­brary (and high­est qual­ity) of live-ac­tion sce­nario train­ing. Our cur­rent li­brary is 929 sce­nar­ios (and count­ing). Our sce­nar­ios also fea­ture “branch­ing,” which means that the in­struc­tor can take the sce­nario in a num­ber of ways to train and test the stu­dent’s judg­ment, re­ac­tion time and ac­cu­racy.

Five, we have un­matched im­mer­sion with vivid train­ing soft­ware and edge­less curved pro­jec­tion sur­faces. Our real-life bal­lis­tics en­gines are key fea­tures for long-dis­tance (sniper) sim­u­la­tors cur­rently in use by the world’s elite fight­ing forces and law en­force­ment agen­cies.

Six, ours has the most ac­cu­rate hit de­tec­tion with the least la­tency. Subpixel ac­cu­racy means that trainees will know ex­actly where their shots hit, even on tar­gets at long sim­u­lated dis­tances. We uti­lize high-frame-rate cam­eras to elim­i­nate any la­tency for mov­ing tar­gets or speed drills.

Seven, we have un­matched cost­ef­fec­tive­ness, with many pro­grams in place for smaller law en­force­ment and mil­i­tary bud­gets. Laser Shot is ded­i­cated to serv­ing those who serve us, and we do ev­ery­thing in our power to make sure that mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment have ac­cess to the best train­ing tools avail­able—both by de­vel­op­ing them our­selves and work­ing within bud­get re­stric­tions— and with grant as­sis­tance pro­grams to get this tech­nol­ogy in the hands of pro­fes­sion­als.

Eight, ours fea­ture the most cus­tom op­tions. We un­der­stand that ev­ery cus­tomer has unique train­ing re­quire­ments, so we of­fer the largest se­lec­tion of cus­tom op­tions in the in­dus­try to tai­lor-make the ideal train­ing sys­tem … with op­tions such as cus­tom HD sce­nar­ios and cus­tom sim­u­lated-weapon mod­els. We have even gone as far as writ­ing new soft­ware pro­grams to fit the train­ing stan­dards of our cus­tomer.

05.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: ON YOUR SITE, YOU MEN­TION PRO­GRES­SIVE TRAIN­ING SO­LU­TIONS. DE­SCRIBE THOSE.

Kith: Our pro­gres­sive train­ing so­lu­tions fol­low the “crawl-walkrun” par­a­digm. Each Laser Shot course­ware ti­tle ad­heres to these prin­ci­ples by pro­gress­ing stu­dents from the very ba­sics of firearms han­dling and ma­nip­u­la­tion, to ze­ro­ing pro­ce­dures, and then into a series of drills or cour­ses that in­crease in dif­fi­culty. In­struc­tors have the op­tion to jump to the stage of train­ing that best suits their stu­dents, or re­peat stages for re­me­dial train­ing. Each stu­dent’s progress can be tracked for qual­i­fi­ca­tion pur­poses. 06. TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: IS YOUR

PROD­UCT AIMED AT A SPE­CIFIC CLIENT OR IS IT FOR ALL SKILL LEV­ELS?

Kith: Ab­so­lutely ev­ery skill level, rang­ing from our Hunter’s Ed­u­ca­tion course­ware that teaches chil­dren how to be safe around firearms, to our Crosshair Mag­ni­fied Op­tics Sim­u­la­tor in use by our na­tion’s finest sniper/ spot­ter teams.

07.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: HOW IS IT ADAPT­ABLE TO A CUS­TOMER’S NEEDS?

Kith: Not only are most soft­ware ti­tles ed­itable for cus­tom cour­ses, sce­nar­ios or qual­i­fi­ca­tions, but the sim­u­la­tor’s hard­ware can also be or­dered with cus­tomiza­tions or be re­con­fig­ured by the cus­tomer at a later date. Our flag­ship sys­tem— the War­rior Skills Trainer— which re­cently ex­panded to Fort Knox, Ken­tucky, is a great ex­am­ple of this. This 5-pod con­voy sim­u­la­tor is as­sem­bled with in­di­vid­ual sin­gle-screen mo­bile sim­u­la­tors, which al­lows the U.S. Army Re­serve to re­con­fig­ure their con­voy trainer into a lanes-train­ing sys­tem, or to send in­di­vid­ual sim­u­la­tors out to their many home sta­tions across the United States.

08.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: HOW DO THE SIM­U­LA­TORS EN­HANCE EX­IST­ING PRO­GRAMS?

Kith: Laser Shot sim­u­la­tors are not in­tended to re­place live-fire train­ing; in­stead, they are in­tended to aug­ment ex­ist­ing pro­grams by as­sum­ing many of the train­ing steps taken up un­til live-fire.

For in­stance, at the Fed­eral Law En­force­ment Train­ing Cen­ter (FLETC), a re­cent study in­volved two sets of stu­dents with the same skill lev­els with firearms (vir­tu­ally none). One group was put through sim­u­la­tor train­ing be­fore go­ing to the live-fire range while the other went straight to live-fire train­ing. Af­ter qual­i­fy­ing, the data showed that sim­u­la­tor train­ing was not only slightly more ef­fec­tive than live-fire train­ing, but it car­ried a host of other ben­e­fits, such as re­duced costs of am­mu­ni­tion and travel time, re­duced li­a­bil­ity, abil­ity for in­struc­tors to be heard since no hear­ing pro­tec­tion was re­quired, and faster con­fi­dence-build­ing with firearm han­dling, due to the lack of lethal­ity in the be­gin­ning stages.

To re­it­er­ate, Laser Shot does not re­place live-fire, but it pro­vides an ac­cel­er­ated course with ben­e­fits in the form of re­duced costs, li­a­bil­i­ties and travel time, and the added value of cus­tom­iz­a­ble course­ware that tracks each stu­dent’s progress.

09. TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: DE­SCRIBE IM­MER­SIVE TRAIN­ING.

Kith: Im­mer­sive train­ing is the ap­proach to in­struc­tion whereby the user is

placed in a vir­tual en­vi­ron­ment that most closely sim­u­lates the real-world event. This is done through pro­ject­ing the sim­u­la­tion onto large screens to en­gulf the user’s ex­pe­ri­ence with­out en­cum­ber­ing them with bulky head­sets or HMDS, as well as through full sur­round sound to more prop­erly re­flect the train­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

10.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: HOW OF­TEN DO YOU REC­OM­MEND THAT SOME­ONE USES A SIM­U­LA­TOR?

Kith: That all de­pends on the per­son’s line of work with firearms. Max Michel, a world-record holder and speed shoot­ing world cham­pion, trains with Laser Shot as of­ten as he can—es­pe­cially be­fore matches. Our Sim­range por­ta­ble sim­u­la­tor al­lows him to bring a vir­tual com­pe­ti­tion course to his ho­tel room the night be­fore a match to get in valu­able trig­ger time.

For mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment units, how of­ten they need to ex­pe­ri­ence sim­u­la­tions are de­fined by their train­ing doc­trine, al­though daily trig­ger time has been shown to greatly im­prove a shooter’s speed, ac­cu­racy and judg­men­tal tar­get­ing.

11.

TAC­TI­CAL WORLD: IS THIS DONE IN CON­JUNC­TION WITH TRAIN­ING AT THE RANGE?

Kith: Our Ther­mal Shot tech­nol­ogy greatly en­hances live-fire train­ing by pro­vid­ing a self-heal­ing screen and ther­mal imag­ing hit-de­tec­tion cam­era to sense live rounds pass­ing through vir­tual tar­gets. This sys­tem is in use by top-tier spe­cial op­er­a­tions and elite law en­force­ment units world­wide in our pro­pri­etary line of live-fire shoot houses. TW

“SUB-PIXEL AC­CU­RACY MEANS THAT TRAINEES WILL KNOW EX­ACTLY WHERE THEIR SHOTS HIT, EVEN ON TAR­GETS AT LONG SIM­U­LATED DIS­TANCES.”

To tai­lor- make the ideal train­ing sys­tem, the Texas- based com­pany of­fers a large se­lec­tion of cus­tom op­tions … from HD sce­nar­ios to cus­tom sim­u­lated- weapon mod­els to sce­nar­ios for the mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment.

left: How of­ten should you in­cor­po­rate a sim­u­la­tor into your rou­tine? It de­pends, says Kith. For mil­i­tary and law en­force­ment units, it de­pends on their train­ing doc­trine. But, he quickly points out that daily trig­ger time im­proves a shooter's speed, ac­cu­racy and judg­men­tal tar­get­ing.

bot­tom: There are 929 sce­nar­ios in their li­brary, so there's no short­age of sit­u­a­tions. More­over, in­struc­tors can take the sce­nario in a num­ber of ad­di­tional ways to train and test judg­ment, re­ac­tion time and ac­cu­racy.

Laser Shot's pro­jec­tor dis­plays the train­ing soft­ware on the screen, while the of­fi­cer's or sol­dier's shots are tracked via com­puter. op­po­site: Laser Shot of­fi­cials say they have the largest se­lec­tion of sim­u­lated weapons with re­al­is­tic look, feel and func­tion.

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