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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.