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SHOT Show spotlight: Improving LEO decision-making under stress

VirTra aims to increase the realism of simulation training with visual upgrades and electrical impulse simulations

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Photo/Ron LaPedis

De-escalation simulators, which originally were marketed as firearms simulators, have become the training method of choice for many agencies because they can put officers in street-realistic situations that demand higher levels of critical thinking than being put on the range.

Multi-incident scenarios help push officers from rote “lizard brain” to split-second frontal cortex decision-making processes making them more effective when life-or-death decisions are required on the street. One example, which seems relatively easy, is to float multi-colored balloons across the simulator screens, telling the officer to only shoot blue balloons with odd numbers on them.

With high-resolution 4K video added to the V-300 5-screen simulator from VirTra, subtle facial expressions, eye movement and “tells” can be seen by the officer. Older systems were only able to present the suspect’s body language. The upgrade forces the officer to process more information during the decision-making process.

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VirTra has added high-resolution 4K video to its V-300 5-screen simulator.

Photo/Ron LaPedis

In addition to the visual upgrade, the V-Threat-Fire device has been made smaller and a new vibration mode added. The V-Threat-Fire is designed to bring consequences to training by delivering an electric impulse to simulate return fire, dog bites, explosions and more. With the addition of vibration mode, feedback can be given without the adrenalin rush caused by the earlier version.

The VirTra advanced remote-controlled magazine can simulate different firearms stoppages. The operator can tell the magazine to run out of ammo or trigger a plunger, which prevents the firearm from going into battery. Tap/rack/bang may or may not work, teaching officers to move from one clearing method to the next to get back into the fight.

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Left: ThreatFire device, middle and right: The advanced remote-controlled magazine can be programmed to run out of ammo or trigger a plunger, which prevents the pistol from going into battery.

Photos/Ron LaPedis

VirTra worked with Victory First consulting and Aimpoint to develop an RDS training and maintenance program – Red Dot Optic Training and Sustainment or RDOTS. With 21 detailed training drills, officers can practice drawing, aiming and more. Like all VirTra simulations, the training officer is in control so that students can be made to deal with sight failures due to damage or expired battery – while working within other scenarios. The curriculum just received NCP certification from IADLEST.

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Ron LaPedis is an NRA-certified Chief Range Safety Officer, NRA, USCCA and California DOJ-certified instructor, is a uniformed first responder, and frequently writes and speaks on law enforcement, business continuity, cybersecurity, physical security and public/private partnerships.