November 2016

Laser Simulation: Tacti-Cool or Tacti-Fool?

Laser Training, Tacti-Cool or Tacti-Fool?
I have a lot of people ask me my opinion about all things shooting. What kind of gun should I get? Is this new light what I should have? “A friend of mine bought this really cool widget and was wondering if I should buy one?” Quite a few things come onto the market, create a marketing blip, and then fade away into history. How many of you have a drawer or a tote filled with things you thought would be cool?

It seems the latest craze is putting the word “tactical” in front of everything. Tactical shoes, tactical pants, tactical tech, and tactical rants. So I decided to start a blog that examines whether something is worthwhile, or a waste. And thus the idea of Tacti-Cool or Tacti-Fool was born. We’re going to talk about things and decide if something is tacti-cool and therefore worthwhile, or tacti-fool or, well, not so much worthwhile.

So I’m starting this blog with a very controversial topic: laser simulation training. On the one hand it laser training can work with other technologies to give you a very rich training environment but on the other hand some people point out the issue of “training scars” obtained from continued repetition of poor habits.

The interesting thing is that both opinions are spot on. Yep, both sides of this argument have some basis in fact. Unfortunately, any technology can be misapplied or abused. But fortunately, when you know what kind of problems you’re going to run into, you can plan around them.

My foray into laser training started a couple of years ago when I bought a few LaserLyte training systems as Christmas gifts. I have a number of friends (who are laughing at the very thought that I have friends at all) and I thought that they could have some fun while they improved their shooting skills.

The results were, well, mixed.

I’ll tell you why. The problem became a rather simple one: folks were focusing on the laser spot instead of the front sight. They’d developed the nasty habit of peeking over the top of the gun to check where they were shooting. I could tell this was happening and I verified it when we went to the range. The only way to fix it was to go back to the range and back to basics: front sight, front sight, front sight.
Now when I see someone using a laser trainer, I watch for that tell-tail sign that he or she is peeking over the sights. That only leaves the fact that most laser pistols don’t do recoil very well. But, that’s a common problem with most training drills that don’t go BANG.

That brings us to the Big Boy laser training. I say Big Boy because we’re not talking about just setting up a small target that makes a beep and lights a light when you hit it. We’re talking about an interactive training tool that is controlled by a trained and skilled professional that understands how to leverage the strengths of the environment. And therein lays the key: the Laser Shot Judgment Training Software, or JTS, is a software package that works with the Laser Shot SimRange hardware.

The Laser Shot SimRange hardware is a short-throw projector integrated with a camera and controlled by a computer that is specifically designed to work with the Laser Shot laser pistols. The computer runs software that tells the projector to display various threats, and the entire process is managed by the simulation manager. Sure, there are programs that allow the shooter to interact with the simulator without the aid of a simulation manager in much the same way that a user would play a video game, but the real power of the system is unleashed when you’re up against a real person and not just the computer.

In the judgment training software, the simulation manager can control what happens based upon your actions. For example, if the student doesn’t tell the threat what to do in what the sim manager feels is an appropriate manner, he or she can let the threat drive the scenario. That usually ends up with the threat shooting someone!

Because the judgment training scenario can be changed based upon the reactions of the student, you can tailor the training to reinforce specific traits that will enhance the student’s abilities.

I’ve seen it work. And it works really well.

I’ve watched people go from not being able to find their gun to being able to react swiftly and effectively to a threat in their house. I’ve seen people go from being timid and unsure, to being confident and assertive. They pick up their gun and own the situation. All from being put into simulated high-stress scenarios and feeling, to some lesser degree, what it feels like to fail. That’s how we learn: from failure.

No, nobody gets shot, nobody feels the sting of simunitions, and there is no blood. But the stress is real and the confidence one gets from successfully completing the class is just as real.

One thing that is certain is that attitude wins gunfights. If you don’t think you can win, you are going to lose. Laser based judgment training can make you a better, safer, more confident gun owner.

What’s the verdict? Laser Training is definitely Tacti-Cool.