It’s no secret that the more realistic an officer’s training, the better the officer’s odds are of responding appropriately to a real-world crisis. To this end, there are a variety of training systems intended to help bridge the gap between training and reality. Of those, marking cartridges, airsoft and force-option simulators are among the most popular.
While each of these methods can help prepare officers for the unknown, each has its drawbacks. Marking cartridges hurt, require unrealistic protective equipment, and due to the propensity for property damage, your training locales could be severely limited. Marking cartridges also require an inordinate amount of time to ensure safety protocols are in place, such as loading designated cartridges into magazines, searching participants for live rounds and ensuring mandatory protective gear is properly worn.
Airsoft won’t mark up your training environment, but it does require specific, unrealistic protective gear, and there’s no surefire way to tell if a participant is hit or if they’re flat-out cheating. Force-option simulators are very useful, but they can’t replace the human interaction that’s so much a part of any high-stress police incident.