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Training budgets are tight, ammunition is expensive, and shooting in a sterile range environment does little to hone an officer’s decision-making skills. Live fire is a basic component of any firearms training program, but there’s never been a better time to supplement live-fire training with simulator training.

Today’s simulators create a realistic training environment, requiring an officer to make split-second use-of-force decisions in response to the scenario depicted on the screen. Realistic training weapons, multiple force options, and scenarios based on actual events or designed to address perceived training needs make simulator training a welcome addition to any police firearms training program.

Worth The High Cost
With a price range from about $30,000 to well over $100,000, today’s training simulators aren’t cheap. To offset the expense of purchasing a training simulator, a single unit is often shared by multiple agencies. Some fiscally responsible agencies have even purchased simulators using money seized in asset forfeiture.

Although the initial cost to purchase a training simulator can be substantial, such training saves on range fees and ammunition. Since these units are generally self-contained and portable, training can be conducted just about anywhere, making simulator training a convenient option. The cost to train officers on the simulator is seemingly inconsequential considering the training is almost certain to improve an officer’s accuracy with a firearm, and perhaps even more importantly, the officer’s ability to make appropriate decisions under simulated stressful conditions.

According to Chuck Oblich, Law Enforcement Sales Account Manager for Meggitt Training Systems (formerly FATS/Casewell), the first FATS (Firearms Training System) system was shipped to the U.S. Postal Training Center in Potomac, MD in 1985. Today, there are more than 6,000 Meggitt Systems in se around the world by law enforcement and military agencies. Of those, approximately 4,500 are used by LE personnel in the United States. While Meggitt Training Systems does not manufacture a dedicated civilian model, some colleges, universities, and private training centers that educate non-law enforcement students utilize their training simulators. In addition, many LE agencies incorporate simulator training into their civilian academy curriculum.

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