VirTra Training: Total Immersion Gun Simulation

VirTra Training: Total Immersion Gun Simulation

Summer 2020 in Arizona wasn’t conducive to live-fire training, given the perfect storm of 115-degree temperatures, wildfire-related shooting restrictions on public land, COVID-induced range closures, and extremely high ammo prices. Rather than rely solely on dry-fire practice at home, I decided this was the ideal time to try out the state-of-the-art VirTra firearms simulator at the Haley Strategic headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. Haley’s D7 Disruptive Performance course is a two-day program that’s limited to just five students, and it takes place without a single live round fired. I attended a D7 Carbine class, but Handgun and Handgun Lowlight versions are also available.

The VirTra system is no oversized arcade game — it’s a sophisticated simulator with an impressive degree of realism. Students use real BCM AR-15s retrofitted with VirTra internals that produce CO2-powered recoil and a laser flash with each trigger press. An array of sensors detect where the laser impacts on a projector screen, a computer calculates ballistic trajectory in the virtual environment, and the shooter receives real-time audio and visual feedback.

The D7 Carbine course began with a classroom portion that introduced Haley’s “thinkers before shooters” ethos, thoroughly analyzing the mental and physical aspects involved in firearms training. After discussing zeros and hold-overs for various distances, we stepped up to the VirTra 100 single-screen simulator, firing our ARs from a prone position at virtual targets from 50 to 500 yards. Our instructors, Josh and Robert, were able to instantly enlarge our targets and provide guidance based on our shot groups.

virtra carbine

Next was a detailed discussion of shooting fundamentals, such as stance, trigger control, sight picture, and eye movement — the latter becomes especially important when dealing with multiple targets in a dynamic setting. Back on the single-screen sim, we ran various drills from low ready and high ready, maintaining an even cadence between shots and receiving one-on-one evaluation from instructors. We finished our first day in the flagship VirTra 300 simulator, testing our ability to pivot and transition between simulated clay targets across the 300-degree screen. On day two, we warmed up with the same transition drill, then returned to the single-screen sim for box drills that tested our footwork and ability to move forward, backward, and laterally between shots. The final classroom portion of the D7 class was taught by Travis Haley. It covered the powerful effects of a life-and-death scenario, such as the body alarm response (BAR) that dumps hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. Rather than attempt to resist this inevitable process, we must learn to anticipate and manage it.

Since firsthand experience is a powerful teacher, the D7 class culminated by testing each student’s performance inside the panoramic simulator. One by one, students were called into the darkroom and fitted with a belt-mounted Threat-Fire pack, which delivered a 10,000-volt shock any time we were hit by a virtual incoming round. The consequences of failure would be painful, and this elevated the sense of tension. Haley’s VirTra system includes dozens of scenarios, and each features branching paths and outcomes that can be controlled by the instructor in real-time. This made it feel like interacting with live opponents, rather than pre-programmed AI.

We experienced two scenarios, a mugging at an outdoor ATM and an active shooter situation inside a courthouse. These scenarios included multiple assailants, innocent bystanders, and ally first responders, as well as complications such as armored foes and hostage-takers — in the latter case, I was able to negotiate a surrender after an agonizing 90-second standoff. However, I didn’t walk away unscathed from the ATM mugging. Seconds after stopping the first threat, I was blindsided by an accomplice I had failed to notice. I returned fire, but got zapped and received a wake-up call about the dangers of tunnel vision.

This Haley Strategic D7 Carbine class was an incredible experience, and a powerful reminder that real defensive scenarios are far more complex than drills on a 180-degree shooting range.

For more information on future Haley Strategic classes, visit haleystrategic.com/train.
For more information on VirTra: virtra.com


MORE FROM OFFGRID ON TRAINING AND PREPAREDNESS

Related Posts

  • Train Like an AthleteTrain Like an AthleteFrom the time I was a young soldier, I was determined to master my craft — especially shooting. I spent countless hours of my own time shooting, dry-firing, and researching in my quest to […]
  • A Competitive Advantage with Secret Weapon TrainingA Competitive Advantage with Secret Weapon TrainingI recently participated in my very first two-gun match alongside Iain Harrison, RECOIL’s editor-in-chief, and Nick Saiti, a frequent contributor to the magazine. Both of them made the […]
  • Independence Training: Shooting vs FightingIndependence Training: Shooting vs Fighting
    Knowing how to shoot doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to fight. You might be able to drill holes in a bull’s-eye consistently at the range, but real fights generally don’t involve […]
  • Ed Calderon and Ernest Emerson Team Up to Teach Surviving Inside the KillzoneEd Calderon and Ernest Emerson Team Up to Teach Surviving Inside the KillzoneSince an early age, we’ve been conditioned to believe that there are clearly identifiable good guys and bad guys. Your first experience with this concept may have been a game of cops and […]
  • Self-Defense Against Sexual AssaultSelf-Defense Against Sexual AssaultWatch any TV show about criminals and the people who catch them for long enough, and you’ll inevitably see an episode that begins like this: A lone woman out for a jog early in the […]
  • Keeping Your Finances Afloat Above CovidKeeping Your Finances Afloat Above CovidAmericans face challenging financial times as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the economy. The definition of how society and the economy works is changing as companies […]
  • Make Fitness HappenMake Fitness HappenI’ve taken a few firearms training classes over the years and loved every single one of them. A common theme that I was often told was, “you’re a good shooter but you just need to get in […]
  • Covert Carry versus Concealed CarryCovert Carry versus Concealed CarryWhat do you think of when you hear the term “concealed carry?” Your first thought might be the legal definition of carrying a concealed gun or knife, and the accompanying guidelines in […]
  • Marlin 336 Dark Series ReviewMarlin 336 Dark Series Review 
    Today, we live in a world of rapid innovation and obsolescence. Tools and technology that are common now are likely to be forgotten in a decade, if not much sooner. You’re probably […]

The post VirTra Training: Total Immersion Gun Simulation appeared first on RECOIL OFFGRID.

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *