Purpose: To create a high-stress shooting among the crowd (SAC) program and to examine its effectiveness in reducing SWAT trainees’ stress level and their shooting performance in a simulated hostage-rescue situation.
Method: After the SAC program was created, it was evaluated using a pretest and posttest experimental design: 98 young male SWAT trainees were randomly divided into experiment and control groups, with the former group trained in hostage rescue, shooting with real persons (high stress), and the latter group trained with “dummy” men (low stress); training for both lasted three days. Their shooting performance was assessed by a tactical shooting test in both high- and low-stress tests in a counterbalanced order, before and after the training, and monitored during the training, as were their stress levels by a set of physical (heart rate [HR] and heart rate recovery time [HRRt]), psychological (salivary cortisol and α-amylase), and self-reported anxiety measures.
Results: The SAC program created needed high-stress for hostage rescue situations as reflected in increased physical, psychological, and anxiety scores and reduced shooting performance. Even with short SAC training, SWAT trainees’ capacity in handling high stress and tactical shooting performance were significantly improved. HR, HRRt, and anxiety tests have been found to be effective in monitoring stress and should be a part of future SWAT training.
Conclusion: A SAC program involving real people was created, and its effectiveness was confirmed using a pretest and posttest experimental design
One of the most important aspects of comparing shooting performance between a live fire and simulated scenario is the ability to hit a target. It appears from the results that overall, there is no statistical difference in the mean of hit percentage for the DISALT compared to live fire. The selfreported workload ratings (SWAT) and stress ratings (SRE) followed the same pattern of yielding no differences.
Most users of simulation systems or those interested in comparisons would agree that the hit performance is the primary measure of fidelity of a shooting simulator or any real weapon system. No difference was found for this measure between the two systems. Soldiers also rated the workload and stress for both simulated and live fire conditions as equal.
In 2011 the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) was asked to determine if the combination of a virtual weapon trainer and laser handgun could be used to teach basic marksmanship. A virtual weapon trainer simulates what a real range looks like – including targets that move, turn and face for specific time intervals.
To accompany the virtual weapon trainer, FLETC selected a Glock 17 outfitted with a resetting trigger and laser insert that would fire an invisible laser each time the trigger was pressed.
After 18 hours of classroom instruction, students shoot the course of fire and must achieve a qualifying score of 210 out of 300 possible points. Therefore, the real question to be answered was whether the final score of those using a laser handgun in basic marksmanship would be significantly different from those using a live-fire handgun.
FLETC found that students using a laser weapon (without recoil) during training shot an average qualifying score of 275.8. Those who used a live-fire weapon shot an average of 278.2. An independent T-test – a test that looks for statistical differences between two independent groups—found this difference to be statistically insignificant.
The students trained with a non-recoil laser handgun for basic marksmanship achieved statistically similar qualification scores to those training with a live-fire weapon. In addition to the potential cost savings, laser handgun marksmanship training offers several instructional advantages and also provides a safer environment than live-fire
Can Firearms Simulators Teach Basic Marksmanship?
All training was done in accordance with the applicable lesson plans; however, those training with the laser handguns didn’t need to wear hearing protection. This allowed instructors to carry on normal conversations while instructing students in the proper stance, grip, sight alignment and trigger control. Students could freely ask questions and get answers without having to “yell” or “read lips.” One instructor commented that because he could get “up close and personal,” he was able to see errors in weapon handling, especially in respect to grip and trigger press, which he wouldn’t have normally been able to see.
Other benefits include a reduction in ammunition usage, accompanying cost savings associated with range maintenance, a safer environment, and freeing up valuable range time. This additional range time could then be used to teach more advanced live-fire courses and/or increase the throughput of basic training classes. Furthermore, since basic marksmanship using a laser handgun can be taught in a large classroom, those without an indoor range can still train no matter what the weather conditions might be outside.
Simulated Firearms Training
The current study examined whether reality-based practice under pressure may help in preventing degradation of handgun shooting performance under pressure for police officers. Using a pre-post-test design, one group of nine police officers practised handgun shooting under pressure evoked by an opponent who also fired back using marking (coloured soap) cartridges. The control group (n = 8) practised handgun shooting on standard cardboard targets instead of real opponents. Within a fortnight after the pre-test, both groups received three training sessions of 1 h, in which each person fired a total of 72 rounds. During the pre- and post test each participant took 30 shots without pressure (cardboard targets) and 30 shots under additional pressure (with an opponent firing back). While during the pre-test both groups performed worse in front of an opponent firing back compared to the cardboard targets, after the training sessions shooting performance of the experimental group no longer deteriorated with an opponent while performance of the control group was equally harmed as during the pre-test. These results indicate that training exercises involving increased pressure can acclimatize shooting performance of ordinary police officers to those situations with elevated pressure that they may encounter during their police work.
Recruits trained using simulated firearms had higher scores on safety and handling at the final qualification examination, compared to their counterparts. For the simulated firearms group, additional classroom time was dedicated to teaching recruits the firearms manipulations required to meet safety and handling requirements. It appears that the modification made to classroom time was adequate to ensure that recruits gained a comprehensive understanding of firearms manipulations, and were able to apply this knowledge in a live fire setting.
Simulated Or Live Test Report:Students with prior military and/or law enforcement firearms training who trained with a laser handgun in BMI shot an average SPC qualifying score of 280.1 compared to an average SPC qualifying score of 282.5 for those whotrained with a live-fire handgun. These differences were also statistically insignificant. Those with no prior military and/or law enforcement firearms training who trained with a laser handgun in BMI shot an average SPC qualifying scoreof 265.0 compared to an average SPC qualifying score of 266.8 for those who trained with a live-fire handgun in BMI. Again, these differences were statistically insignificant.