The obvious answer as to whether simulation or scenario-based training can be used to learn to home- or self-defense tactics is yes. However, there should be limitations and parameters. The primary purpose of any well-utilized computerized training simulator system should be to improve tactics and tactical skills.

How Are Tactical Skills Taught?

Tactical skills are more so a mindset than physical abilities. Sharpening tactical skills involves increasing situational awareness and quickening decision-making. Developing good tactical skills can come through exposure to situations. As we don’t want to be in high-danger situations regularly, using simulations of deadly force scenarios is a good alternative.

With 40 years of developing my tactical skills and 35 years imparting tactical wisdom unto others, I can tell you that watching simulations as well as participating in them is one of the best ways to develop your own skills. Quick thinking and decision-making are critical when it comes to deadly force encounters. And keen situational awareness may help you avoid them altogether.

How Can Simulations Aid Tactical Firearms Training?

At our police academy, we use the MILO simulator system. The MILO, and other early simulation training systems, come equipped with marksmanship courses for improving accuracy … or just having fun. But the key concept these systems impart is when to use lethal or less-lethal force.

They exist almost exclusively to develop a trainee’s tactical wisdom in the form of when, where and even how to use any of the forms of available force, as well as which type of force is to be preferred. In fact, one of the computerized simulator’s most important functions is providing training in what could be called tactical legal application.

Tactical legal application means you are judicious in applying force. Misapplication of force, especially deadly force, can be life-altering for you and your entire family. Proper scenario-based training is geared to help you avoid situations that could land you in jail. Excessive force charges can be levied against civilians and law enforcement alike.

Should You Seek Out Firearms Simulation Training?

While simulators can provide much in the way of tactical training, they are limited. Basic one-screen systems can really only focus on the aforementioned tactical legal application, defending yourself with a firearm or less-lethal device, accuracy delivery of fire against moving suspects or small high-stress targets, and the basic use of cover. What they can’t do is put you in simulated physical danger. However, you won’t need that degree of realism to increase your tactical wisdom via simulation. And remember, if you make a mistake while undergoing simulation training, you can learn just as much or more from it than completing a scenario at 100 percent.