Merging computers with real-time feedback on decision-making can provide a mechanism for students and instructors alike to learn from experience without ever engaging a threat. These simulation mechanisms can help concealed carriers become better defenders. While a state course to obtain a permit provides some degree of gun safety training, simulation-based training drops you into a world where mistakes have consequences.

Simulation-based training has significant benefits. First, it allows better transfer of learning. This is because simulated situations are designed to resemble the real world as closely as possible. In fact, often simulations are literally “ripped from the headlines.” For example, a simulation where a person must react quickly to a changing dynamic in a convenience store robbery forces a person undergoing training to gather information using their five senses and make critical decisions in real-time. Then those persons must execute those decisions and virtually live (or in some cases, virtually die) with the results. It’s the only way you can lose a gunfight and not lose your life in the bargain.

Benefits of Simulated Firearm Training

Another benefit of firearms scenario training with simulators is instant feedback. Several years ago, I took a class involving simunitions and had to work through a self-defense situation that I knew was only a simulation. However, the situation was so engaging that after I fired my four shots at my attacker, I had trouble making a simulated 911 call. The entire exercise was filmed from multiple angles, allowing both instant review as well as prolonged study on all the things I could improve upon. Instant feedback reinforces learning. When everything works perfectly, you get positive reinforcement. And when you make mistakes, you can see them immediately.

Simulation-based training is also highly motivational. It puts the student into a real-life scenario that is inherently safe. A student might try out new approaches to problems and gain real insight into things like situational awareness, pre-attack indicators and what it’s really like to clear a garment under the stress of a gunfight scenario.

Most importantly, simulation-based training improves long-term retention of information and allows students to practice under real-world conditions. In short, simulations are the safest way to put yourself in a dangerous situation and the most effective way to learn from your own mistakes.