Train to outdo a desperado

School’s out for summer at a university in the Midwest, leaving several key buildings vacant and thus open for training opportunities to area law enforcement.

Generally, training in the school’s buildings and elsewhere on campus would call for use of inert gun replicas (blue guns). But what if officers wanted to practice reloading and feel for realistic recoil while confronting a madman holed up in a classroom with hostages? In many cases, practice for those skills would need to be kept separate as training in a true school environment would prohibit frangible ammo and airsoft firearms may not be able to replicate realistic recoil or gunfire audio on-scene. However, a company relatively new to the law enforcement market combines infrared-emitting target devices with real world environments to allow such training.

The irTactical system allows for realistic shot feedback for both the shooter and the target, including light-up vests that indicate the target was hit and can include a painful consequence in the form of a shock delivered via the StressX Belt. Components include an infrared sensor vest, a rifle replica that is true to size, weight and appearance but cannot fire ammo, and a specialized magazine tool that utilizes CO2 cartridges for recoil power but requires reload like a true firearm will in the field.

In June, the training gear company irTactical hosted a drill weekend at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater that brought in nearly 60 law enforcement officers from the region.

In a joint venture with experienced area SWAT instructors and the Illinois Tactical Officers Association, officers donned the irVest and ran exercises equipped with the irM4 laser training rifle fueled by the SmartMag ammo device and ran a variety of exercises designed to prepare the teams for active shooter scenarios on campus.

LET was on scene to document the experience and see the irTactical system in action. Take a look at what the cameras captured (Pages 18-20, 22) as agency-based teams trained for classroom hostage episodes, floor clearings, stairway clearings, lecture-hall shooters and bus clearings over the two-day period, leading up to a main event in which all teams joined together into one SWAT force to clear the second floor in a large-scale hostage scenario.

Editor’s note: This event and article were put together prior to the deadly active shooter incident July 20 in Aurora, Colo. See Page 6 for input on the theater shooting.