Shoot to skill

“We found that you can activate the sympathetic nervous system in virtual situations and developed the method of how to do [so],” Murphy, who worked with the Kansas City, Kan., PD for 30 years, says.

At Meggitt’s facility in Georgia, a training theater is set up to show the FATS system’s team-training capability. Using its tethered weapon simulators and BlueFire wireless weapons (through Bluetooth technology), Meggitt simulation training can support up to eight system-controlled weapons simultaneously during judgmental video training, giving the team the simulated option to approach a target practice or judgment-based scenario together, plus incorporating a variety of firearm types (options include Sig P226, Beretta M9, Walther P99, M4 and M16-type simulators).

Meggitt’s library of video courseware exceeds 200 scenarios and allows officers to analyze a situation, potential threat, and respond accordingly. Verbal commands, less-lethal engagement using optional chemical spray devices, Taser simulators and lethal force with firearms supports training scenarios for newbie recruits to seasoned officer refreshers in controlled environments for critiquing. “We cater for the rookie in the academy to the experienced, scenario-based training for the most advanced officers,” O’Meara says. “Our training caters to that breadth and is ever-evolving thanks to our engineering department.” As O’Meara describes it, his background is in helping “with officers on the ground and taking their needs and requests seriously, because they know what they’re doing.”

Meggitt also offers a Hostile Fire Simulator that returns fire on trainees using FATS for use of force and judgmental training, putting trainees under fire and increasing their stress level. In fact, Meggitt has invested seriously in the study of human factor elements, devoting a research branch headed by law enforcement retiree Randall Murphy.

Human factors research

Meggitt takes on the 4D theater sim approach with its Advanced Immersion Technology branch, which joins human factors and performance research with the marksmanship and judgmental training-type scenario. Murphy joined Meggitt in 2007 to help the company design and research a program examining fight-or-flight in law enforcement and the military. “We found that you can activate the sympathetic nervous system in virtual situations and developed the method of how to do [so],” Murphy, who worked with the Kansas City, Kan., PD for 30 years, says. In essence, Meggitt’s advanced immersion technology can “give the officer and the soldier the added benefit of having been” to a battlefield or tactical entry situation, for example, Murphy explains.

The demonstration of the advanced immersion tech showed how the company is examining aspects of how people respond in combat, including law enforcement, and puts the trainee in a simulated environment meant to make the user feel submerged in an actual event rather than a trainee watching a screen. Murphy illustrates how the “immersion” experience works, with a set up that includes a four-walled room with a wall-sized screen playing a scene in point-of-view style. The trainee interacts with the elements in the video scenario, which includes 4D interactivity like debris coming at the learner as a result of a bomb blast in the scenario. This puts them under stress, which, like many of the Meggitt Training Systems’ products, is done “so you can predict who’s going to react well under serious stress and who’s not,” as well as address or correct the tactics, O’Meara says. “Randall has brought an incredible amount of information to the table to help us design our systems [which] is really, really important going forward for the company.”

‘From rookie to ready’

A maxim from Meggitt’s company materials says its systems aim to take “you from rookie to ready” with a variety of solutions to do so, backed and based on its decades of experience in the firearms training industry. With products in virtual simulations, live fire practice and original human factors research and development, Meggitt aims to give its users the modern tools to shoot with skill.

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