There are many ways to provide and test firearms training, starting in the classroom and, for many, ending up on the square range. Basic marksmanship can be tested on the range and artificial stress can be created with time limits and exercise during qualification courses. That said, there are large and important segments of what should be mandatory firearms training that can’t really be trained as efficiently, or as safely, on the range. Skills such as moving and shoot, shooting in multiple directions, engaging multiple targets, shooting from odd positions and more can be challenging to safely practice. However, they should still be mandated for training and the best options for delivery identified. Enter Force on Force Training Ammunition and equipment.
Any officer who has experienced force-on-force training using simulated weapons and marking projectiles knows the strength of a pain penalty in accelerating the learning curve. To have such training but successful, the conversion kits have to work reliably, as do the marking cartridges. We received a conversion kit from Force on Force for an AR-15 style rifle, and several boxes of both the 5.56mm marking ammo and the 9mm marking ammo.
The ammunition itself comes in six different colors: Blue, Green, Red, White, Yellow and Orange. These different colors empower identifying which shooter in the training fired which rounds that hit which targets. While some instructors use two colors: one for the “bad guys” and one for the trainee “good guys” so they can identify the fault when a good guy shoots another good guy, that might not be sufficient to identify which good guy fired that round. By having six different colors, you can have as many as six different players involved in the scenario and identify which hits belong to which shooters.
During our field-testing process, Force on Force provided us with an assortment of colors for both calibers of ammunition, along with their proprietary conversion kit for the rifle. They also provided a non-exclusive conversion kit for the pistol we intended to use. Our field-testing included cycling, extraction and ejection tests as well as accuracy and impact tests. The 5.56mm marking cartridges were accurate to 6” out to 40+ yards. We were using a Battle Rifle AR with an 16” barrel and fixed sights. The “spent brass” extracted and ejected with authority, clearing the rifle and landing 8 to 10 feet to the shooter’s right. The handgun marking cartridges functioned equally well, with accuracy showing within that 6” group out to about 20+ yards. We didn’t test past that because, realistically speaking, we didn’t believe most force-on-force use of force training would include engagements farther away than that for a handgun.
For impact testing, all we needed to confirm was that out to that 20+ yard engagement distance, the cartridges were still carrying enough energy to deliver both the impact sting and break open to leave the necessary colored mark.
Throughout our testing process, the conversion kit and all ammunition functioned flawlessly. The speed of trigger pull didn’t seem to have any effect on the reliability of the ammo, although we did not test the 5.56mm ammo in a select fire weapon, so automatic cycling wasn’t tested.
For obvious safety reasons, once a weapon has been converted to use the training ammunition/marker rounds, the weapon won’t feed or chamber live ammunition. The weapon can be converted back, and all appropriate safety precautions are mandatory to make sure no live ammo is ever introduced into a training environment. The Force on Force safety guidelines show a minimum engagement distance of one foot, and the test subject who endured being shot with the training ammo at a distance of three feet assured us it had a significant felt impact.
With all the testing successfully completed and taking into consideration all the available benefit from the two calibers and six colors, Officer Media Group is proud to award Force on Force our “Tested—Field Rated” seal of approval.