IES produces shooting simulator

The International Chiefs of Police

Shooting a firearm may be an art, but a Littleton, Colo. company is adding some science to it.

IES Interactive Training, Inc., known for its virtual interactive shooting simulators, today introduced the Range Firearm Diagnostics Unit that allows instructors to see and record what their trainees are seeing and doing when firing a weapon.

Joe Mason, vice president with IES, said the new technology is marketed for federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to help individuals understand the mechanics of what they may be doing incorrectly and help trainers provide more efficient and effective instruction. It could help officers pass annual qualification tests to show competence with a firearm as required by the law enforcement community.

Three major skills are needed by individuals to hit their targets consistently, Mason said. These include sight picture alignment and reacquisition, recoil control and trigger pressure. "They're needed every time by every shooter no matter who they are and what they're doing," he said.

The Range FDU marries several technologies to provide a full, synchronized diagnostic workup. A shooter wears goggles mounted with a tiny camera, which feeds the image both to the shooter and instructor who's viewing it on a computer. The image is also digitally recorded.

Another small device, developed by Tulsa, Okla.-based Dvorak Instruments, Inc., is attached to the handgun to measure the trigger pull pressure. Mason said differences in stress on the trigger can affect a shot. Two digital cameras are also provided — one to film the shooter's stance and recoil control and one to record where the bullet hits (or misses) the target.

Mason said the system records all three skills onto a built-in DVD in real time and allows the instructor to play it back in regular speed or slow motion, to one-thirtieth of a second. "You could really stop and analyze what you're doing wrong," he said.

The system was developed with several police departments and will be beta-tested with a couple of unidentified western city police departments. The FDU will make its official premiere at the International Chiefs of Police annual conference Oct. 21-25 in Philadelphia, Mason said. While the system is for handguns, the company is also developing one for longer arms, he added.

The system comes in a standalone unit in a ruggedized case, with a thermostat and self-monitoring cooling system, so trainers can take it out to a firing range. It runs on PCs using Microsoft Corp. Windows XP Professional and IES proprietary software, and is equipped with numerous foreign language options. It costs about $23,000 for law enforcement agencies and is available on the General Services Administration schedule for about $19,000.

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