But worth it IMO :)
But worth it IMO :)
Join up? Get the taxpayer to buy it for you.
A few years back, I was able to watch an arena paintball competition, and it seemed to me that the useful skill it develops is shooting and moving as a team, communicating etc. Seems that this would be a useful skill for small units/groups, but not so much if your intent is "to learn how to use a firearm". Using a firearm would be the way to do that.
Specifically I'll speak to airsoft, because it's most useful and accessible for civilians. No doubt, for an agency with pie-in-the-sky budgets and facilities, simunitions is the way to go.
The airsoft "hobby" has produced airsoft pistols that are the same as or very close to the dimensions and weight of an actual pistol. These pistols can be pricey, $100+ but are well worth the money.
I know a lot of guys are reluctant to buy a quality airsoft pistol because of the stigma it's a "toy", or they associate airsoft with a bunch of fat kids in camo playing "capture the flag". But an airsoft pistol matching the design and weight of your carry pistol is an incredibly valuable training tool. With airsoft, nearly everyone has the ability to have a pistol range at home. With a modern gas-powered blowback pistol the only thing missing is the recoil.
Is it exactly like shooting an actual firearm? No.
It it close enough to provide considerable training value, particularly when training movement and alternate sighting methods? Yes.
If you already have a dryfire regimen of say ten "draw-to-trigger-presses" per day, imagine how much more value you could get out of ten drawstrokes PLUS ten first shots?
Get a training partner involved and BAM!: aliveness in gunfight training. Have you ever tried to draw and fire your actual firearm while backpedalling from a surprise knife assault? And when was the last time you trained on the "two-way range" where someone is shooting at you? The benefits of training with airsoft far outweigh the limitations of no recoil.
If any of this is making sense to you and you live in or around Texas, come to one of our airsoft Force-on-Force events. These are highly structured "discovery learning" sessions where you get to experience the actual context of several gunfights and knife assaults, minus the noise, blood, and ballistic effects.
And seriously, who wouldn't prefer to have their shortcomings revealed in the gentle touch of a 400fps plastic pellet fired by a friend, instead of a 1200fps jacketed hollow point bullet fired by a bad guy? It's about feeling the love.
Actually I forgot the airsoft option...good call!
IMO, nothing prepares you for the noise and bullets cracking past your ear. Train with live fire and good instructor. Then keep traing and live firing. So if the time comes when you are in a firefight,your training will take over.
I'm an LEO, and most of our training over the years is of course of the range variety. We have done a variety of attempts at more realistic training.
There is the "FATS" system, an automated video with various scenarios and laser-equipped handguns that records your hits on the "bad guy" (or the innocent if you choose poorly!"
Most officers find this to be a fairly intense situation, and often experience the same stress-induced physiological problems that officers in combat do... Tunnel vision, poor marksmanship, not knowing how many shots were fired... That sort of thing.
Another is the "Preparation for armed combat" training, which usually features live-action scenarios with the role-playing trainer going for a weapon at some point. The weapons use wax-impregnated cotton balls that sting rather smartly... Much like paintball I expect.
Still another are the various sorts of "Hogan's Alley" shooting ranges where targets appear unexpectedly from around cover, and may include "bad guys" and civilians.
We just went through a tactical training course that involves the Columbine-like scenario of armed attackers at a large facility... Basically a terrorist attack Mumbai-style.
We used airsoft pistols and rifles, and had to deal both with bad guy and civilian role-players... The bad guys shot back.
Pretty intense stuff.
You can teach principals. You can teach weapon-handling and use of cover and lines of sight and clearing procedures and all that. You can work those things till they're part of your muscle-memory.
But I don't think any of this gets to the adrenaline-dump psychological/physiological stress levels of actual combat, where real BGs are trying to kill you.
Some folks remain calm and cool in such situations, some don't.
This interactive training is more realistic than the old FATS. The firearms are actual Glocks that have been converted to fire laser light, and have a C02 cartridge that actually simulates recoil. You can even video your own scenarios and incorporate shoot / don't shoot decisions.