F.A.T.S – FireArms Training Simulator

F.A.T.S – FireArms Training Simulator
By Shari Spivack

FireArms Training Simulator
FireArms Training Simulator
New Jersey Second Amendment Society
New Jersey Second Amendment Society

New Jersey –-(Ammoland.com)- I recently had the opportunity to try out the F.A.T.S training system after taking a level two Urban Pistol class at the Police Academy range.

The class was fantastic but after it was over, I peeked in the room where the F.A.T.S training sessions were being conducted.

F.A.T.S stands for FireArms Training Simulator.

It is an entirely interactive system that uses a computer program, a large screen and very realistic firearms that are loaded with computer chips instead of ammunition. It looks somewhat like a big video game, but it is definitely not a game.

The F.A.T.S system is used in police and military training. It costs upwards of $150,000 and was designed to be used with many types of firearms – however, each type of firearm added to the system costs several thousand dollars. The software on this F.A.T.S system was designed to simulate police calls and stops and the firearms were all corded (i.e. attached) to the computer. There are systems where the firearms are not corded, and the guns have magazines filled with nitrogen gas to simulate recoil. With certain software, it is also possible to create scenarios where the suspects will not only be shooting back at you from the video screen, but the instructor can launch soft foam projectiles at you from a device called the Hostile Fire Simulator. In this case you would need to make use of available cover in the room to avoid being hit.

The instructor personalizes each scenario for the individual shooter and can increase or decrease the intensity of the situation to match the shooters ability level even as the situation progresses. For example, if the shooter is handling the scenario well, the instructor can increase the stress level by adding threats to the scene or having the shooter run out of ammunition. When I was offered the chance to try out a few scenarios I jumped at it.

To begin with I chose my weapon, and since I am most familiar with my Glock 19, that is what I chose. The gun is created so that the physical dimensions exactly replicate the real firearm. The first thing the large screen tells you is to “load your weapon”. This is done as you would expect, by pressing the magazine release button which pops the magazine out about an inch from the grip. Then you push it back in and rack the slide and you are good to go. I stood in the ready position aiming the gun at the screen waiting to see what would come next. My first scenario was a woman with mental health issues who was crouched down on the grass in a park. The scenario was introduced by another police officer and although I was standing in place, it appeared as if I was approaching the threat. The woman was wailing about her dead husband’s grave when she pulled out a gun and aimed it at me. I fired a few times until she was down and the computer decided my scenario was over.

The next part is the replay and analysis of what happened. The software can track exactly where the muzzle of your gun was as at all times, when you decided to fire, how many shots you fired, whether they were lethal hits or not and so on. I did alright on my first try – three shots, three hits, one was lethal and brought her down. The computer can tell where each shot was placed and know how the suspect would react to the gunshots, thus either continuing or ending your scenario. You will know instantly whether you made the right decisions and if not, where to concentrate your attention the next time.

The other great component of the experience was the fantastic instruction I got from the Gun for Hire instructor. Even though I was shooting at a video screen it was still a very different feeling to aim at a moving “person” who was pointing a weapon back at me – instead of at a piece of paper. In the replay analysis, I could see how the muzzle of my gun was jumping a bit off target after taking my first shot which required a realignment of the sights before firing again. I was instructed to let the trigger out more slowly and just until it reset to keep the sights lined up and on target and therefore decrease the time needed to pull off my next shot. I was able to try this over and over and a get a good feeling for it before trying my next scenarios. (I was also eager to try it out at my next outing at the range – I had success easing the trigger out shooting .22s, but I’ll need more practice with 9mm.)

The next couple of suspects went down with all shots fired being lethal shots. I was feeling pretty good and all was well until a second threat was introduced in one of the scenarios. Now there were two people to divide my attention between, who would become a threat first, where should I point the muzzle of my gun? I found as well, that I was only firing a few shots each time, instead of just unloading my magazine at the suspect. The machine becomes very addicting, even as I could feel my stress level increase as the scenarios progressed it did not stop me from wanting to continue. Each time the instructor said, “Do you want to try one more?” There was no hesitation from me, “Yes!”

Although the FATS system was created as a great training tool for law enforcement, anyone who is looking to take their shooting to the next level should seek out the opportunity to take instruction using it. Each time I take an advanced live fire class, I take it because I enjoy it, but I also know that whether or not I hit my targets each time I am gaining knowledge that will always stay with me. I hope I never need to draw upon that knowledge to protect my family, but there is no question in my mind that I would do anything in my power to protect my children.

The difference with the FATS training is that I had a chance to test my reflexes and my judgment and have it analyzed by the computer. Speaking as a mother, I can tell you that I take my job to protect my children very seriously. Whether it is advocating for my children in school setting, or standing between them and a threat to their physical being, there is no question that I will always run towards the danger if it means they remain safe.

To this end, there is definitely valuable information to be learned about your ability to shoot under stress and at another human being by running through the FATS scenarios. Thank you to Anthony at Gun for Hire (www.gunforhire.com) for giving me the opportunity to try it out.

And as for future training, my husband doesn’t know this yet, but if we ever get around to refinishing our basement, I may try to slip a FATS setup into the plans.

New Jersey Second Amendment Society – Our mission is to promote the free exercise of Second Amendment rights within the community and Legislature of New Jersey, to educate the community regarding the enjoyable, safe, and responsible use of firearms, and to engender a sense of camaraderie and fellowship among the members and their families. Visit: www.nj2as.com

  • 9 thoughts on “F.A.T.S – FireArms Training Simulator

    1. I have some FATS systems in NJ. One has all the parts, but I have others with some missing items. Just email me and I could provide photos. I want to get sell everything.

    2. Do you have the Meggitt Hostile Fire Shoot Back cannon air valve parts?
      Also looking for additional tethered Glocks 17 if you have them?
      Thank you

    3. Please make sure to train your people how to diffuse a situation without deadly force when faced with individuals with disabilities such as Autism. My Grandson is only ten but I worry that one day he could have a meltdown in public and end up being hurt or killed because he doesn’t understand consequences due to his Autism. He does not comprehend orders. He will hug you one minute and bite you the next for no apparent reason. He will charge at you because his mind is sucking in every sound, every visual thing within eye sight, every emotion, and every movement all at once and it all makes him automatically react in sometimes scary behavior but if you can eliminate some of the sounds, or visions, or noise levels, etc. he will wind down eventually.

      My other concern is for myself and my children if we ever get pulled over by an unmarked car. I, personally, would continue to drive and I have advised my son to continue to drive while contacting 911 and letting them know that someone was attempting to pull me over and could they verify it is the police or tell me where to go to the nearest police station but my fear is that when I or my children don’t pull over, the unmarked policemen will get angry and do something rash; however, pulling over could be just as dangerous if not moreso if the person is not a real police officer. I am white and my children are white and I have these fears also. I think it’s more of fear of each other than a racial thing in many cases.

    4. I’m a Board member of the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum. I would like information on new and used F.A.T.S. machines.
      We are located at 308 Reading Rd. Cincinnati, Ohio 45202, 513-300-3664

    5. I am looking for tethered pistols for the F.A.T.S. system. Do you have any for sale or know where I can get some!? 330-770-6675

    6. Can you supply the models, and costs of your FATS machine. We are the preliminary stage of reviewing each company information and do not wish to have a demo or sales pitch. We just need the above information.

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