There are plenty of virtual reality trainers out there for shooting practice, but none of them get the same reaction as VirTra's.
"Holy s---, that's real," soldiers say when they test out the system's CO2-loaded weapons, according to James Peters, regional director of international business development. Two of the company's simulators were on display at the annual Association of the United States Army Conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
The V-ST Pro is a marksmanship range with ballistic accuracy within hundredths of a millimeter, Peters told Army Times. The CO2 cartridges act more like live ammunition than the compressed air canisters used in most virtual training, reacting to environmental changes the way a real weapon would. There are about a dozen possible environments loaded into the system, with hundreds of combinations of weather and altitude, as well as 175 different sizes and shapes of targets.
Users can wield pistols or rifles, and rather than stand stationary, the simulator allows a soldier to move around shooting any angle, including with one cheek pressed against the screen. "It's the closest you can get to a real live-fire range without the expensive cost of ammunition," said Ryan Bray, a regional sales manager.
U.S. Army Special Operations Command already has one, Bray said, and they've gotten interest from the military police school at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, as well. VirtTra also brought along the V-300 simulator, a 300-degree immersive trainer that recreates active shooter or other combat situations. The user wears a hip pack that delivers a small electric shock if he gets shot.
The systems cost upward of $100,000 with the software, CO2 cartridges, CO2 recharger, projectors and screens.