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Tactical Scenarios? What the heck is that? I was wondering the same thing when I registered for training at Front Sight, Nevada. Gary and I were taking a 2 day handgun skill builder course during our trip to Front Sight and decided to give the Tactical Scenarios course a try. It was suppose to be a course where we would be using Simmunitions in real firearms during the two days of training.....and did I mention we would be shooting each other and the instructors? I do believe it is the only course at Front Sight were pointing a firearm at a fellow student or instructor is expected and NOT a safety concern. So in short order, Gary and I were scheduled to attend the course the following day after completing our handgun skill builder.
The first half of day #1 was shared with one of several Advanced Tactical Handgun classes on the range. We all worked on a variety of new techniques including 360 sweeps, shooting and safely transitioning (to and from) various kneeling and prone positions, shooting from cover, shooting while moving, and close quarter shooting (point blank and arms length). Having spent the previous weekend at an Appleseed shoot in the Phoenix area, going prone for short periods with a handgun wasn't bad at all.
After lunch, we attended a lecture in the large classroom and then headed out to our one of the ranges and geared up for the simmunitions portion of the course. Simmunition rounds are 9mm rounds made out of colored detergent. Even though the concept is the same as a standard paintball round, the effect is, in my opinion, more painful with a hit from a simmunition round.
Let me clearly state that prior to assembly at the range to gear up, we were given very clear and precise instructions concerning leaving ALL other weapons, ammo, knives, etc. in our vehicles. As I've said in other Front Sight write-ups, safety is a primary concern and we all wanted to go home in the same general condition we arrived in.
Here you go.....a pair of 9mm simmunition rounds flanking a conventional 9mm FMJ cartridge. On the simmunition founds, only the "paint bullet" separates from the cartridge. The white synthetic bullet holder is firmly attached to the brass (note the heavy crimp). If you really want know who shot you, have each person load their handgun with a different color load.
I had some bruising from several hits on my arms and abdomen where my paintball padding didn't cover. A close up shot (i.e.., knife slashing or jar jacking distance) can break the skin (photo on right) even when going through a long sleeve t-shirt and a sweat shirt as I found out during my first attempt as a bad guy knife slasher. The photo on the left shows another shot, from about 10 feet, to my arm. That kind of hit stings for several minutes and then feels like a typical bruise for the next couple of days.
We (those in the course) all agreed that we would attempt to limit very close range shots. In the heat of the moment, that kind of goes out the window, but none the less, we tried the best we could. It was not uncommon to hear a couple of apologies being offered after a scenario was completed. (yeah, we were a courteous bunch too!)
At Front Sight, we used Beretta handguns that had
been modified for the lighter recoiling simmunition rounds. We quickly
discovered during the night shoot that the cartridge does produce a muzzle
flash, albeit not as intense as a conventional 9mm round. I was told that
these paint bullets travel about 350~400 FPS. Getting one stuck in the
barrel was not uncommon. When that happened, one would have to grab the
gun box and clear the bullet(s) from the barrel. We did get some practice
clearing type III malfunctions while using this ammo.
I snapped this pic of Mary getting her first session
with her simmunition Beretta. Marry agreed to take the course as long as
her husband, Ed, allowed her to dress up to prevent any simmunition welts.
Here she is decked out in her complete paintball attire. As far as I know,
it did a good job of protecting her. I don't recall any comments from her
regarding any painful hits.
Here is Ed with the more typical "dress" for the
scenarios course. A heavy long sleeve shirt (such as a sweat shirt) does a
fair job of protecting the arms and a vest while chest protector/vest rounds out
the list of must have items. Of course, a mask is absolutely mandatory as
it provides critical protection for your entire face and ears. I included
a throat protector in my gear bag along with gloves. The gloves need to be
relatively thin as thick bulky gloves will cause you issues when manipulating
the firearm (mag release buttons, decocking lever, trigger control, etc.).
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