This is what happens when your programmers have no real world firearm experience.
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I know some readers, especially the more “old school” ones, will laugh at the idea of firearms training with VR headsets. I get it, because on the surface it sounds silly. In the days that followed the Columbine shooting, journalist Karens were seriously debating whether playing Doom with a joystick might have given the shooters the equivalent of tactical training, which is laughable at best.

Anyone who has actually played first person shooter video games on a PC or console and who has shot actual firearms knows that these two activities have little in common. Very few skills from one can be transferred to the other because the body is doing very different things.

But that doesn’t stop drooling idiots on both sides of the political aisle from claiming otherwise despite plenty of evidence against the assertion that video games somehow cause real-world violence.

While violence in video games doesn’t cause a measurable difference in real life violence, the wall between real-life shootings and what you can do virtually is starting to break down. With a VR headset and motion-tracked controllers, you’re no longer just pushing buttons on a keyboard or game controller.

Now you can actually aim a virtual gun (sometimes a realistic one with sights) at the target, moving your body to take aim, and if you have a big enough unobstructed play area, you’re actually walking or running around instead of just sitting in a chair.

Here’s some gameplay from a recent SHTF survival game that’s now available on several VR platforms . . .

Traditional 2D video doesn’t really do this justice. With stereoscopic vision, head tracking, room tracking, and body movement tracking, this game and others like it gives a realistic perspective on a virtual world. That means instead of pushing a joystick and watching a 2D image on a screen change, you can actually apply real-world tactics, such as slicing the pie in these games. And, more importantly, they work.

In some ways, this is better than what you can do on most ranges. You have the opportunity to work in a realistic virtual environment and test what you’re doing against other humans to see what actually works. Paper targets never fire back, try to fool you into doing the wrong thing, or try to trick you into thinking they’re your friend.

Then again, lots of people use things like airsoft guns, Simunition, and use of force simulators to achieve most of this. But when we start to go beyond VR and into the world of AR (not Armalite rifle…augmented reality), you can start doing things that you can’t with airsoft.

Normally, having an airsoft battle in your own home would probably only upset your spouse. I know I don’t like finding airsoft pellets when my sons go behind my back and do it anyway. Plus, the faster airsoft guns aren’t great for the TV, the cats, the dogs, or the paint on some drywall corners.

If you get the latest Quest 3 headset, though, it can transform your home or business into a shoothouse complete with robbers, terrorists, or active shooters to go against…but without putting any holes in your walls or TV.

Realistic Controllers Are Still In Development

There’s still one thing that sucks about VR shooting: the controllers. For airsoft, you can get realistic looking guns that even cycle the slide to give you somewhat realistic recoil. But, if you have something like a Meta Quest, you’re stuck with the generic controllers, which have a really soft trigger button and no recoil at all.

Work is being done there, though, and a lot of progress has been made.

There’s also a rifle-oriented version with a full stock (and cheek weld), and it can also produce recoil and other haptic feedback, so the experience is a lot more realistic than it was.

That said, there are still some real shortcomings in this developing market. First off, there’s no realistic trigger available on any of these controller mounts. They’d need something like an integrated SIRT pistol. It’s also not possible to do a good two-handed thumbs-forward pistol grip, drop and load magazines, or work other controls like the action, safety, lights, etc.

These features are eventually not only possible, but I think they’ll happen. I’ve reached out to several companies to see what their plans might be for a highly-realistic VR gun.

Training-Oriented Software Is Also Needed

Another problem is that almost everything on VR is made for gaming now. Some of the games are very realistic and could be useful for intermediate and advanced scenarios, but there’s nothing out there that helps someone learn basic marksmanship, safe gun handling, or real-world defensive scenarios yet.

Like the controllers, all of this is definitely possible as law enforcement and some of the better instruction programs have been doing this on 2D simulators for decades. The next stop will be of the gaming companies working with good firearm instructors and a hardware maker to produce a realistic VR gun.

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  1. Great. Can’t wait to see a repeat of all the congressional nonsense over Mortal Kombat, Grand Theft Auto, Lethal Enforcers, Doom, etc… A little Lieberman, Dorgan and Kohl part deux.

    All three Democrats by the way. Now they can combine their hatred of the 1st and 2nd Amendments in one long, expensive and pointless hearing.

    And in predicable fashion the morons who support them will ignore, forget or deflect it all just like they did in the 90’s.

  2. Neat, while something like compressed gas could serve as a recoil simulator the layered augmented reality that could overlay scenarios with ones home/work/wherever has a lot of potential use. Also a lot of potential for abuse depending on how it connects to the internet but with any luck a standalone option could be made available over time.

  3. Playing Mario Duck hunt set on Skeet mode enabled me to become proficient enough to shoot hand thrown clay pigeons with a handgunm.

    • “Playing Mario Duck hunt set on Skeet mode enabled me to become proficient enough to shoot hand thrown clay pigeons with a handgunm.”

      You threw them on the ground at your little paws?

  4. Strapping something the size of a brick to my head that costs hundreds of dollars is not exactly appealing to me.

    • She said the owner had a rifle but it looks more like a shotgunm to me.
      And is this a justified shooting, defense lawyer says No, because once the youth requesting the owner to put up his hands saw the owners weapon he turned to flee. Lucky for the liquor store owner that he did not kill him as there would have been holes in the victim’s back.
      Poor kid.

  5. This kind of thing has been around for years. I remember a primitive version of it when I went through the academy. I think you can rent time on an updated version at Talon Range.

  6. Congress democrat ‘Squad’ members got donations from non-profit under investigation for ties to terrorism.


    “… and United States Attorney General John Ashcroft claimed Carneal’s proficient marksmanship was due to practice in violent video games.”

    Not a ‘video game’. As I recall it was an arcade game that had a replica pistol on a stand. Head shots scored more points. The shooter had the highest score on that machine. Again, memory, of the eight ‘hits’, five were head shots, or was it seven?

  8. Dry fire with live fire confirmation of skills will always be the best way to train. 100s of gadgets have died trying to replace it….

  9. It is not a “video game.” It was an arcade game, as I remember, with a toy pistol on a stand. Headshots resulted in higher points. On that computer, the shooter’s score was the highest. Recall that out of the eight “hits,” five—or was it seven—were headshots.

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