The AIM Active Shooter Training System (AIM-ASTS) from Intelligent Target Systems is a dynamic target system designed to improve law enforcement and the military training when engaging multiple moving targets with multiple moving “friendly” or “no shoot” targets mixed in.
Side note: I dislike the term “active shooter” since it is not descriptive of the criminal’s activities. Like many readers of this blog, I am an active shooter. A criminal who kills groups of defenseless people is better described as a “spree killer.”
I’ve done a lot of firearms training, and done quite a bit of specialized training for active spree killers. The situations are very chaotic and frequently have a large number of people running about that responding officers have to quickly evaluate as being a suspect or not. No amount of armchair quarterbacking or Die Hard movie-watching will prepare you for it.
The AIM-ASTS system allows an instructor on a limited/traditional range (can only shoot in one direction) to set up remotely controlled targets that move side to side at varying speeds. Two targets can be set at each station with each moving at varying speeds and degrees of arc. Each target can be set as friendly or foe and equipped with an item in its “hand” simulating weapons and non-weapons.
The two targets at each station are set apart from each other, giving the shooter target engagements with depth to contend with. One station could simulate a hostile target some distance behind a friendly one, while another station could simulate a hostile target up front with a non-combatant directly behind the bad guy. The idea is to learn how to shoot the bad guy in a dynamic situation without hitting innocents.
One of the most neglected areas of training for self defense, either as a police officer or as an armed citizen, is training on moving targets. This system gives the trainer an opportunity to put students through a course of fire that forces the student to make cognitive decisions and incorporate movement by both the student and the attacker.
James Bliehall calls the system the “…most cost-effective and realistic shooter training system available today…” While I don’t think it is a perfect system, I do think is a very useful training tool for anyone conducting live-fire training on a restricted range to engage hostile targets.