Perhaps the most awe-inspiring thing many of us saw at the Blue August Gun and Outdoor Conference was the facility itself; The Lake Mary Gander Mountain features a virtual range.
Ok that doesn’t sound that cool, and your mind probably jumps to a vision of a larger version of those old arcade games with light guns attached to them, but this facility had 3 different options: a simple target range, a shooting gallery, and a 360 degree situational simulator to test how you would handle high stress situations.
First up was the regular range. The guns used are real Glocks that are converted to use CO2 cartridges to cycle the slide:
You shoot at a virtual target:
And I had a blast! It reminded me of the game Duck Hunt for the NES, but more awesome.
Everyone lined up to give it a go. I’ll say, this simulator would be a great way to introduce a new shooter or younger person to the hobby:
Next up was the shooting gallery.
Three screens are projected from the ceiling:
We programmed a simple shooting gallery with green targets:
And the first of our group did an excellent job while shooting what appeared to be a standing only IPSC match:
The last and most interesting simulator was a 360 degree situational one. For this sim, you pick any one of a number of scenarios to test your abilities in a high stress environment. We chose one that presented men standing suspiciously by your car:
A virtual man chatted with our guy who was armed with a laser Glock. About ten seconds into it another man popped out on the right and our fellow writer was then tasked with keeping tabs on two men approaching.
In the end, our man failed because an additional guy snuck up from behind and shot. Failure to maintain full situational awareness resulted in a failed simulation.
I wish every Gander Mountain was equipped with a facility like this, because using these simulators was truly an amazing experience.