I was initially unsure about UTM’s decision to bring to market a civilian derivative of its training marker ammunition; it seemed to me that most would rather shoot regular ammunition through their rifles on a range than buy a multi-hundred-dollar conversion kit and $0.60/round ammunition to do nonlethal training.
I still think most will take to the range and shoot in the traditional way for training, but actually shooting UTM’s product has made me more optimistic about their chances. UTM’s civilian training ammunition has several advantages that become obvious once you get a chance to shoot it:
-It has similar ballistic performance to airsoft pellets, allowing training in a wide variety of locations.
-No hearing protection is required.
-Recoil is very similar to an unmodified weapon.
-Only a bolt change is needed; even standard magazines can be used.
-The kit comes with a target trap, for shooting anywhere.
-The cartridges use two primers: The primer at the base operates the gun and sets off the primer at the top which sends the projectile out the barrel. This means ammunition can be easily adapted for a variety of guns, without raising the performance of the pellets to dangerous levels
-The civilian ammunition uses non-marking pellets, which are still useful for force-on-force training, but don’t make a mess.
-The power of the base primer is good enough to reliably cycle an automatic rifle.
-UTM ammunition is very accurate; much, much more accurate than an airsoft gun.
UTM ammunition is too expensive for training the fundamentals, but for some I could see it finding a home as a creative training aid, perhaps to ease in new shooters to the sport in a safer and more comfortable environment, or as a more realistic alternative to airsoft training. I think UTM has a very good product on their hands, that could become very popular if the price comes down. I also think UTM would be well-served demoing these kits on a regular basis, perhaps at gun shows or other venues. For me at least, shooting the product put it in a whole new light.
UTM has also introduced 7.62×51 and 7.62×39 training ammunition, and had on display belted 5.56mm ammunition for the M249 SAW.
UTM released a press release regarding the new 7.62mm marker ammunition:
Mildenhall, United Kingdom (PRWEB) August 27, 2014
UTM Reality Based Training (UTM RBT) has announced the latest addition to their Non-Lethal Training Ammunition (NLTA) product line, the 7.62mm, to include both 7.62mm x 51 and 7.62mm x 39. The 7.62mm is available in both loose and linked rounds and all four types of UTM RBT NLTA; Silent Blank Round (SBR), Battlefield Blank Round (BBR), Man Marker Round (MMR) and Target Bullet Round (TBR). In conjunction with the new 7.62mm NLTA, UTM RBT has also developed weapon conversions for the H&K 417, FN Minimi and M240B and will be announcing the availability of a new UTM RBT dedicated AK47 weapon in the coming weeks.
“This is an exciting time for us. We are really forging ahead with new developments and designs, which are being reverse engineered based on the needs of our clients. We are really listening to what the soldiers and law enforcement community are saying and making sure that our products address those demands. What sets us apart is that we are actually designing new machines and technology in order to meet those needs – rather than just settling on the technology already out there and trying to retrofit a product around those limitations. We will be announcing several new products in the coming months. We’ve set the bar very high and will continue to do so,” says Tony Lambraia, UTM RBT U.S. Chief of Operations.
“What is so important about the new 7.62mm NLTA line is the ability for units to now integrate all of their unit level weapons systems into their training for the first time. It has the added advantage of offering safer and more realistic blank fire training with no BFA required and minimal weapon cleaning – saving time and man hours. The Man Marker option gives these units a completely immersive and realistic training experience, which creates a more effectively trained force – ultimately saving lives,” explains Steven Didier, UTM RBT Int’l Chief of Operations. Full product details on the new 7.62mm NLTA are available at http://www.utmworldwide.com
UTM RBT is a training company which manufactures training ammunition, weapon conversions, products and provides training course, curriculum development, training facility designs and consultation. UTM RBT currently offers products and training to Military, Law Enforcement Agencies, Private Training Organizations and Private Security Companies in over 65 countries around the world.