Benefits of Training in a Shooting Simulator

When it comes to ranges across the country that offer a unique and customized customer experience, Stock & Barrel really is the right place for you. In particular, we have had the forethought to invest in something few ranges have, a shooting simulator. While not a direct replacement for live fire training, they truly are the way of the future! With ammunition prices continuing up, availability constantly in flux, and an ever-growing base of new consumers the option to train on a simulator is more pertinent than ever.

Let’s dive into a few of the unique options a simulator gives you as opposed to live fire training.

Increased Safety

First and probably most obvious, simulators are far safer if utilized properly. Not only are you not using live ammunition, but the firearms you’re working with are designed from the start to not be able to be chambered with live ammunition even if you tried to do so. It’s physically impossible to have these tools fire. Instead, they utilize IR lasers in a specific wavelength that is also eye safe so even if a weapon was pointed in the wrong direction the light from the laser will not damage eyesight.

When it comes to some of the issues that arise from private instruction utilizing live firearms the simulators assuage those concerns as well. Gone are the days when the instructor is concerned about muzzle blast/concussion. With no live ammunition in play, it gives your instructor far more freedom to see and address more issues involving grip, trigger press, and sight alignment just to name a few. Oftentimes in teaching, these are the fundamental issues that when combined either produce an accurate and efficient shot process or a maddening and inconsistent result for the student.

Lastly, it allows a student to practice reloads, manipulations and malfunctions without the concern of violating firearms safety rule number three, never point a firearm at anything you’re unwilling to destroy. Muzzle awareness is one of the first concerns to address, especially with new or less-experienced shooters, and is of vital importance. Simulators, on the other hand, allow mistakes to be made in a safe teaching environment versus a life and death momentary lapse in judgment.

Ability To Practice Real-World Drills

Perhaps the biggest benefit of a simulator is the ability to use targets that in the real world would be difficult and, in some cases, even impossible to recreate. Gone is the simple one-dimensional piece of paper where you just poke holes in it, look at them and subjectively decide if you did better or worse. Now you have multi-dimensional targets that interact with your shooting and give you measurable metrics that on a live fire range are difficult if nigh impossible to utilize.

More Accurate Results

When it comes to metrics, we measure success or failure with a few simple ones:

  • Accuracy

  • Precision

  • Time

  • Consistency

When using a live fire range, accuracy is relatively easy to measure. However, are you there measuring your targets with a ruler for the spread of where rounds are impacting? Most likely not, you’re eyeballing a target and subjectively deciding if the outcome was better or worse than your last target. Simulators can measure accuracy automatically far better than the naked eye.

Precision is something that can be subjectively assessed as well. Without going into too much detail the difference between accuracy and precision is simple: if you chose a circle as your target and all your rounds hit within the outer line of the circle, that’s accurate. If you were concerned with all the rounds hitting in the dead center of that circle that’s precision. Precision can be measured using a simulator or live fire equally for the most part.

Time is by far the best metric you can get from a simulator and arguably one of the most important things to judge success or failure. An old idiom in the firearms world goes something like this: “How long do you have to hit your target in a defensive shooting? The rest of your life.” If you are in a position where you must use a firearm to defend yourself the efficiency and consistency with which you do so is the metric of life or death.

Unfortunately, current technology with regard to registering a shot with a firearm is all sound-based. When you are at an indoor range or outdoors with multiple people shooting these “shot timers” cannot distinguish the sound of your firearm from the cacophony of all the others on the range at that time. That being said, a simulator has none of those limitations and can produce exceedingly accurate measurements.

Finally, we come to consistency. If we were to pick one word that encompasses the breadth and width of firearms wholly it would be consistency, hands down. If you can, find a way to be consistent in your usage of firearms that covers all the challenges you might face. Be it adherence to safety rules, trigger press, grip, stance, breathing, sight alignment, et cetra, consistency solves all those issues. Even in terms of instruction and private coaching, if you are doing something incorrectly but you do it incorrectly consistently it’s easy to correct those issues and create consistent, correct results. A simulator provides the ability to get repetition after repetition consistently allowing you to produce repeatable results to work off.


Simulators cannot and will not replace live fire training, that is as sure as the sun rising. That being said much like golf, driving, skiing, and even flying utilizing a simulator in your pursuit of improvement is an incredibly powerful tool not to be overlooked. Having coached students for years on them, we have witnessed time and time again even brand-new shooters who’ve never touched a gun in their lives become competent and safe in an hour or less. The key here is creating an environment for learning that suits the needs of those students. For those more experienced in firearms handling the simulator provides incredible time efficiency allowing for more feedback on performance in less time.

When looking at simulators as a whole, instead of their individual pieces, the result becomes clear. They are the way of the future and if you truly want to improve speak to the Stock and Barrel staff to schedule some private coaching. Whether it be for you, a loved one, even those apprehensive about firearms or children needing to learn firearms safety it will be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Your Turn!

If all that shooting simulator talk makes you want to get in our virtual range and begin your own training, we have just the class for you! Join us in the virtual range for our Judgment Training class in Eagan or Chanhassen, where we teach when you should or should not engage and why. This course will also go over the best way to hold and handle a firearm. See additional classes for each location below!

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