‘Very arcade’: PNP’s gun simulator for marksmanship training gains buzz

May 5, 2023 - 5:54 PM
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PNP firearm simulation system
A screengrab from a video report from the People's Television Network uploaded on its YouTube channel on May 4, 2023 which shows the firearm simulator system of the Philippine National Police (ptvph/YouTube)

The design is very arcade?

This was what some Filipinos commented after the Philippine National Police acquired a firearm simulator system to help improve their marksmanship skills without using real bullets.

The system is said to train cops on gun handling at a cheaper rate compared to when they use ammunition in their mandatory marksmanship training sessions held every year.

The PNP explained that they could only provide limited ammunition for these annual training sessions involving 228,000 police officers.

Reports said the institution spends around P500 million annually on training bullets.

PNP marksmanship
A screengrab from a video report from the People’s Television Network uploaded on its YouTube channel on May 4, 2023 showing police practicing their marksmanship skills (ptvph/YouTube)

Meanwhile, the firearm simulator system, which came from the United States, costs at least P6 million.

The virtual initiative is also said to be favorable to the cops, who are shelling out money for their training bullets costing P26 to P28 each for extra training.

“Kahit anong oras, pwede kami mag-practice na walang nilalabas na pera, sir,” Police Trainee Joseller Joseph Col said to reporters on Thursday, May 4.

Police Colonel Radel Ramos, PNP training service acting director, also believed that practicing by simulator will further increase cops’ proficiency in marksmanship.

“With this simulator, mapapataas pa natin ang proficiency nila kasi nga, one to sawa sila dito eh,” he said, referring to the unlimited use of ammunition for shooting, compared to when they train on the ground.

PNP firearm simulator system
A screengrab from a video report from the People’s Television Network uploaded on its YouTube channel on May 4, 2023 which shows the firearm simulator system of the Philippine National Police (ptvph/YouTube)
PNP firearm simulator system2
A screengrab from a video report from the People’s Television Network uploaded on its YouTube channel on May 4, 2023 which shows the firearm simulator system of the Philippine National Police (ptvph/YouTube)

According to PNP, cops undergo mandatory marksmanship training twice every year.

Around 20% of the police force fail this, with limited ammunition identified as one of the causes.

The firearm simulator system uses real guns but not bullets.

The gun barrel is instead replaced by a laser system while the magazine contains carbon dioxide which makes the “recoil” or impact identical to firing a live round or bullet.

A “recoil,” in the context of shooting, refers to the backward movement that a shooter feels when the bullet is discharged from the gun.

In the PNP’s simulator system, the targets are on a high-definition screen.

The system offers other scenarios aside from the ordinary gun shooting range.

PNP firearm simulator system3
A screengrab from a video report from the People’s Television Network uploaded on its YouTube channel on May 4, 2023 which shows the firearm simulator system of the Philippine National Police (ptvph/YouTube)
PNP firearm simulator system4
A screengrab from a video report from the People’s Television Network uploaded on its YouTube channel on May 4, 2023 which shows the firearm simulator system of the Philippine National Police (ptvph/YouTube)

Trainees will still undergo live fire exercises after the activity, the PNP said.

The firearm simulator system is only available at Camp Crame, its national headquarters. However, the PNP training service said it plans to extend it to every region in the country.

Meanwhile, screengrabs of some video reports showing the simulation were shared online following the announcement.

A Twitter user commented that the simulator system could be likened to a “low-res [resolution]” version of the “House of the Dead,” a gun shooter video game franchise.

He also shared an image from the game as a comparison.

“Sana nag-Time Crisis na lang kami sa Timezone, libre ko na, jk [joke],” another Filipino tweeted, referring to a shooter game in a popular arcade shop.

“Punta na lang sila sa arcade, lol,” a different Twitter user commented.

PNP’s firearm simulator initiative also earned similar reactions from Facebook users.

“Pati firing, online na… haha,” a Filipino on the social networking platform said.

“The design is very arcade,” commented another Facebook user with an upside-down face emoji.

“Parang online class lang,” a different Pinoy wrote with a relieved face emoji.

What’s with the simulator? 

Apart from the Philippines, the US employs firearm training simulators to improve their law enforcers’ marksmanship abilities.

Ken Wallentine, chief of police in West Jordan, Utah, said that police officers who undergo simulation training come out feeling more confident about their skills and abilities.

“They see the possibilities, they see the alternatives to use of force, they gain the ability to look beyond the immediate minute,” he said to Police1.

Some police officers also believe it may prevent law enforcers “from using deadly force” in real-life shooting scenarios.

“It gave them the knowledge to recognize the event for what it potentially could be, and to go through some alternative methods to bring it to resolution,” Sergeant Joseph Cupo, who oversees training for the Inglewood Police Department, said to the Washington Post before.