Concealed Coalition Introduces the Virtual Tactical Academy

Virtual Tactical Academy Cover

Use of a defensive firearm in stopping a violent criminal act is far more involved than the operation of the firearm. The civilian and Law Enforcement industry as a whole has left a significant training void in focusing on the operation of the firearm without any relevant focus on how we retain information, acquire relevant physical skills, and condition for the process that happens when adrenaline and danger collide in real time.

What is the Virtual Tactical Academy?

Virtual Tactical Academy (VTA) is a unique 3-step training process for legal, responsible gun owners that depend on a firearm for personal defense. VTA uses high fidelity VR tools and a proprietary teaching process with cutting edge instruction methods to match how the adult brain learns, properly stores information, and ultimately how the human brain performs in a tense, dynamic, and rapidly unfolding circumstance.

All VTA training is done in a low stakes environment without the risk, sensory overload, and training limitations of live fire. VTA is geared towards creating a learning environment where the student feels both 100% individual comfort and group support.

The short version: For over a decade and after working with thousands of students, VTA has developed the unique tools, training, and techniques in how the human brain stores, processes, and utilizes information. As a result, it has created a measurably better student outcome in knowledge, skills performance, stimulus recognition, and stimulus response for that moment when both the quickness and quality of our actions are measured in life, injury, and even death.

Does the Virtual Tactical Academy really work?

Training for real life without using any real guns?

Standing still in a well-lit, well-controlled flat range environment and shooting paper targets is good for standing still in a well-lit, well-controlled flat range environment and shooting paper targets. As counterintuitive as it may seem, over a decade of experience has convinces us there is little – if any – crossover to preparing you for fighting dangerous people with a firearm using live-fire in training.

Yes, live-fire training has its place, but after a base level of competence (and that base we could even argue is best done with VR tools), no square range can address the training of the relevant legal, mental, and practical issues of a dynamic, real-world encounter.

VTA is dedicated to teaching legal gun owners the essential mental, verbal, and physical skills in the most realistic but safe manner possible. There is a reason fighter pilots use high fidelity simulators before they ever get a plan to fly, much less fight in. The goal of the Virtual Tactical Academy is to continue to help you see problems earlier, process faster, and be able to use more available mental resources to solve your potential or actual use of force situation in the real world in real time.

A Word from Greek Philosopher Socrates…

“No weapons will make a man (or woman) a master of defense who has not bestowed any practice upon them – Tools that would teach a man their use would be beyond price.”

In other words, train to retain! If you ever find yourself in a crisis, your stressed brain will default to those skills you’ve trained for. If you haven’t prepared to use your tools, you won’t be able to leverage them when you need them.

Virtual Tactical Academy’s Three Steps

The VTA is based on a three step process:

  • “Isolation” of discreet skills (such as shooting or drawing)
  • “Combination” of decision fragment drills that allow you to begin to think and move, as well draw and handle the gun drills with limited options
  • “Simulation” of all skills from the first two steps in context to hone situational awareness, competence, and confidence on a high fidelity simulator with a trainer
Trainer interacting with VTA
Concealed Coalition’s trainers have gone through training in our Virtual Tactical Academy to help aid students as they learn.

Step One: Isolation of Discreet Skills

Using SIRT pistols, proprietary targets, and lesson plans from our exclusive Concealed Coalition membership courses, we address the core “discreet” skills of handgun operation. At this time, we offer two classes in VTA Step One:

  • Class One: “Hit What You Shoot At” Grip, aim, and trigger operation are taught in isolation from every other consideration. This allows for high volume of practice with the goal of unconscious competence.
  • Class Two: “4 Steps to Any Draw Stroke” This course teaches (1) clearing of barriers, (2) acquiring a master grip, (3) pulling to retention, and (4) pressing out. Without the mastery of class one teaching, the universal draw stroke creates more issues and problems than it solves. This 4-step process works with holsters, gun safes, and off-body carry.

Step Two: Combination of Limited Skills and Decisions

Using SIRT Pistols, CCAT and peer-to-peer teaching methods, and Concealed Coalition instructional content, we will begin “Decision Fragment Drills.” These drills are designed to reinforce VTA Step One classes in context while limiting the physical and mental variables to one or two simple decisions. These decisions are based on human stimulus and practical responses.

The key here is the peer-to-peer process of learning so the student can see both sides of the threat. In Step Two, we provide the students sufficient repetitions to begin to process in procedural memory.

Step Three: Simulation

The goal with the simulator is to provide an immersive experience that allows students to practice the intersection of the mental decision process and skill sets of the first two layers of training and lessons from Concealed Coalition University. It also allows students to trust their training to give expected results and confidence in their skill level.

VTA uses a realistic time-restricted setting, providing an Escape Room-like experience. During the training, a student can’t fail at this level as long as they keep working the problem. Instructors are there to provide interaction in case a student goes off track. It is here where we can also test and reinforce in context all the lessons from Concealed Coalition University.

The Psychology Behind the Virtual Tactical Academy

The VTA treats the human brain not as a biological entity, but as an information system. Training environments that produce fear or high stress levels tend to biologically preclude many aspects of the learning environment, but by removing live-fire we can give that dopamine rush that comes with success. Because the training is simulated, any “failure” in performance is a psychological neutral at worst.

Our objective is to place information into students’ brains in such a way that it is recalled effectively when needed. VTA is all about installing new knowledge and physical skills in the same part of the human brain that is used under stress (AKA Procedural Memory). This is done by creating a learning structure and progressive training program specifically engineered to target placing specific information into specific parts of the brain by design.

Austin Davis teaches student with VTA.
National Training Director Austin Davis has been teaching students using the Virtual Tactical Academy for over a decade.

When it comes to the brain, there are two types of long-term memory: Declarative and Procedural.

  • Declarative memory is about conscious recall. It requires thought and effort to perform a full conscious recall. As a result, this type of memory will not be available in times of stress.
  • Procedural memory is accessed without conscious effort. If effort is made to encode VTA material in this part of the student’s memory, the results will be evident in the simulator Step Three without the student even being aware of producing both the proper stimulus recognition and response in real time.

The first step to any learning process is to get it past the filter. If you want to teach anything to an adult, you must first show how it is valuable in their world. The value is this: VTA equipment, training, and instruction consistently produces desired outcomes that are difficult or impossible to achieve when using traditional training methods and/or live-fire alone.

To get started on your training, find a Concealed Coalition class near you today.

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