A Shooting Simulator at Right 2 Arms: Technology meets affordability in Liberty Township, Ohio

I appreciated the work that the guys at Right 2 Arms did for me on trying to locate a Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum.  As I said in a previous article I had bought the Magnum that they had at Bass Pro Shop anyway, so when Right 2 Arms called me to say they hadn’t been able to locate one after three days of looking, there were no hard feelings.  So to thank the guy, I stopped by over the Memorial Day weekend to buy some more ammunition and thank them personally for their efforts.  Because of my previous visit I knew they had some Hornady .500 magnum ammunition that was of the 500 gr variety, so I went to the new gun store in Liberty Township, Ohio to buy a box and support a local business.

A lot of times new gun stores might appear to the outside world to just be alike one after another.  When you walk into them there are always glass cases with pistols followed by ammunition boxes on the wall behind the counter.  Above the back wall are carefully placed rifles.  Typically these are all manner of shotguns and AR-15s which was certainly the case at Right 2 Arms.  But at this particular gun store there was something different—a large flat screen television playing which showed the various scenario features of a Laser Shot shooting simulator that they had in the basement.  The owner of Right 2 Arms had mentioned something about a simulator to me during the previous week so I already had an idea that they had something unique on the property but after watching a bit of the video, I had no idea it was so interesting.  I imagined something akin to a Chuckee Cheese arcade shooter—not something so technically viable.  After a bit of discussion one of the Right 2 Arm employees suggested that I give the simulator a test run—which of course I accepted.

The basement was fixed up nicely into a classroom setting with multiple rooms.  The room with the simulator had a few rows of tables for students to sit at while offering Concealed Carry Classes and other scenario based training that would be ideal for law enforcement efforts.  It was obvious from the start that what Right 2 Arms had in the basement of their gun shop was better than the simulator training facilities at Butler Tech just down the road.  The shooting simulator was essentially a home theater system that projected various scenarios onto a full wall of the basement in High Definition.  It was a similar system as shown in the videos provided, but only more refined and with many more programming options than I would have thought possible. Off to the side was a laptop where the instructor could set up the shooting scenarios and keep track of the shooting statistic.  Behind him were the various guns supplied for the simulator—real guns using a special clip charged with CO2.  A tank filled with the gas was next to the laptop as the instructor charged the cartridges and handed me a Glock.

The instructor opened up a street situation where bandits shot from behind barricades forcing a shooter to identify friend from foe quickly and to place accurate shots made under stress to relieve the targets of their threat status.  It was remarkably real.  At first I thought it was going to perform like an arcade shooter, but the Glock performed like the real gun that it was providing recoil feedback that was reflective of an actual firefight.  When the ammunition ran out in the clip the Glock had to be reloaded in the same fashion as it is in real life in order to resume the effort.  It was pretty remarkable and all-encompassing.

After the street scenario the instructor showed me how the simulator ran other scenario based training exercises.  For instance in one scene it put the shooter in position to withdraw money from an ATM as an assailant approached from the side to commit a robbery. Some dialogue was exchanged where the shooter engaged in a warning.  The robber ignored those warnings and proceeded forward with a crowbar.  A crowbar is not a firearm, but is considered a deadly weapon if the aggressor makes a threatening move with it.  In this case once the shooter has made the robber aware that he will shoot if the assailant does not retreat it was considered OK to disable the target once he took a step in favor of aggression.  Once he took that first step toward me after a brief exchange of dialogue it was legal to then take the putdown shot. Honestly after running through that simulation I didn’t know that it was considered legal in the State of Ohio to take that shot at that moment.  In real life I would have tried to disable the target in some other manner just to avoid the legal entanglements.  However learning what I did from that simulator, I would be much less apprehensive about that occurrence in the future.

There were other similar portions of the simulator that were just as effective and varied.  One was a target range where moving targets that would otherwise be found on a combat target range were available just as they would be in real life—only the shooting was a lot cheaper.  Essentially the only projectile used in the scenario was a little electricity and some compressed air.  The cost of the simulator for visitors to Rights 2 Arms was only about $50 per hour and $10 for each additional shooter.  That price seemed very reasonable to me as a typical day of renting a lane at Target World is much more expensive.  The guns are real, the weight and muscle memory are all there, only you get to shoot in the comfort of a basement in Liberty Township right down the road from the Elk Run golf course and nearby Kroger.  No mess to clean up, no extracted shell casings lying around, just carpet and some air tanks.

I was very impressed with Right 2 Arms.  Not only were they very professional even when they couldn’t help me directly, they seemed very eager to build relationships within the community that would be beneficial to everyone.  The owner took the extra steps to ensure that I was a happy customer going well beyond what was expected.  But the extra cherry on top was that they had the class based simulator on site which far exceeded what professional training systems were providing.  For the home defense trainee who wants to run through a home invasion robbery to get that uneasiness of knowing how they’d react under such a stressful condition, the Right 2 Arms simulator can prepare their mind for that unfortunate occurrence.  It can be stunning to see a body hit the ground after you shoot it, so the Right 2 Arms simulator can provide that first look, so that if such an unfortunate event occurs in real life, it won’t be so shocking.  I can think of hundreds of reasons to use the simulator and I hope that Liberty Township residents use such a resource to their advantage.  I can’t think of a better way to make a reluctant spouse feel more comfortable shooting guns than on the Right 2 Arms simulator.  It’s clean, cheap, and convenient.  The gun store is well stocked with a friendly staff and is everything that is expected in Liberty Township—it’s just a bit nicer than a typical place with the professionalism that is expected among a client base that is considered economically affluent.  With that affluence can sometimes provide a resistance to shooting facilities because they don’t feel comfortable in those environments.  But at Right 2 Arms they have taken away that stigma and presented an environment that is professional and just enough fun to provide a memorable experience that will actually train new and old shooters with additional skills that are quite valuable.  And the best part about it is that the simulator at Right 2 Arms is right in all our backyards.  It’s as easy as shooting gets, and will take the edge off before we discover we really need those skills under conditions that are far more stressful.  It was one of the best accidental discoveries I have made in my community during 2015 so far.

Rich Hoffman


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