One of the most difficult things to prepare troops to do correctly is how to handle shoot/dont shoot situations. These occur during such varied duty as checkpoints, patrols, guard posts, vehicle searches, crowd control, demonstrations and all out riots. The U.S. Army has adapted its video rifle range (EST 2000) to provide effective shoot/dont shoot training. The EST 2000 consists of a movie theater size screen (but at ground level, not raised) with back projection target situations displayed as interactive movies. The troops use rifles, pistols and machine-guns that are actual weapons, but modified to fire electronic bullets, and, via a thin cable, use a pneumatic system that provides recoil as well. There is a sound system to depict the sound of the weapons firing, as well as a computer controlled tracking of ammo fired, letting users know when they have to reload.
When used for shoot/dont shoot situations, the appropriate visuals are shown on the video screen. Soldiers train in a group, positioned as they would be in a real situation. The scenario then plays out, allowing the troops to practice when they should shoot, and when they should not. Training can be for day or night scenarios. Each EST 2000 system can train 800-1,000 troops a month. An instructor runs the software that controls the system, and the training. Troops who have been through the shoot/dont shoot simulator report that facing the real thing was a lot easier, less bloody, less stressful and less dangerous as a result.