Border agents sharpen skills
Range 3000 XP4 mobile training center
More than 50 Border Patrol agents in Texas are fine-tuning their firearm skills with the Range 3000 XP4 mobile training center.
The simulator, from IES Interactive Training, a subsidiary of Arotech Corp. of New York, travels in a 28-foot trailer across the 17,000 square miles of the McAllen, Texas, sector of the Border Patrol.
'We don't have to pull five or six agents from the field for their firearms training 30 or 40 miles away,' which has been a huge savings, said Rey Diaz, the sector's public affairs officer.
The $35,000 Range 3000 consists of a Pentium 4 processor running Microsoft Windows XP, a 40G hard drive, an 80G video drive, Universal Serial Bus data lines and a 2,200-lumen projector.
The scenarios were tailored with Texas-like brush and desolate areas and require agents to make subtle judgments'for example, when there are bystanders behind the main target.
Even if an agent's aim is perfect, the simulations 'test mental abilities as well as physical,' Diaz said. Sometimes a perpetrator is armed, sometimes not. Just as in real life, the agent never knows what to expect.
Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.