Non-Lethal Training Ammo

By Dean Roxby

Train the Way You Fight.Because You Will Fight the Way You Have Been Trained.

Shooting at paper targets certainly has its place in small arms training, but it cannot replace force-on-force (FoF) training. Having someone shoot back you increases the level of training realism tremendously.

In order to do realistic force-on-force (also known as reality-based training) training, many police departments and military units are now using special ammunition and matching conversion kit systems designed for this purpose.

Currently, there are two competing systems and three companies that supply ammunition. They have much in common as well as some important differences. This article will examine non-lethal training ammunition, or NTLA, that is available.

Simunition FX

This is the first of the three ammo suppliers, dating back to the late 1980s. It was originally developed by SNC Technologies Inc. (SNC TEC), a subsidiary of Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. The TEC division was later (2006) sold to General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems-Canada Inc. (In 2001, SNC TEC also acquired the WWII-era DuPont IMR powder plant in Valleyfield, Quebec. This is also now owned by GT-OTS Canada.)

The complete Simunition FX training system is comprised of the FX marking cartridge, the weapon conversion kit and the required protective equipment. The marking round is available in three chamberings, 9x19, 5.56x45 and 38 Special.

The weapon conversion kit is unique to each brand and model of firearm. The list of kits available for semi-auto pistols is surprisingly long. For the ubiquitous AR-15/M16/M4 family of rifles, they used to offer an upper receiver conversion chambered in 9mm, which fired the same marking round as a pistol. Later, a 5.56x45mm FX round, along with a blow-back bolt and carrier group was developed. Now there are replacement blow-back bolts for several service rifles, not just the AR-15 type. There is also a conversion kit for the H&K MP5 submachine gun and the FN Minimi M249.

In order to provide the necessary impulse to cycle a semi-auto pistol or rifle, the brass case extends in length a small amount. This extended length approach is common to all three systems, yet each company does...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N10 (December 2018)
and was posted online on October 26, 2018


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