Training in different climates

Oh Baby…It’s Cold Outside

Many of you are aware of our new business, Orion Training Systems.  We are now producing our very own simulators.  Many of our law enforcement and military partners have been looking for very specific scenarios and training modalities for years.  Our new systems allow us to address these objectives and produce simulations in a fraction of the time it has taken in the past. 

Being able to create unique and dynamic scenarios allows us to address the concerns of the CCW and legally-armed civilian market as well. 

Up until now simulated training has been relegated to rudimentary tactics, judgmental use-of-force, and what is essentially a shoot-no-shoot driven scenario system.  Now we are able to address a full, universal, and expansive 3D environment, complete with the advent of artificial intelligence both for adversaries as well as innocent third parties.

We were missing something though.

When we were at SHOT last week, we were introduced to the training coordinators at USCCA (United States Concealed Carry Association).  These guys represent the curriculum developers.  USCCA has established a group of trainers throughout the U.S. focusing on classes geared toward the CCW holder. 

They were interested in hearing about our simulators.

During our presentation we mentioned something that we feel is extremely important to us:  Our Subject Matter Experts / Trainers.

When we develop a scenario for a Special Forces Unit, we rely on them to help guide the scenario’s objectives as well as create meaningful textures to the simulation; the same is true for our law enforcement and civilian scenarios as well. 

As we talked, we had a bit of an epiphany:  We are somewhat creatures of our geography.  USCCA and the trainers we were talking to are based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

It gets cold in Milwaukee.

(If you have arrived here from our newsletter, continue reading here…)

Many people have asked us to provide CCW based scenarios centered around being at a gas station at night pumping gas.  This scenario plays out very differently, both tactically as well as practically, in sub-zero degree weather.  Most of us in Southern California have had extremely limited experience in this environment, and likely have never trained in this type of situation.  I can tell you that until I was talking to these guys at USCCA, it never occurred to me that this was the type of situation that a whole bunch of CCW holders across the country needs to deal with every winter. 

We cannot think of our training, as effective as it is, as being completely expansive.  The reality is that subtle dialogue changes, body language and, of course, temperature variations dramatically alter the threat complexity as we move from one location to another.  Our training (as well as our simulation development), needs to be cognizant of these complexities, both to enhance the immersive experience for the trainee… but, more importantly, to allow for training that goes simply beyond the generalized “threat in the doorway” and, instead, starts examining the subtleties of pre-engagement verbal and non-verbal indicators. 

We also need to know how to operate, candidly, in different physical comfort zones. 

Years ago I did a rifle course at Gunsite in Arizona.  The first day of the course we got to zero our rifles in 37 degree weather during a rain storm.  It was the most miserable of days.  As I lay in the mud with water pounding off of me, I wished upon all that was holy that it was just a few degrees colder and this rain would turn to snow.

The next day I got my wish.

As we engaged targets at 400 meters, the temperature dropped to 28 degrees and I got the opportunity to shoot in a snow storm.

It sucked.

Two days later I stood on the firing line in 80 degree weather (got to love the Arizona climate).

As much as I hated those first two days, they taught me something valuable:  I don’t shoot well in serious weather.  This stands to reason… I don’t have a lot of opportunities to train in serious weather.  From that point on when I have been presented the opportunity to train in the rain and the wind, I jump at the chance.  As a storied trainer once said, “Don’t practice what you are good at… hell, what do you have to prove?  Practice what you suck at!”

So that leads me to my final thought:  As we continue to develop scenarios, what are you, the student, interested in?  I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please comment on the bottom of this blog, or email me directly at

Steven Lieberman and Sandy Lieberman are the owners of the Artemis Defense Institute. A tactical training facility headquartered occupied California.   (  Mr. Lieberman is also one of the founding partners in the Law Offices of Lieberman and Taormina LLP.  Their law firm specializes in use of force, and Second Amendment defense and litigation.7

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Comments (4)

  • Kevin B Reply

    There is nothing quite as painful as trying to reload your 30-round magazine with a bare hand in a snowstorm – especially if your eyes stay focused on your target. My conclusion/epiphany was, you don’t need a full magazine as much as you need a round in the chamber- so 20 rounds in the magazine, reload a round in the chamber and reengage while reloading more magazines.
    In a force environment, I went out with many magazines fully loaded in the comfort of my quarters. But I didn’t train with ten magazines because reloading in the freezing cold of winter while keeping eyes on the target- everyone sucks at this scenario but you get better at reloading just as you get better at sight alignment and trigger control through practice. Train for the worst scenario, you learn from your training mistakes (hopefully).

    02/05/2020 at 08:09
  • Scott genschaw Reply

    Off body carry…both from a preparation (planning/tactics) and activation (accessing the firearm) viewpoint. In very cold and/or wet environments not to mention certain office environments I observed many colleagues forced into off body carry

    02/05/2020 at 09:40
  • Joe Reply

    Hi Steven,

    I only have attended your training simulator once several years ago with CATS. What would be great is some car based situations (driver,passenger,etc.) and perhaps some scenarios involving being with family (children) in said situations. Also, with the increasing needs of church security, some scenarios involving situations in houses of worship would be great too!

    02/05/2020 at 11:42
  • Riggs Jim Reply

    I’m a church Security guy. We work in a target rich environment where the first time you know tshtf is when you hear the shot or , in the case of a knife, the screaming. We have a five second window to locate, identity and react before chaos breaks out. What can you do for us?
    Jim Riggs

    02/06/2020 at 07:57

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