After more than three long years of work, Army veteran Robert Redd has officially opened a new gun training business called UNR3AL1TY in Culpeper, Virginia. What makes Redd’s business unique, at least to central Virginia, is his use of augmented and virtual reality in firearm instruction. Redd bills the new business as a “State-of-the-Art Smokeless Firing Range & Technology Lounge” that offers both virtual gaming and tactical skills training from NRA-certified firearms instructors.
By using augmented and virtual reality, Redd says he’s able to design scenarios that allow students to navigate a number of real-world situations from a storefront location. Students wear high-resolution headsets while walking on a fixed-position treadmill that allows them 360 degrees of movement, along with a Lasershot system that gives them the ability to virtually use anything from an M4 Rifle to a Glock handgun. While Redd offers concealed carry courses as well as tactical training, customers can also simply choose to engage in some VR target shooting. Those of us who grew up playing Duck Hunt on our Nintendo may be excited to try out the Mallard Madness game, but you can also try your hand at hitting virtual steel targets or even clay targets.
At $30 for 30 minutes, UNR3AL1TY isn’t exactly cheap, but considering you don’t have to pay for ammunition, it’s not an unreasonable cost.
One of the best things about the new business, at least from my perspective, is how it has been embraced by the community. I’ve lost track of how many stories I’ve covered about folks who are ticked off when any business relating to firearms opens up in their town, but so far it appears the NIMBYs aren’t coming after Redd’s business.
UNR3AL1TY has been welcomed into the town of Culpeper, not just for its teaching of firearms safety through virtual means, but for the technology itself.During a recent town council meeting, a public hearing was held on rezoning the property the commercial school operates from, where many members of the community expressed their support of the business’s presence and mission. Local resident Sean Fuller advocated for the new school and how it would help local law enforcement in their firearms training.“This facility will allow them to train in an environment that will utilize virtual reality. Agencies up north have those types of opportunities and they can train there, but in order for our agencies to train they have to travel, they have to pay another agency,” he said. “It would be great to be able to train in a high-stressed environment, all in the safety of a room where there’s no ammunition.”Fuller also advocated for the school’s ability to offer virtual firearms and safety training to local residents and said bringing a company that uses virtual technology to the county could relate to STEM activities, such as engineering.