The YouTube video below gives a nice heads up comparison of the functional reliability when comparing ATK’s Force on Force ammunition and SIMUNITION’s FX ammunition. Due to the different plastic in the two projectiles, the FX cartridge is prone to barrel blockage due to the stripping off of small amounts of the projectiles as they pass through the rifling. ATK’s projectile does not seem to suffer from this. As a result, the FX conversion devices, when using the FX cartridges, need to be cleaned by pushing a dry wire brush through the bore regularly to clear the plastic residue buildup.

The test shows the ATK cartridges experiencing zero failures across 500+ rounds. The FX cartridges experienced 8 malfunctions, with several of them being catastrophic, which in terms of functional reliability for this discussion, means the malfunction would not be clearable using standard malfunction clearing procedures, and are akin to having a squib projectile lodged in the barrel. Although this can impede training, it can also lead to some very valuable training moments if properly facilitated.

For example, at one of our training courses one of the class attendees playing the role of the “student” experienced one such malfunction. The “bad guy” was still up and animated, advancing on the student – who had moved behind their patrol car. After attempting standard clearance procedures and realizing the gun would no longer function, the student appeared frustrated and stopped working the malfunction. For those who have attended our courses, you would understand that this constituted an “unnatural pause”, which led to the Pause Button being pressed. During a quick Socratic questioning session about the viability of their positioning, and their next viable actions, the officer said that they would wait for the bad guy to approach and would then proceed to use whatever physical interventions were possible. Our question was then … “OR …???”

It did not occur to the officer to run to the tree line or some other actions to exit the kill zone. When that possibility was discussed, the officer coldly stated that within their organization they are taught to never run from a fight. That sounds bold and interesting, but it is not exactly the smartest thing to do given that the only two people out there. One was an outgunned officer, and the other was a person bent on murdering them. Our reframe of the stuck thinking was, “How about you aren’t running away from a fight, but rather you are LEAVING A MURDER SCENE. You are tactically repositioning so that you can get on the radio to direct assets that are enroute, and inform them as to the location of the call then coordinating those arriving resources to effectively, and with the right amount of functional firepower, stop the actions of the attacker.” The observers were dumbfounded. Those officers had never in the past, nor in this particular moment, registered the possibility that leaving the scene is not and act of cowardice. Not in this case … it’s tactically sound.

Not all malfunctions in a training situation are bad malfunctions. On the day and event mentioned above, we may never know if that malfunction and the discussions that occurred as a result of it, saved a life at some time in the future. What was evident from this malfunction was that there was some organizational “rogue code” in the minds of the members, and that a a pithy saying such as “We don’t run from a fight” might cause you to do some things that you shouldn’t and stop you from doing things that you should. THIS IS NOT TO SUGGEST THAT RUNNING AWAY IS ALWAYS THE ANSWER. IT IS NOT. But in this case, the world is not served and community safety is not necessary enhanced by a valiant corpse … not when there are viable options to not becoming one. To many organizations tell people what to do instead of teach people how to think. And the “thinking man’s” solution to this particular incident was LEAVE.

As for the reliability testing, unfortunately in this side by side comparison, they did not do any comparisons between the velocities, the marking capabilities or the accuracy and usable range. But all in all it was a great demonstration.

Hat tip to our staff instructor Rick Furr for finding the clip.

To see the test, click the link below. Special thanks to Full Assault Tactical for this comparison.