MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY --
Entering Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer building, one could easily think he or she were stepping inside a life-size video arcade game room.
While most video games are played for entertainment, the Marines use the ISMT to simulate a variety of realistic environments including hostage situations and close-quarter combat scenarios in preparation for combat.
The ISMT is a computer-based system that uses weapons that simulate the feel, recoil and weight of live weapons. The recoil of the weapons come from compressed air being released when the trigger is squeezed.
According to Sgt. Nicolas Lazzaro, chief marksmanship instructor, Military Operations Training Branch, MCLB Albany, the trainer is used primarily to help new shooters enhance their marksmanship skills for qualifying on the rifle and pistol ranges without firing a single bullet.
“It’s a good familiarization training, especially for new shooters who haven’t shot that weapon or any other weapon system,” Lazzaro said. “It gets them used to what’s going to happen when they pull that trigger. The recoil is as close to life like as we can make it.”
Seeing Marines and Sailors gain more confidence in their ability to shoot is what drives him to continue being an instructor, Lazzaro admitted.
“Some of the shooters have gone from not being able to hold it or shoot it or hit paper whatsoever, to shooting almost expert,” he added. “It’s an enjoyable feeling, especially when someone can improve and shoot really well.”
Ensign Jacob Glasgow, a recent graduate of Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, admitted this was his first time at a pistol range.
“(The training has) been excellent,” Glasgow said. “I actually had never shot a pistol before I got here. The facilities here as well as the staff have been great at teaching me. I feel competent and I think everything is going to go well when I try to qualify.”