South African company Kolskoot Dimension Software Engineering is bringing laser technology to the forefront of firearms training with its software and hardware simulating everything from skeet shooting to hunting.
Kolskoot uses an infrared camera to detect where a laser hits a target. This target can be on any surface, whether it is projected onto a wall or displayed on a TV set. The system can also be added to an iPhone. Using an iPhone app, a user is able to set up shooting parameters, from wind to bullet calibre. The iPhone’s camera does the rest, detecting and recording where the laser hit the target. All that’s needed for this slimmed down version is the R399 app and a laser adapter.
The base system, with two shooting lanes, costs R25 000 and comprises of the software and camera, but can be upgraded to allow four people to shoot at once. The lasers cost R500, and can convert any airsoft weapon (pistol, assault rifle, hunting rifle, shotgun) into a laser simulator weapon. It is also possible to convert one’s own handgun or hunting rifle into a simulator weapon.
Kolskoot Dimension Software Engineering also makes use of a laser cartridge that is manufactured by Red-I-Laser. It looks like a real cartridge but emits a short laser flash when the firing pin strikes it. These cartridges cost R2 000 each and are available in a wide variety of calibres.
Johan Hammes, co-owner of Kolskoot, told defenceWeb that his company has done a lot of work to create a truly portable system that comprises a laptop, lasers and projector. A USB video camera is plugged in to the laptop to see where each laser ‘bullet’ strikes. The Windows-based software is used to set up the shooting environment and alters everything from ammunition loading to sight height. A variety of training programmes can be used that teach everything from the basics of handgun training to simulated combat and skeet shooting and hunting.
Kolskoot Dimension’s offering is aimed at the commercial and private sectors and is more cost effective than military-spec simulators. Various training modules are available for different users, including sport shooting, clay targets, hunting, bird hunting, assault rifle and handgun training.
Fully working firearms can be used with a compatible short flash laser, or airsoft weapons can be used following conversion. Piston kits are available for certain weapons, giving simulated recoil when the weapons are fired. However, it’s not just firearms that can be simulated – Kolskoot Dimension Software Engineering has also developed mortar simulators and, using simulation software, such as Earthworks, can replicate real world environments that people can train in.
Kolskoot first came onto the market at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition in September 2012, but under a different name. Since then, “the response has been very good,” Hammes said.
Kolskoot has two main markets in South Africa: the security industry and private companies like Transnet. The South African Army also uses the system to a limited degree, for basic weapons handling training. Internationally, Kolskoot does better in the home entertainment sector, and in countries where simulated hunting is more accessible than the real thing. Kolskoot is also popular in the Far East where firearms are restricted. A number of enquiries have come from Turkey, Japan and the Phillippines.