Scenario-based drone defense training is the ideal learning environment for a gun owner. This training teaches shooters how to apply the fundamentals to a realistic threat encounter/course of fire. Especially for incorporating moving targets that mimic natural motions, the best option before was VR training simulators.
Drone Defense: Prepping For The Worst With Gnat Warfare
The Need for Drones
While a VR simulator can mimic the words and actions that a would-be attacker would demonstrate, that drone defense technology is limited by the fact that users are not shooting live ammunition. However, the recent proliferation of drone customization has begun to open up new training options to the everyday gun carrier.
If you’ve read the recent Survival Life article on Drone Defense, you may be wondering just how real that threat is. As the writer of that article, I can promise you that targeted drone attacks are incredibly unlikely. Even though the technology is here, repurposing that to more malicious ends hasn’t yet been popularized. This is likely due to the higher barrier to entry. It’s simply too much up-front effort for an average opportunistic criminal to use a drone. However, every gun owner understands the value of preparing for the worst. This is where Gnat Warfare comes in.
“Gnat Warfare was started by three friends who wanted more than fixed targets and clay pigeons to shoot at. Several cases of beer later, they devised a system of aerial and ground targets, powered by remote control.” -Gnatwarfare.com
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Gnat Warfare's Story
During the research for Drone Defense, I met with George Ford of Gnat Warfare. George, along with co-founders Keith Chambers and Mike Kiesler, is classic bootstrapping entrepreneurs who saw a need for drone shooting experience here in the United States. Literally started out of a friend’s home, George and his co-founders first conceptualized Gnat Warfare after watching some videos of a UK based shootable drone, the ATS Gnat. After ordering a few of those drones, George did what any good business owner would do. He took close note of the features that he liked about the ATS design and scrapped or improved on the remaining aspects. The resulting product was an initial line of high-performance drones that people could shoot down for fun.
As they began to take clients, word spread like wildfire through the shooting community. Even today, Gnat Warfare is almost constantly on the road. They run drone shooting events across the United States.
Aerial Drones with Binary Explosives
Striving to bring the best experience possible to their clientele, Gnat Warfare soon added binary explosives to the wings of the drones. These reactive targets gave instant feedback when a shooter hit the wings of the drone. Incredibly, neither the explosions nor the shotgun pellets destroy the drone on the first eight to 10 passes. If you’re lucky, you may hit three to five explosive pods, which causes catastrophic damage to the drone. For the final pass, once the wings are too shot up to fly well, operators can pack a larger load of binary. They can then shoot down the drone one last time in style.
Business was booming with just the flying drones when the founders were approached by specialized tactical teams about their need for ground-based drones. This opened up a new world of possibilities. The staff at Gnat Warfare spent the next several months researching and developing a tough enough ground-based drone that could maneuver like a human but also stand up to gunfire and binary explosives.
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The resulting drone is virtually an up-armored mobile target carriage. In the video below, you can see it’s full capabilities. The standard titanium shell is rated for most handgun calibers and rifle calibers up to 7.62×39. The enhanced shell option can withstand up to a .308 as well.
To address the challenge of replicating natural movement, Gnat Warfare took a no-compromise approach. They outfitted these ground-based drones with full suspension kits and an optimized wheelbase system for ultimate maneuverability and control. These drones come with a variety of target carriages that can mount anything from a 2D paper target to a 3D shoot and see dummy complete with clothing. There is even an additional blast shield for mounting binary explosives inside a dummy for long range reactive target shooting. The skilled machinists at Gnat Warfare have the capability of custom-fabricating a target carriage to accommodate your unique targets too. (Think animal targets like deer or boar.)
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Part of a Larger Trend
What does all of this mean? It means that Gnat Warfare is just the first of many upcoming businesses in the firearms profession that is leveraging modern technology to sharpen your skill set beyond conventional static training. Besides pushing the envelope of firearms training, Gnat Warfare is also passionate about supporting the U.S. military and its veterans. For that reason, Gnat Warfare recently joined The Veterans Family of Brands (VFOB) to assist in their mission.
“The Veterans Family of Brands (VFOB), an organization bringing together like mission-minded companies and individuals with a passion for supporting US Military Veterans and their families through the manufacture and market insertion of top quality outdoor products.” – GnatWarfare.com
This is an admirable cause and demonstrates Gnat Warfare’s commitment to their stakeholders.
See what the shooters are saying…
Explore Gnat Warfare’s website today. You can be the person to demand your local range or trainer to bring them in for an event! Click here to be redirected to Gnat Warfare's contact form and information.
Watch this video from George Ford for Gnat Warfare's Tactical Ground Targets V2 720:
George and his co-founders continued to build and develop the drones they needed for Gnat Warfare. Eventually, the word continued to spread throughout the various training niches. Out of that need came a more dedicated training wing of Gnat Warfare. In partnership with various training organizations, Gnat Warfare provides the hardware and know-how to create a truly dynamic training environment. Aside from the stated military and law enforcement applications, Gnat Warfare makes this training available to shooting enthusiasts as well.
Do you think personal drone defense could take your training to the next level?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on September 11, 2017, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.