And the award for the stupidest thing at the 2008 SHOT show goes to… SIMUNITIONS!


Not only for the stupidest thing revealed at this show, but possibly the stupidest product ever.  Because not just does it suck, it sucks to the point, that it WILL be killing people on accident.  I can pretty much guarantee that this product is going to fatally injure someone once it is in wide circulation, it’s just a matter of time.


Now there are lots of products at SHOT that will kill somebody eventually.  That’s kind of why we’re here.  However, these are usually people in dire need of killing.  But in this particular case, the people that are going to get popped are the users, not the bad guys.


Okay, allow me to explain.  A regular Simunitions round is a brass case, with a plastic cup, that holds a little paint ball bullet.  It is used for force on force training.  It is designed so that it can only (and pay attention, because this is the important part) be used in a gun that has been retrofitted with a special barrel that won’t allow it to fire REAL BULLETS.


Because shooting your buddy with a real bullet, on accident, while you’re trying to train, is usually considered a serious oopsie in the gun community, Simunition-Only guns are popular.  They are usually painted blue, and that way when you’re having a pretend gun fight, even if loose round of real live ammo sneaks into the mix somehow, it can’t be chambered into the gun.  It just won’t fit. 


This is a good thing because it eliminates one of the possible dangers in training.  Training in a dynamic environment always has the possibility of injury, but by utilizing the right types of tools, (i.e. guns that can’t shoot ammo that can kill you) you can minimize the types of injuries you can receive. 


Until now!  Simunitions is proud to present the all new CQT.  5.56 and 9mm Close Quarters Target Practice Cartridges.  It looks just like a regular paint round, only instead of being blue or orange, it is black, and it can kill you.  Hip-hip-frickin’-hoo-ray.


The idea is to have a low powered round that can be fired through guns fitted with the Sim barrel. Apparently this is for plywood shoot houses, or tormenting the neighbors’ pets, hell if I know. 


This is directly from the literature:

 ADVANTAGES: -Affordable-Convenience of target practice any time, any place, indoors or out-Will not damage training structures-Reduced lethality compared to ball or even frangible rounds 



-You may occasionally kill one of your training partners when one of these little bastards ends up with your paint rounds.


Okay, I’ll admit, I added that Disadvantages section.


I learned about these from a friend of mine who works on a SWAT team.  They were doing force on force, and were loading magazines.  He happened to see some one of his guys loading what looked like a black round into one of the magazines.  He was curious and stopped his guy, so he could check to see what the round was.  Even the box looked exactly the same, only the writing on it was different from the paint rounds.  He had never heard of a lethal round that could be fired through a Sim barrel, and was shocked.


I heard that story last night at dinner, and I thought, “No way, Simunitions can’t be that retarded.”  So I went by their booth this morning, and asked about it.  Sure enough, they are making this stuff, and they’re real proud of it. 


I asked the guy if they had given any thought to the idea that this might cause just a teensy little problem, because all these police departments out there that are conditioned to think their blue guns are non-lethal, now are lethal weapons.  He told me that if you obey all of the Simunitions safety protocols then that can’t happen.


Well guess what douche-bag.  If every driver out on the road obeyed every traffic protocol, then we wouldn’t have any more accidents either.  But last time I looked, stupid accidents happen.  So we still drive, but we try to minimize the potential problems.  This lethal Sim round is like drift racing through school zones. 


So he tells me, “Well, seriously it isn’t a big deal.  The 9mm only penetrates 2 inches of ballistic gelatin.” 


Yeah, that’s a comfort when I shoot a role-player in the trachea…  So he responds.  “Well, if you’re wearing the proper Simunitions brand face mask, then you can’t hit them in the neck.”  Okay, so we’ll disregard hits to the femoral or brachial arteries too.   


I didn’t think of it at the time, but this is the 9mm.  He didn’t say how many inches of gelatin the 5.56 would punch.  Ironically enough, right on their product literature it says -Reduced lethality compared to ball or even frangible rounds, because “reduced” lethality is like being “kinda pregnant”.   I don’t give a shit if it is reduced lethality, dead is dead.  If I really wanted to save money, we could all go out and shoot each other with high powered pellet rifles, which if I’m reading the 5.56 numbers right, is about what you’re going to get hit with.


Next he told me that it wasn’t a big deal, because they’ve only shipped like 100,000 rounds of it, and it has all been to the military.   And we all know that military equipment never makes it out into the LE world.  (and I’m sure that my friend, the SWAT instructor, that pointed this out to me, must have imagined the whole thing).  Silly firearms instructors…

 Basically I brought this up to Simunitions, and I was dismissed out of hand, because I’m just being silly.  I was also told that nobody else had brought up any concerns about this new product, which I happen to know is bullshit, because several other people I spoke with had also gone and talked to them about these rounds.  I personally hate when you bring up a safety concern, and somebody gets all smug and condescending. 

So if you do force on force with Simunitions, be extra careful.  You should be checking all of your ammo anyway, so watch out for these evil little things.


Or hell, just switch to Airsoft for training purposes.  It’s cheaper too.


So congratulations Simunitions.  You win the 2008 Stupidest Product award. 

Back from SHOT, working toward the grand opening.
Shot Show Day 1

21 thoughts on “And the award for the stupidest thing at the 2008 SHOT show goes to… SIMUNITIONS!”

  1. How large of a company, financially speaking, is simunitions?

    Because I suspect you’re right to worry about fatal accidents thanks to this folly, and if we’re correct about that, then it’s only a matter of time before the manufacturer finds itself on the wrong end of a wrongful death / product liability lawsuit. Quite possibly filed by some police department, meaning their pockets would have to be pretty darn deep to win. They may have just invented themselves out of existence.

  2. This could be the cry wolf idea in action- we have been hammered so long and so hard about consumer safety by the Gov. that now we are unable to recognize an obvious hazard unless it has a warning sticker.

  3. You should have skipped the practical applications debate and gone right to “Have you run this past any product liability lawyers?”

  4. “It’s only been shipped to the military”

    And nobody in the Army or Marines has ever loaded live rounds for a blank fire exercise? Even that’s probably safer than these, because from what I’ve see, the live rounds tend to Ka-Boom the rifle and come out all tumbly and deformed and mixed in with the remains of the BFA. Shrapnel, in other words.

  5. This is probably the stupidest thing I have ever heard a firearms related company do.

    Beyond “Honest Man Mag Capacity Comment” stupid.

    Wonder who’ll buy up the patents to the smart Simuntions products after they get sued into bankruptcy?

  6. Wow that is stupid. Hard to belive a company that made there reputation on non lethal force on fource training tools, would do something like this.

  7. If wikipedia’s to be trusted, Simunition is a trademark for training ammunition produced by General Dynamics – Ordnance and Tactical Systems Canada Inc. GD’s got some pretty deep pockets.

  8. Did you really call the guy a douchebag? If so, three cheers for you. I live under the mantra that “douchebag” is a perfectly suitable and criminally underused insult.

    1. I am living proof that even a FX round can be close to deadly. IDuring training exercises I was shoot in the head twice by a guy that should never have a gun in his hand again. It was at point blank range and we were all instructed not to shoot at the head (his first 2 shot were at my forehead and top of my head). Knocked me out and damaged my ears and one eye. Others have said it cant happen. So why I am suffering now because of a stupid doucebag. Be careful if you use any of these weapons.

  9. The 9mm CQT cartridge has been around for ~ 5 years or more. I too am amazed it hasn’t yet been involved in a fatal shooting.

    Also… at a previous SHOT show … (2001 or 2002 IIRC) Simunition displayed a frangile (compressed metal) load for designed to allow shooting steel targets at close range. This round also was designed to fire in the same “blue” guns/barrels as the FX marking cartridge.

    A number of us told them it was the stupidest thing we had ever seen. I don’t believe it ever made it to market. In fact Simunitions reps. at later shows denied the company ever produced such a cartridge.

  10. Just happened to find this thread.

    Simunitions is distributed so that it should only be available through designated regional suppliers to military and law enforcement agency users and associated training agencies/organizations.

    Before you start using the stuff it is a good idea to have some inkling of how to conduct force-on-force training with some degree of expertise.

    Most training accidents occur because of lax safety protocols.

  11. Now there’s this guy on a TV show who used to be a ranger in the army. He apparently plays a game with simunition where it’s him against three to five other guys. every thursday night on TV.

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