COOLIDGE - The Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology Governing Board on Wednesday approved buying police-replica airsoft pistols (airsoft guns) for CAVIT's new law enforcement program for high school students.
Instructor Brian Kennedy said the replica pistols (airsoft guns) are used at the East Valley Institute of Technology and in many other law enforcement programs.
They fire 6 mm plastic pellets that travel 195 feet per second, Kennedy said. A regular pistol round travels between 900 and 2,300 feet per second.
"Shoot me," said board President Frank Acuña.
Kennedy agreed, but made Acuña wear safety goggles during the demonstration.
Students will wear safety goggles, gloves, billed caps, long-sleeve T-shirts and heavy tactical pants when they train with pistols. Their everyday uniforms are the same, except the T-shirts are short-sleeved.
Kennedy shot Acuña, and the small orange pellet bounced off his shirt. Acuña said he could tell he had been shot, but there was no pain.
Kennedy said many law enforcement agencies use airsoft guns for training, and he could find no report of training injuries from these airsoft guns.
Someone asked why the program does not use paint balls instead.
Paint balls make a mess, Kennedy said. They hurt when they hit. Paint-ball pistols are not accurate. And they don't look like a police-use weapon.
Using the airsoft guns, CAVIT's law enforcement program can expose its students to real-world situations that will require them to make split-second decisions about the appropriate use of force, Kennedy said.
Before students can train with the replica airsoft guns, they must learn proper and safe handling of firearms, effective marksmanship, range commands and practices, and pass a written test with at least 90 percent competency.
Kennedy said the pistol training is used to improve marksmanship, learn proper handling of a weapon so no one can take it away and practice shoot/don't shoot use-of-force scenarios.
Business Manager Angela Terry said CAVIT will order 25 gas blowback airsoft pistols, 50 magazines, one case of ammunition and three cases of gas propellant from Airsoft for a total cost of roughly $4,600.