Stress Vest, an… electrifying training system!

The StressX belt at the base of the Stress vest system that contains batteries, electronics, and the electrodes with vibration to deliver the electric shocks.

Canadian firm SetCan has been offering the Stress Vest force-on-force training system for a few years now, based on a set of non invasive laser sensitive panels that can be assembled together and configured in various ways, such as a vest, and laser-sensor enhanced apparel, such as hats; when one of the panels is hit by the laser, it sends a signal to the StressX belt, which delivers a vibration and/or an electric shock to the skin of the user, who unequivocally will know he or she has been "hit."

The system can be worn over the standard issued tactical gear and equipment in a way that does not hinder or restrict its use by the operator.

The StressX System uses the concept of a "pain penalty" to motivate and stress armed personnel in combat situations; it is an extremely efficient, yet safe training method. The electric shocks can be adjusted to give just mild discomfort all the way to physical pain, but always with maximum safety.

The idea is to "teach" the operator's body to operate under the same physiological stress as in a real life threatening combat scenario and improve reaction over time, learning to control issues such as tunnel vision, shock, freezing, hearing pause, etc.

The weapons used can be laser training replicas (such as Laser Ammo's Recoil Activated weapons) or duty weapons temporarily converted to use laser cartridges such as the SureStrike, also from Laser Ammo or the WLB 15 Wespe system we recently tested here.

The lasers used are in any case eye sight-safe.

The training officer can also adjust the intensity of the shock in real time or decide to "warn" the operator with a vibration or shock if he sees that he/she is making mistakes: it is essential that the operator experiences the effect of the StressX belt at the beginning of the training session.

A moment from a Force on Force training with the Stress Vest system, carried out by Italian LE operators.

Similarly, an injury can be simulated: instead of a strong momentary shock, after the operator has been hit, it is possible to deliver a constant discomfort with occasional painful "twinges" to give the impression that he has only been injured in the fire exchange and that he must continue the simulated action with a disadvantage.

The effects of an explosion (such as an IED, which can also be simulated with a small pyrotechnic effect) can be simulated by delivering the shock to all operators in the preset kill-zone diameter.

Given the real pain administered by the system, the stress induced in the operator can turn far more realistic any training scenario, as the negative reinforcement given by being hit is perceived as predominant. To the operator, the training is no longer a game.

The StressX system is highly scalable, with as few as two up to dozens of operators training simultaneously in very large spaces. Some elements are mandatory as a basic setup, and the system can also be integrated with the UTM ultimate Training munitions system. Compared to other high end traning solutions, the Stress Vest avoids wearing specific protective clothing and masks, that have to be shared with the team and that may constitute a health hazard (i.e. sweat and perspiration in masks) and difficulties in tracing the actual hit mark under layers and layers of dye used in most projectile based systems, such as Paintball.

At the moment, and also given the technology used, the Stress Vest system is only available to law enforcement, military and security professionals.

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Video: Stress Vest training system

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