HICKORY, N.C. -- Firearms training is being merged with virtual reality in Hickory. In February, the Tactical Defense Academy opened its doors.

It's one of only eight virtual reality gun ranges in the country that is open to the general public. The rest are used by the police and military.

The place is outfitted with interactive, multi-screen simulators that come in both 180 and 300 degree versions.

This is a Glock 22. It's been modified you can tell the barrel has a laser at the end of it, said Co-Owner Jeff Eddins.

The guns aren't real at the range and there is no live fire anywhere inside the facility. That appeals to Dawn Teller, she has never been a big fan of guns.

Her husband has been pushing her to get a concealed carry permit. The training at TDA has made her more open to the idea.

I'm more comfortable with the gun. I understand how it works. Maybe one day I will get my concealed carry permit, she said.

One of the simulators has five screens, which means that a threat can come from any direction just like in real life.

Co-Owner David Rittenhouse says they are not stepping up the firepower on the streets but if people are going to carry they should be well trained.

They have the weapon and have the capability but don't have the training, and what we re trying to do is mesh the two so the general public is not going to be a danger to themselves or the people around them, he said.

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