Well, first I wouldn't call it "negative baggage."
Kinda like eye and ear pro, no?
Its how you look at it. As no training fully replicates reality, concessions to safety are simply a key to being able to do repeat repetitions and not so damage your students (or expose them to unacceptable risks) that they are not able to actually perform what you are training them for.
The issue with force on force is the level of protection. A decent helmet simply has not been made that allows for full perception and full protection against both rounds and full on strikes. Even these helmets are less than ideal protection because sim rounds to get through.
The helmets add a certain unreality, but it is a tradeoff - what is more important? Training without a "martian" head and yet severely curtailing the confrontational dynamics, or training sans protection and severely curtailing the realistic dynamics - which many martial arts and defensive tactics systems do.
Realistic dynamics trumps the minor issues that protective equipment cause.
Even body armor is an issue. I prefer guys to train sim without it for the pain penalty - more important than training in your gear. You make up for that by training other drills in full gear to offset not doing so in sims training.
The same drill can be done without sim, (blue or red guns), contact can be limited (in other words, non-force on force training or limited force on force training), or certain techniques can be limited - and made up in other training.
When you view training as an integrated whole, as a system of training versus individual, unrelated aspects, you can put the varied pieces together to make up what individual drills lack, and address individual skill sets by either dialing down to the micro level or back out to the macro level.
I certainly mean no disrespect when I said "negative training". I use that term for all of my own training exercises and drills in order to objectively isolate areas I need to build new drills for.
For instance and by analogy, Judo is great training for Judo but it must be augmented if you are training for MMA. Karo Parisian can make the best jacketless Judo throws in the MMA circuit. But the throws do not end the fight. What did he gain from Judo-- toughness, flow, continuity of the fight, some great technical skills on the ground. What was the negative training? He developed a style that instinctively goes for throws that do not end the fight or give him Ippon, and he ends up mounted.
Similarly, training Judo for Police work tends to create positional ground work that is dangerous, i.e. "Corner pin" - kesa gatame. You are open for knife stabs and Thalamus slaps that can knock you out.
What I notice in Police training as well as EP training are two things. Normally the "officer" gets to win at some point. Therefore, is the fight "real" in his mind. Is he really getting the adrenal dump he might get when his mind begins to wonder if he is the prey or the predator.
The second baggage happens in those department where the officer is constantly pitted against the DT trainer who is a ground grappling expert. The expert's smoothness with "Ju" can make him wonder if he has any skills at all because the sophistication of the trainer becomes the norm in his experience of a fight.
I have toyed with the idea (having been a K-9 handler) of putting agents in K-9 protective suits and give them a task. They know that a K-9 will be attacking them. But they do not know when or how many. They must try to complete their mission while you up the stress and his heart rate by releasing more dogs on him. Now he gets to experience real predators that are not his buddies. The objective is for him to understand the chaos of real, unadulterated and serious aggression.
What think you?