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Thread: Night fire

  1. #1
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    Well I just got done shooting at night for the first time. Up until now I've never had the opportunity. I must say it's different, but not nearly as much as you might think.

    First off, I'm now a huge believer in night sights. I have nights sights on one of my carry guns, but not the others. I'll have everything outfitted with them by the end of the month (er next month, since it's already the 27th lol).

    Secondly, I shot better inlow light and no lightthan I generally do during the day. By better I mean my pattern was tighter and I had less stray rounds caused by improper technique. I think this was due to two main things. First of all, I could no longer see the X and the scoring rings and such on my target. All I saw was a dark blob on a slightly less dark background. So I simply aimed center of mass as best I could, and it worked! (go figure, lol). I also noticed that I immediately realized that getting my sights "perfect" would be impossible, so I focused more on trigger control and firing technique.

    I would really encourage anyone and everyone to at least experience low light and no light shooting. More than anything it'll relieve any concern about your abilities at night, if you ever find yourself in that situation. I'm confident that most people will find that if they already have good shooting habits, then night shooting will be surprisingly easy.

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    Yes, a good range should allow you to control the light levels in your cubicle and on the target. I was fortunate to shoot for some years at a range that let me control the house lights. My instructor taught, "if it's dark keep it dark". He did not approve of lasers or flashlights as making the user a better target.

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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    Yes, a good range should allow you to control the light levels in your cubicle and on the target. I was fortunate to shoot for some years at a range that let me control the house lights. My instructor taught, "if it's dark keep it dark". He did not approve of lasers or flashlights as making the user a better target.
    Unfortunately there are no indoor ranges around here, so the only night shooting I get is literally at night lol. TheshootingI did tonight involved no light (or ambient light if you will, all though it was overcast with no stars or moon to help), flashlight, and various levels of light from things like headlights or street lights.

    I think the only reason I'd ever use a flashlight is if I had to positively identify an attacker, or if I was going from daylight into a dark building. Without time for your eyes to adjust, you're basically blind unless you use a torch. Unfortunately, holding a flashlight puts a big shining dot on you, which is easy for an attacker to shoot at.

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    Regular Member Superlite27's Avatar
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    My instructor taught, "if it's dark keep it dark". He did not approve of lasers or flashlights as making the user a better target.
    My first "low light" class instructor used a AWESOME demonstration to effectively PROVE the benefit of a flashlight.

    We were lined upon an outdoor range during daylight, and he asked us to fire ten rounds to be scored. We shot, and wrote down our scores. We all recorded our scores. We then took a break and allowed it to get dark.

    An hour later, it was dark, and the instructor had replaced our targets. We lined up and he challenged us to get anywhere near our "daylight" scores.

    We were all determined to prove how accurate we could be in low light. I myself put EXTREME concentration on hitting the dead center of my target. After we had all finished the course of fire, the instructor turned on the outdoor lights so we could score our targets......

    ...which were cutouts of unarmed women and children.

    Those flashlights really do come in handy.



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    So do rigorous statistics and rigorous proof.

    Just as there are a number of standards of legal proof, so too are there standards of statistical mathematical proof and personal standards.

    Legal 'proof'? Beyond a reasonable doubt, by the preponderance of evidence and on personal say so (in the court of public opinion).

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    Yahooo! Night/low light shooting is a great exercise! Glad you had the opportunity. Was it an instructed course, or did you go it alone?

    As for getting night sights here are a couple of observations I have from when I did it ...

    The CZ75B came with factory night sights, but after being in the range bag for a couple of weeks, the sights lost their luminosity and had to be charged and were never as bright as the Trijicon sights I had mounted on the Kimber UCII.

    Now, as for the Trijicon, I bought the sights just after Kimber acquired Trijicon, so the sights installed on the Kimber were Kimber brand 'designed' to meet factory specifications.

    My Springfield EMP, on the other hand, came with factory night sights and have never needed charging as that is my CC weapon, and as for brilliance, fall somewhere between the CZ and the Trijicon.

    As to a flashlight for shooting, there is a difference between the run-of-the-mill mag-lite and a true tactical flash light. While a maglite does have a bright light, a true tactical flash will be much more brilliant and have the potential to partially/temporarily "blind" the opponent during target identification. If you take away an opponent's ability to see in the dark, you are then in a superior position.

    This is the reason I asked if you were in an instructed shoot, and if you were, which flashlight technique were you taught? I am personally more comfortable with the Henry's and was taught to 'flash' it rather than use it like the movies show, steady- on. I agree that steady-on provides the opponent with a target which is not our goal.


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    I bought night sights for my .40 SW99 a few days after I got the gun itself. They're either Trijicon or Meprolight. That was quite a few years ago, and they're still bright as can be.

    The night shoot was part of instructed training. Various ways of holding the flashlight were taught, and I settled with my weak hand holding the light in a fist, and the shooting hand's wristbraced on top of the weak hand's wrist. As far as utilizing the light, we were taught to only illuminate the target when we were about to shoot. This gave us just enough time to verify that we were shooting the right "target", and get a relative point of aim. As soon as the last shot was fired, lights went out. If we were shooting multiple groups with a pause in between (to simulate multiple targets I'm assuming), the light obviously went off between groups. I was using a surefire tactical light.

    I'm not sure if that's what you mean by "flashing", but I wouldn't consider that "steady on" either.

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    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    This is embarassing, but a true story.....

    In 1979, my Special Forces Team went to Camp Ethan Allen, Vermont for "realistic" live fire training. One of the scenarios was to ambush a squad-sized enemy patrol at night.

    We knew where the sled full of BG sillouettes would be passing through so we set up 4 Claymores and established our sectors with aiming stakes. We we armed with 1 M-60 MG as a support weapon and 2 M-203 Grenade launchers loaded with flechettes, and 9 M16A1 Rifles.

    The "enemy squad " moved through our ambush a mere 35 meters distant. We blew the Claymores and unleashed hell on the BG patrol for about 45 seconds...

    We cleared our weapons and went forward to observe our dirtywork.

    WE HAD HIT 2 OUT OF 12 TARGETS! Even then, they were non-lethal hits! WTF!?

    I learned a very valuble lesson that night. Under extremely dark conditions, one has a tendency to aim high. Our Claymores were aimed too high as were our weapons. Almost every round we fired went sailing a meter over the sillouettes.

    If it were a real situation, we would have been really "embarassed"!


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    Wow, that IS an embarrassing story. 1979? Damn you're old! :P

    Is the tendency to aim high in low light caused by a mental error, or an optical illusion? I've only had the opportunity to fire handguns in low light so far, but hopefully I'll be able to go for long guns next.

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    DreQo wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    Yes, a good range should allow you to control the light levels in your cubicle and on the target. I was fortunate to shoot for some years at a range that let me control the house lights. My instructor taught, "if it's dark keep it dark". He did not approve of lasers or flashlights as making the user a better target.
    I think the only reason I'd ever use a flashlight is if I had to positively identify an attacker, or if I was going from daylight into a dark building. Without time for your eyes to adjust, you're basically blind unless you use a torch. Unfortunately, holding a flashlight puts a big shining dot on you, which is easy for an attacker to shoot at.
    I would think that one would ALWAYS positively identify their attacker (at least if they don't want to get sued/jailed later for shooting the wrong guy.) =)

    As far as putting a big shining dot on yourself, use a brighter light =) I carry a Surefire E2D-LED Defender and I guarantee that if I point that thing at a person on full brightness (default setting) they will lose any chance in hell of spotting me to attack, especially if their eyes were already tuned to the darkness at the time. Blinding tactical light = fun! Also fun to use at the office when someone annoys you. Just ready the light, call their name, and blind them when they pop their head over the cubicle, muahahahhahahah!!!! Ok, I need a life...

    On topic tho, I'm in the same boat as many with no option for a dark-range other than finding someplace outdoors and waiting til nightfall. I'd imagine the muzzle flash might tweak ones night vision a bit, so I'm curious to try it out sometime soon.

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    Thoreau wrote:
    ...On topic tho, I'm in the same boat as many with no option for a dark-range other than finding someplace outdoors and waiting til nightfall. I'd imagine the muzzle flash might tweak ones night vision a bit, so I'm curious to try it out sometime soon.
    Before we started, I was wondering how the muzzle flash would effect my vision, especially since there were other shooters around me. By time it was time to start, I had other things on my mind and forgot about it. I didn't notice it at all!

    Now granted, muzzle flash is going to depend a whole lot on the type of weapon,length of barrel, caliber, and ammo load. I was shooting Federal 115 gr 9mm FMJs out of a service-sized pistol. Obviously that flash is going to be minute compared to firing a .357 round out of a snub-nose lol.

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    This isn't the first time I've heard that you should aim low in low light. Not sure why it happens, though.
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    I took a low light/night fire class that was certified for POST credits. Great course and learned a lot. One thing I learned is that night sights, either trijicon or fiber optic are an advantage in low light. In the dark, trijicons only matter for the first shot. After the first shot in the dark in multi-shot scenarios, due to muzzle flash, nobody in the class could see their sights regardless of the type.

    I also learned that when using a flashlight as DreQo described is his preference, the ambient light near the muzzle allows you to see your sight for a split second. I am MUCH faster at lining up my Sig "i" sights (rectangle on the rear sight, dot on the front sight - standard, not night sights) than any 3 dot sights I tried in such conditions. One of the reasons that for an evening/night out I will often carry my Sig instead of the XD until I settle on new sights for the XD.

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