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Thread: Question about shooting in dark/low-light conditions...

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    Regular Member Cory's Avatar
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    Question about shooting in dark/low-light conditions...

    I've been going over some "what if" situations lately and one of them is; What if I encountered a threat in my home (or elsewhere) at night in very dark conditions. I've done a lot of shooting with my carry gun, but I've never really practiced in very low-light situations, which I should be doing. Is there a certain method that is generally accepted as the "best"... laser sights, night sights, flashlight carried in your off-hand? Or is it mostly a matter of personal preference?

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    Regular Member TyGuy's Avatar
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    I like a weapon mounted light. It gives you one less thing to worry about (not carrying another thing). I prefer ones that have an activation different from a trigger pull. What I mean is that I've seen some AR foregrips with a light receptacle, but the light is actuated by using the weak hand's trigger pull. This could be a bad thing. In a stressful situation you might pull the light resulting in a sympathetic response with the other hand which would fire the rifle. That's why the light on my AR is actuated with a weak hand thumb push style button.


    I hope that makes sense.

  3. #3
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    I was taught to keep it dark when its dark. The arguments against lights are that they benefit BOTH shooters, the good guy and the bad guy. They make great targets.

    The range where I trained could have any level of light on the target, in the alley or on the shooter. Play with shooting at the after image of the target from a flash of light.

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    I too have thought about low-light situation shooting. With that in mind, I put night sites on my weapons. A little on the pricy side for each weapon, but for me it's worth it. It's comforting when I wake up during the night and see those sites glowing in the dark.

    From the studies I've read, a lot of situations occur in low-light, with that thought the only thing left to say is:

    Be Prepared,

    My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

    JJC
    Last edited by JJC; 01-06-2012 at 01:42 PM.

  5. #5
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Night sights, do they illuminate the shooter's face?

    Night sights, do they illuminate the shooter's face, especially the green-ish ones? A yellow-green is the peak color of the sensitivity of the human eye.

    I thought about tritium sights but have learned that conventional sights shoot better than I can see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herr Heckler Koch View Post
    I was taught to keep it dark when its dark. The arguments against lights are that they benefit BOTH shooters, the good guy and the bad guy. They make great targets.
    This. While I do keep a weapon mounted light, im not a big fan of pointing my firearm at someone who may not be a threat.

    I have also practiced that style where you hold the light way above your head, fbi or atf; some alphabet agency style.

    When crap happens people will naturally shoot at the light. Also remember with any light don't be a light house, use it sparingly preferably on the move.


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    Regular Member oliverclotheshoff's Avatar
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    i have 3 dot glow in the dark sights on my glock came with the gun when i bought it and they do not illuminate my face at all in fact a threat would not even see them in a pitch black room if the gun is pointed at them
    Last edited by oliverclotheshoff; 01-09-2012 at 12:00 PM.
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    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Always wear an eye patch at night like pirates or Captain Ron did. This way when you douse the lights under an attack your night vision will be preserved in one eye.
    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 01-06-2012 at 04:47 PM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
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    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
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    Regular Member wild boar's Avatar
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    If your counting on a light in the dark...

    ...remember your night vision will be lost. If in your home, you should have free fire zones in mind. These zones are safe from loose rounds that could penetrate a room where your loved ones should be. Whether it's your shot, or the B G's your family must be safe. Safe zone, or ambush points are such where you can wait until the BG comes to you. The BG will not have the knowledge you do about your home's layout, use this to your advantage. Just remain in charge, and your family safe. I Shoot with both eyes open, this gives you full peripheral vision. With two eyes you learn to point and shoot. If you don't practice this, don't use it. boar out
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  10. #10
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Quote Originally Posted by oliverclotheshoff View Post
    a have 3 dot glow in the dark sights on my glock came with the gun when i bought it and they do not illuminate my face at all in fact a threat would not even see them in a pitch black room if the gun is pointed at him
    The human eye is sensitive down to as little as one millionth of a candela per square meter at about 500 nanometer wavelength light. Practical light source luminance is on the order of 10 candelas per square meter, like a computer monitor or dimly lighted sign.

    The early astronauts reported 'seeing' single high energy photons.

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    To go along with wild boar's post, in my situation I doubt I will ever have to be actively searching for anyone in my home. I don't have children and if someone where to break into my home, my girlfriend and I will most likely stay put behind cover in the bedroom while calling the guys who get paid to clear houses. If the intruder wants to enter the funnel of death, I don't think I will need much illumination to make that shot.

    I know its not manly, tacticool or heroic and I will probably lose 5000 internets points but that's just the way it is. Obviously if I had children in the house it would be an entirely different story, and an eye patch would likely be in play



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    Last edited by Jason in WI; 01-06-2012 at 05:41 PM.

  12. #12
    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason in WI View Post
    Obviously if I had children in the house it would be an entirely different story, and an eye patch would likely be in play

    Smart. Tacticool Eyepatches to maintain night vision!

    It has been speculated that sailors who often went above and below deck might have used an eye patch to keep one eye adjusted to the darkness below decks.[2] The strong sunlight while above deck on an oceangoing vessel could require minutes of adaptation to the dim lighting below deck. With virtually no light sources below deck, sailors would have to rely heavily upon their eyes to adjust. In the critical moments of modifying the rigging, navigating, and especially during battle, those minutes were too precious. A simple switch of the patch from one eye to the other might have saved time when going between decks. However, this usage of the eyepatch is not supported by any historical records.(but it's on Wiki so it must be true)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eyepatch
    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 01-06-2012 at 07:18 PM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
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    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    Taking a low-light firearms course was most enlightening (so to speak). Whether or not you use a light depends on a lot of factors. In our home, if other people besides my wife are here I would use a light to make sure of my target. If not, and she is laying next to me, whoever is in the house shouldn't be there.

    I do like night sights and have them on my primary carry sidearm, but not any other as of yet. I also have an inexpensive light for my XD rail I got more for training than anything. It would have its purposes in certain places I spend time but I would be unlikely to use it at my current residence.

    One of the most profound lessons of the class was that in any conditions much darker than dusk, those night sights only matter for the first shot. After that, the muzzle flash has destroyed your night vision and you are using "instinctual shooting" aka point and shoot for the next rounds in a string. However, after shooting that string, the night sights do allow you to more quickly regain the ability to sight on a target for many people. Of the several classes I have taken, the low-light class was probably the most eye-opening and assumption dispelling class I have had. I try to get some low-light shooting in at least annually when I visit our family "farm".
    Last edited by deepdiver; 01-06-2012 at 10:45 PM. Reason: typo

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    Activist Member carsontech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyHamlet View Post
    Always wear an eye patch at night like pirates or Captain Ron did. This way when you douse the lights under an attack your night vision will be preserved in one eye.
    Captain Ron is Snake Plissken's crazy, airhead, grandfather. Snake explains this in the director's cut of Escape from LA

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Cool I do follow my own advice.

    The best way to clear a dark house at night is... don't. Get in a position of cover with your weapon(s) and extinguished light(s) and call 911. If you live out in the country with an overworked sheriff's deputy and a 35 minute response time then you most likely will have to defend yourself. In that case, with a hand gun, have a weapon light and a hand-held. The hand light is held far out to the weak side and just momentary blips of light are used to ID the threat. The weapon light is out until you are confirming stoppage of the threat or the hand-held gets disabled.

    Disclaimer:
    I'm not speaking from experience here but only from what I have studied, read and practiced; but I do follow my own advice.
    Dave
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    Regular Member theoicarry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davegran View Post
    The best way to clear a dark house at night is... don't. Get in a position of cover with your weapon(s) and extinguished light(s) and call 911. If you live out in the country with an overworked sheriff's deputy and a 35 minute response time then you most likely will have to defend yourself. In that case, with a hand gun, have a weapon light and a hand-held. The hand light is held far out to the weak side and just momentary blips of light are used to ID the threat. The weapon light is out until you are confirming stoppage of the threat or the hand-held gets disabled.

    Disclaimer:
    I'm not speaking from experience here but only from what I have studied, read and practiced; but I do follow my own advice.
    Totally agree. Being located in the country and have experienced 45 minutes in waiting for the law to arrive. I have practiced a walk through the house in dark situations so I have a plan which doors to use and best place to be. Of course that all changes when it is the real thing.
    All I can add is have a plan and be prepared to change that plan.
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    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carsontech View Post
    Captain Ron is Snake Plissken's crazy, airhead, grandfather. Snake explains this in the director's cut of Escape from LA
    Jesus H Rodreguez! How did I not connect the dots on this most obvious one ?

    Always preserve that night vision!
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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    Wisconsin Carry, Inc. Shotgun's Avatar
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    I've done a lot of low-light and no-light shooting. Sorry guys, but you the best solution usually is to simply turn on the lights if you can. Why make it harder for you to find and identify a possible perpetrator? Shoot in low light when you have no other choice, but don't willingly choose to be in the dark. The disadvantages greatly outweigh any advantages.

    As far as weapon-mounted or hand-held lights, there are pros and cons to either one. I have both. Night sights? I like 'em.
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    Count me in with the fellas supporting using lights. The very last thing you want to do is shoot someone who is not actually a threat, for example a family member or friend.

    When I want to practice low-light shooting, I just go late to an indoor range. Most other shooters are cleared out about a half hour before closing. Once I'm the last guy on the range, I just ask the range master if I can turn off the lights to practice low-light shooting. They usually say yes. This leaves a little bit of light from behind the firing line, but everything downrange is really dim. Even the sights are poorly lit because the light fixtures that remain are well behind me and don't really give enough light into the shooting station/booth. I found out real quick those little white painted dots on the factory sights become totally useless in low light situations.

    Your mileage may vary on availability off a range, and agreeablenes of the range master.

    Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch has a few YouTube videos. In one, he points out that a flashlight is great because the target is well lit and the sights stand out in sharp silohuette.

    Well done on checking into low light situations. I forget the statistic, but something like the vast majority of defensive gun uses occur in low light situations.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-08-2012 at 01:42 AM.

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    Ever walk out of a movie theater on a sunny afternoon? To various degrees the same thing happens when you turn on the lights in a dark bedroom. Whether you or the bad guy will be more affected from the change is a flip of the coin. I find that as one gets older the odds shift in the bad guy's favor. What I do to narrow the odds is have nightlights strategically placed around the house. They are those little photosensitive lights that plug into an electrical outlet. Even if the bad guy takes the time to deactivate them, which is doubtful because they also help him navigate around the house, the lights put out enough illumination so that the pupil respone time is shortened if the room lights are turned on. Most put out enough illumination so that the main lights may not be needed. Five lights @ 15w ea, burning six hours a day @.10kwh is about $2.25 a month. In my opinion that is pretty inexpensive peace of mind.

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    Regular Member oliverclotheshoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herr Heckler Koch View Post
    The human eye is sensitive down to as little as one millionth of a candela per square meter at about 500 nanometer wavelength light. Practical light source luminance is on the order of 10 candelas per square meter, like a computer monitor or dimly lighted sign.

    The early astronauts reported 'seeing' single high energy photons.
    i don't care what early astronauts saw or about that scientific garbage that you quote to make you sound smart
    i was speaking from MY experience of looking in MY mirror in the dark with MY gun in MY house
    SCOTT

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    Regular Member davegran's Avatar
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    Two good reasons for a hand-held light

    The idea behind the bright hand-held light instead of room light is two-fold:

    1. Illuminate the possible target and not you.
    2. Blind your attacker with light in his eyes.
    Dave
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    Remember: Don't make old People mad. We don't like being old in the first place, so it doesn't take much to piss us off.

  23. #23
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Quote Originally Posted by oliverclotheshoff View Post
    i don't care what early astronauts saw or about that scientific garbage that you quote to make you sound smart i was speaking from MY experience of looking in MY mirror in the dark with MY gun in MY house
    No, I am trying to help YOU be smart. I'm already successful, old, experienced, retired, and smart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    I've done a lot of low-light and no-light shooting. Sorry guys, but you the best solution usually is to simply turn on the lights if you can. Why make it harder for you to find and identify a possible perpetrator? Shoot in low light when you have no other choice, but don't willingly choose to be in the dark. The disadvantages greatly outweigh any advantages.

    As far as weapon-mounted or hand-held lights, there are pros and cons to either one. I have both. Night sights? I like 'em.

    I also have done and trained a lot of people in low light no light shooting Iam frim beliver in lights. I very much light night sights they help a whole lot in low light shooting.

    I truley dis like the blip and shoot I saw way to many misses. I teach light them up, ID a threat shoot , shut the light off.

    Not knowing what, who ect you are shooting at is very bad thing. If you are taking fire from your threat thats a whole other thing.

    Lasers also work for hitting but not for ID

    For those of you who have never done low light shooting find a range that well let you and try it and have your eyes opened.

    Whats really fun is working a pump action shotgun while trying to use a hand held fflash light. You well become a firm beliver in a weapon mounted light.

  25. #25
    Regular Member HandyHamlet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    I've done a lot of low-light and no-light shooting. Sorry guys, but you the best solution usually is to simply turn on the lights if you can.
    Another fantasy shattered by reality and common sense? Damned it all to hell.


    What if you are 2.5 ft from the nearest light switch?
    What if a Space Tyrannosaurus Rex piloting a giant meteor has driven said meteor into the earth? Thereby knocking out all the power with the ensuing EMP pulse! Huh?
    What if you spent crap loads of money on all the tactical gear. This may be the only time you get to use it?

    Not to mention flipping on a flashlight instantly reveals your potion and tells everyone within 10 miles where to shoot...

    I thought shooting at an indoor range WAS shooting in low light. Not to mention bad air. Nothing like black snot. I like night sights for the range. There is no ******* way I fantasize about aiming anything, night sites included, if a "what if" fantasy shooting scenario actually becomes reality. I'll empty the mag at the threat, after I Israeli Draw my .22, throw each empty mag at the threat as I reload, then throw the empty pistol at the threat, then run away.

    Well, serpentine away.

    Last edited by HandyHamlet; 01-08-2012 at 12:22 PM.
    "Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties."
    Abraham Lincoln

    "Some time ago, a bunch of lefties defied the law by dancing at the Jefferson Memorial, resulting in their arrests. Last week, a bunch of them pulled the same stunt and - using patented Lefist techniques - provoked the Park Police into having to use force to arrest them."
    Alexcabbie

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