Low light / Night fire training class

prop

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Excellent write-up. I enjoyed your post very much and there were some great pointers in there.

I carry a Z2 on duty and I must admit, that I never got the hang of the cigar grip. I don't know if it's the size of my hand or placement of rubber rings, but every time I point my gun with the Z2 in the cigar grip the light points to the right (right handed shooter). Adjusting my grip so the light is dead center on the target doesn't feel natural. I've tries adding/removing rubber rings, but it just didn't work to a satisfactory point for me.

I prefer switching between the Harries grip or neck index when searching buildings etc. I attempt to turn on the light for short periods, turn it off and move, turn it on again and so forth, to.throw off a offender contemplating a attack. I realise the neck index isn't optimal but I shoot pretty accurately with it. I've recently bought a R1 Lawman. Once it gets here I'll experiment with a stance where I use the thumbactivated switch.

The FBI published a study about law enforcement officers killed/attacked in the line of duty. A couple of incidents happened as the officer was in pursuit/searching with a flashlight. The offenders stated that all they had to do was point at the light and shoot. All the more reason to use the light on, off and sidestep method. I'll see if I can snap a pic of the section and put it up here.
 

prop

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Uploaded via tapatalk so i hope they show up fine. Let me know if they don't and I'll do it via Flickr.

qu3esu2y.jpg


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tobrien

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Excellent write-up. I enjoyed your post very much and there were some great pointers in there.

I carry a Z2 on duty and I must admit, that I never got the hang of the cigar grip. I don't know if it's the size of my hand or placement of rubber rings, but every time I point my gun with the Z2 in the cigar grip the light points to the right (right handed shooter). Adjusting my grip so the light is dead center on the target doesn't feel natural. I've tries adding/removing rubber rings, but it just didn't work to a satisfactory point for me.

I prefer switching between the Harries grip or neck index when searching buildings etc. I attempt to turn on the light for short periods, turn it off and move, turn it on again and so forth, to.throw off a offender contemplating a attack. I realise the neck index isn't optimal but I shoot pretty accurately with it. I've recently bought a R1 Lawman. Once it gets here I'll experiment with a stance where I use the thumbactivated switch.

The FBI published a study about law enforcement officers killed/attacked in the line of duty. A couple of incidents happened as the officer was in pursuit/searching with a flashlight. The offenders stated that all they had to do was point at the light and shoot. All the more reason to use the light on, off and sidestep method. I'll see if I can snap a pic of the section and put it up here.

have you checked out the surefire grip ring kit? that might be a huuuuuuuge help for your usage. it's got three different styles it comes with and, if you'd like, you can have two of mine.
 

prop

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have you checked out the surefire grip ring kit? that might be a huuuuuuuge help for your usage. it's got three different styles it comes with and, if you'd like, you can have two of mine.

Thanks, i really appreciate it :thumbsup:

I havent received my Lawman yet, but when i do, ill probably retire my Z2. If not, ill throw you a PM and ill send something your way too for the grip rings.
 

dss_777

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Great discussion! What is the training staff's position on weapon mounted lights?
 

tobrien

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Thanks, i really appreciate it :thumbsup:

I havent received my Lawman yet, but when i do, ill probably retire my Z2. If not, ill throw you a PM and ill send something your way too for the grip rings.
gotcha, let me know! specifically, I have the finger loop one for you and the one where the thing sticks out (horrible description i know)
 

Kestrel

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Sounds like the instructors follow some of the low light doctrine from Thunder Ranch, e.g., the concern about clickies staying/jamming on when dropped and the use of the flashlight ring. The ring seems to be popularized by TR, and conceived by Tiger McKee. Did the class cover anything on low light clearing, reloading the pistol while retaining the flashlight, and integrating the flashlight with unarmed skills? Regarding low light clearing, it might be interesting to see what effect a bright, large flood beam might have on using something like Harries when clearing around the left side of cover for a right-handed shooter.

Those are all good points; this class was an introductory class in this regards so we didn't really go over those. Some good things to think about though.

Great discussion! What is the training staff's position on weapon mounted lights?
They did specifically mention those. Their thoughts is that they can be useful, but were in no way a substitute for a handheld light. Two big issues, the inability to illuminate something without sweeping it with your muzzle, and providing an opponent an easy center-of-mass target.

My particular angle is that I have a sinful number of SureFire flashlights but don't really have any interest in weapon lights.

Thanks everyone for the interest,

Edit: and I can't imagine retiring a Z2, as my comparable 6Z turned out to have the best form factor for this sort of use out of all my lights.

One other thought, I do recall fumbling (& nearly dropping) my C2 once or twice that evening, and I feel strongly that the extra length of a 3-cell C or Z would definitely make this more likely when changing holds or reloading.
 
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Justin Case

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A weaponlight is far more of a must-have when you are dealing with a long gun, that generally needs two hands to operate effectively. Messing around with a handheld light while trying to run a pump shotgun, for example, can get ugly very quickly. The benefit of a beam with a decent spill brightness and size also becomes that much more apparent. You don't necessarily have to put the beam right on something to see what's going on, which helps to avoid violating Rule 2.

Regarding dropping a handheld light, IMO the CONOPs for using a handheld light is that you have the time to retrieve the light, so you also ought to have the time to spend the extra few seconds to lash up the lanyard.
 

BillSWPA

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Whether there is time to use the lanyard will be situation dependent. While I would definitely have one on a boat or other place where dropping the light could mean permanent loss, it causes more problems than it solves for EDC. 85% of all problems will occur outside the home, so EDC capability is important. I have seen circumstances where there was a need to illuminate something quickly, partly to determine whether going for the gun was called for.

In my own training, I have simply put the light back into its pouch to reload.

Inside a building, there is usually no way to avoid illuminating oneself. Once you activate the light, everything, including you, is illuminated. As pointed out above, using the spill to illuminate areas where you do not want to point your gun can be effective. If I were buying something for home defense, it would most likely be weapon mounted. Mounting the light on the gun simplifies things greatly.
 
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Justin Case

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CONOPs for any piece of equipment depends on what you envision the environment of use to be. Not sure where you get your 85% figure of fraction of problems (however that's defined) will occur outside the home. Sure, you could encounter a situation where you need to deploy your flashlight ASAP, but again these envisioned environments depend on the person who is doing the envisioning. I can easily envision that if the person had been paying a bit more attention to his surroundings and to the cues, he would not have been taken by surprised and been put in such a time-constrained situation.

Regardless, my lanyard is a piece of elastic cord that tucks away easily and getting it over the wrist takes a simple stretch. It couldn't amount to more than a second extra time to use. In the same time it would take to move off the X while deploying the light, I can get the lanyard fixed in place.
 

moldyoldy

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<snip>

The FBI published a study about law enforcement officers killed/attacked in the line of duty. A couple of incidents happened as the officer was in pursuit/searching with a flashlight. The offenders stated that all they had to do was point at the light and shoot. All the more reason to use the light on, off and sidestep method. I'll see if I can snap a pic of the section and put it up here.

That recommendation for the sidestep method matches what I was taught in the military: Shoot and move! Under no circumstances remain in your initial position once hostilities are initiated. Standing in one location and firing just makes you an easy target, unless you are firing from a concealed position, or from the side of a barricade such as a tree/house corner. Otherwise always hold the light out to the side if possible.

Yet per commentary from citizens attending CC classes offered by the local police, they are shown the various grips which put a weapon and light in close proximity to each other, if the light is not mounted on the weapon. However nothing was said about moving after shooting. Maybe the Officers did not want to overload the citizens with what happens after they fire. I strongly recommended to a doctor that he use a pressure switch on a light on his shotgun and move after a shot to avoid becoming a target at night. His concealed handgun has no light.

In my case, I often use a light of ~900++ lumens held off at arms length to the side when investigating strange sounds outside, especially in my back yard. My house borders on a large wooded area where poachers too often harvest various animals at night.
 
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BillSWPA

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CONOPs for any piece of equipment depends on what you envision the environment of use to be. Not sure where you get your 85% figure of fraction of problems (however that's defined) will occur outside the home. Sure, you could encounter a situation where you need to deploy your flashlight ASAP, but again these envisioned environments depend on the person who is doing the envisioning. I can easily envision that if the person had been paying a bit more attention to his surroundings and to the cues, he would not have been taken by surprised and been put in such a time-constrained situation.

Regardless, my lanyard is a piece of elastic cord that tucks away easily and getting it over the wrist takes a simple stretch. It couldn't amount to more than a second extra time to use. In the same time it would take to move off the X while deploying the light, I can get the lanyard fixed in place.

One situation I had in mind involved walking through a doorway and being surprised by what was on the other side. If you have no reason to suspect a problem, then how does being aware help you know in ad advance what is on the other side of a door?

If you are moving to get off the X in response to something you saw or heard you have already identified your threat and do not need your light. If you still need to determine what is out here and where it is, how do you know which direction to move?

The 85% number has been cited many times by many sources, but I believe the original number was from the US Dept. Of Justice.
 

Justin Case

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I actually don't blithely walk through doorways in public spaces, but I agree that there will always be a non-zero chance you are taken by surprise. I just disagree on the proportions on when you have the time to lash up vs no time and this 85% figure for some sort of undefined "problem". Since my lanyard does not interfere with my use of my EDC light, I don't see any downside in having the lanyard. Maybe any extra piece of kit will bother someone else, but it's hard for me to envision that this would constitute the vast majority. In contrast, I can see how the very bulky 550 cord lanyards with cord locks would be a hassle. I don't like them myself, which is why I went to an elastic cord lanyard. Just a simple knotted loop.
 
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BillSWPA

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The elastic cord does seem like it could be a good idea. If you can have something that doesn't get caught on things as you are walking around, or seem out of place in professional environments, then I am all for having the option of using it. For my modes of carry, it would get in the way more than anything else, and all of my training has been without it.

The 85% is nothing more than the percent of problems occurring outside the home as compared to inside the home. Within each of these subsets, the range of problems one could face, and likelihood of each, is more difficult to quantify.
 

dss_777

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Does "turn off the light and move" present a problem in seeing where you're moving to? do you worry about running into things, or falling over them if you're moving in the dark? Seems it'd be even worse since your eyes are no longer dark adapted after you just flashed a very bright light at someone...

Not my area of expertise, just wondering...
 

BillSWPA

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Yes, that could be a problem, but less of a problem than getting shot because the light was left on too long. Most of your movement should be done with the light off. Hopefully you saw enough while the light was on to have a decent idea where and how to move.
 

SoCalDep

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You don't get shot because the light was left on. You get shot because your ability to react was beaten by the suspect's surprise attack or a disparity in the OODA loop process between you and the attacker. It is almost never so dark that we "disappear" when the light goes off. I see no value in firing a couple shots and quickly turning the light off without confirming the suspect is down...If we KNOW someone is trying to kill us, our priority should be to stop that immediate, known threat. Thus, one would hope the initial suspect is no longer a primary threat. If they are, why in the world would we take away our advantage and initiative to turn the light off if we can place accurate rounds on target? We can still move just as we do in bright light conditions, which has much more influence on the outcome than manipulation of the light. The primary purpose of turning the light off is secondary threats...This is even more unrealistic because again, it is rarely so dark that we can't see a person and movement with lights off...This is particularly true for a secondary threat that didn't have the light applied directly to them. All we do is take away our situational awareness while allowing the suspect to surprise us with a new volley of gunfire.

Many low-light tactics utilize one of two models...a military model which assumes not only operating from longer distances, in more complete darkness, but also a team environment and advanced, continual training. There is nothing wrong with training in advanced concepts if one is willing to put in the time to practice to preserve and develop those skills, but one must remember that situations dictate tactics and tactics dictate techniques, so what works in a specific military situation may lack appropriateness for a home defense or law enforcement situation.

The second, and even more dangerous situation is the unproven defensive model. In a gunfight, offense IS the best defense. Look at any youtube video or if you have access, many of the commonly cited law enforcement videos of gunfights. Those who win the fight are not those who hide...They are the ones who take the fight to the adversary. The FBI technique, while having a place in searching, is a woefully inadequate fighting technique (that simply falls apart in a real fight) developed in the hope that it's use will avoid the user getting shot. I prefer the user not getting shot because they utilized proper FIGHTING techniques rather than a defensive technique sacrificing ability to shoot to hopefully avoid getting shot.

This is not to detract from anything in this thread. I have attended training from multiple venues that utilize and advocate these techniques and have learned much from them. I have also attended training that has different views and have my own experience, the experiences of thousands of law enforcement officers, military personnel that I've worked with, and thousands of hours of research and personal practice and experimentation.

I would say to take as much training as possible, from as many varied instructors as possible, and then take what works. Don't take any one instructor's techniques or tactics as gospel...Heck...Don't take what I'm saying here as gospel...Try it for yourself. If bad things happen, you will likely be the only one there to save your life, so don't let anyone tell you what is "the way" for you.
 

BillSWPA

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I would add to the above that at least some of the training needs to be force on force training with Simunitions or Airsoft.
 
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