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  1. #1
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    Default Technology and Owning The Darkness

    The city had been stalked by a rapist. This guy was good. We thought he was an ex-military guy or an ex-cop. He left no physical evidence, and managed to hit every night for the last ten days regardless of how many units had been deployed to the area and how many days off had been cancelled.But it was not hard to avoid those “high profile” patrols. They drove around giving a very good, and loud, rendition of the “illusion of security”.

    hat was the modern administration’s answer to violence – to look like you were really trying hard until the bad guy got tired and went away .
    I had been out on foot in the alley. One of those coincidences of happenstance and good preparation I suppose. There had been a call of a suspicious person, right where I was on foot.

    Initially, I thought a resident had seen me moving through the alley. I had a plain black raid jacket with the “POLICE” lettering sufficiently and purposely worn off so it covered all the shiny bullshit I was required to wear. I donned it when out on foot and probably looked more like a burglar than a police officer.
    I called in via my radio that it was Code 4…meaning it was only me. Dispatch acknowledged and I kept walking, silently in the dark. Then I heard it.

    I wasn’t sure what it was, but it was one of those sounds that simply do not belong. I stopped and took a knee, listening hard. There it was again. Some sort of metallic and non-rhythmic sound. Definitely man-made. I moved toward the sound..trying hard to not make any myself.

    A night vision unit!? Yes.

    In those days I had my side business working and had a much better rate of disposable income than the average line officer. One of the things I added to my kit was a third generation night vision monocular. I bought it from Cory Trapp and paid the princely sum of $900 back in the mid 1990s.

    I looked at the problem with a very practical eye. I needed to be able to see in the dark, that much was obvious. But my goal was not simply observation, but also being able to act upon what I saw. In my context it would mean either shooting, or going hands on violently and proactively. I needed to both be able to shoot with the NVD, but also to be able to secure it if I needed to hit someone or to load/fix the pistol.

    Securing the unit in a pouch seemed the most protective but I knew I would not have the time to do that. I settled on a neck lanyard made from 550 cord.
    I rigged the monocular with a lanyard around my neck so I could use it as needed and then drop it and have hands-free as needed as well.

    My Glock 24 had a white light mount on it but the intention was to not use it to search, but only at the last moment when I knew what I had lest the light alert my prey…I mean…the suspect.
    I had developed a way to use the Trijicon Tritium sights in conjunction with the NVD (Night Vision Device). I would hold the monocular over my left eye. With it I would scan the area I was examining. If I saw a target that needed to be shot, I would bring the pistol up and look for the tritium dots with my right eye. I found that the binocular characteristics of vision would integrate the three dots against the blackness with the green illuminated scene my left eye was picking up. This would yield three dots hovering over the targeted zone.

    There was absolutely nothing defensive or reactive about this and the intention was to be able to hunt bad guys in the dark with zero warning. If I could have added a sound suppressor, I would have. That was 1995!

    It is now 2013, almost twenty years later. Technology today has surpassed what I had back then. While I am a minimalist when it comes to techniques, I am also firmly in the camp that we should use modern technology. There is a tendency in the Civilian Tactical Community to want to minimize more than just techniques. I think that is a mistake.

    Why send a letter when we have email?

    Why carry a bag of coins when we have credit cards?

    Why walk when you can drive a BMW?

    Why rely on antiquated equipment, or worse, purposely handicap yourself in a fight, when there are easier things?We need to identify the fight. A reactive fight is something we get into. A proactive fight is something we go to. And yes my friends, there are those two angles regardless of your profession. In this discussion we will focus on the PROACTIVE FIGHT, meaning that you go and look for the fight.

    One scenario - your door gets kicked in at 0400 HRS. Its dark as a rhinoceros rectum. You hear footsteps and voices through your house. Any light you turn on will make you a target for the enemy that you cannot see.

    Here are your options - Turn the lights on and exchange gunfire with them on equal footing. From experiments we have done, a bad guy need only fire toward the light...he doesn't care how many it takes to dump you.

    Option two - Use night vision technology and alternative sighting tools to locate, move to contact with, and eliminate the adversary unseen.Which one is safer for you?

    Owning the night is not about having the brightest flashlight or the newest flashlight technique. While lights are desirable in their niche, the technology has moved beyond them being the only thing available. To really own the dark, the modern defender will utilize some form of night vision in conjunction with his other tools. Body armor is already a common addition to many defender’s kit bags. It should be the same with night fighting technology.

    Today there are IR visible lasers available to everyone, as well as high quality Gen 3 Night Vision Units. Like anything else, quality will cost and the top quality units are not for those on food stamps. In addition, there are ways we have developed to use the RMR/Red Dot systems in conjunction with the NVD that make my 1995 system look like a Wright Brothers plane compared to a modern fighter. If you are ready to take the first step to really owning the darkness, take a hard look at the night vision technology and the IR laser technology. The epiphany will be like the first time you realize that you could win the fight decisively without being seen or shot.

    “Night vision devices let you own the night. Flashlights just let you borrow some of it for a little while” Chris Upchurch – SI Staff Instructor.

    In a few minutes I was on him. He was dressed in black like me. He had a large screw driver in his hands and was working quietly to pry open the window of a residence. I watched him in the green hue of the NVD, and brought my Glock up silently, the three tritium dots hovering like three fireflies in formation on the center of his back.

    For a moment I was tempted to do as my friends in the “surveillance detail” often did…yell “Hey” and then shoot him in the chest as he wheeled around. But I had exceeded my quota for at least the next year so I brought the pistol back down slowly.

    I loaded my left leg and swung the hardest Muay Thai kick I have ever sent. I heard his femur break with a gratifying crack.

    I slowly pressed my mic, “Three L Seven I need Code Three back Up…..”.
    Last edited by Gabriel Suarez; 02-09-2013 at 01:03 PM.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    Ok, so would a headset type monocular keeping hands free be looked more seriously then a monocular you have to hold with one hand?

  3. #3
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    Chad, the headset mount on the one I recently tried made handheld seem less ideal. But, the unit was binocular and about the size of maybe...a small sandwich...maybe a pound...if that. You felt the helmet but not the weight of the optics. Pretty fluid and intuitive for even me.


    One more time...Gabe Suarez is raising the bar...with a crane. High end NVGs for civilian operator is truly the pinnacle of fight concepts.

    Gabe, thanks. Pushing this is going to piss off everyone. And attract a new level of customer.

    This is bringing Halo4 advancement to home and family defense.

    God & Tribe
    Last edited by Base Bleed; 02-09-2013 at 01:50 PM.
    The trouble with fighting oppression is that most of one's time is spent defending the scoundrels for whom oppressive laws are first aimed. To win this fight, oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all. H.L. Mencken

  4. #4
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    I have a full face unit and I think it's only purpose is in an observation type role unless running a laser. The monocular seems to me the way to go after some experimentation. I will probably buy one with a headset that is capable of coming apart and used independently. But which one gets the most bang for the buck without spending 3000-4000?

  5. #5
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    OK Gabe, having opened the subject up...what in your opinion is cutting edge civilian NVD technology? I have only limited Gen 1 experience with Starlight in the Marines...and current gen Marine NVD's, most of which is quite good and fairly inexpensive...if it limited to user interfaces and or to weapons sights?


    CRG-Suarez International Combat Pistol Instructor

    SIG SAUER CERTIFIED ARMORER M400, 516, 716, M4, AR15, M16


  6. #6
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    Aren't there mounts to go behind an aimpoint, like where a 3x magnifier would go?
    Man's mind is his basic tool of survival. Life is given, survival is not...To remain alive, he must act. -John Galt-

  7. #7
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    Other subjects we will address shortly -

    1). Weapon mounted versus handheld/head mounted

    2). Hand heald vs Helmet/Head Mount

    3). Tactics for use of each one

    One thing I want to say right now before the issues are ever brought up. I will not get into bottom tier flea market kit. There is a temptation in some circles to cheap out and we will not do that here. Gen 3 is what we are looking at with a possible high end Gen 2. But that is minimum. The Russian surplus and Bushnell type gear is unsat for our purposes and i will not dilute our focus by trying to race in an AMC Pacer.

    As well I know SI ex-mil staffers have a great deal of background in this so I hope they offer their POVs as well.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  8. #8
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    Just like all gear, I think especially night vision, you can't cheap out or it would be more of a Liability. My unit is an reworked gen 4, and it did cost me.

  9. #9
    Grey Man Guest
    gen 3 is available for about 2K used, 3-4K for a nice new one with some updates. Its like owning a SCAR 17, if you can afford to get it you might as well get the best. Curious to see what you have planned.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by RatDrall View Post
    Aren't there mounts to go behind an aimpoint, like where a 3x magnifier would go?
    Yes it's doable. Not optimal you're now sweeping potential friendlies with your muzzle to see in the dark. Also not all NV Tubes (The pricey Science Part inside) are rated to take the same level of recoil without failure - non weapon mounted is now a non issue.

    Helmet mounted with a good solid mounting system on the non dominant shooting eye. With an IR laser sighted in and mounted to the weapon I've dropped hogs and coyotes in pitch black with the assistance of an IR illuminator and have literally shot from the hip and dropped them. Truth be known if you hunt with the wind in your face, I could have taken out many with my suppressed glock easily stalking within 30 yds and they never knew I was there.

    Also, having one eye adjusted to the natural darkness keeps one from getting potential headaches and helps some sense of depth in your field of view, albeit limited depending upon the conditions.

    NV is not for the light wallet crowd, but good usuable gen3 has come down a little bit in price ~2500, but then you need your IR laser, mounting system and Helmet - DO NOT CHEAP OUT HERE or you will be very frustrated at the least.

    ETA - Wilcox and Norotos are the names in the mounting game that you want to play with. Cheap J-arms are just that. They won't tighten up enough and the monocular will jiggle slightly as you walk, takes less than 3 minutes to be ....let's say not happy. Personally I prefer Wilcox.
    Last edited by usmc1986; 02-09-2013 at 05:35 PM.

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