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  1. #1
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    Default Owning The Night - What You Would Need?

    In the old days, the thought of Low Light brought lines of shooters standing at a harries Ready waiting the line coach to command them to bring up the light, coaxially held with the pistol, as they got a flash sight picture and they pressed off the controlled pair. As one who has been in multiple low light "arguements", I will tell you that may be a way to introduce people to the issue of low light CQB, but it is a far cry from what you will need in a gunfight.

    Flash forward a decade and we have students running live force on force drill in the dark, working their lights as distraction devices as much as illumination tools. But still, the instant a light comes on, it makes the man holding it a target. It may be better than nothing, but there have been technological advances in this area far in excess of the traditional flashlight.

    Some points -

    1) A flashlight is just that...a brighter version of the old aluminum lights once issued to police. That it is brighter will not change the fact that once you turn it on, all a dedicated enemy has to do is shoot towards it.

    2). A flashlight can be distractive in use. It can hide your position, and as such, used correctly, can serve as a form of "concealment". But it is not cover...and it cannot protect you from incoming gunfire.

    Now a distinction must be made at this point in the quality of adversaries. A low quality adversary, one who does not wish to fight, will use the opportunity of a light (or laser) as an excuse to give up. I have seen this many times with common burglars, dopers, and what we called, "poo butt gangster wannabees". This will not be evident with a home invader, or a hard core violent adversary (think of them as Criminal Special Ops). Turning on a flashlight is an instant gunfight with them firing upon the source of the light instantly. You have in essence taken a situation in which you are proactive, and opened the fight with a light instead of a gun shot.

    Technology: We will be discussing night vision technology of course. Before we get into any discussions I will say that this is not a cheap endeavor. Even with low grade materials, the investment is a big one. But the advantages it gives you are, when you have to use them for real - priceless.

    Picture moving through the dark contested area in total darkness, as quiet as your stealth ability allows, and being able to see everything without turning on a single light. Then, being able to aim your firearm in complete darkness and hit that which you wish to hit without giving away your presence or advantage. THAT is what this new technology allows you to do. So lets look at it.

    NV-3.jpg

    At the basic level, you will need a Night Vision Monocular, and the ability to aim the weapon. One can do this at minimum by using the monocular against the non-shooting eye, and bringing the pistol up into the line of sight. At close quarters, you can get good chest shots by simply using alternative indexes, or commonly, point shooting as is taught in the CRG/FOF programs.

    On a slightly higher and more developed level, one can use tritium night sights. The un-aided right eye will pick these up and the aided left eye will see in the dark. With some practice, the binocular nature of the eyes will join the images giving you what appears to be three dots floating on the target.

    Beyond that, a pistol mounted laser unit will allow you to aim the weapon with unparalleled precision in total darkness. Either a visible laser used only at the moment of contact, or an IR visible laser used as you please.

    RSFFSFX400UARD_1.png

    Surefire makes the excellent X400. It is not IR capable, but it can be used with the correct technique very well and safely.

    LG417_IR_1.1.jpg

    Crimson Trace has brought out the Glock IR laser and having used it many times, I think it is an excellent unit.

    And as far as night vision units go, you will get what you pay for. There are a plethora of "cheap" imported firts generation night vision units that you can buy for less than $300. If you wish to dabble in this, such a purchase is an option, but when you couple the low quality of image, low service life, and lack of robustness, you will eventually be replacing it.

    By far the best deal going to the private citizen is a version of the PVS-14. That is what I am currently using and it is of such high quality that you can read the newspaper in complete darkness with it if you so choose to.

    ittexelisnepvs14.jpg

    PVS-14 NIGHT VISION MONOCULAR

    More to follow if there is interest.........
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    Always interested in seeing what I cannot see.


    As well as a random rather specific questions to ask. Say you're running something like the PVS-14 on a helmet as discussed in the IR Laser thread. You're armed with a long gun. You then see something you want to shoot inside of 100 yards. What then? Other then an oversimplified "shoot it"


    And after clicking over on the IR laser thread and realizing this is a gear oriented new thread I have another question this time regarding helmets. Once this thread gets to that area. Will the mounting system on the Pro-Tec stand up to abuse, basically of some one were to grab ahold of NVD and yank it will the mount snap off the helmet?
    Last edited by CabbitOne; 01-07-2014 at 11:38 AM.

  3. #3
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    Mine in bold

    Quote Originally Posted by CabbitOne View Post
    As well as a random rather specific questions to ask. Say you're running something like the PVS-14 on a helmet as discussed in the IR Laser thread. You're armed with a long gun. You then see something you want to shoot inside of 100 yards. What then? Other then an oversimplified "shoot it"

    We will get to that in due time. I will try to present the ins and outs of this material in the thread starting with minimalist (NV Unit and Tritium) all the way to the ultimate in possibles.


    And after clicking over on the IR laser thread and realizing this is a gear oriented new thread I have another question this time regarding helmets. Once this thread gets to that area. Will the mounting system on the Pro-Tec stand up to abuse, basically of some one were to grab ahold of NVD and yank it will the mount snap off the helmet?

    There is no software regarding optimum capabilities in darkness. This, like reaching Mt. Everest, SCUBA, and racing past the 200 MPH barrier, is in fact a gear-centric pursuit. On the strength of the helmet I think we need to look at two things. An all thumbs Bubba that is careless with his gear will easily break anything...including a Mil-Spec Bump Helmet with a NVD on it. Is this an AK? No its not. Treat it accordingly and it will work fine...it has for the many US Troops that have used this same kit overseas. Abuse it, and it will fail you.

    Now, if you are referring to some adversary grabbing at your NVG, consider that you have already failed at something if you are moving in the darkness and someone else has seen you and gotten close enough to attack you that close. Can you reach up and break the NVG off the helmet? Sure you can. But consider this -


    THERE IS NOTHING DEFENSIVE ABOUT PUTTING ON AN NVG AND GOING INTO THE DARKNESS TO HUNT OTHER MEN.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  4. #4
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    In the higher quality mounts and matching NVG units there is a "break-away" built in.
    This is to prevent injury to the user if hitting an object.

    The even more advanced mounts even include a tension adjustment in this function. Along with a built in lanyard feature prevents loss of the NVG unit if this happens.
    "Let no mans ghost say his training let him down"

  5. #5
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    This topic is of extreme interest to me. NV is at the top of my list of things I need. I've had the chance to play around with a few different types and have seen the light... so to speak lol.
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  6. #6
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    CONTINUING -

    The next level of course is to go hands free. This is done by mounting the NV Unit on either a head strap or on a helmet. Having tried both, the helmet is far more user friendly and comfortable.

    Bravo_1.jpgBravo_5.jpgBravo_6.jpg

    We will discuss the Pro-Tec Bump Helmets. This is the description -

    The Bravo Helmet is the latest model in Pro-Tec’s Military polymer line. A full design refinement of the original Alpha shell, the Bravo Helmet includes some new features and upgrades. These polymer helmets are purpose-built for Military and Law Enforcement operations where ballistic properties are not required.

    They are lightweight and provide a stable mounting platform for night vision goggles.
    The Bravo Helmet is also rated for head protection in hazardous environments such as Open-Cockpit Vehicle Operation, HALO/HAHO, Watercraft, Diving, Rappelling, Climbing, Hard-Hat Zones, Nuclear Facility, HAZMAT etc. It features an EVA foam interior pad system that provides hours of comfortable wear. The pads are closed-cell, so they will not absorb water during maritime operations and can be completely decontaminated after exposure to blood and oil.


    The Bravo Helmet comes pre-drilled for attaching both single and triple hole NVG shrouds. Dynamic Air Porting keeps the operator’s head cool while allowing water to easily drain. Combined with the submersible foam pads, this feature makes the Bravo Helmet ideal for diving/ submarine lockout operations. Out of the box, the Bravo Helmet comes complete with a single side rail on the left side for attaching lights or illuminators. But, the other side of the shell is pre-drilled for attaching another rail (sold separately). This allows for integration with the MBU-12/P and NATO Oxygen Mask. A new bungee goggle retention strap system replaces the older rubber strap found on the legacy Alpha model. These bungee straps also allow for attaching MOLLE fasteners.


    The Half Shell variant is specifically shaped to accommodate electronic hearing protection and radio headsets including DC, Lightspeed, Bose, Sordin, and Peltor.


    The Bravo Helmet comes with adhesive-backed pile tape on the right, top, and rear of the helmet for attaching patches and IFF devices. Lastly, a four-point chinstrap assembly, complete with nape pad and chin cup, provide stability for NVG’s. The chinstrap is attached via black zinc Phillips bolts which will not rust or pop like rivets. The Pro-Tec Bravo Helmet is a fully-featured affordable helmet platform for night vision goggles, extreme sports, and Military/ Law Enforcement operations.


    Manufacturer: PT HelmetsMaterials: Polymer Shell, EVA Foam PadsWeight: 15 oz.Density: ASTM D1505Tensile Strength: 4,100 PSI, ASTM D638Softening Temp: 257°F, 125°C, ASTM D1525Flexural Modulus: 185,000 PSI, 1,270 Mpa, ASTM D790Stress Crack Resistance: 20h, ASTM D1693Size: Medium (21 5/8″), Large (22 3/8″), XLarge (23 1/2″)
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  7. #7
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    Handheld or Head/Helmet mount? Pros/Cons? 1x or magnification?

    I have some gear; but Id like to hear opinions

  8. #8
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    The items used to mount the NV Unit to the helmet are these.

    Noro_RhinoMnt1.jpg
    One is the “Rhino” Mounting Arm, from Norotos, is the standard issue USGI articulating NVG helmet mount. It places the night vision device in front of the operator’s eyes and can be pivoted up over the helmet into a stowed position when NVGs are not required. The Rhino Mount got its nickname from its appearance when it is flipped over the helmet. This mount features fore/aft travel and tilt adjustment.


    The Rhino Mount clips into any helmet shroud that has a universal interface such as the standard MICH and PASGT shrouds, the OpsCore VAS Shroud, Wilcox L4 One Hole Shroud, and the Norotos Universal Shroud. The Rhino will accept any night vision device or adapter with a standard bayonet interface. It has an auto shut-off feature that will turn off the night vision device when it is flipped up over the helmet so the lit-up green glow from the eye piece lens does not show down-range. The arm articulates with a “force to overcome” motion meaning the user simply pushes the device upward or down into position.

    This interfaces with the Ops-Core VAS Shroud. The Ops-Core VAS Shroud is an excellent cost-effective helmet shroud designed for maximum versatility and functionality. These lightweight aluminum units are powder-coated and available in 3 different colors: Black, Coyote Tan, and Foliage Green. Developed as an improvement to the standard issue USGI helmet shrouds, the VAS takes night vision shrouds to the next level in simplicity and durability. Designed to be snag free, these shrouds are HALO, HAHO, and Static Line rated. They will fit all ACH, MICH, PASGT, and lightweight Marine helmets with the standard MARSOC/ WARCOM 3-hole pattern and include foam gaskets to prevent vibration and wobble.

    OC_VAS_1.jpg

    The VAS Shroud is designed to accept the standard issue USGI Rhino Arm night vision mount. It is the lightest, lowest profile, least obtrusive and least expensive front shroud solution currently available.


    These shrouds are great pieces of kit and we have yet to see one fail. We have noticed that from time to time, the powder coating is a bit thicker and can cause a tight or improper fit with the Rhino Arm, but after a few click ins and outs, the coating wears down enough to not be a problem. We especially recommend installing these mounts on the PT-Helmets A-Alpha Lightweight helmet.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  9. #9
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    Milspec_Jarm_1.jpg

    Milspec_Jarm_3.jpg

    One other piece of kit that will be needed is the “J-Arm’s”. These are used to adapt the PVS-14 Night Vision Monocular to the standard issue USGI Rhino Mount. It screws into the threaded hole in the PVS-14 body housing and lines up two contacts which complete an electrical circuit. This gives the J-Arm the ability to shut down power to the night vision device when the user flips the Rhino Mount up; saving battery power, and limiting visibility of the green glow emitted from the ocular lens of the PVS-14.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by EDELWEISS View Post
    Handheld or Head/Helmet mount? Pros/Cons? 1x or magnification?

    I have some gear; but Id like to hear opinions
    It depends on your goals. If you plan to operate with a pistol exclusively, you can easily go handheld. If you ever plan to use a long gun, helmet mounted is the way to go. I see no reason whatsoever to need magnification on something like this unless it will be a deicated rifle mounted optic for longer range uses.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

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