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  1. #1
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    Default TECHNOLOGY OWNS THE DARKNESS

    TECHNOLOGY OWNS THE DARKNESS

    Thursday, November 23, 2017



    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”.

    That 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 (much to the dismay of ever-heavier administrators). 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. My goal was not to challenge and make a ton of noise. It was to approach in stealth and darkness and then decide upon a course of action that I could justify.

    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 human 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. There is little use for flashlights, much less, night vision in an unexpected reactive gunfight.

    One scenario - your door gets kicked in at 0400 HRS. Its dark. 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 is your First Option - Turn the lights on...or a flashlight, 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.

    Your Second Option - Use night vision technology and alternative sighting tools to locate, move to contact with, and if you so choose, eliminate your adversary without so much as a how-do-you-do. Which one is safer for you?

    Owning the night is not about having the brightest flashlight or the newest flashlight technique. And no, you can't make it bright and make it safe. 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 modern night fighting technology.

    Today there are IR visible lasers available to everyone, as well as high quality Gen 3 Night Vision Units. As well, there are handheld Infrared Viewers that used to be limited to helicopter use in my time. 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.”

    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. He was mine.

    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.

    As he screamed, I slowly pressed my mic, “Three L Seven I need Code Three back Up…..”.
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a very happy ending for everybody, except perhaps the perp. Thanks Gabe, I always enjoy your stories and the lessons they bring to the table. Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless.
    Is God Politically Correct? If not should you be? - F. Huff -- God is unchanging in His love. He loves you. He has a plan for your life. Don't let the newspaper headlines frighten you. God is still sovereign; He's still on the throne. - B. Graham -- No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority. - Robert A. Heinlein

  3. #3
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    Night vision has been discussed here before and on the fighting in structures video IIRC. But I do want to learn more about it since I am planning to lay down some cash. Decent NV is not cheap and one wants spend and buy wisely. I also would like to set up NV type cameras and other motion activated detection about my little estate.
    What is most important is to integrate the use of NV, tritium sights, laser, and tactical lights to best advantage. I will be on the lookout for future postings on this subject.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
    ...at the end of the day its not about anything else but YOU AND YOURS..... Gabe Suarez
    ....WANT not NEED is what America is all about. ..... Gabe Suarez
    Its not about how fast you can load, but about how well you can shoot ..... Someone being saved by a speed load is not something that has happened with any regularity. Gabe Suarez

  4. #4
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    If I told you for $250,000 you could fly like Superman you would mortgage your house to buy the technology...

    For $3,000 you can see in the dark with a PVS14. The price has been about the same for 20 years and the tech has not changed a lot.
    It can be handheld, helmet mounted, weapon mounted behind a red dot on a long gun or used in conjunction with a $300 IR laser to make your handgun or carbine or shotgun a pointer of death. Like the RMR that we have all embraced, cry once and get the damn thing. Hell, I have LOTS of RMR's but only need one PVS 14 as it works in SO many circumstances.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Ryder View Post
    If I told you for $250,000 you could fly like Superman you would mortgage your house to buy the technology...

    For $3,000 you can see in the dark with a PVS14. The price has been about the same for 20 years and the tech has not changed a lot.
    It can be handheld, helmet mounted, weapon mounted behind a red dot on a long gun or used in conjunction with a $300 IR laser to make your handgun or carbine or shotgun a pointer of death. Like the RMR that we have all embraced, cry once and get the damn thing. Hell, I have LOTS of RMR's but only need one PVS 14 as it works in SO many circumstances.
    Are you saying there is nothing better after 20 yrs? Are all PVS14's out there equal? I want to be set up to use pistol in the house and outside on the grounds use a shotgun and rifle. Mostly a full length and stocked shotgun with number #3 or 4 Buckshot. I want to be able to spot not only 2 and 4-legged beings, but also things that crawl like a snake. It is very likely that I could be up against people that have some form of night vision. I am also running a pack of bulldogs now days.
    I know hunters in my area use thermal scopes for night hunting and that is something I need to learn about. Perhaps just the easy button of $3,000 for PVS14 and all done, but life has taught nothing is quite so simple.
    Right now I have to attend to some other issues and then I will do the nocturnal thing.

    I am willing to spend what it takes to get the right/best equipment for my purposes, but sure do not want to waste money.
    One who hammers his gun into a plow plows for those who do not....Unknown
    ...at the end of the day its not about anything else but YOU AND YOURS..... Gabe Suarez
    ....WANT not NEED is what America is all about. ..... Gabe Suarez
    Its not about how fast you can load, but about how well you can shoot ..... Someone being saved by a speed load is not something that has happened with any regularity. Gabe Suarez

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnetmill View Post
    Are you saying there is nothing better after 20 yrs? Are all PVS14's out there equal? I want to be set up to use pistol in the house and outside on the grounds use a shotgun and rifle. Mostly a full length and stocked shotgun with number #3 or 4 Buckshot. I want to be able to spot not only 2 and 4-legged beings, but also things that crawl like a snake. It is very likely that I could be up against people that have some form of night vision. I am also running a pack of bulldogs now days.
    I know hunters in my area use thermal scopes for night hunting and that is something I need to learn about. Perhaps just the easy button of $3,000 for PVS14 and all done, but life has taught nothing is quite so simple.
    Right now I have to attend to some other issues and then I will do the nocturnal thing.

    I am willing to spend what it takes to get the right/best equipment for my purposes, but sure do not want to waste money.

    The Gen 3 PVS 14 D is good to go for all those categories and can be mated to a weapon . A handhled FLIR finds heat signatures but is not head or weapon mountable. A PVS 22, 29 or 30 mounts in front of traditional optics mounted on a weapon but are MUCH more expensive and do not provide better resolution for most applications and are heavy and cannot work handheld worth a damn.

    The IR Hunter II (now a Trijicon product since they bought the manufacturer) is $6k and very cool thermal tech. It is weapon mountable and includes crosshairs and adjustments for sighting in. There is smaller version that can be handheld ( think it is called a Raptor but I may be confused). If you are looking for or shooting at stuff that is hot, these are cool. Very popular with hog hunters. Not great for navigating, do not pair with IR lasers, too big to keep handy in a go bag, do not hemet mount well and cost 2x what a very flexible PVS 14 runs.

    If I could have only one, I would take a PVS 14. Second "must have" would be the new thermal scopes from Trijicon. I have sort of ruled out the usefulness of forward mounted PVS30's and the like for most use, but if you HAD to engage at distances over 250 years in the dark, they come into their sweet spot there out to about 400 yards.

    My opinions were formed in a very thorough night fighting class where a manufacturer brought all the latest stuff. We ran scenarios and engaged target that were in total darkness, ambient light and some, next to raging fires.

    You go off in the dark with thermal only and you will be looking through your scope and aiming at everything in your path.
    Wear a PVS 14 on your head (or hold it) and you can use an IR laser on a long gun or handgun when needed, but also navigate and recon for targets.

    The most flexible tool is a PVS 14 (no, I do not sell them, I have just formed opinions after trying every other option for Gen 1 Russian crap to Delta Force gear straight from the battlefield).

  7. #7
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    Designed as an invaluable tactical tool for covert and night operations, Steiner Optics' DBAL-I2 Infrared Aiming Laser with IR LED Illuminator is a durable yet compact device that combines an infrared aiming laser with a powerful IR illuminator. Its 850nm infrared laser is visible with NVDs up to 273 yards away, and its illuminator beam is adjustable from a tight 2° spot for target designation, or it can be opened up to 30° to flood a large area to make staging or navigation easier using NVDs.

    If you have a side rail, you can mount this vertically. Your zero can then match your rifle's zero. Your point of impact would be slightly offset horizontally. The dual beam affords an illuminator that brightens up a really dark area, and a laser for aiming via your night vision.
    And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one. Luke 22:36

    Steven Spaugh

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Spaugh View Post
    Designed as an invaluable tactical tool for covert and night operations, Steiner Optics' DBAL-I2 Infrared Aiming Laser with IR LED Illuminator is a durable yet compact device that combines an infrared aiming laser with a powerful IR illuminator. Its 850nm infrared laser is visible with NVDs up to 273 yards away, and its illuminator beam is adjustable from a tight 2° spot for target designation, or it can be opened up to 30° to flood a large area to make staging or navigation easier using NVDs.

    If you have a side rail, you can mount this vertically. Your zero can then match your rifle's zero. Your point of impact would be slightly offset horizontally. The dual beam affords an illuminator that brightens up a really dark area, and a laser for aiming via your night vision.

    How does that mount on a Glock?
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  9. #9
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    The combination of NVG/NODs and IR lasers/Flashlights can make just about anyone a War-God when the lights are out. They actually make fighting at night easier than fighting in the daylight. It is like a Star Wars Storm Trooper fighting a caveman.
    Masters in Warfare-OEF Class of 2002-2003, 2006-2007
    Majors: Offensive Terminal Ballistics and Overseas Bovine Scatology

    An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
    Robert Heinlein




  10. #10
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    Streamlight TLR-2 IRW Tactical Flashlight and Class I IR Laser - 300 Lumens



    X400®V IRc

    White-Light/Infrared LED + Infrared Laser WeaponLight


    CRIMSON TRACE LG-417 (NO LONGER IN PRODUCTION)
    Gabe Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

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