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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default The first Low Light Gunfighting Class

    We had 5 very dedicated guys come out for the Low Light Gun fighting class in Ga. The first day started off with a review of the GRG class and the weather was nice. Everyone had trained with Randy or myself before so all were squared away on the basics and the get off the X techniques. After the review and some work on natural point of aim, we started shooting with no visual input. We used NPA and body index to make hits on the target with out any visual reference. We looked at the target and closed our eyes and then shot it. Shooters that had a solid foundation in the fundamentals of pistol shooting were getting COM hits. Guys that struggled were not mastering the basics.
    After a dinner break we came back and worked on movement and clock drills in low light. It was a lot of fun shooting on a clear moonlit range. We turned on a couple of lights to illuminate the range from behind us and continued the drills.

    Saturday the weather went to crap about 2pm and class did not start until 5; we had a Seal team version of low light gun fighting going on by the time the sun went down. Saturday evening we went over the different types of flashlights available and the different techniques / grips. Before we headed out to the range we covered the effects of a defensive flashlight on an adversary. Drills included flash warnings, flash and dash, flash and smash, flash and slash, and flash and shoot. One good thing about the way the drills were done is everyone got to play both roles, this help to show what happens to the attacker during the flash. We all agreed the flash definitely bought us a few seconds at the start the conflict. Several guys had taken 0-5ft and could see a marked difference in the time we had to react when the flash was put in the face of the adversary. It looked as if the bad guys was put in instant slow motion when hit in the face with the light beam.

    We then braved the rain and headed out to the range for more shooting drills with different lighting . We used low beam headlights to cast multiple shadows on the target area. The targets were then back lit for a few drills. We cleared malfunctions with the lights in our hands or tucked under an arm. These had to be induced because most of the class used Glocks. I was running a Sig 229 with laser grips due to some other training I am conducting. I saw no gun issues all night in some very wet muddy conditions. The TSD glocks ran great. Randy then put us through some decision drills. These tested us since we were all soaked and had to decide which balloon to shoot and if we had the color he called. We then set up some cover to move to and shoot around. We shot right side and left side with either hand and changed flashlight techniques as required. By this time the wind picked up and it got cold. We returned to the classroom and looked at lasers, pros and cons. The lights were turned off and we used the night vision monocular to learn the basics of night vision.

    I would like to thank Randy for coming down and running this class. I really appreciate the guys that that took the class. The weather really sucked on Saturday night but nobody complained. They just bit the bullet and fought through it. We all learned from it and the Warrior Talk tribe will be better for it.
    Scott Vandiver
    NRA Training Counselor
    Private Security Instructor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    I can't say anything any better than Scott did. I really appreciate everyone coming out, and Randy for coming out.

    Saturday was awesome! It was low light gunfighting in a monsoon. Horrible footing lead me to really have to focus on my techniques.

    I can't imagine many people being out there training, but we did!

    Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and thermonuclear weapons.


  3. #3
    Valvert Lucius Fox Guest
    Wish I were there!! Hope to do a low light class with Randy in the near future.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    McDonough, GA
    I agree with what Scott stated, and appreciate Randy putting this class on. Scott gave a good outline of how the course played out, so Iíll talk about a few things I took away from the course. The class was focused around on how we can use the light as weapon to our advantage, how it can be a disadvantage, and how different light situations can effect what you can see of your enemy or what he can see of you. Things such as how a quick flash to the eyes of the Bad Guy can disorient him and buy you time, but a beam of light can allow him to track you once youíve attempted to flash him and get off the X.

    Randy also brought in several different types of flashlights, from a $3 K-Mart light to the latest types of flashlights designed for defensive use. This provided an opportunity for us as students to play with each type of light and see what advantages and disadvantages of how you had to handle each. As Randy stated in the class, the goal was to show us how even in a pinch you could get by with the $3 K-Mart light IF it was the only thing available to you. Randy also did an overview of all the main ways to manipulate a flashlight in combination with your gun. He discussed the advantages and disadvantages of each, and we were able to see that based on the type of flashlight, some preferred techniques arenít possible, but if he had to use one of those flashlights you had a way of running the light.

    The drills that Scott mentioned about shooting with our eyes closed were excellent at driving home the point of ďDo you really need to see your sights?Ē. If your drawstroke is consistent, and your trigger press is good, you donít need to see your sights in close ranges. Though Iíve heard this many times from Randy, I still need to become better and more confident with this concept. Some other interesting concepts that Randy talked about were using the light as a sort of barrier to stop the BG encroachment. The example he used was shinning the light at the BG feet to try and get him to pause and think ďIs this really worth it?Ē and give you an opportunity to light him up to verify what is in his hands. As Randy also pointed out, if there are people around the light is probably going to draw their attention and for a BG looking to rob you, this attention is bad for him.

    The simple concepts that Randy uses, Flash Bang, Flash N Dash, Flash N Smash, Flash N Slash, are an excellent way of summing up what your options are for dealing with a BG when you have started with a light in your hand. Most of the class is done from the concept of already having the light in your hand. As the drill structure will show you, it would be very difficult to fast draw a flashlight once youíre already in a situation. As Randy stated, if you know itís going to be dark, go ahead and have it in your hand.

    We were also able to see the different advantages and disadvantages of being backlit vs. the BG being backlit, and shot multiple drills from each. We shot drills starting with no light, flashing the target, then moving and engaging, from different distances. One of the drills I thought was the most interesting and fun was the target identification drill with different color balloons. Like Scott talked about, we had to flash the target, identify the color called out, move off the X and shoot without light at the target balloon. If you didnít have the color, it was a no shoot for you. We also backed things up a little, and had to flash the target, move to get behind cover and engage from there.

    We also looked a few ways of using a light inside of structures. We looked at the concept of using the ďWall of LightĒ to your advantage. I thought this was extremely cool, and could see how it could be useful in a barricaded home defense type situation. We looked at things such as how if you shine a white ceiling with a light, it illuminates the entire room. These are things that you really donít think about, taking this class really opened up my eyes to using a light to help you in a fight. Another example of drill structure that allowed for something to happen that you donít think about, if from when shooting from cover in complete darkness and how if your light happens to hit the barricade or cover youíre shooting from, it can be a surprise to you and effect you in the fight if youíve never experienced it before.

    There was a lot of experimenting in this class, which I thought was cool. For example, with the malfunction clearing and manipulations while having a flashlight in your hand may have varied from person to person, dependent upon hand size, light size, etc. Also in shooting around cover and what combo of weapon and light you used could vary. This class was structured well in a way to allow the student to find a way and work with what worked best for them. That is extremely valuable to me.
    This was an excellent course, and really opened my eyes to some new concepts of using a light. I HIGHLY recommend this course. Low light is where most of scum is going to be lurking that would most likely attack us, and this class will expose you to the concepts that you can use to your advantage to help win that fight. I look forward to taking class again in the future, and recommend that if you own a flashlight and a firearm, take the class.

    As Scott said Saturday was nasty. I donít mind training in these conditions because it teaches you some valuable things. Such as, how is my gear going to hold up in adverse conditions. I ran my AK through a course that was a downpour, cold, muddy, etc. and it function flawlessly. I now have complete, 100% faith in that gun. Same thing with this course, My 19 functioned flawlessly through cold, wet, and mud. I have even more confidence in the gun because Iíve seen what it can go through. Also, the footing Saturday night was horrible. It exposed us to what compromises you are going to have to make in adverse footing, and how that can affect your movement, and the overall fight. So though it may suck to be out there in the rain, we are all better for it because of the lessons it can teach us.

    I enjoyed training with everyone in the class. It was good to see some familiar faces again, and train with some new ones. Everyone stuck through the bad weather and didnít complain, and I look forward to training again with everyone again. Randy, another excellent class, I know I sound like a broken record, but I highly recommend everyone to take a class with Randy if you havenít. His background and knowledge brings a solid, complete picture to the fight that civilians are looking at. Thanks for putting this class on Randy, Iím always left with more to work on and ways to get better. Thanks to Scott and Centerfire Precision for hosting this class. This range is really one heck of a place to shoot, and would recommend anybody in the neighborhood to go check in out.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Kentucky, United States
    Randy tends to bring bad weather with him. It's his way of "enhancing" the training experience.
    Seriously, I'm jealous- it sounded like a lot of great information and training outside the typical comfort zones.

    "Always outnumbered. Never outfought!"

    Motto of the Special Action Force of the Philippine Constabulary

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Chattanooga TN
    This was the first time this class was offered. It went well and we figured out some logistical issues that we were not sure about. When you have an indoor range controlling the lighting (and weather) is a lot easier than doing it on an outdoor range.

    Some comments....

    One of my pet peeves is low light training that is essentially a " burgler hunt" where you only work against paper targets that neither think, move, communicate, or shoot back. All that does is teach you to fight the deaf, dumb and blind.... in the dark. If you don't experience what the bad guy is experiencing then how do you know what will be effective in countering what he is trying to do?

    So the plan was to look at how we will likely be confronted and build solutions around that. Since most people don't do hostage rescue or serve high risk warrants then does THAT specific training really help them when what is far more likely will be either a break in in their home or being approached on the street? So what we did was build a curriculum around the likely threats and how to make the most of those situations and how to use light (or not) to not only be able to shoot the bad guys, but how to not put ourselves atr a tactical disadvantage by misusing or overusing the light.

    The shooting with zero visual cuts through a lot of the nonsense and mystical crap sometimes attached to shooting. It is pretty freakin' simple. Find a spot you want to put a hole in, focus on it, point the gun at it, press the trigger. When you do it with your eyes closed you simply focus on the spot close your eyes, drive the gun to the target and fire. You'd be amazed at how well you can shoot with ZERO visual input if your grip and trigger control are good. I'm not referring to "bullseye shooting" trigger control. I'm simply referring to pressing the trigger in a manner that does not jerlk the gun off the target. And we saw in class that if you drive the gun in a straight line to the focal point and don't yank the gun off target by mashing the trigger you can shoot really fast and score excellent quality hits at realistic gunfighting distances. The better you can shoot...the better you can shoot....whether the lights are on or off.

    Buliding on this, we see that if we can score good hits without ANY visual verification, then we can do even better with ANY visual verification. We discussed several "Alternative Indexing Methods" to make our shooting fast and accurate as we get off the X or as we get to cover and engage.

    We discussed using different types of lights. Not just as a dull boring lecture on "where we came from and where we are now" perspective, but we then shot using those differnt lights so if we end up having to use a light other than our pet EDC light then we CAN function with it because we have been forced to before. Again...this is not your typical Low Light class.

    When we look at low light issues, it is not always pitch fact out in public it is almost NEVER pitch black in urban areas. There is ambient light from street lights and car headlights. Have you shot in those conditions? Sometimes you and the target will be in equal lighting. But often the badguys will use the darker areas to their advantage. We assume every dark hole has a gun and a bad guy in it. But how do we deal with it without making ourselveas an easy target? We worked on that. We also looked at indoor issues where house clearing by yourself against REAL badguys can get you killed if you use your light the way a SWAT team would use theirs. Military operators expect to sustain 25% casualties when digging folks out of a structure.... when you try to do that by yourself 25% casualties to your team is 100% casualties when YOU are the only one on your team......

    We also looked at how to use the light as a distraction device and a facilitator for empty hand techniques or for impact weapon techniques and for breaking contact. From FLASH/BANG (flash move/draw and shoot) to FLASH and DASH (flash and run) to FLASH and SMASH (flash and strike) to FLASH and SLASH (Flash and use of the knife) we worked using the light as both a distraction device and an impact weapon (Hammerfist Helper). All of these have to be experienced from BOTH sides as both goo guy and badguy to get a truer appreciation of how and when they work. While using the light to temporarily blind the BG works GREAT at the appropriate is all but useless even trying it outsode that distance envelope. Do you know where that distance is?

    One of the things that has almost become cliche is that we can shoot with little light, but we need the light to ID targets. More specificly we need the light to ID what is in their hands. We used some drills to get some practice at that. Not everyone will need to be shot. And flash and dash works great when no one needs to be shot right now...if they do then FLASH/BANG is the answer.

    We also looked at using the different flashlight methods in shooting around cover . If the first time you experience light bouncing back off your cover and blinding YOU is in the middle of a gunfight at'll wish you'd experienced that in training first.

    As mentioned earlier, the core skills of fighting with a pistol is the same in daylight or dark. You need to be able to recognize the threat...get off the X as you get your gun out, hit what you are aiming at, keep your gun running (clear malfunctions) keep it loaded and do your after action assessment. Can you do all that in the dark? Or do it with a light in your hand? These guys can now.

    The first run of this class went very well all weather issues aside. But as has been said before there is also a benefit to working your skills and gear in difficult conditions. So now you know your gear not only works when all is clear and easy, but when things are less than optimal.

    Keep an eye out for Low Light gunfighting in an area near you in the future.
    Last edited by Randy Harris; 02-21-2012 at 08:16 PM.
    Suarez International Tier 1 Staff Instructor
    NRA Certified Instructor
    Tennessee State Handgun Carry Permit Instructor
    Glock Factory Certified Armorer
    IDPA Master Class SSP, ESP,CDP, CCP, BUG, CO
    Gung Ho Chuan Association

    TRAIN with me....

    Fundamentalist Christian Man at Arms


    Joel 3:10 - Beat your plowshares into swords , and your pruning hooks into spears; train even your weaklings to be warriors.

    Through HIS power I can walk on water..IF I just have the faith and courage to get out of the boat.

    A good man who's done a couple of bad things along the way....

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