Author Topic: Use of lights and lasers at night  (Read 209 times)

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Offline ARP

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Use of lights and lasers at night
« on: September 08, 2018, 05:45:40 PM »
I did my first night shoot this week. Quite a learning experience, if you have never shot in real darkness, meaning no street lights etc.

My plan was to take my converted to .22lr AR with light and laser, EVO with a combo light and laser, and my Canik tp9sf with a combo light and laser. I shot the EVO first(forgot to mention AR and EVO both have red dots). I did not have the lights and lasers sync'ed up, so I fumbled in the dark trying to accomplish that twice. I was shooting steel at a distance of 25yds or so, I was hitting the target pretty well, but I found myself ignoring my sights and focusing on the green laser. Not sure if that was a good or bad thing.

Next up was the Canik, the laser needs tweeked to the right, did not shoot very good at all with it.

Then the AR....it had a pressure pad for both light and laser. The light pad got finicky to the point of being inconsistent to use and I thought the light was kinda dim for 25yds. My laser needed synced and more fumbling with allen key in the dark. I got 2 mags thru it and the laser light died. (battery died) I had seen enough to know what I needed to fix before trying again.

So those of you who night shoot, do you prefer the pressure pad or use the tailcap switch? My light was an Olight M18 (discontinued 400 lumen max as is the pressure switch). At 25yd it was weak to light up the area. Afterwards I was trying to correct the switch problem and broke the wires and since the switch is discontinued, well I have an Olight M1X 1000 lumen, it fit the mount, so I found 2 pressure switches on line and bought those. Im on the fence if I like the pressure pad or tailcap. I have a good Manta mount for the pressure pads.

Overall it was a comedy of errors getting set up and finding what you thought would work did not, trying to fix what was wrong in the dark without a head lamp(ran out of hands trying to hold gun and work allen key and light at same time). The syncing of the red dot and laser should have been done in advance at home.

Offline Grendel

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 06:01:36 PM »
Don't care for lasers. As you found out, you tend to default to pulling the trigger when the laser is on the target - which is fine so long as it's still adjusted correctly - but useless if it's not. With lights, the need to use your sights is still paramount, and you can also see what's going on around you. The downside of lights is a) batteries, b) they destroy your night vision, before you shoot, and c) they give away your position.

You should practise shooting at night both with and without the laser and light and carry a back up flashlight instead of fiddling around trying to change batteries in the middle of a string of gunfire.
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Offline M1A4ME

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 06:09:45 PM »
I had the remote/pressure switches and curly cue cords on the AR15 carbine and SIG 556R.  Took both of them off and put the tail cap switches back on the lights.

Every time I was taking it apart to clean things up I had to deal with the switches/cords (cable tied to the quad rails.)

The lights are mounted at the 9 o'clock position and I work (not enough) to place my support hand so that I can operate the lights with my left thumb.  I can still grab the free float tube/quadrail with my palm/fingers while pushing forward with my thumb to turn the light on/off.

And no, I've only participated in a night fire stage of fire once in the last 40 years and that was with my M1A and very fine/excellent old Bushnell scope (made by Bauch and Lomb in those days).  It was cheating.  I could see the targets just fine with the ambient light with the 4X12 set on 4X.
Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  So, if you see me walking the dogs with my SIG 556R, its okay.

Offline ARP

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 06:31:42 PM »
Don't care for lasers. As you found out, you tend to default to pulling the trigger when the laser is on the target - which is fine so long as it's still adjusted correctly - but useless if it's not. With lights, the need to use your sights is still paramount, and you can also see what's going on around you. The downside of lights is a) batteries, b) they destroy your night vision, before you shoot, and c) they give away your position.

You should practise shooting at night both with and without the laser and light and carry a back up flashlight instead of fiddling around trying to change batteries in the middle of a string of gunfire.

Im sorry, i must be misunderstanding your last paragraph because it is chocked full conflicting advice. I had a backup flashlight, i never switched batteries in a string of fire, i would never fire a gun in the dark without identifying the target first(via a light source). Oh, and the laser identified the target far better for me than just light and red dot. I do concede that for the conditions I was in, really dark no ambient light, no 30 minute period to adjust to night eyes that you lose as soon as you turn a flashlight on,  my flashlights need to be stronger for those conditions. Now in my house, they all work great. Another thing I ran up against was smoke from the fired round, very humid zero wind, smoke hung around a bit.

Offline Grendel

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2018, 06:38:41 PM »
Nothing confusing about it.

Practise both with the laser and light, and without it. Carry a backup flashlight so you can continue shooting the string, rather than having to stop and change batteries.

It's just general advice, not aimed (no pun intended) at you in particular.
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Offline 2morechains

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2018, 06:51:36 PM »
I shoot a couple night matches a year, usually 2-gun (AR/pistol).  There is a learning curve and in truth I should do it more often since I always come away with something new I learned.  That, and night matches are a hoot. 

With regard to lights, being outdoors I want as much light as I can get.  Rifle light is a Surefire mounted at about 10 o’clock with a tailcap switch that I use my support hand thumb to turn on.  Being a straight up fun match, once I turn the light on it stays on and I don’t deal with momentary on/off.  Pistol light has varied over the years but last year I got a Streamlight TLR-1 HL that I really like and use as my bedside gun/light combo.

A couple years ago I borrowed a friend’s TLR-2 (the one with the laser).  Depending on the stage it was either helpful or not.  On hoser stages with metric targets at <10 yds it was a blast, just track the dot and send two.  But on stages with small knock-over steel plates (4-8”) at varying distances it was frustrating since I didn’t know my holds at various distances.  I was tentatively zero’d at 10 yds, and in retrospect should have zero’d at 25.  But at one point when I kept missing a plate rack I ended up turning the laser off and reverted to irons for the rest of the stage.  More time with the laser and some actual training would probably have been good rather than a spur of the moment “sure, I’ll give that a try...”. 

Last spring’s match was somewhat humid and we all ran into issues with gunsmoke being lit up by our lights and not being able to see our targets.  That was one instance when too much white light was a negative, but best way we found to overcome that was to keep moving (shoot on the move) unless the stage called for a static shooting position. 

Offline ARP

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2018, 06:55:07 PM »
Im not sure why you have me changing batteries in the middle of a string of fire, never happened.

Offline 2morechains

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2018, 06:56:19 PM »
I think what he’s getting at is carry a back up light in case your primary goes down. 

Offline Grendel

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2018, 06:57:22 PM »
Im not sure why you have me changing batteries in the middle of a string of fire, never happened.

Are you having comprehension trouble?

Quote
It's just general advice, not aimed (no pun intended) at you in particular.

Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges - Tacitus

Inter arma enim silent leges - Cicero

I wasn't born in America, but I got here as fast as I could.

Offline M1A4ME

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2018, 07:39:06 PM »
I'd test the light to see how long a set of batteries lasts.  Try to get a feel for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 45 minutes, etc.  Probably tough to do but if you could keep track of how many minutes each stage is and change your batteries before they fail/between stages.

The back up light is a good idea.  Lots of good pocket lights out there with considerable lumens.  For a handgun light back up it probably wouldn't need to be a monstrous (650 lumen, like a couple of my carbine lights) light.

If you're looking in the direction of a gun when it goes off at night it's not that hard to tell if the guy pulling the trigger is on your side or not.  I remember being in the Army, one night, out on an LP/OP in front of the platoon and one of our company armorers came walking down a trail/logging road on my left.  I didn't have a clue who it was till he started shooting blanks back towards the company position.  I'll never forget realizing it was Hetzel, wondering what the hell he was doing out in front of us, realizing he was an "aggressor" and cutting loose on him with my M14 and blanks.  And then having the other armorer cutting loose on us (the two of us in the LP/OP) with an M60.  They were really easy to see, but it didn't matter anymore as we were "dead."

An M60 lights up a pretty good sized area, but even the M14's we carried put out considerable muzzle flash in the dark of the woods.

From personal experience I can tell you a 2&3/4" .357 magnum with 125 grain hollow points lights up the area like a bolt of lightening almost.  For an instant I could see with pretty good clarity out 25 to 30 ft. from where I was standing.
Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  So, if you see me walking the dogs with my SIG 556R, its okay.

Offline ARP

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2018, 04:16:15 AM »
Im not sure why you have me changing batteries in the middle of a string of fire, never happened.

Are you having comprehension trouble?

Quote
It's just general advice, not aimed (no pun intended) at you in particular.

No actually YOU are the only side of the conversation having a comprehension problem. Final paragraph, initial post, read and comprehend...(ran out of hands trying to hold gun, work an allen key and hold the light at the same time.)

Offline ARP

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2018, 04:30:30 AM »
I'd test the light to see how long a set of batteries lasts.  Try to get a feel for 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 45 minutes, etc.  Probably tough to do but if you could keep track of how many minutes each stage is and change your batteries before they fail/between stages.

The back up light is a good idea.  Lots of good pocket lights out there with considerable lumens.  For a handgun light back up it probably wouldn't need to be a monstrous (650 lumen, like a couple of my carbine lights) light.

If you're looking in the direction of a gun when it goes off at night it's not that hard to tell if the guy pulling the trigger is on your side or not.  I remember being in the Army, one night, out on an LP/OP in front of the platoon and one of our company armorers came walking down a trail/logging road on my left.  I didn't have a clue who it was till he started shooting blanks back towards the company position.  I'll never forget realizing it was Hetzel, wondering what the hell he was doing out in front of us, realizing he was an "aggressor" and cutting loose on him with my M14 and blanks.  And then having the other armorer cutting loose on us (the two of us in the LP/OP) with an M60.  They were really easy to see, but it didn't matter anymore as we were "dead."

An M60 lights up a pretty good sized area, but even the M14's we carried put out considerable muzzle flash in the dark of the woods.

From personal experience I can tell you a 2&3/4" .357 magnum with 125 grain hollow points lights up the area like a bolt of lightening almost.  For an instant I could see with pretty good clarity out 25 to 30 ft. from where I was standing.

My lights.....my spare backup light I had with me was the Olight M1X, 1000 lumen. NO light batteries failed, the battery for the  laser failed after I shot about 2 25 round mags. At that point I had already been out on the range for about an hour, it was hot and humid and I could see that I had enough information to correct what I felt needed corrected and packed up and called it a night. I HAD TO USE MY HAND HELD SPARE FLASHLIGHT TO TRY AND SYNC MY LASER TO RD, it took one hand to hold the rifle, a second hand to work the allen key. So I had to lay the flashlight on the bench and try and use it that way, would have been way simpler if I had brought my headlamp instead.

I work in the dark a good bit, I always have a flashlight on me, as I did the night I was on the range. They are all Olights.

Offline ARP

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2018, 12:01:08 PM »
I had the remote/pressure switches and curly cue cords on the AR15 carbine and SIG 556R.  Took both of them off and put the tail cap switches back on the lights.

Every time I was taking it apart to clean things up I had to deal with the switches/cords (cable tied to the quad rails.)

The lights are mounted at the 9 o'clock position and I work (not enough) to place my support hand so that I can operate the lights with my left thumb.  I can still grab the free float tube/quadrail with my palm/fingers while pushing forward with my thumb to turn the light on/off.

And no, I've only participated in a night fire stage of fire once in the last 40 years and that was with my M1A and very fine/excellent old Bushnell scope (made by Bauch and Lomb in those days).  It was cheating.  I could see the targets just fine with the ambient light with the 4X12 set on 4X.

Should you ever decide to go back to a pressure switch control, I recently ran across a product that solves the "where and how do I mount a pressure switch that does not involve a combination of tape glue velcro etc." The product is made by a company called mantadefense.com or Advanced Innovation & Manufacturing and the product is called a micro pocket switch holder. The product is a tough rubber piece that snaps on top of your pic rail and has ridges all along it's edges. Down it's center is a softer pliable sleeve that you slide the pressure switch into. The sleeve will accept a multitude of pressure switch sizes, if it is too tight you can stretch it by placing an over sized dummy switch in the sleeve and placing it in the oven which causes stretching, or you could exacto knife the dummy switch out of the top side of the sleeve and glue(Shoe Goo rubber cement) the underside of the switch to the lower side of the sleeve or you could make relieve cuts in the top sleeve. Bottom line, it is a best option I have run across for the pressure switch mount problem.

Manta also makes covers for suppressors, handguards, designed to absorb the heat created from firing multiple rounds from an AR type weapon. US made in New Philadelphia, OH. Interesting stuff.

Offline John A.

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2018, 04:48:34 PM »
I've shot a lot at night.  And I have said for years that if you ever do, the setup that you normally use, will probably not work the way you think it would.

Everyone should shoot some at night.

I don't use lasers.  But I do require a light. 

No corded switches.  Just a simple momentary on when you push, off when you release.  And if you want it to stay on, push the button hard until it clicks.   Too easy of a way to make you a target leaving it on for very long though.

Here's a short video that I did a couple of years ago.  The first minute is at dusk just checking all of my equipment.  The remaining video is well after dark.

Using an AR with only a few rounds so I would have to swap mags (blind).  Then with a Beretta Centurion, and finally with a Winchester 1300 speed pump.

Good times.





When people ignorant of guns make gun laws, you end up with ignorant gun laws.

Offline larry8061

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Re: Use of lights and lasers at night
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2018, 11:42:19 PM »
ALL PRESSURE  PADS WILL FAIL. ALL.... (they aren't made for crap).