Night match, lessons etc.

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting' started by ThaiBoxer, Jan 11, 2009.

  1. ThaiBoxer

    ThaiBoxer Active Member

    Shot this last night. It was 4 stages of USPSA. 2 were with flashlight, 2 were low-light (no flashlight allowed). I used my M40 carry with tritium and my M40A1 with skinny fiber optic front. It probably is not kosher to switch guns that way, but this was a fun match and I wanted to test things. There were 8 Production shooters in this Night Match.

    Stage 1: a single flare was the light, 4 small pepper poppers at about 20 yards, and 2 arrays of closer paper targets at the sides. I used my M40 with tritium. Tritium works, but I was focused on the front sight and did not line up the rears carefully for the long shots. Was no problem at typical close "real pistol fight distance" on the paper. The steel cost me way too much time, and I turned in a mediocre stage score. Lesson: front sight is not the only important thing. Place: 6/8

    Stage 2. Flashlight stage. I shot this with the M40A1 and a fiber optic front. Used the flashlight in the "back of support hand against back of shooting hand position", and it worked well. I shot this stage quickly and accurately for a good score. Lesson: That flashlight position works well with standard sights. Other guys didn't think so. Place: 1/8

    Stage 3: start from a chair, get up and flip on police light bar (flashing cop lights). Run to table pick up loaded gun and shoot 4 targets with no-shoots and hard cover, medium difficult shots. Mandatory reload, engage next array of 4 similar targets. I shot this one fine. Lesson: Tritium sights are an advantage in low light. Place: 2/8

    Stage 4: Flashlight with fiber optic sight. I did OK, but after one reload I lost a second or 2 fumbling for my light. Then I forgot to shoot one partially hidden target on the last array. I shot this stage at blazing speed, and if I had not forgotten that target this would probably have been an easy 1st place, and a big help in score. Lesson: Mentally rehearse the stage, you moron. Stupid fricking moron.... ;) Place: 5/8

    Other lessons:

    1) I was utterly UNimpressed with the vaunted "blinding muzzle flash at night". All guns were standard .45, .40 or 9mm autos. And the flash was of no consequence whatsoever. There were no Open guns (the kind with comps) in my squad.

    2) Tritium helped in the low light, A front tritium with plain rear would likely be adequate for "real guns". The rear dots were useful for the longer shots.

    3) Malfunctions in the dark stink. I did not have any, but others did. My Steyrs were flawless, of course.

    I didn't see my final score, headed home. It was nothing special I'm sure. I shot .40 minor PF ammo in Production class. Used a 2 Alpha belt from CED, a GF Oak kydex holster, and my quad mag pouch from Rich at Custom Carry. Also used a CED tactical light.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2009
  2. babj615

    babj615 Premium Member

    Great post TB!

    You are the second member in a week to say how overstated muzzle flash from a pistol is in low light or dark conditions.

    I have always felt people play this one up far too much....

    Glad to have a couple more 'real life stories' for the archives!

  3. bigtaco

    bigtaco Active Member

    sounds great!

    my experience with nighttime muzzle flash involves a 30-06 looking through a 10x scope.

    it seriously takes 1 full minute before i can leave the stand and find the deer.

    how do you reload with a flash light? everyone has an opinion, but yours' always smell like roses. :)
  4. ThaiBoxer

    ThaiBoxer Active Member

    I don't know if anyone else does this way or not, and no one taught me this, so use at your own peril:

    I use a wrist lanyard that I made from para cord. I attach it to the light handle just behind the fat part of the lense area. When it hangs free, the lense is touching the "karate chop" area of my hand with the tail button pointing downward, and I just turn my hand thumb down and grab it, so my thumb is on the clicky tail button.

    A lanyard at the tail area needs to be long enough so that you can hold the light in "icepick" position, and that flops too much when free. So I never used/liked it that way. I attach mine to the light body with a simple loop and a "tactical black" cable tie.

    I was somewhat guided by an article where guys were using split rings for keys, and attaching that to the tail of the light and slipping a finger thru, letting it dangle during mag changes.

    My way is pretty tight, there is only about an inch of dangle. I have sliding line knots that are really simple but hard to explain that take up slack in the lanyard.

    I did 4 reloads with the light and mildly botched that last one. 2 of the others worked super slick, to where I heard comments on it.


    Last edited: Jan 12, 2009
  5. ThaiBoxer

    ThaiBoxer Active Member

    FYI: I tightened the innermost mag holder on the quad a touch, so that the outer mags come free easier than the inner mags. This seems to prevent catching the inner mag, or what I think of as "cluster-f..grabbing" if you make a sloppy pull.
  6. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

    I recently learned the exact same thing during an outdoors range trip that ran a little bit into the night. Even with the (flash hider equipped) assault rifles, flash was negligible.

    SELFDEFENSE Premium Member

    I have only shot one Surefire low light match.
    Gives you a little glimpse of the complications of the real world.