Instructor’s observations from the recent Combat Carbine & Lowlight Techniques

cmshoot

Sniper
Jul 12, 2016
1,612
2,017
113
Dallas, GA
Zip code
30132
-Is your WML powerful enough for your weapon’s intended use? “Too bright” is better than “too dim”. Some students had a hard time seeing steel targets painted red, yellow, blue, and green at even 80 yards. Some could see the red and yellow steel, but the darker blue and green targets faded into the background. If you weapon is intended for home defense only, then you can get away with a lower lumens light. If it’s set up as a general purpose carbine for residential, urban, and all-around outdoor use, you’re going to need something with some power to it.


-LED vs incandescent. LED does not work as well during smoke, fog, etc., as incandescent does. This even includes the smoke from your muzzle on a cold, wet night. That light bit of smoke is enough to cause issues with target engagement when your LED light won’t cut through the fog/smoke and instead lights it up. It’s like trying to look through glare. LED has advantages of being more durable, brighter, and increased battery life.


-Muzzle devices: Flash suppressor/hider vs compensator/brake. Figure out what you want to use the rifle for. If it’s a competition piece or range toy, then by all means get a comp or brake. If it’s a serious use carbine that will be used without a can on it, get a flash suppressor/hide. The more effective the brake/comp is at reducing recoil/muzzle rise, the louder it is, and the brighter the flash at night. Unless you're shooting something like a .300WinMag or .338 Lapua Magnum, use a flash hider for real-use guns. In my opinion, over years of observation, the 3-prong types work best at defeating flash. Smith Enterprise Vortex, AAC Blackout, SiCo ASR, etc., all work very well.


-Choose the right ammo for the task. If you have ammo that you keep in your carbine for “real” use, pick something other than M193 or M855 ball. There are plenty of great 5.56 loads with bullets that have terminal ballistics that are great improvements over FMJ’s. Additionally, many of these loads have less muzzle flash than ball ammo. The Hornady TAP line is one. In front of the students, I fired several loads out of my 16” carbine with a SiCo ASR flash hider. The control load was Federal M193. Honestly, with the ASR, the flash from M193 was not very bad at all. If the load performed better terminally, the flash signature wouldn’t keep me from using it. However, the other three loads I shot have better terminal ballistics and less flash; Hornady TAP 70grn GMX 5.56, Georgia Arms 60grn VMAX (a copy of a Hornady TAP load), and MagTech 77grn (a copy of the Mk 262 load that I’ve found to be more accurate than the Black Hills load in my rifles and carbine.....and much cheaper and easier to find).


-Can you work your carbine by feel only? Load, unload, clear a malfunction, assess weapon status? At night you may not be able to see what you or your weapon are doing. If I’m not under fire, and I’m reloading or performing an initial load, I’ll feel the top of the magazine and see which side the top round is on. After chambering a round, I can remove the mag and see if the top round has switched sides.......if it has, then I’ve got a round chambered. With a fingertip, do you know how to check at the front of the ejection port to see if your bolt is in battery in an AR? If you have a malfunction, can you clear it by feel?


Can you find and access all your gear by feel, especially your mags? Is your belt/vest/carrier set up in such a way that it is easy to access what you need by feel? Do you have too much excess kit, or too many things that feel similar? Items like magazines need to be your more important items and need to be positioned for ease and quickness of access.


-When you’re engaging at close to medium distances, and you have a solid RDS and a good, bright light, accept no loss of accuracy over your daytime results. There is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to make equally accurate hits under those conditions. If it’s kicking your ass, you’re probably not comfortable with it, so plenty of practice should be in your future.


-There were numerous techniques that students mentioned they were not comfortable with. Engaging from the support shoulder, in order to better use support-side cover, was one of the common issues. Good thing about techniques like this is that they can be worked on at home during dry-fire training. The more you shoulder it on the support shoulder, the more comfortable it will become. I don’t expect anyone to feel as good from the support shoulder as they do from the strong shoulder, but they should feel good enough to be competent.
 

cmshoot

Sniper
Jul 12, 2016
1,612
2,017
113
Dallas, GA
Zip code
30132
Additional point:

-Some students found that their WML setup was difficult to operate when the carbine was in their support shoulder and their hands had swapped places. An option, other than getting a new light setup, is to switch the weapon to your support shoulder but keep your hands in the same positions they are when you’re using your strong shoulder. For instance, if you’re right-handed, you’d place the buttstock in your left shoulder but keep your right hand on the pistol grip /trigger, and the left hand on the forearm. I call this Switching Shoulders, which is different from Switching Sides where you swap shoulders AND hands.
 

cmshoot

Sniper
Jul 12, 2016
1,612
2,017
113
Dallas, GA
Zip code
30132
AAR by one of the students that attended this course:


As other have stated, another great class and the additional low light training was outstanding. The rain and extended lowlight was once again a wake-up call on gear selection for me and others. This class had a lot of movement at night and that was absolutely the best part. The other thing that @cmshoot does in his classes that I really like is that the drill/scenario may have more than one way to tackle the problem. In my case on one of the drills, I chose lateral movement to direct cover vs. movement in the assault and then taking cover. Shep is always watchful and pointed that out to the other students who had all chosen to proceed in the manner of the demo. Which is another item that is always great in his classes, everything is fully demonstrated by one of the instructors before you do the drill. Sometimes more than once with alternative options. Always great to learn by seeing someone do it right first.

I am looking forward to handgun version of this class. Just my opinion, but I think everyone ought take advantage of any and all lowlight training. It is highly likely that any encounter where you may need a firearm will be in the dark. Take advantage of these classes to wring out your gear and know what muzzle flash will look like. At the 100yd line with my light, I had to wait for smoke & condensation from the humid air to clear to be able to see enough to take that follow-up shot and be accurate. Just something I’d never thought about before. Also confirmed that LEDs suck in smoky/foggy conditions. Once student did have a light made by Modlight. That light was amazing and lit up the whole range from 100yds.

As always instruction was great and running 2 stations made sure downtime was a minimum.
 
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madHatter

Tactical Operator
Mar 25, 2015
6,897
6,819
113
Medina
Zip code
44256
thankfully one of my blessings/curses is that I shoot my rifles right handed and my pistols left handed. so I will never confuse which mag I grab. long range eye is my right, close range is my left -_-

if your torch doesnt have at least 100 meter throw, get one that does. period. plenty of weapon lights out there, find one in your price range. edc is different than tactical application. also, pistol lights are important. I have to re-address my carbine light. it is acting funny when I push the pressure switch. I noticed this doing a monthly gear check. probably pinched the cable, as the battery was charged from last month.

modlight hrmm, never heard of them, gonna have to check it out.



as always, thank you for your observations. without being there, it is helpful for us to gain some extra insights. appreciated.
 

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Hunter
Site Supporter
Oct 14, 2019
77
334
53
Georgia
Lot Of good points mentioned. I took the class and can tell you as mentioned running a brake at night lot of smoke and all for that led light to hit and boom no reticle. I was one who could not see my optic on my support side with my lpvo i plan to spen alot of time dry practice at home now. Great class and great expeirence to test your gear and kit. learned quick need alot more time running my tavor and changing mags under stress before thinking of grabbing it in”real life”. This class taught me also as @cmshoot mentioned brakes are cool at the range, not so cool at night if you NEEDED your rifle. Already ordered a true flash hider. Highly recommend this and the pistol version. Great classes
 

cmshoot

Sniper
Jul 12, 2016
1,612
2,017
113
Dallas, GA
Zip code
30132
Lot Of good points mentioned. I took the class and can tell you as mentioned running a brake at night lot of smoke and all for that led light to hit and boom no reticle. I was one who could not see my optic on my support side with my lpvo i plan to spen alot of time dry practice at home now. Great class and great expeirence to test your gear and kit. learned quick need alot more time running my tavor and changing mags under stress before thinking of grabbing it in”real life”. This class taught me also as @cmshoot mentioned brakes are cool at the range, not so cool at night if you NEEDED your rifle. Already ordered a true flash hider. Highly recommend this and the pistol version. Great classes
Thanks for taking the time to comment. It was a pleasure having you in the class and I hope to see you again.