Fighting in a low light setting is one of the most demanding things you can do, let alone with a firearm. It requires alot of things to be done right and for you to be very proficient. This means that you must practice and constantly challenge yourself. If there is anything I have learned in my time of fighting in low light and training in low light, it is that there is no one thing that is universally applicable. Darkness will complicate everything and adding in having to use and be mindful of other gear, in addition to your gun, adds to the complexity. There are a few basic things that are necessary and vital to effectively fighting at night, and I want to go over them briefly.
If you look at any statistic, you will find that low light is one of the most popular times for criminals to commit crimes. There are crimes happening all the time, but there seems to be something about night time that emboldens alot of violent criminals. Darkness conceals them and allows them to ambush their prey with greater effect. Police Officers have the most experience in these matters, and the numbers show that low light is the most lethal for them. Lower visibility seems to translate to lower effectiveness when it comes to self defense. Don't just think you can throw a light on your gun or in your pocket and be ready for what lurks in the night.
MYTHS & MISUNDERSTANDINGS
Just like anything else in the gun industry, there are endless amounts of theories, myths, and misunderstandings. Many of these myths are easily debunked if you just go to a course and do any semblance of force on force training. Things people say like "shoot at the light being shined in your eyes" or "must have night sights" are based on outdated information or rooted in concepts that the person doesn't know about. Don't get caught up in these "easy out" sayings as if it is easy knowledge that is always factual. Always seek out why and get training if you can. This will prevent you from relying on outdated info or attaching yourself to the armchair commando brigade. In low light, more than most other types of shooting, you don't have the luxury of leaning on outdated info or third hand info.
Unlike alot of shooting gear out there, handheld and weapon mounted lights are more likely to to have a significant impact on your performance in low light. Of course, how you use them is another story.No one piece of gear will give you a definitive upper hand in low light. However, each piece of gear is situation-dependent and requires you to be tactically mindful.
Got each piece of gear, there are a variety of techniques that you can use. Each technique works well with different situations, but none are universal in how well they work in each situation. The best advice I can think to give is to do the best you can to master as many of the techniques out there as possible. Learn how they work in a tactical sense and how to quickly and efficiently employ them. Transitioning from one technique to the other is also a good thing to work on as well. Combining good gear with good techniques and applying them with good tactics is what will pay off if you ever have to use these skills to save your life.
When using a flashlight in low light, it is important to be tactically mindful of the situation and how to utilize your environment and gear in a way that give you an upper hand. You may not be familiar with the grounds you must fight on, but you can be able to recognize how a certain layout can work to your advantage.
Being able to look at a situation and know what kind of gear to use and how to approach a situation is absolutely vital. Adapting and being able to know when to move to another piece of gear and use a different technique in an efficient manner is a good skill to have and is something you should strive to be fast at.
In low light shooting, you will have to react fast, which means you will need to be able to shoot fast. As with shooting in any other condition, your accuracy must be on point. The one thing I will say is that there are plenty of times when you may be shooting one handed. Many of the techniques used are meant to try and give you some form of two handed grip for shooting. However, we cannot always count on such a luxury. It is best to practice shooting one handed often and try to be able to do it fast and accurately.
As with any form of fighting, especially one that is for your life, is going to be sexy or perfect. There is not much you can do about looking good when you are having to move and shoot as fast as you can. It is not like you will have time to have everything perfect in a fight and look good while doing it. Personally, I don't remember a time when I looked particularly sexy, nor did I perform any kind of action in a textbook manner. I did the best I could with the gear and position I had at the time. It wasn't pretty and I am pretty sure armchair commandos, with the gift of hindsight, would tear apart my technique. But that is why they are armchair commandos. The best thing you can do is apply your techniques in a tactically sound manner and play the hand you're dealt.
Do It Rite
Alaska-Based Youtube Vlogger, Retired Marine, gun enthusiast, and passionate firearm and gear evaluator.