Reduced Light Shooting Tips
The purpose of this article is to assist you in developing the skills necessary for effectively employing a semi-automatic pistol during a shooting confrontation in other than daylight conditions.
As a L.E.O. / Military / Security Professional, you will work in various low-light conditions. Therefore, you must be prepared to properly perform in other than ideal conditions.
In order to successfully shoot a threat in Reduced Light the Shooter should be able to demonstrate and/or identify:
- Proper range discipline with weapon
- Identifying sources of available light
- Methods that will assist is visually adapting to reduced light environment
- Proper techniques of threat identification to be used in a reduced light environment
- Proper marksmanship techniques while using a flashlight and your semi-automatic pistol
Two types of Light
Ambient Light: Moon light, Street lights, light from traffic, alley lights, runway lights, emergency lights, parking lot lights, Light you do not control, etc.
Alternative light source: Light switches, your own flashlight, light you have control over.
Low Light Hints
BE PREPARED: Always Bring your light and whenever possible become familiar with your environment.
VISION: The human eye requires as much as 30-45 minutes to adjust to darkness, therefore you can plan ahead!
- Avoid looking unnecessarily at light sources.
- Light sources can be detrimental to the Shooter by silhouetting their position, avoid backlighting yourself with any other source.
- A decrease in the rate of dark adaptation and the degree of night vision capacity will occur with prolonged, repeated exposure to bright sunlight (Parsons 14)
- Remove sunglasses prior to entering dark area or when entering an enclosed darkened structure or vessel from the normal lighting conditions
- Receive annual eye exams
- DO NOT WEAR permanent tint or lenses that gradually change color density when out of bright light during the performance of your duties *TIP: Instead wear clip-on sunglasses over the prescription glasses.
- Smoking will impair an individual’s degree of night vision capacity!!!
“If the officer smokes, he/she loses 20% of their night vision capability at sea level. This equals a physiological altitude of 5,000 feet” (Parsons 13).
- As light level decreases, color perception also decreases. Light and Dark colors at night can be distinguished only by the intensity of reflected light (Human eye will identify shades of gray).
- Perception of fine detail is impossible at night
- ID of objects at night is based on perceiving general contours and outlines, not on small distinguishing features (Parsons 13)
- Depth Perception is impaired
- Thus, a person’s ability to ID subjects and objects (weapons/threats) is impaired.
- TARGET INDENTIFICATION BECOMES CRITICAL!!!
- In a low-light situation, do not stare at objects, scan with your eyes…employing your peripheral vision and look “around” objects” instead of staring directly at them. This will reduce the affects of the “Night time Blind Spot”.
- Figure 8 Method. By scanning in a horizontal figure 8 you increase your ability to identify threats and pick up on movement.
These are the basics for the classroom portion of the lowlight course; I suggest finding a competent instructor in your area to teach you the proper shooting techniques in a safe manner.