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View Full Version : HD Intruder Scenario - Night vision instead of flashlight


shappy0869
October 20, 2006, 02:29 PM
So I am bored at work today and was thinking, if you think hear someone breaking into your house at night, of course you want to identify the person and make sure they are a bad guy. A weapon-mounted flashlight is certainly a way to do it, but that same light can 1) give away your position and 2) make you a nice target.

But what about some sort of night-scope with IR illuminator? It would let you see your target, while at the same time maintaining your hidden position?

Sure, there is the cost to consider, but what about the basic idea?
Something like this is about $300, not much more than a Surefire.

http://www.yukonamericas.com/ProductImages/26041%20NVMT%20Laser%203x42%20Scope%20Kit.jpg

http://www.yukonamericas.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=25

Thoughts?

HCfan
October 20, 2006, 03:05 PM
Actually, I was thinking of posting a thread like this but felt that too many folks would try to hang the mall ninja or tactical stereotype on me.

So, I've decided, so what.

I have a set up like the type pictured. The night vision scope is removable so you can either hold it or mount it.

Aside from some folks thinking that I do this due to a mall ninja delusional syndrome, I do it because it's much easier to wear this and weld a shotgun while patrolling my land for the bigger four legged animals that seem to enjoy chicken and lamb dinners.


Nice to have inside the house also, no lights to give you away ;)

skeeter1
October 20, 2006, 03:37 PM
I don't think that's a bad idea at all. I've always thought I'd hold the big MagLite out at arms-length with my left hand while I had a handgun in my right hand. I don't have any experience with IR/nightsights, but I'm going to look into that. Thanks for the suggestion.

Mannlicher
October 20, 2006, 08:27 PM
much better than a flashlight.

cggunner81
October 20, 2006, 11:43 PM
As far as night vision is concerned for home defense, not sure about that. I'm a big fan of a surfire flashlight. I also prefer that it not be attached to my weapon, as it gives me a chance to identify my target without pointing my weapon at it. Also, with the brightness of the surefire, i have found thru training that it really does distract your target. Hope you find this useful

DonR101395
October 20, 2006, 11:54 PM
I would stick with a flashlight personally for hd. One of the disadvantages to NVGs is that you lose your depth perception and also the muzzle flash from a handgun can shut you down temporarily especially with the gen 1 tubes the lower end NVGs come with. I've got 1900 hours of NVG time in helicopters shooting guns, but wouldn't use them for hd in my house unless I were using gen 3 tubes, I had a place to practice shooting with them in closed environment like a room in my house and then they cost way more than a surefire.

skeeter1
October 21, 2006, 12:36 AM
I did a little surfing around. Gen 1 night vision, pretty cheap. Gen 2, quite a bit more expensive. Gen 3, holy samolies, some of those cost more than the most expensive firearm I own! I guess I'm going to stick with my MagLite with the LED conversion.

Capt Charlie
October 21, 2006, 11:58 AM
From a tactical standpoint, the 1st generation stuff isn't all that great. The problem's with the IR illuminater, which is highly visible in a dark room.

No, it doesn't illuminate the room like a flashlight (at least, to our eyes, it doesn't), but if you look right at the source, you can see a distinct, red glow. So can the bad guy, and that glow provides a nice "X" ring, right above your eye ;) .

Epyon
October 21, 2006, 01:13 PM
What if in court it doesn't hold? Prosecutor says, "Your honor, why would this person use nightvision? This person clearly meant to kill my client/client's family member/etc. by staying concealed and using the advantage of darkness in order to intentionally murder the 'vitctim'." The main thing I'm asking is, is night vision a liability in home defense?


Epyon

Syntax360
October 21, 2006, 02:33 PM
Ya - the Sam Fisher crap wouldn't look real great in front of a jury, although you could simply remove the gear and never mention it in the police report, etc.
But then again, if it was a justified shooting, I wouldn't sweat it too much. The BG knew he was taking a chance going into someone else's house - he should have assumed that James Bond lived in all of them.

The Canuck
October 21, 2006, 02:59 PM
Mil-spec NV gear comes in two major applications (Sea/Air and Ground), three varieties (monocle, Binocular and Monocular (one scope goes to two screens)) and five generations (Gen I, II, III, III+ & IV).

The SEA/Air has a sort or peripheral vision due to the fact the NV gear does not rest right up against the eyesocket. The Ground stuff does, becuse you do not want to be detected by the light reflecting off of your face and into the ether, so these have a little soft plastic or rubber cup that covers the eye copmpletely, minimizing any seepage of light. However, they also have absolutely no peripheral vision. Both varieties have the problem of screwing with your eye relief and sight alignment, the monocles are good for reducing the sight picture troubles as well as the binocular scopes. The monoculars are hell to sight through.

If you are going to use one, be sure your sights check out with the gear. There was some trouble with certain types of tritium sights causing too much glare in earlier models I hear.

JohnKSa
October 21, 2006, 04:53 PM
No, it doesn't illuminate the room like a flashlight (at least, to our eyes, it doesn't), but if you look right at the source, you can see a distinct, red glow.You can use high-output IR LEDs which will serve as a totally invisible illuminator for NV devices.

I have one (bought from the folks that sell the Photon microlights) that is completely invisible to the naked eye--even in total darkness--that will light up a room when I'm looking through my NV scope.

That said, anyone who's thinking of using NV for self-defense definitely needs to get ahold of some NV products and play with them in reasonable scenarios.

NV is a lot more limited than many people think.

Capt Charlie
October 21, 2006, 05:03 PM
You can use high-output IR LEDs which will serve as a totally invisible illuminator for NV devices.
Agreed John, but folks need to know that the built-in illuminators that come on most of the over-the-counter, 1st generation stuff will point out their position better than a neon sign with an arrow saying "Eat at Joe's" :D .

JohnKSa
October 21, 2006, 06:44 PM
Good point.

FWIW, I've been underimpressed with the first gen NV performance. IMO, anyone who's planning to stake their life on their NV really needs to consider Gen II+ as the minimum.

LICCW
October 21, 2006, 07:19 PM
I am a huge believer in Surefire flashlights. I think they are a far better choice than night vision equipment.

Capt Charlie
October 21, 2006, 07:57 PM
FWIW, I've been underimpressed with the first gen NV performance. IMO, anyone who's planning to stake their life on their NV really needs to consider Gen II+ as the minimum.
Likewise. I bought a 1st generation, 3X monocular by Night Owl Optics a few years back. At the time, I had a sick mare that needed tending, and finding a black horse that might be down, at night and in a 50 acre field was a real challenge.

I thought NV would be the answer, but it really wasn't that much help. It's effectiveness outdoors seemed to vary with the ambient temperature, the amount of starlight/moonlight, and dew on the ground. On cool nights with dew, it was next to worthless.

One other really big drawback to the 1st generation stuff is the lack of overload protection. Shine headlights or a Surefire directly at 1st gen. NV and you instantly fry the intensifier tube... and they ain't cheap ;) .

BillCA
October 21, 2006, 11:50 PM
From a liability standpoint, I don't think the prosecutor could make a case against someone using NV gear. Using it could cut both ways;

"Ladies & gentlemen, contrary to the prosecutor's claim that my client used night-vision equipment to enable him to murder the deceased, the truth of the matter is that my client acquired and used an expensive piece of electronic equipment to enable him to positively identify the deceased as an intruder! That equipment proved the deceased was not a policeman or fireman, not a houseguest or some other person of innocent intent.

There are too many issues with NV gear for me to consider it applicable to a HD scenario under normal conditions. Weapons mounted systems should be isolated from the shock of firing unless you're spending big bucks on a Mil-Spec system.

As said before, you need to look through them and this reduces peripherial vision, plus the green light can play hob with the night-vision in your Mark-I eyeball. Muzzle flash or strong light washes out the display quickly and if your adversary (or a family member) turns on lights your advantge disappears.

A 2-cell or 3-cell SureFire light is cheaper, easier to use and more reliable. In the face of an adversary it is painfully blinding, even with the houselights on.
(Just be aware of mirrors and chrome furniture in your home.)

kozak6
October 22, 2006, 12:10 AM
Most nightvision scopes have magnification, the one pictured above having 3x magnification.

Try scurrying around your house with a regular 3X scope. It doesn't work too well, does it?

Now, a nightvision scope will be even worse, especially if it has more magnification. There will be a lot more to fiddle with and try to focus, not to mention expensive batteries to replace.

If the burglar isn't completely meth-addled and has a flashlight, oops, your $300 is gone.

The infrared illuminators? Not completely invisible. At hallway and room distances, you can see the red LED's just fine.

A dollar store flashlight would be a better choice.

Tim Burke
October 22, 2006, 08:06 AM
Using night vision to survey the area is one thing, and makes some sense, provided the IR illuminator isn't giving you away.
Actually engaging with NV is problematic.

DesertShooter
October 22, 2006, 08:43 AM
The problem with most NV devices inside a residence is with what you actually view. You lose depth perception AND peripheral vision. Add to that, the "cheapie" NV equipment is pretty much compromised when subjected to lighting (Watch the Harrison Ford movie "Patriot Games" for a good example of what I mean).

Hand-held flashlights, at least in my opinion, are better than weapons-mounted flashlights. Why? Well, as you mentioned, they make you a "target".
A hand-held flashlight can be dropped on the floor and will STILL illuminate a fairly good portion of a room. They can be held to one side with your off-hand, or held in a modified "Weaver" stance, supporting your shooting hand....then switched back to overhead ilumination or dropped to the floor. With a weapons-mounted flashlight, your options are limited.

You might also look into getting some motion sensor devices. Some are VERY inexpensive, and can be added onto a standard lighting fixture. They would assist in lighting the area where movement is sensed, so they work well where no one is "expected" to be during the hours of darkness.

Illuminating the ENTIRE room is probably the best. If you are able to reach a wall switch inside of a room while remaining in a darkened hallway, YOU are not illuminated, and the suddenness of the illumination inside the room can be used to your advantage.

I've toyed with the idea of trying to use a relatively inexpensive ($200) heat tracking device (they're used for tracking game). The bad thing about them is that they have LED lights to indicate thermal changes and directions. I use one when I camp, to find out where the night critters are, and it works great, but those critters aren't armed and don't know what LED lights might mean.

skeeter1
October 22, 2006, 07:04 PM
Illuminating the ENTIRE room is probably the best. If you are able to reach a wall switch inside of a room while remaining in a darkened hallway, YOU are not illuminated, and the suddenness of the illumination inside the room can be used to your advantage.


That sounds like good advice. I know when I shined the 3-watt LED MagLite at my neighbor (just in jest), he didn't like it. I think I'll stick with that and skip the NVs.

JohnKSa
October 22, 2006, 08:08 PM
If you REALLY want a blinding flashlight, check THIS (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=220352) thread out...
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=20465&d=1159494023
http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=20465&d=1159494023
Expensive? Certainly not compared to good quality NV.

Bright? At 1050 lumens, the Black Bear Borealis is 75% brighter than the brightest flashlight Surefire sells. Over 850% more light output than a 3W Maglite LED conversion.

The flashlight in the picture comparing the Honda highbeams to the flashlight is my Black Bear Search and Rescue 852. It's ONLY about 40% brighter than the brightest Surefire product. :D (Why did I choose the S&R over the Borealis? It runs at full brightness for over an hour on a charge!)

MisterPX
October 22, 2006, 10:49 PM
If you're going to choose Gen 1 NV, you may as well not even use them.
Work with a 2+ or better, 1x monacle, and things get pretty good.