View Full Version : Handgun shooting with NVG

Jake 98c/11b
November 25, 1999, 10:11 PM
How can you shoot effectively with a handgun (or for that matter a carbine) while wearing night vision goggles? You can't focus on the sights and still see the target with the PVS-7 goggles we have in our unit because the depth of field is too short. I would assume that using an IR laser has all the faults of visible light lasers and I was wondering if anything else would work. Is the only option point shooting?

Jeff White
November 25, 1999, 11:20 PM
Once tried shooting a tritium night sight equipped SW 5906 with PVS-5s on. It was like having flares on the slide.

I have found that NVGs are the only real tactical application for lasers.

Are you familiar with the AN/PAQ-4 Infared Aiming Light?

You might be able to do better with one of the monocular setups that leaves one eye without the image intensifier sight. I don't know though, I've never used that type of set up.

[This message has been edited by Jeff White (edited November 26, 1999).]

Jake 98c/11b
November 26, 1999, 10:59 AM
I was afraid that would be the reply I'd see here. I think the monocular set up you describe is a better way to go in general, mainly because it preserves some night vision. Unfortunately I can't try that because we don't have access to a monocular set up. I would think the monocular would take some getting used to because the unaided eye can move arround but the nvd equiped eye looks (through the device) straight ahead. It may be easy enough to shift your attention back and forth between your eyes but I have no idea as to if this would work or not. I am rambling now so I will stop typing now. Thanks for the response.

Chuck Ames
November 27, 1999, 07:58 PM

Messed around with it a bit when I worked in our unit's arms room. Sorry, but IR lasers are about all you've got. A buddy of mine at 2nd Ranger Bn. used the AN/PAQ 4 (I think) with NVG's in the field. He said he had great results on a SAW of all things. For CQB, it's white light for me, though.


November 29, 1999, 08:04 PM
We have the PAC-4C and PVS 7D's at work and with the helmet mount this is a extremly effective combo. (the head harness stinks) You use the beam hit system to sight in the PAC4C to your weapon and then wherever you lase the bullet will strike. The PAC 4C can be mounted on any long arm but not a pistol.

With the pistol your best bet is a 6P or 6Z light.

March 24, 2006, 11:14 AM
I think NVG's would be great in a home defense situation. Easier to spot a BG. Of course the muzzle flash while wearing them would be blinding! Perhaps a monocular set up on your non-dominant eye.

March 24, 2006, 12:26 PM
No matter what you do, you're going to have to deal with muzzle flash. IR lasers work fine if you're shooting further out, but up close you're going to want white light...yes, even in an SD situation in your house.

Night Vision is for soft entries (all ninja-like). The moment you lose the element of surprise you ditch the NVG's. In a home invasion, chances are you're not going to have the element of surprise on your side.

IR lasers are your only choice if you really want to use NVG's. Might I ask WHY you want to use NVG's with a pistol?? It doesn't make tactical sense to me.

March 28, 2006, 10:50 AM
why not use NVG with pistols,please explain:) A month ago we start to use NVG's in our agency,so at the moment we are not familiar with them

March 28, 2006, 01:40 PM
In my opinion, the benefits of using NVG's with a pistol do not outweigh the difficulties or shortcomings of using the equipment.

Depending on the type of equipment you are using - Gen 2 or Gen 3 - you are going to have different considerations.

Unless absolutely necessary (i.e. if you're a techno-ninja or, more realistically, need to maintain the element of surprise) then I would not advocate the use of Gen 2 NVG's such as the AN PVS-7B. These devices require the use of BOTH your eyes and as a result severely handicap your depth-perception.

Gen 3 NVG's such as the AN PVS-14 series are more preferrable if you really need NVG's. The 14's are monocular and only require one eye, leaving the other eye to see normally. This increases depth perception, but takes a bit of practice because it just feels wierd - not to mention your vision is a bit strange.

Ok, so that's a quick explanation of the equipment, so now for the personal preference and TTP discussion:

Think about how you would use your NVD's (night vision device) and what kind of advantage they give you. You are able to basically "see" in the dark, to the severe disadvantage of your opponent. This allows for easier movement and target location and identification when compared to moving around in low/no light.
What do you give up, though? For one, your ability to obtain sight picture/sight alignment is the first to go, at this point you're basically using QK or P&S skills. Two: you give up peripheral vision. There are other minor disadvantages, but we'll concentrate on those two because they are the important ones.

So, for moving around in the dark, NVD's are very useful. However, once you lose the element of surprise - the enemy knows you're there... it's generally going to be ok to toss the ninja tactics at that point and proceed as though your opponent is on to you...because they probably are. So unless you are able to regain some level of surprise, then the NVG's should stand by to get turned off. Here's why:
Gen 2 & 3 NVD's have a safety mechanism that deactivates the equipment in the event of excessive light. Too much light can damage the image-intensifier, so in the event that the lenses are flooded with white light the image-intensifier shuts down...basically turning off your NVD. This is going to result in temporary blindness while you remove the goggles from your face. The risk is that those fractions of a second could be costly. I have experienced a set of AN PVS-14's shut down because of the muzzle flash from a Baretta M9. There is also the same risk if you pick up the muzzle flash of someone shooting AT you. Also, what if someone flips on a light in the room? Same thing...now you have lost the element of surprise and are at a disadvantage while you react.

There are IR lasers that you can fit onto your long gun, entry weapon, or even your handgun, and those work out pretty nicely except when you have several bouncing dots within your field of view because everyone else has their lighs on too! :)
The IR lasers work great, actually. Once they're zeroed-in and reliable they're a great asset - at longer distances. I'm not truly convinced they're as beneficial up close...like in the situations you would be using a pistol, for the same reasons as stated above.

My personal preference if it's time to whip out the old pistola is to use a handheld tactical light. Chances are they know you're there anyway, so the need for ultimate secrecy is pretty much over. The tac-light gives you a wider field of vision, more detail (without sacrificing depth-perception), and will blind the crap out of anyone who gets hit in the face with it. Additionally, if you're concerned about not being able to see because your night-eyes are affected by your white-light...well just light up whatever it is you want to see...after all, you're holding the light ;)

As always: time, situation, and mission will dictate. But this is what I've come to think during my time.

I'm not saying that NVG's are worthless, just that using them opens up a whole new realm of tactical considerations that you have to be aware of to remain effective.

March 29, 2006, 01:15 AM
Good explanation;)