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Old March 28, 2006, 01:40 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: January 6, 2006
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 570
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 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 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.
Semper Fi-
David Williams

"Sabah al khair -- ismee Dave, ahnee al Shayṭān"
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