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Greetings everybody. I have a question about a weapon light for a rifle. I've never really shot a rifle in the dark before. Tonight I put my Streamlight TLR1 HL (800 lumens) on my AR and shot in the dark at 6" and 3" steel plates at about 80 yards. What I discovered is that the light REALLY illuminates the dust particles floating in the air. It's a clear night but the dust in the air made it seem hazy when the light was on. FYI, I'm running an Eotech 512 with a Burris 3x magnifier. Using the magnifier almost made it worse (like using high beams in the fog).

So... my question is... would using a rifle light, such as the Streamlight ProTac, be any different than using the TLR1? I understand the ProTac has ergonomic advantages but in the real-world lighting scenario I wouldn't think there would be much of an advantage to using a true rifle light vs. a pistol light. Thoughts??

Any thoughts or comments will be greatly appreciated.
 
Posts: 131 | Registered: January 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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It’s hard to know what to say without more details. Why was there so much dust in the air? Were you kicking it up from shooting prone?

There are ways to keep the dust down and perhaps even to keep from blowing it up so much, but if that wasn’t the cause, you’ve already identified one thing that enhances its effect, and that’s using magnification. If you could shine the light at a different angle than the sight line that would probably help, but that’s hardly possible with the light on the rifle. The only other thing I can think of is to reduce the illumination power of the light you use; 800 lumens is pretty bright, and as anyone who has driven in a snowstorm can probably attest, more brightness actually makes the situation worse. You might experiment with a less powerful light.

Lastly, I would recommend trying to focus on the targets and ignoring as much as possible the distraction of the light reflecting from the dust. If you can see the targets, you can aim at them and hit them if you observe your normal shooting fundamentals. We ignore other distractions such as the noise and recoil to the extent possible, so do the same with the dust.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39425 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for replying! The dust was just naturally in the air, not from shooting.

I'm just a recreational shooter but I look at the specs of these lights. The ProTac HL-X has a beam distance of 332 meters per Streamlight's website so I wanted to see what my TLR1 HL would be like.

By the way, it was a lot of fun! I'll take advantage of the non-daylight savings time darkness and do it again.
 
Posts: 131 | Registered: January 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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If it’s just a dusty environment, I would first try to do as I suggest and simply ignore the dust. If you were able to see and shoot at the targets, focus on them and try not to think about the dust. Something that may help with that is don’t try to find the reticle of the sight first as you’re bringing the gun on target, but rather find the target by eye and use your peripheral vision to bring the reticle to the target. That might force you to better ignore the dust.

I’m familiar with only a couple of weapon lights and can’t offer any real advice about specific models. A light with a tighter beam will illuminate less dust in the air, but might make it more difficult to find the target quickly.

Congratulations, BTW, for taking the time and effort to practice shooting in the dark. There are differences from shooting in normal light, and some, like the dust problem, don’t become obvious until we actually do it.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39425 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Go ahead punk, make my day
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Lumens aren't the only consideration, as lots of pistol lights have a wider throw than some purpose built rifle WMLs like Streamlight Protac and Surefire Scouts, which are more of a focused beam with less spill.
 
Posts: 41593 | Registered: July 12, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Administrator
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It may not be atmospheric.

Something else you may want to consider: if you are shooting in cold weather, you can make your own "cloud" which is why I try to move every couple of shots at our night matches, if possible. When using cover, try to move to the other side or as far from your previous shots as possible.

The issue in cold weather is that your outgoing rounds can create their own contrails at night. This creates a particulate high-beams-in-fog effect that gets reflected back in the bazzillion lumen lights folks use these days. The outgoing bullet concentrates moisture like an aircraft wing does a high altitude.

Just a couple feet to the left and right can usually address this, but if you rip off 5-6 shots from the same position, the effect is cumulative. Add a bright light and pretty soon you are shooting from inside your own cloud.
 
Posts: 17524 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:
The issue in cold weather is that your outgoing rounds can create their own contrails at night.


Interesting observation. Virtually all of my low light shooting is in cold weather and I had never noticed that phenomenon. I suspect the difference in my experience is the usual low humidity where I live. I will have to look for that the next time.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39425 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by sigfreund:
quote:
Originally posted by LDD:
The issue in cold weather is that your outgoing rounds can create their own contrails at night.


Interesting observation. Virtually all of my low light shooting is in cold weather and I had never noticed that phenomenon. I suspect the difference in my experience is the usual low humidity where I live. I will have to look for that the next time.


That could be. We're known for our wet conditions here in Western Oregon. Our club's night matches and night shoots are always held in the winter time, due to noise restrictions (if we shot at night during the summer, we'd have to wait till after the sun went down ~9PM--too late for local noise ordinances). Because we really only shoot at night during the winter months, it's usually cold and with appreciable humidity.

At first I thought it was dust, but then I remembered "actually, I'm laying in the mud right now." Then I thought it was suppressor smoke, but then I also observed the same phenomenon with shooters who were not using suppressors (and they reported it too).
 
Posts: 17524 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
semi-reformed sailor
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When I was a cop, we had to have a WML on ourARs...after once use I bought a tritium front sight post and never needed the light again.

I experienced the same thing you are talking about. I saw it on the halogen and LED lights. From the big ole SWAT guys light to the little pistol lights used.

I did not use the rear sight one though as it blinded me, I also shoot the AR like I was taught in the service with my nose on the charging handle as a reference, so I know my eye is always in the same place.



"Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers

 
Posts: 5798 | Location: Texas! | Registered: October 07, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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So... I went again tonight. It must have poured at the range (not at my house though - life in FL). The dust was not a factor tonight. The other thing I realized was how much smoke there is right after you fire that you don't see in the daylight. I'm really fortunate to have an outdoor range that you can shoot at at night.

Thanks to everyone who responded to my post.
 
Posts: 131 | Registered: January 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Taking a few shots then shutting off the light and moving has many tactical advantages, getting out of your own dust and smoke is another one of them!




“People have to really suffer before they can risk doing what they love.” –Chuck Palahnuik

The world's a dangerous place, we can help! http://portlandfirearmtraining.com/
 
Posts: 4166 | Location: Oregon | Registered: October 02, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
my existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves lives
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The TLR1 HPL works better on a rifle since it spreads a lot less at short range. It will not light up dust particles near the sights if mounted on a side.


*****************************
"I don't own the night, I only operate a small franchise" - Author unknown
 
Posts: 2278 | Location: Texas | Registered: September 27, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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