I have been a passenger in a vehicle operated by someone wearing NVGs a few times, but never drove myself. I suppose it is something I ought to do; I actually have the opportunity tonight, as a friend and I are going to get a little night shooting practice in. I'll take the UTV for a little spin.
hrcjon, it seems you are well-versed in NVG stuff. Any recommendations of things to tinker with, based on unique or eye-opening experiences you've had with NVGs?
from the abyss
The NVGs we used when I was in back in the 80s were very difficult to drive with. There was no depth perception, so while you could drive and stay on a straight stretch just fine, taking curves or turning corners was really difficult often resulting in turning too early or too late.
I would assume newer generations have corrected this issue.
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy." Winston Churchill
The newer ones only obscure one eye, or have an aperture for each eye, as opposed to only one aperture in the center. Depth perception is improved, but it's still aggravating sometimes.
I did some NVG stuff last night.
Drove a UTV; it was pretty simple, but it was over familiar terrain, and not terribly far. For someone comfortable with NV in other applications, the driving doesn't really present any new challenges. That changes if you need to be able to monitor instruments inside the vehicle though.
Tried shooting through the red dot with my non-NVG eye, with the dot superimposed in my NVG FOV. Didn't work super well. Not easy to pick up the dot because of the unconventional stock weld. All shots hit four to six inches low and left of the POI at seven yards; maybe due to a parallax issue of some sort, compounded by each eye looking through various lenses perhaps.
A big take-away from this outing was the advantage of an illuminator that can be fired at the same time as the laser. I have a Unity Tactical Sync switch on one rifle, and this was my first time messing with it. At close ranges, it cleans up the laser dot a lot, and allows for more precise aiming. The laser by itself blooms quite a bit, and the surrounding IR illumination serves to eliminate that bloom. I know more sophisticated laser units have this option built-in; with my OTAL and Surefire Vampire, the Unity switch is the way to get it done, and it works quite well indeed. The only downside to the Unity switch is the real-estate it requires. You can pretty much forget about putting it on the top rail of a short gun.
Another thing I wanted to assess was the potential of a gas cloud obscuring the target, when using a piston gun. A friend had previously mentioned experiencing this with his Sig 516: the vented gasses, when illuminated by the laser or illuminator, sometimes obscured his view of the target. I used a gun with a Superlative Arms piston kit; I did not experience this phenomenon.
Another takeaway is white phosphorous NV is badass. I have a gen3 ITT green PVS14. A friend recently got a white phos PVS14 from, I believe, Night Ops Tactical. It is the shit. If anyone is seriously in the market for a PVS14, I recommend ponying up the extra cash for the white phos. I have only experienced it one other time, and that was a brief view through a PVS31. It is awesome. Is it awesome enough that I am itching to offload my green to partially fund a white? No. I am accustomed to the green, and I have it already. If someone is in the market for their first PVS14 though, you'd do well to give it a serious look; it's worth the extra money.
Also shot a bit with white light last night. This is something I don't do enough. In that home defense scenario, you ain't putting on the helmet with the NV. It's damned important to practice with white light and, I think, people who own night vision are maybe less likely to do so, due to prioritizing the use of their investments.
Another thing I noted, that I need to prioritize, is some practice in environments with light pollution. A security light is always on by an outbuilding where I live, and creates some interesting conditions. I know this is a huge factor in urban scenarios, and good illuminators come into play in a big way, when you need to cut into shadows.
One more thing, not necessarily night vision related, is wearing gear can really suck. If a plate carrier or load-bearing vest is in anyone's equipment intended for use during the "real deal", be sure to use it every now and then, on a range trip. I opted to wear a slick, low-pro plate carrier under my minimalist chest rig last night, and my friggen back hurt. Just a side note. And yes, I would like some cheese with my whine.
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my old friend
I have never has an issue with this gas cloud issue in all of my NV shooting.
I just get barrel signature on my thermal as it heats up from all the killing.
Eeewwww, don't touch it!
Here, poke at it with this stick.
A hot barrel or silencer will actually have an IR signature as well as a thermal signature.
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