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Raptorman
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Good thing I'm not playing soldier.
I'm way too old to be sneaking around the woods at night trying to Buffalo Bill my way into something with other sensors out there that can see the illuminators and lasers.


It takes very little effort to trick either system. I naturally assume the "enemy" already know this and is just as equipped as I am.



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Posts: 33264 | Location: North, GA | Registered: October 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's not so much about sneaking as it is about being able to perform basic tasks in low light. The mere movement through the environment, that I continue to reference, is a perfect example of an advantage offered by something like a PVS14. There is no argument that there's little one can do to hide from thermals, and the fact that one's enemy is equipped with identical equipment is a reason to have every option in your arsenal as well. I feel the same way about IR emissions, which is why I advocate the passive aiming technique and am doing my best to utilize the thermals I have access to.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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During a recent outing, another advantage of the passive aiming technique was revealed. Now that the foliage is in full effect, an aiming laser is quite hindered in the forest. You may have a clear line of sight to a target, and your bullet can arrive successfully too, but when you bring your weapon to bear, and activate your laser, some bit of foliage between you and the target defeats it, and even, if near enough, potentially serves to wash out your NVG. Your laser is projected on a plane that begins at a lower point than your line of sight, so something that isn't obscuring your vision may very well obscure the laser. Even if your laser was projected on the same plane as your line of sight, our eyes/brain have a tendency to look past or "through" obstacles between us and our focal point; the laser can't make it though. The bottom line is the a laser is an ineffective aiming tool through, what I'll call, translucent concealment.

The passive technique serves to mitigate these negative effects of translucent concealment, while reducing IR signature, and permitting a more natural shooting experience.

A weapon-mounted thermal sight would also be hugely advantageous, but only, in my application, when combined with a head-mounted NVG. A thermal device cannot serve as a substitute for an image intensifier, in my opinion, in a tactical context that has you maneuvering through the environment.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Shot for a couple hours on Monday night, with three friends. New moon and cloud cover; just about the least visibility you can get. I didn't fire even one shot with a laser. I was very pleased with the performance of my passive optic setup, and my progress in learning the technique. The culminating event of the evening was a movement down a trail in the woods; three cones on the trail marked shooting positions; at each cone, the shooter would attempt to put one round on each of three targets. The shooter got slightly closer to the targets, as he traversed the trail; engagement distances ranged from between 50 and 30 meters. In following the other shooters, I was able to see the negative effects of their lasers, on the intervening foliage and branches. They were often forced to re-engage, after initially spotting the target, bringing their weapon to bear, and then promptly losing the target in the bright wash of their laser hitting the environment between them and the target. I admittedly had to re-engage a couple times as well, because of the light lost through the Eotech, when bringing my weapon up onto target. I didn't have to do it nearly as much as them, and didn't give away my position in doing it either. The Eotech is as good as it gets, in terms of light transmission in a sealed optic, that I know of, so that just is what it is; and this extremely dark night was the worst I can reasonably expect. Regardless of that slight hang-up, I was the only one to run the lane with 100% hit accountability, and I did it much faster than any of them. Passive is without a doubt the way to go, IMO. It, of course, doesn't make lasers useless; however, I would encourage anyone investing in the application of night vision to take a hard look at a NV-capable Eotech in a high mount, before they go shopping for something like a MAWL.

This experience also reinforced the reality of engagements in a wooded setting. I had previously discussed the same phenomenon in a daylight circumstance, and it applies even more so at night: distances that most would consider "CQB" feel much further. Our typical flat, square, and unobstructed range settings set us up for failure, if our job ends up taking us into the woods; target identification and engagement at anything more than 25 meters can become a chore. The folks out there that live in rural areas, and employ a "practical/tactical" attitude in their shooting, would do well to make an effort to take their training into the woods, if they are typically on a more conventional range.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is a very relevant and objective video I came across. It touches on the silencer flash signatures I mentioned in the suppressed weapons forum as well. The video also has some great footage taken from the business end, which you seldom see. One thing I noticed in this, and another video, is that these guys, being in the desert, aren't contending with vegetation obstructions I have experienced. Passive shooting is considerably enhanced by the right setup, and by practice. If you don't have the right setup (Eotech on a riser), you're not even going to care to practice, because it's just not going to seem reasonably viable. The youtuber's comments on signature are certainly valid; so long as a laser isn't used inappropriately, it's not likely to compromise you any more than your muzzle flash.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bq6chWmOXpc
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I said it in my other thread. Whatever is being shot there with a suppressor on the rifle is substantially worse than my experience running a surefire can on a 5.56 rifle. In this case the pictures are literally a behind the rifles view (not your side view) so its is what I have experienced. In fact I would say looking at these the flash out of that can is perhaps worse than the flash from a basic surefire FH.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 10280 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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SF has a decent video about silencer flash suppression. The video certainly depicts extremely minimal flash, emitted from their silencer. They chose what is apparently a very flashy can (OSS HX without flash hider cap) to compare it to, which lends a shock and awe factor, to how not flashy their can is. I think that aspect of their marketing is dumb, but you can't deny the almost non-existent signature of the RC. I imagine some of the flash factor is ammo-dependant as well. I do believe that the flash needs to be observed laterally or from downrange, to be fully realized. On the night I recently discussed, I was shooting the flashiest can (TurboK), but it wasn't noticable to me, as the shooter; I only noted the deficiency when someone else was shooting the rifle, and I was observing.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My further observations on flash signature can be found in the suppressed weapons forum. The bottom line is the SF SOCOM RC2 is the king, and ammo matters.

I finally managed to mess with a couple cell phones, in their "night mode", to assess their IR detection ability. Of the two phones I tried, one didn't have any IR sensitivity, and the other had only a little. The iPhone was able to see the laser aperture's signature, and the laser itself, but only at very short range. The laser aperture was visible at a distance of about seven yards, and likely further; I wasn't prepared to go outdoors with it, so I didn't. The emission was only visible when the laser source was with a few feet of the "target". I intend to test this more thoroughly, in an outdoor setting, in the near future. So far, it seems that a contemporary cell phone is only going to get you in trouble if it's looking right at you and the laser source. It's not going to see your projection. I have not yet tested a camcorder with a night mode, and I likely won't, as I'd need to buy one. So far, I wouldn't be deterred from using IR lasers, because the enemy has cell phones.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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Well, I’ve decided to join the ranks of the nightstalkers. There’s a logjam of things that have to happen between now and then, but I’m pretty well sold on massively slimming down my collection of guns and gear and getting the best my money can do. Forgive me, I’m going to go a bit geardo here for a bit, but it’s hand-in-glove with what I want to do with it.

I was strongly considering going budget white phosphor until today. I watched a video comparing Elbit thin filmed green vs Photonis Echo vs L3 Unfilmed. The Photonis got smoked in terms of contrast by the L3 in dark, moonless and low ambient light situations, of course. But surprisingly to me, the Elbit is as nearly up there with the L3, and much better contrast than the Photonis. In terms of practical use, I want a tube (or tubes) that is well-suited to hiking in the dark without the use of an added IR illuminator if need be. If the Photonis stuff is more reliant on ambient lighting, that’s not so hot for “if the grid goes down” kinda stuff. I’m going to look into it more, and I know individual tubes vary widely, and there is no perfect solution in this game, and anything is going to be better than nothing, and I can only do what my budget allows, etc, etc, but I think I’m going to shoot for L3 unfilmed. One tube for sure, or an RPNVG setup if I can sell off enough stuff. If that just isn’t in the works, I may shoot for whatever I can get with decent specs in a thin film Elbit and call it good. I need to do some more looking into this.

Atpial-C since Steiner apparently hates customer support. An Eotech on I-don’t-know-what riser for passive aiming as the primary means for all the reasons. I don’t know which can yet, but that’s also going to happen. I have no place to do it yet, or anyone to do it with, but I really want to do some night shoots with some other guys. The stuff KSGM does, stuff I’ve seen on YouTube from various people, I want that. Beyond all that, I’ve been wanting to do some hog hunts with my best friend for years and it has just never lined up. May see about setting up a Texas ranch hunt once we both get all our stuff dialed in and sorted out. He’s hell-bent on getting a Omni VIII PVS14 by October.

So, sorry for the gear talk, but you kinda gotta have the stuff to do anything with it, and I’m not even there yet. I have, however, determined that this is what’s happening next in terms of shooting sports stuff for me. Even if I don’t end up doing much shooting at night, I’d really like to do some stargazing. I need to look into it some, but I know observing the desert night sky from a nice spot is like being in the sky with the right conditions. With binocular WP tubes, it’s got to be simply amazing. I hear you can see dust on comet trails and in the Milky Way.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: P220 Smudge,


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Posts: 15132 | Location: Gilbert, AZ | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am not a huge nerd, when it comes to the NVG itself. My PVS14 is an ITT/Pinnacle, which I bought as a refurbished nuclear power plant security surplus unit. I was pleased with the price, and I trusted the source. It has been great for me. A friend has an Elbit white phosphorous PVS14. The white is not a big deal for me, personally. I suppose I like it better, but only so much that, if I could go back in time, I may have tried to get a white instead of green. Not so much that I have even the slightest idea of offloading my green to fund a white. Dual tubes is another story. I recently read an article on TFB about an outfit that's putting together duals that would run you about $7K; that seems pretty reasonable, to me. Not reasonable as in I would be able to afford it, but reasonable compared to what I previously understood to be dual tube prices. Definitely stay away from anything "budget". It seems that a gen3 green PVS14 probably shouldn't run any less than about $2500 right now, with whites being 3k+; though there's always a chance of scoring a better deal in the used market, from someone wanting to upgrade. But, I don't have my fingers on the pulse of the market, so take that with a grain of salt.

I have been back and forth, when it comes to the lasers/illuminators. For a while, I was a Steiner fan, because I had seen a good many broken housings on PEQ15s. But then I had my faulty OTAL-C, which took an eternity to get repaired, and another friend had it on good authority that an LE agency had a pretty high frequency of functional issues with their DBALs. It sucks, because the potential faults are opposing: Steiners are durable but potentially functionally faulty; ATPIALs are functionally sound, but perhaps not as durable. There are more mount options for Steiners. I have examples of both types, with the ATPIAL living on my go-to carbine. I have never felt the draw to the MAWL. My positive experiences with IR LED lights, and even IR filtered incandescent lights, combined with my beliefs about passive aiming and IR emissions, don't align with any desire to invest $2500 in a laser/illum unit. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have one, but the cost/benefit ratio isn't favorable, IMO. There are a couple other very effective options in stand-alone illuminators now, I believe; I'd consider one of them, combined with something like the OTAL, before I looked at spending the money on the MAWL. I also prefer the "box" unit, as opposed to the MAWL's flashlight profile.

The can isn't as important as the ammo, when it comes to flash, but the SF does seem to have very good flash performance, in my recent comparisons. The fiddlings I have been doing have been in regards to flash as perceived by the target. I have never had a setup be so flashy as to compromise my NVG, as the shooter. That would take a short barrel, and some flashy ammo, based on my experiences. Do your research. It could be that a can you already have will be just fine. The Eotech on the Unity FAST riser is a great way to go. I have that combo on top of still another riser, but I think most folks would consider that a bit much. If your budget allows, you may consider nicer NVG mounting bits. If I could afford it, I'd upgrade to Wilcox mounting pieces, for more rigidity and adjustability. IMO, there's no reason not to get a ballistic helmet. A bump helmet can certainly serve as a stepping stone, and then later a spare/loaner, but I say, since you need a damn helmet to comfortably wear the thing, it may as well be a ballistic helmet. You can snag ACH helmets online from time to time, at very reasonable prices. The regular pads can be just fine, so long as you have the upgraded chinstrap. Total suspension system upgrades are ultimately preferred though. I don't care for the high cut helmets, but I understand why they exist. My current setup is an ACH with a Galvion (formerly Revision) suspension system. I didn't like the suspension system at first, but after adjusting it in a couple different ways, I do feel as though it's more comfortable than the pads. A counterweight is effective, but not essential. Mine can be removed/installed with the NVG, as it just velcros to the back of the helmet.

hrcjon may have something to add as well. I hope to hear more from you, and perhaps others that start participating in this thread.

All of this depends on your application, of course. That should go without saying, but I'd rather avoid the potential debate. I know a guy who cares a lot more about the power of his illuminators, because he hunts hogs, sometimes across bean fields, using either clip-on NVG or dedicated NVG magnified optics. He likes something like the MAWL, because he appreciates it's extra range, because he can actually see far enough to take advantage of it. Using an Eotech passively, or a laser, I haven't found that the extra range on the illuminator is truly needed. Also, I consider NVG usage and equipment in the practical/tactical, 2nd Amendment context, not home defense or hunting, so that impacts my various opinions, all the while being based on my still arguably limited experience.

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Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Frangas non Flectes
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Definitely not looking to debate anything. I’m just here to learn and toss ideas around, see what folks who have experience have to say.

I was gifted an old PASGT by a friend, but it has all the limitations that saw it replaced by the military, so I bought an Ops Core XP for under a grand recently. The two pounds or so vs the three plus of the PASGT are a world of difference. Still need to get it totally dialed in, I get a hotspot on my forehead after an hour or so. I keep seeing that the 4D pads are worth it, but I’m gonna wait on that a bit. Same with a counterweight. Probably isn’t much sense in getting everything totally kitted up without the night vision unit in hand.

I met up with a good friend of a good friend yesterday and had lunch and some laughs. Probably we’ll hang out some more. He has a set of bridged PVS14’s and a single unit as well. They did some gooning around in the dark on a road trip a few months back, so it might be the case that I’ll get to do some of that with him. Would be neat to try out both of his units on my helmet and see which works out better for me before I buy. If time and personalities permit, desert night shoots sound like a fine new hobby.


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Posts: 15132 | Location: Gilbert, AZ | Registered: February 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In my reading/watching about passive vs laser night vision aiming, I have come across a few arguments against passive aiming, which I think hold little water.
1. Passive aiming is slower. This is true, until you truly optimize your setup for passive, at which point I think passive shooting is faster, as the mechanics are almost identical to shooting in daylight conditions.
2. Passive aiming isn't really necessary, from an emissions perspective, because the laser isn't visible to the target unless he's being engaged. This is true so long as there is no moisture in the air, and you're not in the woods, where your laser will contact items between you and the target. So long as you plan your activities around the weather, and stay out of the woods, you need not have a passive method.
3. You can't advocate passive aiming unless you wear your eye cup on your night vision device. The light splashed on a users face is very minimal. I admittedly don't use my eye cup. I have it on my PVS14, should I deem it necessary, but, based on viewing friends through NVGs, I think it is not a concern.

One thing that is certain, is an effective passive aiming setup is purpose-built. I understand that someone likely wouldn't want an excessively high-mounted, unmagnified optic on their gun at all times. A magnifier can be utilized, to add some utility in that regard, but it's still tall. If your use-case permits it, different guns/uppers is advisable. If that's not practical, having your optics on QD bases allows you to switch back and forth; that is, after all, the point of all the high-speed QD mounts we love.

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Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Does anyone have any first hand experience with any of the cheaper thermal "scanners". (like scanning for coyotes, not scanning a breaker panel)

I'd love to buy a good one, I can't bring myself to spend serious dollars on something that I know will literally get used a couple times a year at most.

I have a cheap digital NV scope and in reality I just don't have the opportunists to use it enough to justify even it.

A handheld thermal unit MIGHT actually see more use around the homefront or hunting navigation (while not actually night hunting), but even still I'm talking a handful of times a year.


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Posts: 19941 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a Leupold LTO tracker thermal monocular. I think they retailed for $600ish. They no longer make this model, which stinks. I haven't used it a lot. I don't hunt. I have proved it's efficacy, in my use case, by observing friends, animals in the pasture, and hand warmers taped to targets. It's a cool tool, and I'm glad I have it, but I don't use it a lot, doing the things I do, nor have I compared it to other units.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Did some shooting last night. I observed a friend shooting two different guns, from a downrange, offset position, through my PVS14. One setup was 11.5" with a Gemtech Halo, using PPU M193, and a Steiner OTAL IR laser. The other gun was a 10" with a Gemtech Trek with a modified flash hider end cap, Hornady HD SBR 75gr, and aiming passively, with an Eotech EXPS3. It was meant as a best-case vs worst-case comparison. The 11.5" gun's muzzle flash lit up the woods, and it's laser was a lightsaber. The 10" gun had a much smaller flash signature, and no laser emission at all (obviously). The primary take-away is the fact that, if opposing forces both use night vision, there is likely little you can do, to completely hide your muzzle flash. I intend to try the same thing again, with a longer barrel, in hopes the extra length will cut down on the flash. I remain a staunch advocate of passive aiming techniques. "But, if the opposition is going to see your muzzle flash, no matter what you do, why bother with passive aiming?". Imagine if all your aiming was performed with a device that gave the opposition a preceding clue as to your position and intent, before you fired your weapon; that's what the IR laser does, in the peer vs peer context. Night vision is not only about sneaky stealth, against an ill-equipped opponent. It serves to enable 24hr engagements among peer forces.

Another note from last night, which has been observed before, is an IR laser's bloom potential. I identify a target while observing through my night vision device, I move to engage with my laser, and my view of the target is compromised, due to the laser's bloom and deflection off environmental aspects (especially true in the woods). I can cut the bloom by activating my illuminator, to enable precision shots, but now I am emitting a huge signature, which is much more visible from lateral positions, than the laser alone was.

Night vision, it's associated equipment, and it's use-theory, should not be viewed as an add-on accessory to a weapon and the shooter's training regimen, but something that should occupy 50% of your training, depending on your use-case. It's dark half the time.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Raptorman
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Downrange observation, in the dark, much less in the daytime is unwise.

I just deleted a wall of text explaining just how stupid it was.


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Posts: 33264 | Location: North, GA | Registered: October 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I appreciate yet another valuable contribution to this thread, Mars. I also appreciate your concern for my safety. I assure you the angles, distances, backstops, and cover aspects of the situation had me quite safe indeed.

Maybe you have something to say, concerning cas' inquiry, considering thermal is your area of expertise?
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Raptorman
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Look, you and your "squad" are out playing jump and squirt at night and some here have been effectively killing with NV equipped rifles for years and not one of us have ever felt the need to see what it looked like from the murder end.

We have a member here who got severely injured trying to drive an ORV using NVG.

I assure you are perfectly safe until you're not indeed.


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Posts: 33264 | Location: North, GA | Registered: October 09, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I wish you would share more of your knowledge here, Mars. You clearly have a lot to offer. Like I said, my circumstances were very safe. As safe as if I was standing behind the shooter? Certainly not. However, it would have taken a catastrophic event to endanger me; such an event could harm me just as much if I was standing next the shooter, or even behind him. Please don't assume that anyone who's not you and yours is an incompetent idiot. I accepted a mitigated level of risk, in order to achieve the goal. I hope that your presence in this thread doesn't continue in order to exclusively pick bones with me, as it seems has been your purpose so far. I have listened to what you've said, and even put forth effort in experimenting with your theories, concerning IR emissions' visibility with contemporary cell phones. Also, please don't assume I have some sort of, in your opinion, try-hard "squad", because I care about training contemporary military techniques, and shoot with others that care about the same thing.

I see you didn't have any choice words for the injured ATV rider. Surely operating an ORV with nothing but a night vision device qualifies as unnecessarily dangerous as well.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Another noteworthy thing from the other night is my friend's Steiner OTAL-C exhibited the same malfunction that Steiner repaired on one of mine: a projection of the laser when the unit is off. This twice-occurence of this issue, across a pretty small number (5) of these OTAL lasers definitely makes me very hesitant to invest in any other Steiner stuff. Sucks.
 
Posts: 1162 | Location: Northeast GA | Registered: February 15, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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