Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sight alignment and trigger control

While recently at the range, I was analyzing the technique of the other shooters, here is what I observed:
- most used a modified weaver stance
- feet bladed at about 45 degrees
But that is about the extent of their observable technique. After looking at their stance, I started to observe their shot placement, low/high, loose/tight groups, scattered, etc.

That made me start to think about my own rituals;
- 7 steps of draw / drive / fire / look / move / look / replace in holster
- sight alignment / trigger control steps
- body balance and positioning, musculo-skeletal support
- where did my shots land? Could I call each of them?
- when I had a 'flyer', what actions precipitated the failure, what exactly failed (eg: concentration / trigger control / sight alignment / etc)
- how did my groups look? Why?

I guess that is why I appreciate marksmanship so much; firing any weapon is a simple task, but taking the time to make each shot consistent and repeatable across each trigger pull (push), each magazine reload and when being disturbed by loud noises and frivolity in the lane next to you at the indoor range; that is the hard part. Practicing mindfulness in all that you do especially for an activity like marksmanship, that is where you find 'the gold' and the best skill enhancement opportunities.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nebo Pistol Light and Laser combo

If you have ever been in a low light situation,you know how helpful a flashlight is for illuminating the environment. As a marksman, I train in many different environments, low light being one of them (high stress, bright light, high heat, cold, etc some others.

I have never really been a fan of under weapon light systems, preferring instead to hold a flashlight in an FBI-hold, predominantly because I have a way to manipulate any adversaries targeting line and secondly it offers more flexibility to shine the flashlight "in the eyes" while holding the target in center mass.

Now don't even get me started on laser targeting systems :-), they should have named them lazy targeting systems instead. You might say 'don't lasers make it easier to know where your shot will land?'. I can offer three reasons why I don't work with lasers on pistols:
1) I find that people pay far too much attention to the laser and not enough to the target, as soon as people 'find any part of the target', they tend to pull the trigger, leading to less than optimal results.
2) Iron sights never run out of battery or fail
3) Sight picture offers you a total view of the target and where your aiming, not just a spot

By now you might be saying, ok... Then why is the title about a light and laser combo unit?
Well, I saw a unit from Nebo ProTec Elite at my local Big 5 sporting goods, looked pretty solid and at 190 lumens the light appeared very bright. Then I saw the price, oh my... It was only 54.99 (normally 99.99), so why not try it out.

After pounding out 100 rounds in my Springfield XD .45, I can now offer my observations:
1) the light was bright and continuous for the entire session, never flickering while shooting.
2) the strobe functions properly and quickly, it would definitely be a distraction (or more) in a low light situation.
3) out of the package, the laser needed adjusting to zero, but once zeroed, it held well even with 230 grain bullets.

Things I liked:
- the unit was very light
- simple to mount, very solid with no discernible movement
- solid light switch, stays put under stress and easy to turn on, very low profile not likely to catch on anything.
- laser was bright and stayed zeroed once set
- light was very bright in both continuous and strobe modes
- fit the picatinney under-rail on my AR-15
- hand is now free to hold knife, blunt object or to wrap around pistol
- operates on CR-123 batteries, good battery life

Things I didn't like:
- laser switch was very small, unusable with gloves
- turning on the strobe was not intuitive, not that I advocate the strobe mode anyway
- didn't fit my HK USPc
- no option for a pressure switch, only manual switches
- not sure why they crenelated the light housing, perhaps for looks only

Overall, very nice little package for the price, I think it is a keeper and would recommend if your looking for a similar device.