Monday, September 28, 2015

Target Recognition: Flashlights

The FBI said that 60-80% of law enforcement shootings happen in low light environments. Would this translate into concealed carry? Even if it was only 40% or 50%, is 40% of your training in low light situations? Is 20%?
I think we need to train as realistic as possible. Low light training should be in your program. Aiming and target recognition would be very different in low light environments. We should train accordingly.
Using a light is a way to fight low light situations but we need to train with a light to be effective with it. I was training in night conditions once and was inadvertently flashed in the eyes with a 230 lumen light. It took some time before I could see effectively. Light can work for you or against you. Here are some flashlight techniques that are popular. There are others.

Taken from “The Strategies of Low Light Engagements” By Ken J. Good All rights reserved

“FBI Technique
Flashlight is held in sword or ice pick grip, with arm extended well away from the body (and
extended upward if desired), with lens of flashlight held slightly in front of body to avoid
illuminating the user. Weapon is held in any position desired, out of contact with flashlight
hand or arm.
"This is probably the oldest formally taught flashlight/gun technique. This technique was originally emphasized as a way to prevent the user’s flashlight from "marking" his exact position when activated. By moving the light away from the user’s body, an assailant who simply shot at the light source would be less likely to automatically hit the user."
Some disparage this technique as outmoded. Advocates of specific hands-together techniques generally express this view. All techniques listed in this curriculum have their own positive attributes as well as obvious deficiencies. The fact is, a relaxed, movement oriented, unstructured version of the FBI technique, employed with proper cover, is extremely useful in room-clearing tactics and in dynamic firefight situations.
Positive attributes
· Works with small or large flashlights.
· No beam/grip displacement upon discharge of weapon.
· Separation of hands reduces chance of sympathetic contraction and hand confusion.
· Enables searching with flashlight without aiming weapon wherever one looks.
· Peripheral light can illuminate front and rear sights of weapon if desired.
· Alignment of flashlight beam with target has no effect on alignment of weapon with target,
and vice versa.
· Allows minimal exposure of user's body during room clearing or firing around obstacles.
· Original purpose of masking precise location of shooter still valid, though limited by
ambient conditions such as reflective walls.
· Transitions well to the "Neck Index Technique" .
· If a smaller flashlight is being used, this technique can be used with light weight
shoulder-fired weapons.
· Supports the principle of "Light and Move" and can be extremely deceptive if utilized
· Easy to use bilaterally

Negatives attributes
· User must shoot one-handed. Can be difficult to maintain alignment
· Fatiguing if performed steadily for more than a few moments, especially with large flashlights.
· Difficult to use with injured hand or arm.
· Precise, instant alignment of flashlight beam with target requires practice.
Neck-Index Technique
The flashlight is held in ice-pick grip. Thumb or any finger placed on the on-off (or momentary) switch. For large flashlights, the flashlight body is rested on the shoulder, indexed against the base of the neck. For small flashlights, the body of the flashlight (or the fist holding it) is held indexed against the jaw/neck juncture just below the ear, so that it moves in conjunction with user's head yet blocks little peripheral vision. Weapon is held in any position desired, out of contact with flashlight hand or arm.

History of technique
First published description of this technique appeared in a June 1994 Handguns Magazine article by Brian Puckett, and therefore it is sometimes called the Puckett technique. However, the small flashlight version of this technique was taught by Ken Good and Dave Maynard of Combative Concepts, Inc. about two years prior to the '94 article. Puckett and Good now use the term "neck-index technique".
While it was common for police officers to hold large flashlights in a similar manner during casual use or during extended searches, this technique (1) utilized the ergonomic, tactical, and even psychological benefits provided by this common, comfortable grip, and (2) broke from the long trend of hands-together flashlight/gun techniques. The goal of hands-together techniques is to steady the shooting hand and/or keep the flashlight beam constantly aligned with the gun barrel.
Positive attributes
· Clearly illumination of sights and the target simultaneously.
· Natural transition from FBI technique.
· Works with small or large flashlights.
· For large flashlights, weight is borne almost entirely by the user's body, enabling extended use
· No beam/grip displacement upon discharge of weapon.
· Separation of hands reduces chance of sympathetic contraction and hand confusion.
· Enables searching with flashlight independently of weapon point of aim if required.
· Alignment of flashlight beam with target has no effect on alignment of weapon with target
· Flashlight is held in "cocked" position for defensive purposes if required.
· Usable with injured hand or arm, as it virtually duplicates natural "flipper" position of wounded limb.
· Supports an aligned body position for movement in any direction.
· For ambidextrous operators - excellent for lateral movement (moving left, flashlight left side,
handgun right hand -- moving right flashlight right, handgun left hand).
· Can be easily transitioned to light forward, weapon back for weapon retention In close quarters.
· Supports "Power with Light" Principle
· Easy to use bilaterally

Negative attributes
· User must shoot one-handed.
· Can create excess "splash" of light off rear of weapon if not familiar with technique.
· Light is located near the head - All threats need to be accounted for.
· Use of this technique with larger flashlights can easily lead to a strike to an incoming threat’s head/face
if deployed in a less-lethal situation. The flashlight is naturally poised to strike.
Harries Technique
Flashlight is held in ice-pick grip (lens on side opposite the thumb). Thumb or any finger operates on/off (or momentary) switch. Wrists nest together and backs of hands are firmly pressed together to create stabilizing isometric tension. For large flashlights, body of flashlight may be rested on weapon hand's forearm.

This technique is named after Michael Harries, a pioneer of modern practical combat shooting.
Developed in the early 1970's for use with large flashlights, this technique is widely used and is
well-suited to small flashlights.

Positive attributes
· Works with small or large flashlights.
· Keeps flashlight beam automatically aligned with weapon barrel.
· Enables steadier, two-hand support of weapon prior to shooting.
· For large flashlights, flashlight body can sometimes be rested on weapon hand's forearm,
enabling extended use.

Negative attributes
· User may suffer beam/grip displacement during discharge of weapon.
· Keeping flashlight beam aligned with weapon barrel leads to fatigue due to the tension created by keeping the back of hands together. Note the lower hand has a tendency to rotate downward when the handgun is in a “guard” or “low ready” position.
· Proximity of hands increases chance of sympathetic contraction and hand confusion.
· During hasty execution, weapon muzzle can cross flashlight hand or arm
· Can lead to "Self-Blinding" - I.E. right handed shooter attempting to navigate a corner, wall on right side. Hot spot of the beam will "drag" behind the weapon. If the light is activated, the reflected light will be directed back to the shooter.
This not only substantially reduces the shooters vision but also silhouettes the shooter
and other team members to all threats in the area.
· Light is located center of mass, if unseen threats engage the light your body
is directly in the line of fire.
This is a drill for low light situations:
Light Move – Shoot Move
This drill is designed to teach the student to start thinking displacement whenever an illumination tool is used
against a threat.
The shooter starts squared up on the target. The command in given, “Right”.
The shooter illuminates (identifies) his targets, moves to the right decides to engage the target or not (with our
without another burst of light). If the target is engaged, move again to the right in order to minimize the threats
ability to track your location based on muzzle flash from you weapon.
Once the shooter has moved to the right for the second time, that shooter should transition his weapon to the
opposite side and standby to move back to the left on the command “Left”.
The drill is repeated over and over with a variety of weapons and flashlight techniques.
Skills & Considerations
• Sliding
• Bilateral Shooting
• Proper use of the Lighting Principles, Techniques, and Tools
Hardware Considerations
In many self-defense, crime interdiction, or combat conditions occurring in low-light conditions, any flashlight may prove better than no flashlight. Furthermore, a less-than-ideal flashlight may be used in many of the techniques described above.
However, because of the potential deadly situations in which flashlight/gun techniques are employed, it is imperative to use quality flashlights with the proper features and qualities.
They are as follows:
Rugged - This applies to all flashlight components: body, reflector, bulb, and switch. If dropping or banging the light puts it out of order, it is not suitable for self-defense use.
Water Resistant - The light may be carried and/or used in the rain. It must not be susceptible to either water infiltration or corrosion from dampness.
Bright - The light will be used to clearly identify targets and/or to temporarily incapacitate an assailant. Traditional 2-D cell flashlights using traditional bulbs, are inadequate sources of light. The beam pattern should be free of dark spots or “holes”. It is suggested a tool that emits at least 60-65 lumens of light.
Momentary On/Off Switch - Frequently, proper use of flashlights in LEO or combat situations requires activating them for brief moments - sometimes literally a fraction of a second. Ideally this activation should be possible with just the thumb or a single finger.
(1) A flashlight with only a "twist" on/off mechanism is unacceptably slow to operate.
(2) A flashlight with a slide-on/off switch (most of which are not water-resistant) is undesirable, since a positive and rapid on/off cycle is possible only with a thumb.
(3) A flashlight whose momentary switch is integral with its regular on/off switch is undesirable, since accidental activation of the regular switch at the wrong moment could prove disastrous.
Note: It is possible to mitigate this factor by placing the activating fingertip or thumb tip at the perimeter of the on/off button, making it difficult (even virtually impossible) to fully depress the button and lock it on.
(4) A separate momentary switch, operable with one finger or one thumb while holding the flashlight in its normal grip, is by far the best.”

Flashlight technology has come a long way since the 3 D-cell, incandescent Mag light. For years it was the standard. Now many companies, including Mag, have brighter, sturdier, smaller alternatives. It also used to be very expensive to buy a tactical light. Now with many companies producing quality flashlights it’s cheaper and easier to find one for your needs.

I don’t buy a light for EDC or self-defense unless it has at least 200 lumens and a one handed on/off switch. With companies like Surefire, Streamlight, Pelican, and Fenix, there are many to choose from with a variety of price ranges and features.

Semper Parartus
Check 6