Friday, November 16, 2007

Evening at the Range

Last night's IDPA match (put on by Cross Timbers IDPA) was a low light match. The first two stages were shot in the dark using flashlights. The second two stages were shot in low light with flashlights optional.

It has been quite awhile since I shot a firearm in the dark, probably since I was a teenager. I was looking forward shooting this match, and seeing how effective I am in the dark. I have a cheapie "tactical" light that I bought on sale at Bass Pro Shops for $19.00. It is brighter than a 2AA cell mini mag light, but not as bright as some of the high dollar lights at the match.

You are probably wondering how my Kimber ran. I think that last night's match was somewhere around a 60 round match, and I had zero failure to feed problems. Zero. I did end up with one failure though, just not the ftf that I have been having. The second course of fire consisted of shooting six rounds at the first target with a downloaded magazine from behind cover. Reload from slide lock, shoot six more rounds at target #2 then one round at a popper, also from behind cover. This stage included the use of a flashlight, and the reload had to be completed in the dark (with the flashlight off). First six rounds, no problem. Fumble around a bit getting my light turned off, reload and release slide. Chit, slide does not return to battery. Tap-rack... slide still not in battery. Drop magazine, pull slide to the rear, shake gun, listen to rounds hit the floor. Release slide, insert mag #3, chamber a round, hear empty casing hit the floor, and finish up the course of fire. On a positive note, I did nail the popper with my one shot. The malfunction got cleared on autopilot, I am happy with my reaction to the failure, but the failure itself irks me. I think that the empty casing from the last round on target #1 was not ejected and remained in the chamber. This was the second failure to eject in three outings. Both failures occurred with the last round of the magazine. With both failures the slide was locked back and the case remained in the chamber.

I am getting lots of work on my malfunction drills.

Lessons learned about night shooting:

1. Dry fire and daytime training help, but are no substitute. Turn your flashlight on behind cover, and you are pretty much blinded. I need to do my dry fire practice in the dark, from behind cover and moving. One grip does not work for all situations.

2. Shining a bright flashlight through smoke is kind of like turning your brights on in the fog, another reason why position of the flashlight is so important.

3. Muzzle flash was not as distracting as expected. Even during the last course of fire when I used the HST +P's just to see how much flash they put out, I could easily get back on target. Using the 230 grain +P's did get everyone's attention though.

My performance at this match was significantly better than last time. I received no procedural penalties, and except for the failure, was happy with the evening.


Rob said...

I recently picked up a Smith & Wesson Tactical Flashlight from Amazon for about $35. 93 Lumens from a Xenon bulb that runs off of two lithium batteries. Very nice and comes with a case and spare bulb. I highly recommend it.

I have a match myself tomorrow that'll be wheelgun friendly. Since I've only got my XD, I'll be sticking with that. :)

Thunderstick said...

Sounds like it would've been fun. Unfortunately up here in P/C land I don't think we have to many events like that. My main reason for posting is, seeing you use a 2 cell mag-light, I suggest you spend the few extra dollars and get the L.E.D. conversion for it. Trust me, you'll love it!