Steve Fisher Low Light Handgun 4/25/18 AAR


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Context: I’m a rookie shooter who purchased his first handgun in February, and who was strongly recommended this course by a friend. It was my first formal handgun instruction, and first experience with handgun in low-light. I do not concealed carry, nor do I intend to within the next few months, though I went into this course believing it would build skills useful for carry. I brought to the course a stock G19, Safariland ALS holster, and used a loaned Surefire handheld light for the duration of the class. (Thanks Paul!)

What happened: The class was a scheduled 4-hour block and consisted of about an hour of classroom theory followed by three hours of firing range time. Theory covered the fundamentals of light use with a handgun, selection of light (lumens, spill, runtime), weaponlight vs handheld, etc. The firing portion was conducted with range lights off at all times and exclusively focused on handheld lights, and began with covering three essential positions – FBI, Neck Index, and Harries. The positions were demonstrated with several dry then one-shot reps at 5 yards, then two-shot reps at 7ish yards. Firing concluded with reload drills covering both light-off and light-on reloads with shooter’s choice of position. Drills were conducted with two relays of six shooters. After the conclusion of firing, a 15-minute bloc of discussion and demonstration was made on the use of weaponlights. After all drills and at the conclusion of the class, there was time set aside for shooters’ impressions and questions, and a great deal of discussion on theory and the “whys” was interspersed at all points. Ammunition expended was ~45 rounds.

My Impressions: I was extremely impressed by the class. Though Steve complained that it would be a three-day event shoved into four hours, everything was explained clearly and in great detail. He focused on explaining the “why” behind everything we did, and the pros and cons of equipment and methods. Additionally, when necessary Steve focused on helping individual shooters and correcting major mistakes, and there was an emphasis on doing things right rather than doing them quickly. Though once the class started I quickly got into a comfortable and productive rhythm, initially handling firearms in complete darkness was unsettling. In a recent Modcast, Chuck P. discusses new students operating under NVGs are like children first learning how to swim; they will swim out into the depth only when they are being rewarded to. Initially due to that unease I was much happier whenever a light was on, however, this soon settled itself and my confidence grew as drills progressed. Doing the drills dry first greatly aided in this, but the darkness definitely required shooters to have the fundamentals of operating their handgun down beforehand. Lastly, the biggest impression I had was that my skills were clearly deficient in many realms, and gave me a solid grasp of where and how I need to improve.

Instructor Improvements: As a new shooter, one of the greatest benefits I had in the class was that I was randomly placed into the second relay, meaning I could watch other (more experienced) shooters go through drills first. If there was a deliberate effort to place newer shooters in the second relay so they could observe others more before starting to shoot, that may be value added to the course.

Could’ve-Should’ve for the Class:
Ideally, I would have practiced one-handed shooting in dry and live fire to a far greater extent. Further, in addition to my normal dry fire practice draws from holster and reloads, I would’ve added practicing said drills in low light or total darkness just to get better familiarity with the weapon and be more comfortable operating the weapon in darkness. (Also I wouldn’t have forgotten my magazine loader at home and needed to buy a new one!)

Individual Takeaways for the Future: Practice dry fire drills with the lights off at home, practice onehanded shooting both dry and live fire. Practice reloads while holding a flashlight, as that was a very clunky and slow process during the class.