Wickenburg, Arizona - When I heard there was a night shooting section of the class, my thoughts instantly jumped to images of night vision, tracer rounds and some sort of high tech voodoo that makes it all possible. I couldn't have been further from the truth.
As American Firearms Training and Tactics owner Mark Fricke demonstrated, all those high tech gadgets and gizmos look great in the movies, but they don't react like that in real life. Don't believe me? Then you should have been there for the demonstration.
While we were able to spot him with the night vision scope, figuring out what he held in hand was another story all together. Students were calling out "gun, gun" when in reality, as he later revealed, he was holding a water bottle, an empty box of ammo, a flashlight and few other incidental items. That's why he teaches his students to keep with the white light.
Starting at 200 yards, in pitch black darkness, we placed three shots on target in five seconds with the assistance of a flashlight. Not your regular household flashlight, but a flashlight nonetheless. The reason for the five second illumination is because a longer duration at that distance means your positions is compromised and it's time to move on. Followed by four seconds at 100 yards and two seconds at 50. In all, we fired 20 rounds in total darkness with only a flashlight to show the way.
Given our results, yours truly included, I'd say it's a reliable system with plenty of benefits. But the idea of thermal optics and night vision, at least the version they have in the movies, would be pretty awesome to give a swing too.