OKAY, ENOUGH BEATING AROUND THE BUSH WITH THE THEORETICAL STUFF. TODAY WE LOOK AT A PRACTICAL LESSON IN SOLDIER SKILLS - TAKING DOWN YOUR ENEMIES. IN THIS LESSON WE ARE DEALING WITH DARKNESS. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT NIGHT FIGHTING, SHOOTING IN THE DARK IF YOU WILL. IF THERE'S ONE THING YOU NEED WHEN DEALING WITH LOW/NO LIGHT, IT'S A $5,O00 SET OF MILITARY NIGHT VISION GOGGLES, RIGHT? THAT'S A JOKE. THERE ARE MORE VALUABLE ASSETS WHEN WORKING IN THE DARK THAN SOME FANCY GOGGLES AND WE ARE HERE TO LEARN SOME OF THEM.
Tactical maneuvers in the dark can be some of the most satisfying airsoft experiences... Creeping around at extreme close range and hiding in the shadows will get your heart racing, that's for sure.
Training we can all recall some fantastic moments at night, either sneaking into enemy compounds, getting behind their lines or evading detection by hiding in the shadows, there's a whole list of standout moments.
Night fighting is arguably when combat is at its purest. Even armed with the lowliest of springer pistols, with the right approach, satisfying hits can be made and you can take the fight to the enemy.
Range, rate of fire and all the coolest kit counts for naught when the lights go out and fighting is transformed into a game of patience, subtlety and daring.
Many of the usual skills still apply, if anything they need to be sharper because you have a whole other set to worry about. Let's take a while to analyse what you might need to brush up on to become a night time ninja...
The defining factor of a night game is that ther e is a lot less light, that much is obvious. There will still be light though, and because it is in a minority, instead of being your ally, it become your enemy.
You need to be aware of light sources and this isn't just torches and flashlights. Be aware of where the moon is or where what little ambient light exists is coming from.
Map out in your mind where it will fall and look for the areas of shadow. These are your stepping-stones to move through the environment undetected.
If you are detected, 9 times out of 10, it will be your silhouette that gives you away. Getting backlit, just like during the day, will massively increase the chances of you being detected so try not to move with the light source behind you.
Once in a while you might have to make a dash through brighter areas, but you best make it quick.
As we have just mentioned, shadows will do a good job of hiding you. The shady corner of a room could make you invisible in the right situation but your shadow can also be guilty of giving you away.
Be aware of where your shadow is being cast. If it's in front of you, your enemy will know precisely when you are about to round a corner because of the tell-tale sign of your shadow proceeding you.
When taking cover, always be awar e of your shadow giving away your position. To combat being detected, keep low, keep compact and try and prevent your shadow from being a recognisable human outline where possible.
Stay flat to wall and hug the perimeter of a room as you move through it to manage your signature as much as you can.
It can be tempting in a dark spot to simply flip on your weapon light and cast a lovely beam of hundreds of lumens into a room to illuminate it.
You might catch a guy unaware s and rack up a kill, but as soon as you have switched that light on. you've given your position away.
When there's not much light, a little light is very detectable so even a quick blast will light up a room like a beacon.
Control your use of light and if you do have to flip the switch and light the place up, make sure that you relocate yourself immediately.
It can feel like you've bought your own little bubble of daylight to fight from if you are moving around with a light on, but thanks to the directional nature of flashlights.
It merely signals to the enemy which direction you are looking in and especially in an interior fighting environment, you've sacrificed your night vision completely and you will be prone to being flanked and picked off.
In the absenc e of light, sound steps in to fill the sensory void. It's almost as if your brain amplifies your perception of sound to compensate for the loss of vision, so sound becomes a major factor.
Firstly, limit your own audible output. Strap down your pouches, remove anything that rattles and keep your voice down.
All of these things can signal your presence to an enemy so being quiet is absolutely critical.
Even your footsteps and breathing can give you away at close quarters, so watch your step and do your best to keep calm and keep your heart rate down.
Carefully walking, putting your heel down and rolling your weight through each foot ensures quiet footsteps for maximum sneakiness.
Without a point of reference, aiming your weapon can become very difficult when it's too dark to make out your sights against the background.
To make iron sights more useable, special luminescent glow sights are invaluable and give you dot markers to line up your shots.
Luminescent paint can also be purchased and painted on to convert any sights into a night-compatible system.
If you choose to use holosights or scopes with an illuminated reticule, turn the reticule down as far as you can. A bright reticle will glare and obscure your vision.
Also, make sure it's zero'd in on your point of impact. Your sight is completely useless if you are sending your shots 3 feet to the left of the centre point.
Lasers are also a tempting choice and sure they look great! Much like a torch or flashlight, they also work both ways and as soon as you switch it on, the telltale beam will slice through the air, essentially creating a massive arrow pointing to your location.
If you do use them, use them sparingly and momentarily to avoid this. Glowing tracer round are also popular at night, to see your fall of shot, but just like lasers, these can give your position away quickly.
If you've not tried a night training session is the best thing to do is give it a go! Even with the soundest of techniques and tactical awareness, you'll get caught off guard once in a while, but that's part of the fun.
Night fighting really levels the playing field and tests the skills of the individual, rather than being about who has the most bullets to fire.
It'll also force you to think about the terrain you are in a little more and can have a positive impact on the way you play in the light.
The first thing that springs to mind when thinking about shooting in the dark is night vision and it's easy to think that spending a lot of money on kit is going to elevate your game, but it's not.
Night vision is a tool and just like any tool, without wielding it properly it's just a waste of time.
Many night vision users fall into the trap of thinking their magical goggles are somehow going to make them invincible.
Here's some news, they won't. They have quite a few disadvantage s that you might want to bear in mind before dropping a finacial bomb on a setup.
Firstly, unless you go for some super-duper Gen. 3 models, your night vision will need a source of light to convert into visible light.
They usually do this using Infra-Red light, the same stuff that shoots out of your remote control when you change the channel on the TV.
Infra-Red light is off the end of the visible light spectrum, but certain devices, including night vision devices can pick it up and convert it into a visible image.
Some mobile phone cameras even pick it up and you can test this by setting your mobile to camera mode and pressing the TV remote whilst it's pointed at the lens, you'll probably see the small LED bulb glowing briefly.
Some of the more affordable hunting night vision set-ups use the same principle on a larger scale, some even using external Infra-Red light sources to shine a beam out.
This is fine against rabbits and other prey that don't wear NVGs, but if you are likely to be up against anyone with their own, you'll simply be lighting the place up like a beacon. Be aware of the light output of your night vision equipment.
Secondly, night vision works best when it's dark... Well. duh...
It isn't often all THAT dark though. Depending on where you play, even long after the sun goes down, the ambient light levels can still be rather high.
If there's cloud cover and you are near a town, you'll find that light reflected back down from low clouds brightens the place up.
If there's a full, bright moon, you'll find that once you've become acclimatised to it, visibility is actually rather high.
Night vision stifles your own natural senses. It will limit your peripheral vision severely. Think of walking along looking through a loo-roll tube all the time.
Night vision will also stop your eyes from adjusting to the low light levels, which they are surprisingly good at so bear that in mind when the novelty of looking at a small, green-coloured image through a narrow tube wears off. Sometimes you will be bette r off without it.