Flashlights ready! Next week I’m headed down to the Triple Crown at The Range in Oxford, NC. It consists of 3 sanctioned IDPA matches one of which is at night… yup 8 stages in complete darkness!!
This of course got me to thinking (and frankly a wee bit concerned about my relative inexperience with shooting in the dark… and well spiders, since it’ll be dark and its fall and I won’t be able to see them coming and does anyone know if the sound of gunshots scares spiders? Can spiders hear?).
Now my experience with low light shooting is limited at best and initially I struggled to find a flashlight that fit right in my small hands. I ended up with a Streamlight Protac1AA.
What I love about it:
- It’s tiny… only 4 inches long with a barrel diameter of only 0.65”
- Simple to use with 3 settings
- Strobe – (Why do I need this feature? More on strobe later!) See comments from one of Ron’s recent posts!
- Ideal for a Surefire grip (which I prefer as it still allows me to use my support hand on the gun)
- Takes 1 AA battery – convenient!
- It has an “unbreakable” pocket clip that allows me to easily attach it to my 5.11s for an easy draw.
I have but one issue (well, it’s my issue… not the flashlight!): STROBE!
While shooting the IDPA Indoor Nationals in February 2012 (my very first major IDPA match – remember I haven’t been at this very long!) I had a small strobing issue on one of the low light stages. Truth be told, there were a lot of issues on that particular stage including:
- Reloading when I didn’t need to (can you say flustered?)
- Dropping a loaded mag on the ground
- I’m sure I heard “COVER!” multiple time over the sound of gunshot
- And my personal favorite… putting my flashlight on strobe while I shot. Yup… I did. The visual effects were quite impressive as I essentially turned the stage into a night club and my bullets appeared to move in slow motion. The only thing missing was club music! Thankfully the Safety Officers had a sense of humor and laughed along with me as they handed out the procedurals!
The Streamlight Protac1AA seems to have worked out pretty well for me as it fits my small hands quite nicely. (My only hope is that someone on my squad will have the foresight to bring some rockin’ beats just in case I turn any stages into a dance party!)
I would love to hear the following:
- What flashlights other small handled shooters have found to be comfortable in competition?
- What is your preferred flashlight grip?
- Any flashlight/low light-no light follies? (Come on… if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re not having that much fun!)