ONSIGHT FIREARMS TRAINING www.oftllc.us
Low Light/No Light Pistol
March 28, 2021
Instructor: Ben DeWalt Location: ACADEMI Northeast, Salem CT Weather: Indoor Range Round Count: 400ish
This was the first low-light class I have attended. Not knowing exactly what to expect I went in with my mind open and a blank slate for expectations. We started off in the classroom discussing handheld flashlights, weapon-mounted lights, and the pros and cons of each. Ben had a variety of different lights and went through each of them telling us what he liked and disliked about them. We had a brief discussion about the advancements in LED technology and what is coming out on the horizon in the next few months which was interesting. We discussed white light tactics, reflections, splashbacks, direct light, indirect light, momentary on/off, and constant-on techniques. After about 45 minutes of classroom discussion, we headed down to the range.
On the range, we did our safety briefing and medical briefing, identified the medically trained students, and setup protocols in case we had a training accident.
We started off with cold guns practicing the three handheld flashlight holds Ben taught us. We did some drills getting our unloaded gun out with one hand while we held the flashlight in the particular flashlight method Ben called out.
Once Ben was comfortable with the class doing the drills cold, we loaded our guns and the range lights were turned off. We still had some dull soft light behind the range so it was not completely pitch black……..that would come after lunch.
We lined up on the 15-yard line and each shot five rounds into the inner circle of a standard Range-Master bowling target using the flashlight method Ben called out. We had to get our gun out with one hand, the hand-held flashlight was turned on and the shots were fired, the flashlight was turned off. No time limit. The cold live-fire drill was challenging single-handed and using a flashlight in your support hand. Three of my shots were in and two drifted ½” left. That pissed me off! In the next iterations, all my shots were in! We did this drill using all the different flashlight methods, changing targets after a few iterations to keep our shots accountable and so we could see our own development.
We moved to the ten-yard line and the drill and target type were changed: two shots center mass and two into the face always from the holster. My one-handed game was weak in that drill, making the center mass shots was not an issue, but the face shots were either ¼” left or in. I had a 50/50 split in the face shots.
We broke for lunch and ate as a group in the classroom talking to Ben and each other. The thirty minutes went fast and we were back downstairs on the range. This time all the lights were completely off. It was so dark you could not see anything one inch in front of your face! It was weird. Ben was talking and the other students were to the left and right of me and I could not see ANYTHING! I was uncomfortable!
I was in the second group of shooters, while the first group was doing the drill I was behind them. We went from complete black to six lights on/off and six fireballs coming out from their guns and then back to complete black. My eyes/brain did not know how to process it and I was getting kind of dizzy. After about 15-20 minutes my body adjusted and I felt fine.
We did all sorts of drills, using different elevations, leaning around cover, facing left, right, up range all while having to pay attention to the small details of the drill ben created. Using only one hand and being in complete 100% darkness was challenging for me. On one drill I was to only shoot odd-numbered targets, while I was scanning the targets with indirect light off the ground and saw a “3” started shooting my string of 3-5 shots and realized it said “30” after the second shot. f***! I went too fast and did not give the target enough light. (public school education)
We did shoot-no-shoot targets, shooting around no-shoot targets, fixed malfunctions, and performed reloads in the dark with flashlights in our hands. The students that had that switchback rings on their flashlights had an advantage. I had shock cord on my light and was able to let it hang on my thumb or wrap it around my fingers during reloading times.
In the last drill of the day, we were able to use our weapon-mounted light at 25 yards into the A zone of a standard full-size target. We shot a string of ten shots and it was heaven. We could use two hands and it felt like cheating after a full day of one-handed shooting.
The standout drill for me was when Ben came around and f***ed with our gun. Each of us had a different set of malfunctions setup on our gun and we did not know what they were. We were to shoot our target, fix whatever malfunction we had without light. When it came to my turn, I presented the gun to find my dot was off, I turned my light on identifying the target, using backup irons got the gun where it needed to be, and pressed the trigger. CLICK no bang. Light off, sidestep, tap rack with the flashlight in my support hand, light on, and fire three shots into the center mass area of my target. f***ER HE WAS! I loved it!
I had been excited to do a low light class for a long time, the first few hours I was uncomfortable shooting one-handed, and not seeing anything until my light came on. I adjusted and really enjoyed doing something completely new and different. I have been in a lot of Ben’s classes so I was completely comfortable with him and trusted him 100%. It was a fun class that a learned a ton. The other students were great, good shooters, great senses of humor, and encouraging to each other.
I really like Ben. He is super knowledgeable, skillful, funny, humble, and sometimes appropriately inappropriate. As the day goes on his jokes go downhill. He is a down-to-earth dude, that is easy to talk to fun to be around. I think Ben DeWalt and OnSight Firearms Training is one of the best training companies, absolutely take his class if you have the opportunity.