Many of us leave our house every day with a pistol securely stowed in a holster and a flashlight tucked in our pocket. We feel safe knowing that we're proficient with our gun and are prepared for any encounter, even it it happens after dark. How many of us practice shooting while using a flashlight? That question is exactly what I started thinking when I saw an upcoming class for Low Light Pistol Skills 1 & 2 from MDTS training. I believe having the tools to defend yourself is only a small part of the task. Knowing how to use them plays a larger part of a situation.

I signed up and waited for the class, wondering what to expect. Not so much from the class but more so how would I do. The class was held at the Oneida Rifle Club in Oneida, NY. It was scheduled to be an eight hour class but ended up running a little longer for those that were willing to stay.

The class is designed to be an introduction to shooting in low and no light conditions and covers a variety of subjects. The morning started out with some classroom time where we learned about equipment such as different types of flashlights. We discussed gun mounted lights vs. hand held flashlights, LED vs. incandescent flashlights, different light outputs and their pros and cons. The physiological workings of the human eye were even reviewed to help us understand how light affects us. We talked about temporary blindness and how it can be used to our advantage. Many different techniques for holding a gun and flashlight were demonstrated and practiced.

After the classroom time we moved on to live fire exercises. When it was time to hold the flashlight that I carried every day it was clear that I had a lot to learn when it came to operating a light and gun at the same time. It looks a lot easier than it is and having some instruction definitely improved my skills throughout the day. During the live fire sessions we were shown and practiced not only the proper way to hold a light and gun but also reloads, chamber checks and manipulation of the light. All this was done while moving which induced a little bit of stress. We had the opportunity to try the various holding techniques and to find out which worked best for us. We were given a trial by fire when we were brought into the dimly lit range and shown a situation were we were to assess the targets and shoot the targets we deemed a threat. Most of us learned that even after a morning of practice being able to shoot was not as important of being able to judge your target.

The Harries technique:

The afternoon consisted mostly of force on force drills using airsoft guns and our lights. This is when we really learned how much of what was taught so far that day had been stored away into our memory. The force on force drills were not only great practice but also a lot of fun. With this portion of the class we combined what we learned about the use of a light and gun with the fundamentals of using cover, moving and general defensive shooting fundamentals.

The class was a lot of fun and I met a lot of new people. One of my fellow classmates was a New York City police officer who traveled all the way from the city by bus to attend. This was not his first class with MDTS, in fact many of the attendees had taken other classes with MDTS training and returned for the Low Light class. If you carry a gun for defense I encourage you to keep an eye on the MDTS Training schedule and sign up for this class the next time it's offered. You'll learn a lot about the skills needed to defend yourself after dark. The class covers a lot of material for one day and will give you a great sense of what you need to practice to stay sharp on your skills.