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Posted: 11/1/2022 9:25:46 AM EDT
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Link Posted: 11/1/2022 7:30:45 PM EDT
[#1]
This was a great class. A review in multiple parts #1

If you have NVG's or are thinking of getting them, I would highly recommend signing up for NF101. The education you will receive about goggles and gear is indispensable, as it gives you a solid foundation to better understand the technology and apply that knowledge to using your gear to its fullest. The instructors were able to teach in a very succinct, straight forward, challenging, and fun way, which allows for retention of the curriculum. I usually have to take copious notes in order to remember all the drills and teaching of classes, but this one feels like it is burned into my brain.

I got the luck of getting to learn from Joe, Chip, and Mark, which was an awesome experience due to their knowledge, attention to detail, safety, and levity. We also had Bill intermittently wandering around dropping seeds of wisdom, which was great. I can assure you that you will learn an incredible amount during this course if you show up prepared and ready to learn.
Link Posted: 11/1/2022 7:31:55 PM EDT
[#2]
Part 2

Preparing and learning:

Make sure you read the FAQ's on the TNVC website. They mean what they are saying, so take it seriously. This is not a beginners class, you will be around a bunch of people you don't know, shooting guns in total darkness. So if you have any reservations about your capability to safely handle your firearms around a lot of people, take some more daytime classes and then sign up, it will be worth the effort.

Here would be my additions/reinforcements to the FAQ & Packing list.

Practice in your kit for extended periods prior to the class date. Wearing a belt, chest rig, plate carrier, etc.  for an hour or two at a time is not the same as wearing it for a full two day class of shooting & movement. You will get tired.

Practice with your gear in total darkness. You're going to need it.

Bring an extra rifle if you have one, or ensure you have a reliable system and the means to remedy any malfunctions. It's probably best to bring an AR platform in .556. Most(if not all) of the class will be using them, and may be able to supply parts/mags, etc. if your gun goes down. It also helps the instructors ascertain the condition of your rifle, and plays heavily into many of the drills/regimentation in the class.
Link Posted: 11/1/2022 7:33:27 PM EDT
[#3]
Part #3

Bring a two point adjustable sling. Practice with it prior to class.

Unless you have months of time to train with and run it before the course to ensure reliability/familiarity, don't fuck with what works prior to class date, unless it's your sling. If your setup has been treating you good for months, don't change anything prior to the course, save it for after.

Load all of your mags before you show up to class. Make sure your mags are marked.

Lube the shit out of your rifle. Bring lots of lube.

Drink lots of water starting two days before class. You will get dehydrated. Bring snacks so you can eat while everyone else loads magazines.

Make sure your helmet has some velcro space on the back that is available. 2" X 2" should be sufficient. (I will be sewing some loop on my counterweight because of this.)

Show up  with gear prepared, an open mind for learning, and have a blast. You will not regret it.

Thank you for the opportunity to train with you guys, it was great meeting you and the other students. Looking forward to NF201 in March.
Link Posted: 11/2/2022 2:26:37 AM EDT
[Last Edit: InvertedDeparture] [#4]
I had the privilege of being one of the students on Relay 1 with Joe, Chip the Maccabee, and Mark. (I was the younger guy in the father/son pair.)

BACKGROUND
I am a responsibly armed civilian with no military/LE background. Consequently, I rely on training courses to develop techniques and proficiency. Since 2018 I have been an avid competitive shooter in 2gun/3gun, and consider myself to have an intermediate level of skill (my best results are 4th overall out of 52 shooters at a monthly 2-gun club match, and 60% of winner's score at the 2021 SMM3G Championship), but competition is for applying skills, not learning them. I have taken multiple basic and intermediate handgun and rifle courses before NF101. Every so often it's important for me to take a tactical course to "ground" my shooting skills in a defensive/combative manner, and to refocus on fundamentals and making effective, proficient hits rather than just going fast.

I bought a set of NVGs (BNVD-SG with Elbit WP tubes) last year and have taken them on a few night shoots, camping, and one night 2-gun match. Why? "NODs creep" is real and testimony of other civilian, LE, and MIL friends has opened my eyes to just how asymmetric of an advantage NVGs are, especially outside of a structure. Growing up in Florida, every bad hurricane season we were reminded that electricity is a convenience. And after recent events in the past few years, I think we can all agree that there are bad actors in society who 100% exploit chaos to do harm to communities, and they use the cover of night. It's a narrow use case - I don't make a living kicking in doors to hunt down anyone, and if I am using NVGs in defense of home or community then something has gone horribly wrong with society - but if I am going to own the wizard eyes, I should be competent, trained, and disciplined with them. (The alternative is competitive spending to amass gear that just get used to flex on social media, without a dime on training, which is a terrible life nobody should live.)

EQUIPMENT
-BNVD-SG on a ballistic helmet with attached earpro
-Suppressed SBR AR-15 with red dot (Aimpoint PRO), 3x magnifier (removed and stowed), 2 point VTAC sling, M600DF white light, CQBL-1 visible/IR laser, Kiji 3 deg IR illuminator, TAPS SYNC v4 to control the laser and Kiji
-Glock 17 with compensator and SRO, riding in a Safariland 6390RDS
-Battle Belt and chest rig (I considered a plate carrier, but decided against it)
-Other PPE (eyepro, knee pads)

COURSE TAKEAWAYS
-The biggest takeaway I got was the importance of being able to Make Ready, 100%, in the light or the dark.
-The second biggest takeaway is that NVGs are sensitive, but not fragile. I am much more confident using my NVGs around white light sources.
-I also have a much better sense of how to move under NVGs.
-Marksmanship is important. I have a lot of experience with height-over-bore challenges thanks to competitive shooting. (A common "vibe check" is a 7 yard rifle target with just the headbox visible behind a no-shoot.) Not everyone has this experience. The GBRS Hydra and other super-tall optic mounts are very popular right now & good for passive aiming, but you MUST know and practice your hold-overs for close range targets. The tall mounts exaggerate the hold-over more so than lower 1/3 cowitness.
-Your laser hold-over may not be the same as your optic hold-over. I'm spoiled with a CQBL-1 as it's a single-dimensional problem, but MAWL users will have to hold over in elevation and windage.
-Night vision is a huge technolgical advantage, but it is not a superpower. We did multiple drills trying to positively ID what someone was holding and if he was a threat. The results were humbling.
-The course is Night FIGHTER 101, not Night Vision 101. White light use was also taught, and the more zesty drills were done dry & live at dusk with white light before doing so under NVG.

Overall I am much more confident with my ability to use, move, shoot, and otherwise employ night vision and white light. The instructors are passionate and knowledgeable about the subject matter, but always helpful and willing to answer the most basic questions. They also had a very close focus on keeping the students safe. At no point were they intimidating or condescending, even to us civilians. I would absolutely recommend this course to any MIL/LE/responsibly armed and trained civilian who wishes to develop basic to intermediate skills at night fighting -- or the next time they put on a 2-gun night match! (I need to crush the people who just strap an Olight to their 3-gun rifle...)

RECOMMENDATIONS TO FUTURE STUDENTS
R1: Bring tools to remediate things working themselves loose on your rifle. My CQBL worked itself loose, and I had to remove the Kiji to tighten it down. (The Kiji then came loose because I messed up the MLOK mounting - the nut on the front screw wasn't engaging with the handguard!)
R2: Lubricate firearms before every day of class, especially if shooting suppressed.
R3: Visible lasers are useful and should not be dismissed as a 1980s aiming method for MP5s and long-slide 1911s. The instructors can work with you, however, if your laser is IR-only.
R4: Like the above user commented, familiarity with your existing gear is important. Consider taking a handgun or carbine course in the 6 months prior to "knock the rust off" - or attend a local match :)
R5: Show up with loaded mags and ready to go. This expedites everything and lets you focus on learning.
R6: The pre-requsites are pretty important. If you have never done a class at all and don't have relevant MIL/LE experience, it is important to be proficient at tasks like transitioning to handgun, sling work, etc.
Link Posted: 11/7/2022 4:10:00 PM EDT
[#5]
Link Posted: 11/15/2022 1:13:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: AFJRTCTM] [#6]
1) Load 8 rifle mags/5 pistol mags prior to each night. Breaks were 10 min & some struggled to reload, hydrate, resolve any equipment issues, and use the latrine in time.
2) High intensity strobes on equipment should not be used. They blind the instructors and students.    
3) Soft caps (like the Crye NightCap) were not recommended but bump helmets are acceptable.  A helmet fitted with a 4D tactical Zero G Helmet liner kit should reduce hot spots.
4) One instructor suggested the Ferro Concept Slingster with at least 1 QD on a connection point on the rail.  
5) A knee pad (or pads) may be desirable on the second night during the steel target course of fire at the end of night two that allowed students to kneel behind cover.  
6) Tactical light types and power varied considerably.  All rifle tac lights appeared have an IR setting.  The IR setting was not a requirement for pistol tac lights.  The power levels varied, but even older tac lights were able to support the longer-range steel course of fire. It may be possible for a shooter standing next to you to put so much light on the target that it washes out your red dot.  It may be necessary to operate your red dot on a higher setting until you become familiar with the tac lights being used by other shooters next to you.
7) Consider using an optics riser or tall mount, even if you are using a taller sight like an Eotech EXPS.  This will reduce the need to cock your head and will give you better NVD to optic alignment.
8) Zero your rifle prior to the course.  If you cannot zero the lasers, at least zero the red dot.  We were giving the brief opportunity to co-witness the laser to the red dot, if necessary, but students did not have an opportunity to do a full traditional zero.
9) Lubricate your rifle and bring CLP or your preferred lubricant.  The instructors mentioned a lack of weapons being sufficiently lubricated in recent classes.
Link Posted: 11/15/2022 10:07:31 AM EDT
[#7]
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