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Posted: 9/21/2022 1:53:22 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/30/2022 1:29:18 PM EDT
Notes (not necessarily an AAR) from TNVC NF 201
16, 17, 18 Sept 2022
Great Falls, MT
Approximately 32 trng hours.  
“We train to standard, not to time”.  We definitely got our money’s worth.  What a great class
Cost $750 (extremely reasonable for a 3 day class
$650 with $100 discount for alumni of NF 101

My notes in bold/italics below and then my review of the class farther below.

From https://tnvc.com/shop/night-fighter-201-great-falls-mt/

Night Fighter 201 Course Description:
Nightfighter 201 is a class for active duty Military, Law Enforcement, Security Personnel, and Nightfighter 101 Graduates (contact [email protected] for vetting requirements).  You must meet the pre-requisites, listed below, to attend this course.
Unlike Nightfighter 101 and other “Level 1” Night Vision based courses, Nightfighter 201 is designed to provide advanced instruction to students who already are competent in low/no-light operations. This course focuses on building upon students’ already established skillsets in both individual and team settings for increased capabilities in a variety of different environments. Students will execute a number of tactical and skilled-based tasks including team movement and communication, target discrimination/engagement, advanced problem solving and individual/team tasks in an assortment of environments.

Subjects Covered
•Safety Brief
•Gear Discussion
•Physiology of Night Vision
•Zeroing Lasers
•Square Range Shooting Drills
•Reloads and Transitions
•Moving and Shooting
•Improvised Shooting Positions
•Equipment Failure Drills
•White Light Integration
•Team Movement
•Simunition CQB (UTM)
•Visible Lasers
•Pro Masks CBRN (as applicable)
•IFF Signaling
•Thermal Imagers

In accordance with ITAR Regulations, only U.S. Citizens will be accepted to participate in TNVC courses. NO EXCEPTIONS. This is a highly physical class where students are encouraged to be in good physical condition.
Vetted and verified graduates of Nightfighter 101 or comparable approved Night Vision courses (e.g., Greenline Tactical) may enroll in Nightfighter 201. If you have any questions about prerequisite training requirements, please e-mail [email protected].
•300 rds Rifle (Students had a lot of choice in how much they shot; I fired closer to 400 rounds)
•150 rds Pistol (Ditto; I fired closer to 50 rounds)
•50 rounds UTM ammunition (can be purchased on site) (Ditto; I think that I fired closer to 100 rounds but my coworker and I brought our own Simunitions Fx NTLA marking cartridges.  Those who purchased UTMs paid 82 cents each, at the end of the class, for the exact amount of UTMs that they used)

Due to the higher velocity of the Sims Fx NLTA, very possibly they will not be allowed in future classes, order to prevent damage to the facility – a real building that is really used by regular earth people for 99.9% of its use; be sure to check with TNVC Training going forward as to whether Simunitions Fx NLTA will be allowed.

•Serviceable Carbine or Rifle (5.56MM/.223 M4/AR15-style compatible with provided UTM bolt conversion or bring your own UTM conversion)
•LAW-style folding stock adapters and many piston driven ARs do not work with our UTM gear
•Carbine-mounted Weapon Light
•Red Dot (preferable Night Vision compatible)
•Infrared Laser (can be rented for additional fee)
•Weapon-Mounted IR Illuminator (recommended)
•Sling (2 point adjustable recommended and preferred)
•Serviceable Pistol (with red dot preferred)
•Pistol-mounted Weapon Light
•Night Vision Goggle (Gen3 preferred) (can be rented for additional fee)
•Helmet with Night Vision Mount (can be rented for additional fee)
•Handheld White Light
•Ballistic Eye Protection
•Ear Protection
•Maintenance/Cleaning Kit for Weapons
•Minimum of Five (5) Serviceable Rifle Magazines I brought 10, and loaded them prior to class
•Minimum of Three (3) Serviceable Pistol Magazines I brought 5, and loaded them prior to class
•Pistol Holster and Magazine Pouches that will retain items during movement
•Must hold two (2) each Rifle and Pistol Magazines on Person
•Sufficient Batteries for all your equipment
•IFAK or BOK on Person
•Clothing suited to strenuous activity as well as being seasonally appropriate
•Rain Gear / Cold Weather Gear (seasonal)
•Snacks, Energy Drinks, etc.
•Level 3 or 4 Rifle Plates and Appropriate Soft Armor (if used in a duty capacity)
•Pro Mask and 2 New Filters (if used in a duty capacity)
•Any other Agency / Unit-specific tactical gear used on normal operations / callouts

My Take, Notes, Comments, not necessarily an AAR

Disclaimer:  the following is from my faulty memory and notes hastily scribbled during class.

They are not necessarily in chronological order.

Some (much?)  of what was experienced and remembered will of course differ from person to person.  Such is the nature of perception and memory.

I’m not going to mention some of the specifics of the POI.  The subjects covered section above lists the bones of the class.  If you are interested, take the class.  And I do recommend that you take the class.  You’ll get so much out of it.  

Hardware is not all that useful unless you have the software to use it effectively and efficiently.  You can buy capability, but you cannot buy skill.  That can only be earned.

Professional training is the way to install that software into your brain housing group.  
Professional training drastically shortens the learning curve.  
Professional training provides answers, but also poses questions that otherwise may never have occurred to you, that you need to determine for yourself through discovery learning; the meat of this class provided extensive opportunities for discovery learning.  

I’m still a newbie when it comes to using NV.  

During my time in the MIL (early to mid 90s) we never had access to it.  

As a patrol LEO who has worked a lot of night shifts and gone a lot of into dark places, be it day or night, it always made sense to me that to effectively work in the dark, we should be able to effectively see in the dark, particularly during occasions during which advertising our presence, location, activities, and/or intentions through the use of white light (or other noise/light discipline compromises that LEOs often either intentionally or unintentionally commit) can be counter productive to solving the problem at hand, or more importantly, survival.  

Having experienced my share of sketchy situations in the dark while on the job, I was well motivated to seek out better ways of doing business.

Our agency has some handheld FLIR cameras and some handheld GP handheld units (ITT Night Mariner, essentially a PVS7 with a housing around it that gives it the form factor of standard handheld binoculars), but they are of limited use because you can’t use them hands free.  Having said all that, I still took these tools along on night time patrol use and used them occasionally.  

In about 2018, I found an “Intro to NV class” with a local instructor and attended my first formal NV class, using loaner equipment from the instructor.  During the class, I networked with another LEO whose agency had purchased a variety of things with a grant, including NV.  We had used this same grant for buying some things but nothing like that.  He referred me to the person at his agency who worked with the grant and I consulted them and eventually we applied for and were approved for grant funding for purchasing NV equipment.  We obtained multiple sets of dual tube WP NVGs, mounts, and helmets from TNVC.

I would like to say that everyone at TNVC was incredibly helpful even early on when it was far from certain that we would ever spend any money with them.  At that point, I didn’t even know of any possibility of funding.  Fortunately, the stars eventually lined up and we ordered the NV.

During the time it took for the NV order to arrive, I continued my informal education by watching/reading/talking to numerous resources, and I and a coworker signed up for TNVC’s NF 101.  The NV order arrived in time for us to start getting used to the equipment prior to attending the class in Sept 2021.  

During NF101 (primary instructors Bill, Mike, and “M”), much learning occurred, and we promptly signed up for NF 201 in Sept 2022.

During the time between the classes, following the advice of the instructors, I sold a bunch of things to fund purchasing my own NVGs.  I trained on my own time with NV as much as I could, and as I felt my growing skills warranted it, I increasingly used NV while on the job, but only for observation/seeing, not for processing threats/unknown threats.  For that I transitioned from NV to conventional TTPs (white light, etc.).  

The advantages of NV are of course incredible – as Bill and the other TNVC instructors stated, it’s a superpower that you can buy.   And I had several successes on the job where in the use of NV was influential to positive outcomes.  

Meanwhile, I enlisted other folks at the agency for their assistance and together we developed an agency training program to spin people up on the use of NV for patrol use.  And they are having successes of their own.  It’s paying off.

Flash Forward to Sept 2022, NF 201 in Great Falls, MT.
First off, a note about the local sponsors for this class.  TNVC has an excellent relationship with the local LE agencies and their level of support for these classes is as tremendous as it is valuable.  Huge thanks to these agencies and their personnel for the incredible amount of hard work that goes into making these classes a success.  Thanks also to all the other local LE personnel who contributed (sorry, don’t have names, but you know who you are).  

Additionally, Thank You to the Heritage Baptist Church for allowing us to use their facilities.  Huge huge thanks.  This building is quite large and complex, and has very few, if any windows.  Really good for NV training.

Also, Thank You to all the industry sponsors of this class for the donations and discount codes for alumni to use.  It certainly helps the money go farther when buying needed stuff.

And of course, many thanks to the NF201 instructors, Bill, Chip, “M”, and “K”.  

Super high levels of professionalism, incredible attention to detail and solid class planning and teaching.  

The instructors made clear that this was our class, of which they were the facilitators.  We were free to ask anything and the instructors regularly asked what questions we had, after every component of the POI.  

What this class was about, mostly, IMO -  provide students with info and experience through discovery learning to enable them to make educated decisions as to how to effectively and efficiently select and use tools to solve force problems in lowlight/no light conditions.  

To be able to accomplish that, the class employed a variety of teaching tools: lecture, guided discussions, dry practice, live fire, force on target in different environment and with different problems, and a lot of 1:1, 1:2, and 1:4 instructor:student settings.

What this class was not, was purely Night Vision CQB.  

The 32 or so hours spent in this class over three nights (think about that for a minute) were chock full of valuable content.  Trying to add an additional emphasis would have diluted the course content and the end result would have suffered.  You can’t play hockey if you can’t ice skate.  This class was about teaching how to skate better, and some elements of playing hockey.  How to play hockey is its own series of classes.

This was primarily a class to provide students with additional knowledge and skills as to how to best use their technology solutions in order to acquire visual information to make and perform force decisions, then apply those in increasingly complex drills that provided discovery learning opportunities so students could apply various solutions to solve the problems given and learn from what worked well and not so well, and then make changes to attempt to improve the results.  Sometimes the changes that I tried still didn’t work.  Being able to run through so many drills and have immediate feedback from the instructors and from my own knowledge of how I did gave me those discovery learning opportunities to thoroughly explore things.

We were advised that we would need to explain the why of our choices, and the instructors asked us why we made the decisions we did.  The big thing was, did you know why you did what you did?  The why behind the what.  Didn’t matter if the result was positive or less than positive, your decision making was the thing to examine.  Create a base of experience so you have a much better idea of what decisions to make to achieve the desired goal.  Process (decision) focused, not outcome focused.  Make better decisions and you’ll get better outcomes.  

The interaction between instructors and students really made this class stand out from a lot of other classes that I’ve taken.  

This emphasis on the why that underlies the what is exceptionally important.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day.  You might get the right answer due to a happy accident but you aren’t going to reliably accomplish that.  You need to know the pros and cons of your options so you can know why option X is better than option Y given circumstances _____ (fill in the blank what whatever could occur).

Additionally, what this was not, was purely a Night Vision class.  It is a Night Fighting class, to provide you training to select the best options from among the various options available.   Although a lot of the time NV might be part of the solution, what parts yes and what parts not?  This class went down that rabbit hole and provided answers to these often complex problems.

As to options, and this is part of why the class is suited as a level 201 class, they are multiple and can be complete - each option has potential combinations and all of these things have subtleties that you have to experience in order to understand, so you can make intelligent decisions, and this is what the class did so very well during the meat of the class.  

The various options have pros and cons regarding their use, questions to find answers to through experiencing varied conditions (discovery learning in the class environment):

-Should you use unaided vision, or NV?  When does it make sense to NOT use NVGs?
-Are you using a mono?  
-Duals with articulating pods?
-Are duals better than a mono?  For what and what not?  Hint: you are NOT underequipped with a PVS14.  
-If running a mono, which eye do you aid?
-When does it make sense to flip up a pod?
-What about looking under, over, around the NVG pods?
-What about dealing with positive and negative photonic barriers?
-What about white light?  IR illuminations?
-What about your aiming solution options?  Passive?  IR laser?  Or even for some
problems, stance directed fire can be the way to go.

We also explored a way to enhance how well NVGs can work to *greatly* increase the range at which you can see well enough discriminate threats, although there is a con to it . .  

Sidebar on accuracy: throughout the class there was an emphasis on achieving a high level of accuracy to achieve hits that would quickly end a shooting, or even a gunfight (they are not the same).   The instructors used targets, preferred areas on the targets, target placement, prompts, and other methods to get students to apply a high level of accuracy to vital anatomy.  

Sidebar on targeting vital anatomy to rapidly stop threats:  Chip had a very good way of explaining what the preferred aiming areas were, where to put your sights, and why.  

At its core, the class was about instructors providing students with numerous runs through the varied drills/scenarios (all force on target, not force on role player or force on force; instructors provided prompts to add complexity, etc.) and through repetition and increasing complexity of factors, provided a discovery learning environment so students could learn to use the right tool(s) efficiently and effectively to gather information by leveraging the various technology (unaided eye, white light, I2, and thermal – though we didn’t do anything with thermal it was discussed at various times).

And as mentioned above, while this was not a CQB class, instructors discussed aspects of CQB, to include: priorities of work inside the room, how to scan (more to it than you think), communication (ditto), and the threat discrimination process.  Threat discrimination was explained, reinforced, and trained on extensively throughout the entire class through a drill adapted from Jared Reston (the instructors readily give credit to other instructors when presenting something originating them them).  I have used a similar drill in our agency training but this application took it farther and worked very well to obtain the training goals, or at least as well as it could with force on target training.  

As to the threat discrimination process taught in class, I have seen this previously from Paul Howe.  I find it useful however my own experience and application is slightly different.  This is still a very worthwhile concept to understand and apply, however.  This was incorporated into live fire and then force on target drills, extensively.  

Additional concepts that I found worthwhile:  
-The flow drill as it relates to slung and ready positions
-The concept of Cruiser Ready for NVGs
-NV setup drills, practiced several times, on demand, under certain conditions
-Momentary v. Constant on switchology.  
-What sacrificial lenses may do and may not do for you.  
-Reasons for their recommended sling setup and sling accessories
-A reason to grab the handguard in a particular location when placing the weapon into the rear sling position, and recovering it from there
-Reasons why certain lights with higher output do or don’t work well with certain accessories,
-The point at which increasing brighter lights start to have diminishing returns in certain environments
-Probably for me, the most important thing I learned was a basic framework of when I want to use NV and when not to, which was informed by my experiences during all the training runs that we did.  
-You basically have 3 options to choose from, and under most circumstances, you can only effectively use perhaps 2 of them, but under another circumstance, perhaps all 3.
-Recommendations for how to carry spare batteries and eye pro
-Why Make Ready is a Ritual, not a Process.  
-Expanded on the concept of the safety an enabler, never a disabler.  
-A recommendation on technique to make reloading easier when using NVGs.  
-Extensive discussion and drills explaining reasons to base a decision on when to use NV, and when to use unaided eyes and white light.  
-Light as terrain.  I’ve heard this previously but never heard this thorough of an explanation of it.  

So far, I’ve discussed mostly what occurred on nights 2 and 3 (because for me that was where the most learning occurred), not so much about night 1.

Night 1 was classroom content and then live fire.  Introductions, safety brief, a presentation about the goals and the road map and knowledge for achieving them, and then dry practice to refresh foundational skills and introduced new ones, and ensure everyone was on the same page.  

We then relocated to the range (15 minute drive) and spent the rest of the evening in live fire.

The TTPs from NF101 were applied and expanded on, and the drills added complexity as we went, to practice in live fire all the various solutions we would be applying during nights 2 and 3.  

There was a baseline assessment drill (from Baer solutions) which we repeated at the end of the night to show student progress.  

During the team drills, I learned firsthand of some of the pros and cons of passive aiming as compared to using the IR laser when in a team environment.  

Notably, the curriculum built the foundation that made these team drills possible, so we could accomplish them safely and effectively, and the students were all very diligent and safe, which is of course of paramount importance when doing this type of training.  

In closing, I hope that gives you some helpful into as to some of what this class was about.

My amigo and I drove 22 hrs total to and from the class and took a week off work.

IMO it was well worth it and I’d do it all over again.  
Link Posted: 10/2/2022 1:59:53 PM EDT
[Last Edit: Easttnplinker] [#2]
First of all thank you to the Great Falls PD and the church for making this all possible.  I’m not sure how to follow the post above as it was more than comprehensive but wanted to say that NF201 was an excellent class and was a logical progression from NF101.

I appreciated the opportunity to be facilitated and not instructed, many times we learn the most from our mistakes and this class for sure will provide you plenty of opportunity for that. There was a lot to think about at the end of each night.  

Usually I leave a class with a couple things I messed up on to think about, this one, every scenario provided a learning opportunity.  Even if it wasn’t from a mistake on your part, someone in the room would inevitably would provide one for you.  

Instruction was top notch and this is truly a night fighting course not a nightvision course.  I learned more about white light and the need to see color in 201 while I learned more about Nightvision in 101.  This was highly valuable information that I will use in the future.  Having articulating binos, I found that using only one a monocular or PVS14 sure has its merits in a lot of situations.

Value of training time for the money, we’ll it’s higher than any class I’ve taken.  As mentioned above we ended around 32 hours of training time in three nights.  The class moved at an efficient pace with minimal downtime.  

The mixture of civilian, police, and military in the class provided a mixture of perspectives that just couldn’t be accomplished otherwise and I was able to learn quite a bit from each side in how they problem solved each situation.

TNVC, thank you for offering the Nightfighter series of classes.  There are not many options for this type of training for the civilian market and I greatly appreciate your willingness to offer this knowledge transfer.  Many are afraid to do so and your classes show this can be achieved effectively and safely without issue.

Additionally it’s impressive to me that a nightvision company would design a class that teaches you as much about white light as they do anything else showing that the goal is truly learning the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Thanks again Bill and the team.  If there’s ever a NF301 I can’t wait to sign up.
Link Posted: 10/5/2022 1:58:47 PM EDT
Link Posted: 10/5/2022 2:02:08 PM EDT
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