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A Shot In The Dark
Friday, August 11, 2017
When you have questions about how a product performs, there's nothing like putting it in optimal test conditions. And when you're talking about lasers and lights on firearms, it seems there is one facility in the country that's better equipped to give you optimal conditions for lights and lasers.

Crimson Trace is now making -and will soon be shipping- LG497 LightGuard units that fit Ruger's new LCP2 pistol. Yesterday, a group of writers took those lights into absolute darkness to give them a try. As always, shooting in pitch-black was eye-opening. Jim Shepherd/OWDN photos.

Yesterday, I had the chance to spend some time at Rockcastle Shooting Center in Kentucky to get some hands-on time with new lasers in Crimson Trace's massive product line. They included the new LaserGuard LG497 for Ruger's LCP2 pistol. Also spent some quality time on one of Honda's new ATVs, so it was a double-barrel opportunity.

There's not a lot you can say about lights and lasers on guns that hasn't already been written, debated and argued ad nauseum. From a hotly-debated idea when the Outdoor Wire was beginning to today, they've progressed from gimmick to training device to de rigeur equipment for any situation where it may be difficult, if not impossible, for mere mortals to remember the "front sight, front sight, front sight" mantra that was hardline doctrine before Lou Danielsen and his gang of engineering friends came up with the idea of putting lasers on firearms.

But there's a lot of difference between knowing they help to seeing what a difference they make in true darkness. Enter Rockcastle Shooting Center - and their one-of-a-kind cave.

Rockcastle has lots of ranges, with distances that go up to a mile. But they also have a cave that's particularly well suited for testing lights, lasers, flashlights and claustrophobic nerves. So, six writers clambered down into the cave yesterday to give the new products a run.

It isn't for the squeamish, but after getting over the initial reaction to crawling down into a hole in the earth, you quickly discover a very unique shooting experience. Jim Shepherd/OWDN photo.
Having been in the absolute darkness of that cave before, I knew what to expect. It is an eye-opening experience if you've never really seen how bright gun lights and lasers are in true darkness. And muzzle flashes are equally awe-inspiring. As one of our group observed, "you've no idea how dark dark really is- or any idea how bright muzzle flashes are if you've not done much shooting in the dark."

Good point- and that's the real take-away from this piece.

Training with your gun isn't an option, if you intend to progress from gun owner to capable shooter.

If you consider your firearms -rifle, pistol or shotgun- your first line of home defense, you need to be more than familiar with manipulating it in the time when the majority of home defense situations happen- at night. In the dark. And I'm not talking about running tap-rack-clear drills or anything fancy. I'm talking about becoming familiar with what it's like to shoot your gun in the dark.

Doesn't matter how many rounds you've put downrange in the daylight, you'll quickly learn that things truly are different in the dark. Distances increase, depth perception decreases and the familiar becomes alien. And all that happens before you turn on a light or press a trigger.

Not everyone has the opportunity to crawl down into absolute darkness to experience that sort of industrial-grade darkness, but everyone who considers a gun part of their home defense plan should spend some time in shooting in the dark.

It's an eye-opening experience- that could save your life.

--Jim Shepherd

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