So the Day-Night-Day is tomorrow, and I’ve got my gear just about squared away. Which is to say, I’ve figured out which gun to shoot and I already have enough stuff on hand that it should be a breeze.
Gun and gear
Around this time last year, I’d had my 1911, a Springfield TRP, for a few months but wasn’t quite ready to shoot my second D-N-D with a brand new gun (smart or scared? You decide). 2000 rounds later, I’m really bullish about this gun. It’s got month-old springs and I’ve figured out which magazines run well in it. (Reloading a gun with a flashlight in your hand might not be a big deal, but clearing malfunctions in the dark with a full weak hand sucks.)
It helps that the sights on this gun are really squared away. After spending the summer shooting with a fiber front and flat black rear, it was a pretty easy transition back to the three tritium dots of the Novaks on this gun, once I took a sharpie to the two rear dots. It’s a hair slower than the fiber front, but the really clear, square front sight post feels a lot sharper. And, as I found out at the Shoot2Live IDPA night match last month, in real darkness, the sharpie only dulls the rear dots. If it’s dark enough to need them, you can see them. Sweet.
My associated gear is my standard IDPA getup: Daranich Tactical one-piece magpouches, a Woolrich tactical fishing vest, and a Safariland 568 wearing the paddle attachment. I keep looking for an excuse to dump the Safariland’s fake-leather and kydex design for a full kydex job, but it keeps doing what I need. And the paddle design is really comfortable, which is important when you’re wearing the gun for almost 36 hours straight.
Podcast listeners will have heard me rave at length about my Fenix PD32. I’ve had it a little over a year now, since I picked it up for last year’s night match season to replace a 4Sevens Quark AA Tactical that was just too freaking long. Two AA batteries is no bueno. I was just in REI taking a gander at the flashlights on sale, and what sold me on the Fenix light was the tailcap design. I’d been unhappy with the 4Sevens’ tailcap activator with a raised ring all around it to prevent accidental activation. This made using the “Rogers/Surefire” aka “cigar hold” method of shooting with a handheld light very difficult. Surefire lights, in contrast, have no guard around their tailcap activator, making them easy to activate. Too easy, in my opinion.
As soon as I saw the half-guard design of the Fenix light, I realized this was it. The solution. Of course, it happened to have all the other features I wanted: 2xCR123 batteries for better performance in a smaller package, adjustable brightness, and a pocket clip. I bought it on the spot, haven’t looked back and have personally sold a couple of them since.
Why is adjustable brightness useful? Well for one thing, sometimes you don’t need 300 lumens to search for your keys. It lets you save battery life, preserve your night vision, and you’ll actually use your light more because you’re not worried about running down the batteries. And then, every once in a while, clever stage designers make stages that will just throw the light of your 700 lumen monstrosity back in your face, making it nice to be able to put out just enough lumens to see the target without being blinded.
I tend to get really chilly in my extremities (those wool socks are sounding really nice now…), so my secret weapon for these matches are: chemical handwarmers. Between pasting and shooting, wearing gloves really isn’t practical at a match like this, but as long as you can spend at least half the time with your hands in your pockets wrapped around some of these, you’ll stay warm-ish. As much as you can when the high is 46 and there’s a 100% chance of rain.