I recently completed a shooting class taught by Don Edwards of Greenline Tactical. The 2 night class was called Nightfighter which consisted of the proper use of NODs (Night Observation Device) coupled with IR Lasers & Illuninators mounted on your rifle.
The instructor was Don Edwards, who has an impressive background. He served in the 3rd/75 Rangers during Operation Just Cause in the invasion of Panama and then went on to serve in the Army Special Forces where he was a Team Sergeant, a Weapons Sergeant and Intelligence Sergeant during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He later worked at FLETC for the ATF National Academy and the former Director of Training for TNVC. He is the owner/operator of Greenline Tactical LLC. One thing I noticed about Don Edwards is that did not brag about his background and only briefly mentioned it at the beginning of the class. He did not develop the course to showcase himself but to focus on quality training to the student and that’s what he delivered.
The course took place at Tactical Response in Camden, TN. The first night of class began at 3:00PM and started out with an in depth classroom presentation by Sam Houston from TNVC on night vision devices, illuminators & lasers. The class removed a majority of the mystery of night vision by going into the specifics of what night vision is, what the data sheet numbers actual mean and how it actually works in great depth. After the classroom presentation, we moved to the range about dusk and prepared to shoot wearing night vision and rifles equipped with IR lasers.
I was certainly impressed with the knowledge Sam had in night vision technology. He answered every question the students asked him. Prior to class, he was disassembling and repairing night vision for the rentals the students were going to use. Little did I know, he has an impressive background. He works for TNVC and builds night vision. He is also a military veteran where he has an extensive history in operating thermal vision and night vision as a Sensor Operator onboard clandestine forward deployed surveillance aircraft supporting SOCOM military assets in places like The Middle East, Eastern Africa and Subsaharan Africa for the past several years. If you are interested in owning night vision, I strongly suggest you attend a course and be able to ask Sam about your wants and needs. The price of quality night vision seems high but for what it gives you and the high quality of technology that goes into it makes it worth the price. For the information you gain from being able to talk to both instructors will certainly save you money in the long run.
The first course of fire was the “Ready, Up” shooting drill where Don Edwards would give the command of “Ready, Up!” and we would fire with a “Non-Standard Response”. He explained the “Non-Standard Response” as firing up to 5 rounds at the target instead of falling into a habit of a specific number of rounds then stopping. He said that we must decide on how many rounds to fire at the target in order to eliminate the threat. We progressed on to firing in stages of between 1 and 5 rounds, beginning with 1 round then 2 rounds all the way up to 5 rounds then coming back to 1 round again. During these courses of fire, we would reload magazines into our rifles. That sounds like an easy task for anyone with proper gun handling skills and is relatively easy for me to reload a magazine at night wearing no night vision. Once I wore the night vision, it seemed to be a bit more difficult since my peripheral vision was seeing two slightly different things by seeing through a PVS-14, which is a monocular. At the beginning, I had to close both eyes to reload until I got used to the PVS-14 up close. Don Edwards made a statement about tasks wearing night vision; “This is simple but not easy”, meaning that the steps to accomplish are not long or complicated but each step has a level of difficulty if you aren’t used to the task. Although I own night vision and have for some time, I had the feeling of crawling inside of a pipe and shooting because of the perception of a tight space, the field of view on my PVS-14 and a slight magnification up close from only one eye. Also noted is that night vision has a shallow depth of field where you have to focus your vision to your anticipated engagement distance. By the end of night one, I felt far more comfortable with the night vision and shooting tasks. There was very little down time and we completed the first day about midnight.
Night 2 began with about a 20 minute presentation in the classroom and then going to the range before dark. We started with our pistols only and went to a number of shooting drills just to warm up. As darkness fell, we transitioned to low light and no light shooting skills. We would shoot with both white light and IR lights because he stated that you may only have a white light to PID (Positive ID) your intended target. After we conducted our pistol only courses of fire, we added the rifles. This added transitions from rifle to pistol and magazine changes. After the previous night of night vision familiarization, these courses of fire were less difficult. We performed a number of shooting skills tasks such as shooting with IR lasers, shooting without a laser with only your rifle sights and with white lights. Don stated that its important to know the capabilities of your opponent. They could also have night vision capabilities so using IR lights could give away your position. Negligent discharges of light, or ND’s, are just as dangerous to the mission as a negligent discharge of a weapon or radio.
As the night progressed, we moved on to shooting and moving. A drill that Don Edwards developed was a box drill where the shooter would begin at a cone located in the left rear. He would move forward to the front left cone while engaging 3 separate steel targets. The shooter would then move toward the cone to the right front while engaging the same three targets and then move back to the right rear cone without shooting. From this position, the shooter would move diagonally to the left front cone while engaging the steel targets. The shooter would then move back to the left rear cone and then move diagonally to the front right cone while engaging the steel targets to the stopping point. Each shooter was given the chance to run this a few times and given the opportunity to do magazine changes while engaging targets with rifles and pistols on the move. A far easier task than the previous night because of the drills we performed.
The shooters then progressed to longer distance engagements while firing from behind a barricade. We had to fire from the left side while kneeling, then standing. We would move to the right side of the barricade and fire from the kneeling and standing positions. The shooter was required to fire from each shoulder while engaging steel targets while manipulating their IR laser & light at more than 50 yards away. An impressive part of this course of fire was to go “NODs Up” (or flip up your night vision to see with only the naked eye) and watch the shooters successfully engage targets. Quite an impressive Force Multiplier in action.
The last task of the night was a little friendly competition. The shooters would engage a number of targets at 50 yards away while shooting from behind the barricades all while competing against the other shooters. I won’t give away the rest of the course of action though….
To give this course a review, I will first say that I have taken several law enforcement shooting courses to include years of SWAT training and schools over 27 years of law enforcement. Don Edwards & Sam Houston were top notch instructors who never raised his voice, gave clear & concise instruction, was always in control of 25 students firing their weapons in the dark, never told war stories to benefit their egos and made the student their number one priority. They thanked each student for being there to allow them to train them. Don truly lives up to the name of a Quiet Professional and quite an impressive instructor, to say the least. I highly recommend anyone interested in real world instruction for real world situations to attend one of Don Edwards’ & Sam Houston’s classes from Greenline Tactical. I might add that the classes fill up rather quickly, by the way, so don’t hesitate to register. By the way, one student flew from Hawaii to attend in Tennessee and was glad he came by the end of class.
Blessed be יהוה my Rock, who is teaching my hands for fighting, my fingers for battle.