Showing posts with label NOD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NOD. Show all posts

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Night Vision Prioritization

Anonymous Commander_Zero said...
First off, congrats on what is probably the most expensive preparedness acquisition short of a dedicated BOV or retreat.

This is kind of interesting from a philosophical, logistics, and mathematical standpoint.

Keep in mind, Im not being critical, Im just curious about your reasoning: you say that the laser/NVD combo is handy but if a person doesnt have one they arent doomed to failure. But you also say that they arent cheap...so here's my question - this kit *seems* like it is a nice-to-have-but-not-essential bit of gear; how did you rationalize its purchase when there might have been other items that were likely to see more usage in a crisis? (Although I admit that I have no idea what your level of preparedness is, for all I know you may have everything else and this was the cherry on the top.)

I'd love to have a laser/NVD combo but I'd probably wind up sinking the money into something else that *I* think is more likely to be necessary for my particular situation...more food, more metals, more armour, BOV, generator & fuel, etc, etc.

Keep in mind, please...Im not being judgemental, I'm just wondering how you arrived at this big-ticket purchase vs. other, less expensive, preps that may have been on your list.


Ryan here:  Thanks. This is a complicated and worthwhile question so I will address it here on the main page.

I mentioned that folks should not feel bad if this sort of setup is out of their reach for a couple reasons. First there isn't any point in worrying about things you cannot make happen. I do not have a super duper John Rourke retreat, cannot afford it now and probably never will, so there is no point in stressing it. In the unlikely event I need said super retreat I'm hosed so no point in stressing it. Along these lines I try to keep things here suited to folks of all income/ preparedness funding levels so unless it is absolutely the case I avoid the "you are doomed without this gear" discussion. Second A person does not NEED night vision, there are many scenarios where it would not even come up. However at the same time one does not really NEED an AR-15, a Glock 17, a high end precision rifle, a solar setup, a generator, etc, etc. All we NEED is food, potable water and enough shelter to not die of exposure. Like a lot of things night vision falls into the 'nice to have' category.
So here's my question - this kit *seems* like it is a nice-to-have-but-not-essential bit of gear; how did you rationalize its purchase when there might have been other items that were likely to see more usage in a crisis? 

To answer this first I will talk about how things worked in this particular situation. As to how I ended up with a PVS-14. I spent a year in Afghanistan. During that time my personal money and preparedness money accumulated in the bank leaving me with a wad of cash. I wanted to make a preparedness purchase of some type. It came down to a NOD, a long list of $100-$400 items or a whole bunch of long term storage food.

I liked the idea of a NOD for the obvious advantages it offers. The long list of stuff would be nice but I can make those sort of purchases over time while large amounts of cash are hard to come by. A major food purchase all at once didn't make a ton of sense to me as it would (albeit a long time from now) go bad all at once. On the other hand if I made the same purchases over 3-4 years I would have a better chance at orderly rotation and replacement with fresh stock. Also like the list of various stuff I can buy food in smaller increments that better fit into our normal budget. Right or wrong that is how I ended up with the NOD.

As to the laser I sold a rifle and my ACOG (which was replaced by a much more affordable yet still very nice Burris MTAC) to pay for it. So it was more of a shifting of resources within the greater defense/ gun arena than an influx of new money.

As to the philosophy and prioritization. In no particular order I will give some circumstances and thoughts that guided my decision:

-I intentionally prioritized items that could potentially be targeted by some sort of legislation or administrative fiat. Buckets of rice/ wheat/ beans, solar panels and 1978 F250 4x4's are not getting restricted any time soon but stuff like body armor and night vision very well could. Really it is more vulnerable than firearms as there is not any Constitutional protection for these items.

-We move a lot and not across town. This makes compact items that are easy to move imminently more practical for us. A whole lot easier to stick a NOD in a bag then make an additional cross country trip driving 55 in our old F250 13 mpg 'BOV'.

-It is easy to go down the dozen $100-$300 items vs one big one (in this case NOD+laser) rabbit hole. I thought about it a lot. Two things came to mind. First it is easier for me to work those various smaller items into our normal budget. (I've been knocking them off the list) Second when I really thought about it honestly the vast majority of them did not actually offer a new capability. Maybe something a bit lighter, more comfortable, newer, shinier, more tacticool, etc which is all great but those are IMO lower priorities than new capabilities.

 - I think it is important to consider if you are building a system to fight, giving yourself the maximum advantage possible, or collecting guns. A person who is building a fighting setup will get a good set of personal weapons as well as a chest rig/ battle belt/ whatever, body armor and night vision if they can afford it and maybe pick up some more guns later. A person collecting guns will probably have a whole bunch of guns and various gear but quite possibly no body armor and certainly no night vision. I am not saying either approach is right or wrong; what I am saying is to think honestly about your goals and if your actions makes sense to support said goals.

-As John Mosby said "NVGs, or to use the older term with which I am far more comfortable, NODs, are a force multiplier of equal or greater value than two or three extra riflemen, when used properly. If you have six rifles of your own, but no NODs, you’re &@cking yourself and your team. Remedy the situation.
 
- A lot of the cost issue is about perspective. I personally know a guy who has between 75 and 100k in guns (at pre panic prices) and that's not including mags, ammo or parts all of which he has a lot of too. This guy described body armor which runs $500 a pop as ruinously expensive. He also did not have any night vision. By selling a few guns guns he could get body armor for all 4 members of the family and 2 NODs with IR lasers to match. He probably would not even notice the few guns that would need to be sold to pay for this stuff if they were missing. However they would be in a much better place if something actually happened. 

-If one can't afford the rough price tag of modern (Gen3) type night vision and a laser that is one thing but continuing gun collecting instead of buying the other fighting gear that one should have is IMO a high degree of foolishness if the goal is defending them self and their loved ones. At best one should consider whether they want to collect guns or prepare to fight people.

I think this gives some insight to why I have made the decision to get into the NOD game. If we were in a fixed normal guy who lives in one place type situation I might have chosen differently but probably not. Anyway I cannot think of anything else to say so it's time to wrap this up.

As always your thoughts are appreciated.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thermal Crossover

Definition: (DOD) The natural phenomenon which normally occurs twice daily when temperature conditions are such that there is a loss of contrast between two adjacent objects on infrared imagery.

In Laymens terms twice a day the optical technology gap between guys with iron sighted AK's and dudes with ten grand in cool technology is leveled. Folks who figured out when that time was and took advantage could take advantage of that situation. Some guys I know were regularly mortared at just the right time (thermal crossover) in Iraq. They never really figured out a good way to deal with it.

Figured that little tidbit might just interest a few of you.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Quote of the Day: John Mosby on Defensive Priorities

"NVGs, or to use the older term with which I am far more comfortable, NODs, are a force multiplier of equal or greater value than two or three extra riflemen, when used properly. If you have six rifles of your own, but no NODs, you’re &@cking yourself and your team. Remedy the situation."
John Mosby in a repost of Tricks of the Trade a Contemporary Look

 I think John also said somewhere that if you do not have a years worth of food to put NODs and other cool guy kit on the back burner. This is something I personally did not do right for reasons that may or may not be valid. In any case I am working to remedy the situation.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

M-4/ AR-15 Optics and Civilian Legal IR Lasers

I am looking at the Leupold Mark AR 1.5-4x20. The Firearms Blog reviewed it awhile back and it seems like the ticket. If anybody has PERSONAL EXPERIENCES with this scope I would really appreciate their thoughts.

Also I have been looking at civilian legal IR lasers. I am familiar and comfortable with the lasers we use on the .mil side but the civilian offerings are something new to me. Have heard of the DBAL but they have multiple models and the same company makes a few other lasers. From reading the descriptions I can't tell the difference and the prices vary widely. Of course I would like to keep cost down but would rather take the hard right over the easy wrong. In any case if you have experience with multiple models or know a place that does a good comparison of readily available civilian legal lasers that would be a big help.

Thanks in advance,

Ryan

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Hoss USMC Compares Gen I Night Vision to Gen III

We have talked about night vision and the Gen I vs Gen III debate and I think this video brings some value to the overall conversation.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Reader Question- Night Vision

C sent me a note asking about night vision. "I am not ready to spend the coin on PVS-14s like you did but was wondering if you have any thoughts on gen 1 stuff.  My goals are modest-- (1) get familiar with the stuff, (2) check out activity in the back yard up to 50 meters or so, (3) move through terrain without visible light.  The ability to use with a weapon would be a plus.  Yukon has some positively rated gen 1 weapon sights for $400 (http://www.amazon.com/Yukon-Titanium-1-5x42-Night-Vision/dp/B001C74GM8/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top) but I don't love flagging everything I want to look at.  I also have an AIMPOINT PRO which is NVG compatible; in that case would a helmet-rig make more sense?"

TOR here: Sorry Man but to be honest I do not know. There is a picture comparison of the generations of night vision put out by a big manufacturer that you can see by going here and scrolling down about halfway. Somebody made a video comparing Gen 1 and Gen 3 that you can see here. I cannot personally vouch for these but they seem legit to me.

As to Gen 1 stuff. Broadly speaking you definitely get what you pay for. This is a great "buy once, cry once" candidate. That being said some folks are not able (or willing) to spend the equivalent of an OK used car on a NOD. Both the spend more and the 'but I can't' rabbit holes can be followed if you want. Personally I decided to suck it up and make the purchase of a NOD. I use them at work and know what they can do. The massive advantage they bring is worth the cost to me. What was right for me might not be right for others. I have used some older stuff on the .mil side, can't remember what exactly, it was a long time ago, but it was complete junk. I wish I could spend a night testing a dozen common models all the way from Gen 1-3 but the opportunity has not presented itself. It is almost certainly better than nothing but how much better and if it is worth the money I cannot say.

 You can probably get some or most of what you want done with the kind of model you mentioned, which I thought about getting myself but decided against it for reasons I cannot remember, though they will be degraded in relation to a more expensive set. I am trying my best to help but really don't know. [If anybody with experience using modern Gen 3 stuff also has experience with commercial off the shelf Gen 1 stuff like the model mentioned and is interested in writing about it please leave a comment or contact me at theotherryan@yahoo.com.]

Now we can go to something I know more about. Unless you are using night vision as a dedicated sniper setup for varmit hunting the right answer is to mount the night vision on your head, probably using some sort of helmet. The reason for this is that you are going to do a whole bunch of stuff with night vision that requires your eyes but doesn't need a gun pointed at it. Stuff from walking around to turning back to make sure a buddy is behind you or whatever.

When an optic is said to be "NVG compatible" what (I believe) they mean you will be able to use it in line with a NOD (by mounting the NOD behind the optic on the rifle). In plain English it means you can see the reticle/ dot through a NOD. If the NOD is on one eye and you try to aim the rifle with the other you would see with the night vision through one eye and with the other a lit optic on the ambient light surface. I have never done this but I suspect it would work badly.  The way to use a weapon in conjunction with a NOD is to have it on your face and aim the weapon via an IR laser. To do this you need a legit IR laser that is able to be zeroed and can hold said zero. A DBAL which is basically a civilian legal equivalent to a PEQ-15 costs about a grand. Yeah this sucks, I am knee deep in said suck right now. If anybody knows of a legitimately viable alternative I am interested. (Rednecking the cheapest IR laser you can find onto a gun won't cut it. It won't be able to get or hold a zero and thus will not be able to hit #*$* with it, sorry.)

Anyway I hope this helps our friend C and maybe a few other folks.  As always input is appreciated.
















Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Did You Do To Prepare This Week?

Ordered a PVS 14 which I am pretty psyched about. Also finished my August Challenge to run 50 miles. I did some reading and hit the weights both of which where cool.

Also did some initial testing of the Sawyer Water filter and I am pretty happy with it. Also I have been using my EDC Benchmade Griptillian, Ontario RAT 3 and Buck 119 Special to do all manner of household tasks. The Benchmade and RAT 3 have done great, proving they deserve their places.

The Buck 119 Special not quite so much. I kind of envisioned it's role as a large food processing knife with a secondary role as a defensive knife. Kind of filling a traditional long hunter type large knife role if you will. The clip point is a bit too far off center for food processing at least to me. The ergonomics are great for cutting but what exactly I am not sure. As a largeish camp type knife I would prefer a Ka-Bar hands down.

I will relegate this knife to some sort of backup piece in a kit or alternate location. A replacement for it's role is something I will look at down the road. Then again the whole thing might be pointless. I have done a lot of outdoors stuff carrying a medium (3.5-4.5 in) knife and a hatchet without finding reasonable tasks I couldn't complete. I am not sure a larger knife is needed except maybe for a dedicated base camp type kit (which I am planning to put together). The Jeff White French Trade Knife reviewed by Alexander Wolfe looks kind of neat. Then again and I am not sure why I didn't think of this before, one of the Cold Steel Longhunter knifes I picked up for a next to nothing might be the ticket. Also free/ already in inventory is a good solution as I am trying not to buy new stuff these days without a good reason.

Anyway that is what has been going on here. What have you done to prepare this week?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

PVS 14 Sale and Purchase

I have been saving for a PVS 14 Monocle AKA a NOD for awhile. Stashing cash during the deployment let me put most of the needed cash away. I have been waiting until we were headed back home to pull the trigger on the whole thing. JRH Enterprises yearly Labor Day sale taking $300 off the price definitely helped me make the decision.

Also I have kind of been on the fence about the whole thing. It is a lot of money, literally the third most expensive purchase of my life. This money could be split between food, going a long way to squaring that up, and some other stuff we can really use. Or for that matter I could get a pretty nice starter motorcycle which would be really cool. The reason I decided to go with a NOD is twofold. First they are a big one shot purchase. In particular with food storage I can make regular medium sized ($200-350) purchases and rapidly work towards establishing a serious food storage program. The other stuff we are short generally falls into the same category. However large chunks of cash are few and far between. Secondly given our semi nomadic nature we cannot always have accumulated piles of stuff but it would be nice to have a few compact
items that bring real advantages. Lastly it might be dumb but I wanted a nice tangible preparedness toy tool as something good that came from a really crappy year. Maybe it isn't the perfect choice but it doesn't seem like a terrible one to me.

Night Vision is just so important. I know a lot of other stuff is important also. We need food, water and communications plans as well as weapons and gear. Also there are the usual expenses of keeping a roof over our heads, gas in the family car, the lights on and food in the pantry. Gen III night vision is ridiculously expensive. I certainly would not beat myself up if I couldn't go out and buy a NOD right now (or realistically any time in the foreseeable future). It probably is not viable for a family of 7 with a 25k household income. Maybe you could purchase something less expensive though unfortunately there is, at least in my estimation, a serious gap between cheap redneck poaching coyote hunting/ air soft qualify stuff and punitively expensive state of the art gear. I wish there was something almost as good for closer to a grand but I do not think that is the case.

You know your situation better than anybody else. If you can realistically afford quality night vision I would strongly recommend at least considering it. As John Mosby said (more or less) "If you have a half dozen semi automatic rifles but no night vision you are screwing yourself, your family and your buddies." The same could be said for a couple expensive sports cars or a toy jeep and a bike or boat or whatever other toys. We all might want to make the choice to get the right gear to be properly equipped.

It is difficult to overstate the advantage night vision gives in a fight (or at avoiding one!). They are a serious combat multiplies. I would say a guy with a NOD is equal to, or has an advantage on 2-3 guys with out them in anything but super close CQB ranges. For goodness sakes you can see at night with the damn things!

The fun of expensive stuff continues because to really use a NOD to maximum utility you need an IR laser like a PEQ 4/15/whatever or it's civilian legal equivalent the BDAL-12. Yeah you can mount a NOD to your rifle and use it in conjunction with most modern combat optics but that is not the way to go. You want the NOD on your head so you can look at stuff without flagging it. Surprise those cost about a grand, FML. That being said the combination is just an awesome way to bring hate down on people at night.

Anyway I wanted to let you know about the sale and have a little discussion on night vision. I hope everybody's Labor Day weekend is going well.

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