Night Vision and the Eye

nighteye1First fact, at night you lose color perception.
Thus in the gloom you’ll mostly see things in shades of gray.

In the eye there are two types of light receptors, rods and cones.
It’s the rods that are the “über” light-sensitive bits BUT they are easily dazzled i.e. with your pupils wide open, a flash instantly “stuns” the rods and it takes ages for them to recover.

Worst bit about that?
It happens in an instant and old farts like me are easily dazzled and it takes us longer to recover. Thus I tend to look away from ANY LIGHT when shooting (and driving) at night.

I’ve got a little trick someone taught me many moons ago.
When dazzled, I squint hard for what I hope is about 5-10 minutes (hastily adding not when driving though).

It helps to restore night vision quickly which, without assistance, can take a good 30-40 minutes to fully restore. Dunno why but it worked a treat when I was young. Now, it improves things (sort of).

Here’s a few more tips.

  • Wearing red goggles BEFORE going dark helps to get those rods working. Except now I’m hopelessly long sighted, red is always blurred for me before other colors. Thus driving with them on can get “interesting”, glasses or not.
  • Wearing DARK shades during the day, protects the eye’s rods and cones from being desensitized. Thus they work better at night. This sort of works for me and hides that old man look too.
  • The eye is VERY sensitive to green. The long wavelength is the nearest to gray and being long sighted, it’s the last color to lose focus as the cells are the furthest back in the eyeball. Thus green reticules work better for me and at a lower brightness.
  • Don’t look directly at the target.
    The more central it is in your vision the more you are using the lesser ability centrally grouped color identifying cones. Use your peripheral vision more than looking AT something.
  • Always use a silencer. It acts as a flash suppressor.
  • Don’t forget ALL GLASS loses a bit of light no matter what you think about the hundreds of dollars / pounds you spent.

OK, I’ve not talked about night vision gear yet.
Been there, done it. It’s sort of effective, well GEN 3+ is but hey, unless you can mount a NV scope onto your weapon, using a hand-held spotting scope then swapping to a standard holo or red dot / illuminated reticule sight is a bit pointless if you can’t see sh’t.

Not forgetting that squinting through a NV eyepiece is not conducive for maintaining natural night vision i.e. you’ll still have that green blob in your vision from the NV optics as you swap onto whatever glass (optics) you are using.

Thus my basic philosophy is:-
“If the unaided eye can’t see it, why bother!”
Well sort of.
On the weapon is three blobs of luminous paint.
Two on the sight guard, one blob on the foresight tip. It’s not rocket science, big object in front, put middle blob on center mass and pull trigger. Good for about 30 feet.

What, not far enough for you!
Aw shucks, sorry about that.
It’s been good enough for me when shooting for the table at night.
Besides if I can’t positively identify a target I don’t go BANG anyway!
As for the range problem, animals (including man) are more sensitive to movement than light at night thus I set up before twilight and I occasionally have a snooze for a couple of hours under the camo net awaking into night gloom.  As a result my NV is already rested and apart from the shuffle to get into the firing position, I’m ready for fun. During the day I would have already ranged the ground by putting in luminous lollipop sticks at 10, 15, and 20 yards from my firing point. One blob for 10, two for 15, and a cross for 20. It’s all about knowing where, when, and how your prey feed or water. Proper hunters will know what I mean by that.

As for you two-legged fiends?
No light is necessary for the most part as most are noisy sods and usually stink of cigarettes, farts, sweat, or bad coffee. That and they always walk tall and so me lying prone usually sees their profile moving round.

What if they have night vision?
Guess I’m dead eh!
Except I’ve got these neat little battery powered (£4/$6) PIR lights  I string up in the trees to catch anything over 4 foot tall.

pirAlthough my ones are dark green.

NV and 12 LED white lights?
Bottom line, BOOM
There goes their night vision and I get a well lit target.

A favored trick of mine when coping with game wardens who have gone “high tech” although it doesn’t seem to matter to their dogs.

Them is still a work in progress as I can’t spread cayenne pepper round as it scares off the very game I’m trying to shoot.

Any thoughts about that one folks?

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One Response to Night Vision and the Eye

  1. Now I can see why after squinting things became more in focus in the days before I got glasses!

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