Thursday, June 28, 2012

Night Vision and Pistol caliber Carbines

A couple of weeks ago you responded to my inquiry regarding your views
about the kel tec Sub 2K. I appreciate your feedback. However, what I
really wanted to know is how you feel this type of weapon would have
been applicable in a real world situation. When I first read your
“Surviving Argentina” and the scenarios you describe I was enthralled
by your first hand experience. Based on your experience, do you
believe you would have had use for this kind of firearm had one been
available to you in Argentina? Would you or could you have carried one
with you? Do you think it is practical to own one as a defensive
survival tool or is it more of a novalty?
One more question please. What would you tell me is the best solution
to my search for a Nigh Vission device as a preper tool? Any
recomendations would be appreciated keeping in mind I must keep the
cost down. I want to keep it simple.

Hi Pete,
For the modern survivalist in a high crime environment his main weapon is the handgun. This is so simply because it’s the only weapon that can be with you all day long. Those that are hardcore about it don’t even take a bath without their gun near by. You wake up, put on your pants, and the gun is already there until you go to sleep, and even when sleeping the gun is within reach just in case. While for some people it may sound extreme, if you are committed you can do that all your life. While not becoming paranoid it just becomes second nature to be armed at all times, and when you cant like in my case right now, you feel something is missing. Other than my handgun I only used my rifle once during a carjack attempt, in the rural outskirts of Monte Grande. It was purely a matter of luck that I had it with me at that time, I was going to a friend’s farm for some shooting and well, this guy just couldn’t have picked a worse target. (You know what they say about burglars and pump shotgun sounds? Well, I’ve been told that carjackers feel the same when staring down the barrel of an FAL).  After that time I would take a subgun over there when visiting, help him a few times when checking the fields, driving around the perimeter. I have a FMK3 which is a 9mm SMG and the KPOS carbine conversion kit for my Glock. The subgun and especially the KPOS carbine conversion kit is small enough and easily disappears into a small daypack, yet is capable of fast 100m shots with the stock deployed and red dot scope mounted. I haven’t handled the keltec but I’m sure its ok for mid range shooting as well.

My general advice would be to go for a rifle caliber carbine when picking a long arm. The first gun you should get is a Glock, learn to shoot it well and above all carry it at all times. Then get a rifle, for me that would be an AK, though a nice FAL would be nice too. Its simply that rifle calibers are more effective, better stoppers and convert most concealment into cover. With a 308W a guy hiding behind an average tree or car is still game, there’s few things that provide true cover from a 7.62 . The pistol caliber carbine lacks that, but then again it uses your handguns ammo and (in some cases ) mags. which simplifies things a lot for someone that works his system around his handgun, and its usually more compact. In the case of the KPOS kit for the Glock its hardly larger than the pistol itself, yet the folding stock, front vertical grip and optics such as the red dot increase its practical effective range. You still have the same barrel length, but the extra contact points make it easier to shoot effectively.
Extrapolating my experience to other possible scenarios where concealment is still a priority and you want to have more accuracy but cant still carry around a rife, I’d say yes, the subgun has a place. I never shot anyone with one but I’ve seen how useful and handy they can be when a real rifle isn’t an option. If you had to evacuate your location on foot, go lite because of a need for speed or because you simply have to take other things with you, maybe carry a child, then it is a compact, light option that shares your main handguns ammo and mags. If you can through everything in the car trunk, then sure, go nuts and take anything, but for light carrying setups I believe that it does have a place.

The word “night vision” and “keeping the cost down”  don’t go together. Its like wanting to buy a cheap Ferrari. Maybe you find some old beat up car with the Italian brand horse in the hood, but it will certainly be a far cry from what you want. When it comes to night vision, you have to evaluate how important it is for you and how much you need it. NV just isn’t cheap, but in certain situations it does provide a huge tactical advantage and its worth the money. It is  one of those things where you either go all the way or just save up the money for later. Its easy to just waste money in toys that don’t work well. It’s a matter of clarity. The cheaper ones that cost a few hundred bucks just don’t have the clarity needed for seeing clearly enough so as to identify enemies hiding around, the ones that cost a couple thousands do. That’s why unless you get a quality 3rd gen, there’s a good chance you’ll be just throwing your money in a toy.
As of today, these are the best options:
Top of the line, generation 4:
NVM-14-Gen. 4 Night Vision Multi Purpose Systems with Accessories
NVM-14-Gen. 4 Night Vision Multi Purpose Systems with Accessories $4,603.95
Generation 3,US Military Standard. Uses a single AA battery.
ATN PVS14-3 Gen 3 Night Vision Multi Purpose Monocular
ATN PVS14-3 Gen 3 Night Vision Multi Purpose Monocular $2,995.94

OPMOD PVS-14 Monocular Gen 3 PINNACLE Night Vision Scope – 64 lp/mm Res GNVPVS14-OPMOD $2,895.00
You want a monocular (more peripheral vision) that fits in your helmet. These pieces of equipment are expensive, but its not as if one costing half as much would somewhat do the same thing. It wont. Anything that provides similar capabilities will cost the same. That’s why you have to ask yourself how much you really need it. If you live in the country AND you can afford it, then yes, if I have my other preps covered I’d consider getting one. The advantage it provides at night puts you in a different level if you ever have to defend yourself from attackers in rural settings or far spread suburbs. IT also has applications for search and rescue if you ever need to find someone after dark or for hunting. In the city where there’s lots of artificial light and would only be of use during complete blackouts then that money may be put to better use elsewhere.
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Anonymous said...

What is your opinion of the thermal night vision (e.g. such as by Flir).

How does it compare in effectiveness to the traditional light amplification ones?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, in the US, stock kits for handguns are a no-go for most people. The ATF has decreed them to be short barreled rifles which are heavily regulated (read: long prison sentence if you're caught using one without having the proper forms). (I believe there is a loophole for vintage equipment if the stock were originally sold as a standard accessory, but I would still be very careful.)

Given the US regulatory environment, I think the pistol caliber carbine makes a lot more sense than a stock kit for a handgun.

Anonymous said...

Although expensive a RMR red dot on the slide of your Glock/S&W M&P, (you can get a gunsmith to attach it) increases the useable range of a pistol significantly. Important if it's your primary weapon.

Also the cheap night vision (gen1) would probably be good enough for indoor distances.