Dominate the Dark: Low Light Primer for the Armed Citizen

There are two things in this article that really stood out to me, the first was this.

Consider someone walking towards you in a dimly lit parking garage. Your vehicle is off in the corner with no others nearby, yet this person continues to walk in your direction. Do we have a problem here? Perhaps, but we can’t be absolutely certain at this point. If this person continues to move in your direction and makes you feel threatened, putting a little light on the subject and issuing a challenge such as “May I help you with something?” could give you the advantage.

I worked as a security guard at night for several years. There's a reason they call security guards "Flashlight Cops". Whenever I lit somebody up with a flashlight in a "dimly lit parking garage" it started a fight.

I also want to be very sure to point out that I was at work. I couldn't just treat people like crap. I had to be mindful of customer service at all times and I had to be very polite when I approached these people and it still pissed them off to no end. If you bright beam a crackhead who has evil intentions towards you you'd better be ready for the fight

Even though I was authorized to be there and acting as an agent of the property owner I had standing to stop people and ask them "What is your business here?" I have never seen a person react well to being Bright Beamed. I would be very cautious about lighting somebody up unless I was ready for a fight when I did it.

If your car is the only car on that floor of the parking garage and they're coming towards you that's really all the information you need.

Having said that in all the years that I worked nights I almost never found myself in a low light situation in an area where people were expected to be. The only time I ever really found myself in low light conditions was if I was checking something like a construction site or when I worked at a FedEx Warehouse there were shallowed areas around the trucks where I would need a flashlight.

This brings me to the second issue I take with the article.

The collective law enforcement experience of over 150 years tells us that most police shootings take place under less-than-optimum light conditions.

How much of that is because law enforcement is required to go into dark buildings looking for criminals?

Also, how much of that 150 years of experience do we discount because they didn't have reliable electrical lighting anyway?

There was almost no place I went during my entire "career" where there was Zero ambient light


Even here in the middle of the night there was enough spill from all the halogen lights around the tank field that I could walk around that field at night without needing a flashlight. I maybe couldn't read a book up there but if there would have been somebody standing in that field I would have seen them.

I quote Tom Givens on this subject a lot. The reason I quote him is because as far as I know he is the only person that's compiled a database of Citizen involved shootings, not police shootings.

I am aware that he has a small database, it's only 66 incidents but 85% of those 66 happened in a well-lit parking lot between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.

Givens himself is quoted as saying that during his police career there were times when he could see his sights on his Duty gun better in the parking lot at 3:00 in the morning then in the same parking lot at 3:00 p.m. on a cloudy day.

This isn't something I've formally studied but I pay attention to the news and almost every shooting we've had the last few months in Colorado Springs happened in a gas station parking lot at night.
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I worked nights several years, did a lot of hunting at night, and lived in a rural environment without street lights ect. My night vision was better than average. I lost that advantage several years ago, as I started to age.
The last time I got my eyes checked the optometrist told me that (I don't remember if it was rods or cones) but I had a lot of them around the outside of my field of vision. He said that that indicated good peripheral vision

He said that people with good peripheral vision generally have good night vision
Fortunately, I have good peripheral and night vision but still carry a small tactical flashlight, day or night, as taught in several trainings. I also practice its use at home with a dummy round loaded pistol after the Mrs. goes to bed but avoid the master bedroom. I catch up on that room when she's out by pulling the shades and closing the room darkening drapes.
Use high intensity light sticks & toss them into areas that you need to see. Plus, this can encourage invaders to vacate since they would know that they've been detected.

Don't advertise your position with a WML until the last to ID a potential target.