Sunday, 27 September 2015

08:57 – I’ve been thinking about night sights, not just for the AR-15, but for the Mini-14, our shotguns, and our pistols and revolvers. There are a lot of options available, ranging in price from $10,000+ for a top-quality, current-generation night-vision or thermal imaging scope, down to the $100 to several hundred dollar range for decent quality tritium- or LED-based illuminated sights. I don’t think I’ll go with any of those. I don’t want something that requires electric power, and even the junk Chinese tritium sights are costly.

I think we’ll go with the low-tech phosphorescent paint method. A small dab of this stuff is more than sufficient to allow one to see one’s front and rear sights in the dark. Amazon actually carries quite a selection of these paints, including some that are marketed as for gun sights. They all rack up some bad reviews, almost all of which criticize either the brightness or the persistence of the glow. I don’t think that’ll be an issue at all.

The real issue is that these reviewers have probably never experienced darkness. As a teenage amateur astronomer, my back yard was sometimes so dark (on the edge of a town of 30,000+) that I literally couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. When we had a group observing, there was always the danger of walking right into a telescope or another person. It was really, really dark. Nowadays, there are no places that dark east of the Mississippi. Even the most remote locations in the eastern US have enough sky glow that a fully dark-adapted person is in no danger of running into another person or tripping over someone else’s gear. But in a widespread power failure, the eastern US will become completely dark, other than light from the moon and stars. In that kind of darkness, even a minor glow is more than enough to align one’s sights.

So I decided to make my own field-expedient night sights by putting a small dab of phosphorescent paint on the sights of our weapons. I’ll make the stuff up right here in the sink, by adding some of this stuff to a bottle of Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails nail polish or some similar carrier. Exposing it to sunlight or an LED flashlight for a few seconds should suffice to activate it well enough to work for several hours to overnight in really dark conditions. If the glow does get too dim, I can simply reactivate it with a flashlight, shielding my eyes to prevent loss of dark adaptation. Better yet, I’ll hit it with one of my UV flashlights, which won’t cause any loss of dark adaptation even if I look directly at the beam.

18 thoughts on “Sunday, 27 September 2015”

  1. Seeing your sites only takes you so far, you also need to see your target. Was the paint applied in such a way that it doesn’t provide an aiming point for your target? Shrouded front sights might help there.

  2. Actually, I have flashlight clamps as well as other means of illumination.

  3. Kyle Lamb, other military guys with that gig to do every day, and police likewise, opt for mounted lights and red-dot optics, mainly. I haven’t tried any of that yet and certainly didn’t have them back in the day when I was with Uncle; I’m focusing on learning the rifle inside and out and using iron sights for quite a while longer. Won’t be looking at optics or lights until next year sometime.

  4. I’ve got a red dot (china made) on my shotty, and eotech on my ‘American Sporting Rifle.’ Pick it up and it’s on.

    Iron for backup, sure.

    Unless you are sniping at night, your defensive engagement is likely to be at point and shoot distances anyway.

    Counting on a solution to work under very specific circumstances, (total blackout) seems brittle. A fiber optic sight is a better compromise, as there is usually some light, esp in 95% of the usage scenarios.

    I currently own one nightsight that isn’t mounted because it’s pretty big (short pringles can/ monster soda can). Great for nightime animal watching. I had an even bigger one that I sold. I also have an almost useless ‘sportsman’ type optic. You can spend money on the real deal, or piss it away on almost useless crap. Buy the good stuff, used if budget is tight.

    Cameras and IR illuminators will fill a gap for your fixed location. You should have cameras anyway, right?


  5. Maybe Mr. Miles_Teg could put a dot of that glowy stuff on the end of his c*ck. Useful for finding Cankles hole(s).

    That’s humor, boys.

  6. Useful for finding Cankles hole(s).

    That would be like taking a candle into the Grand Canyon.

  7. I have the picture of an angler fish in my mind’s eye. Only it’s Hillarity dangling the bait…

    Luring the unsuspecting or unbelievably masochistic….


  8. “Useful for finding Cankles hole(s).”

    She was just saying the other night that she’d like to try a foursome…

    I gave her SteveF’s, OFD’s and Dr Bob’s contact details and told her to have at it…

  9. Clinton has the sexual attractiveness of a pile of slugs that have been dead and rotting for weeks.

  10. Some of us have never had trouble with attracting good-looking women.

  11. From an evolutionary point of view it makes sense to take whatever you can get. Don’t you believe in evolution? 🙂

  12. If I can sidetrack this I will.

    Spent yesterday at the beach with family and 2 other couples with kids the same age as ours. We much prefer the beach where you PAY for access to the free one that is popular with the FSA. Nice day, air and water around 85 deg, 8 mph breeze. Got the kites up in the steady wind. Occurred to me that you could easily get a kite up with an antenna wire for RECEIVING, with an ordinary sized kite. If fact it could just be enameled magnet wire. Take a bigger kite to get something up for anything other than QRP though. The screw in anchors I bought in case I wanted to put up a portable antenna some day worked well to hold the kites. They should work well to stabilize an antenna mast if needed.

    One couple we’ve known casually for a while, often getting together so the kids can play. Still not sure where they stand on prepping. Pretty sure they are LMI but if so, they are even cagier than most. Had some good gun conversations, but somehow it never quite gets around to prepping.

    The other couple is an enigma. He’s quiet and reserved, she’s not a native english speaker, but fluent. Kids love playing together. No real discussions this weekend.

    Rainy and dreary today, and I’m miserable with a head cold. Not a good day to be digging in the garden.

    I did get one of those solar motion lights from costco working again. It failed some time ago, but I didn’t notice, and then didn’t care. But on Friday I finally got 10 minutes to get the screwgun and the ladder in the same place, and look at it. This light is at least 7 years old, maybe 8. Panel is still putting out 8 v in overcast, so I checked the small 6v gelcel battery. Dead as a dead thing. Swapped out for one I picked up at Habitat reStore a few months ago, and back in business. I’ll have motion triggered light behind the garage again.

    The panel is on a long wire, and I can see some indoor usage for these lights post SHTF. Much better light than using the walkway solar lights many people recommend.

    Anyway, hopefully that was enough nonsense to sidetrack the other unspeakable conversation. 🙂


  13. “That would be like taking a candle into the Grand Canyon.”

    One of those birthday cake candles that’s just about gone. Into a Black Hole.

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