Red dots for action

Using a red dot during some full dress rehearsals recently reminded me how easy they are as well as how to exploit them. Not going to lie, it has been a while since I had the opportunity to track an actual target to the ground, but it was good and I relearned some old lessons.

During these full dress rehearsals we had active role players throughout the drill and these guys played their parts well. The scenarios were straightforward, we had pretty defined mission parameters and were moving at real speeds.

Here are some of the lessons relearned.

Bright light

First, too bright of a dot is a distraction. When target focused such as when using a red dot sight, the key is to keep your focus on the target. You want to see the red dot with your periphery. In my opinion it is one of the huge benefits of the RDS, a true force multiplier on the battlefield. If the dot is too bright your attention can be diverted. So, how did this happen? Simple, we started outside with an approach towards our ready point in bright sunlight, but then eventually transitioned to indoors. The other lesson I learned was not to be afraid to adjust the brightness setting. After a few rooms and encounters I found myself stacked with a fraction of a second to dim the setting and I am glad I did as it would pay off for the rest of our work.

Positive target identification

It seems obvious, but identify your target well. When things start moving at real speeds we see a lot of sympathetic fired shots. Someone doesn’t perform good target discrimination and lights up a “no shoot” and another member of the team follows blindly. You are responsible for every round fired and during a post operation review telling the board you shoot the guy because someone else did is so lame it ranks up there with refusing to take responsibility for one’s actions.

Don’t let up

Track the target to the ground with however many shots are necessary. Part of this is reality, a few times these guys were trying to get small. Other times they were really out of the fight. Since you are not going to know continued monitoring is necessary, but you also have to break the “two round” drill mentality. A lot of shots I observed during this drill were two rounders. The other thing I realized was falling and flailing bodies make for harder targets requiring constant adjusting of your aim point. That type practice is priceless so milk it for all it’s worth.

High percentage shots

Since most of the engagements were indoors they were at pretty close ranges. After a while I opted to go straight to face shots. The high percentage shots required greater precision, but not by much and while there wasn’t a specific tactical requirement for the face shots it added more challenges on my end. It forced me to get on it that much faster, positive ID, mounting the rifle and first round lethal strikes were all done at real speed plus.

At the end of the trip I was quite happy. My gear was good to go and I love my armor, light and agile with no hindrance to mounting the rifle. But the real lessons learned were behind the trigger.

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