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MOJONIXON posted:
WoodenPlank posted:
XTCBX posted:

Yea, if you’re not concerned about an opposing force that is NV capable I see no downside to it. But, if there is I’d love to hear about it...seems to work well for me and what I’m doing seems similar to what you’re going to be using it for. I think of it like searching with a WML, kinda bad form using your gun to point at stuff you’re not planning on blasting and why I carry multiple lights at work along with WMLs on all my guns. Options are good. 

Yeah, last I checked, hogs and yotes don't shoot back, and don't have NV to see where I am set up. The flip side is if I am out with someone else also running NV, an illuminator will help with identifying each other if we're not in close proximity (by seeing the other guys illuminator, not by pointing at each other). 

MOJONIXON posted:

I think Longeye has a bump helmet with the old Surefire M1 IR illuminator attached as XTCBX describes.  Kahana borrowed it at Hogpocalypse II earlier year.  I believe the helmet was set up with either a PVS-7 or more likely a PVS-14.  I don’t recall which helmet it was.  The set up seemed to serve Kahana well.  

@Community Member pick up the phone, you’re being called.  

Thanks for tagging him in. I know just enough about this stuff to be dangerous (and that I want it), so the more info the better.

I'm right there with you on the dangerous part, knowledgewise.  I've learned much over the past year or so and had lot's of info from SHOOBE01 to absorb.  I went a different route than originally planned.  I got a Pulsar N550 Scope, so it has its drawbacks for sure, like you have to be pointing the rifle at whatever you want to see.  It does have on board IR illumination but my WML has integrated IR, too, and in my limited testing so far my WML illuminator is better.  I have a 9 hour extended battery due to arrive today so I wont be chewing thru 4 AA's every hour or so. I went this route because, while not ideal, it is a relatively inexpensive way to get in the game and should be sufficient for my hunting requirements.  Thermal would be awesome but I'm not buying in to that game at the cost most thermal units go for.

I'm hoping that the optic company that sponsors me on the PRS (and I do a good bit of product testing and consult behind the scenes) actually comes out with the thermal scopes they announced at SHOT. While I am not holding my breath, if they actually happen, I will be getting one of those to augment the -14. The thermal will be run on my suppressed 18" gasser when distance is called for, and the -14 will get paired with my SBR (either helmet or weapon mounted and paired with rifle mounted illum/laser eventually) for hogs at closer range.

 

Back to the original question - right now, the leading candidates are (in no particular order) - A nightcap, one of the TNVC pad kits for my existing A-Bravo, or the PT Advanced helmet. The advanced is probably in the lead right now, as it's less than the other options (thanks to molded in shroud and supposedly better pads from the factory) and will probably be more comfortable with glasses - and comes with Arc type rails built in if/when I decide I want a helmet mounted light.

If you need to keep track of shooting buddies, do not rely on forward-facing flashlights. They will be turned off a lot when shooting etc. Get something on the back of your shirt, or more likely helmet etc.

Anyone have a good idea? Love it if there was an IR Spark. Or NiteIze made IR versions of their things. I mostly just use red blinkies on the back of vehicles or helmets for range safety lights but last I checked animals can see red so, not so helpful. 

When I need something between MS2000 to find me for real, and GITD for moving as a team, we go to IR chemlights (mostly minis to keep weight, size, and price down), but that's a consumable that expires and not a switched on thing with 10 year shelf life lithium batteries so, meh for a regular schedule of hunting I would think. 

 

WoodenPlank posted:
MOJONIXON posted:
WoodenPlank posted:
[more stuff]

...

... The advanced is probably in the lead right now, as it's less than the other options (thanks to molded in shroud and supposedly better pads from the factory) and will probably be more comfortable with glasses - and comes with Arc type rails built in if/when I decide I want a helmet mounted light.

Anyone used this exact helmet with nice mounts? I have heard iffy things about shroud/mount compatibility here and there, even from good brands.. E.g. gave up and sold one of you a very shiny Wilcox shroud that should have worked well with my Wilcox mount but no. Never quite wanted to work with each other.  

shoobe01 posted:

If you need to keep track of shooting buddies, do not rely on forward-facing flashlights. They will be turned off a lot when shooting etc. Get something on the back of your shirt, or more likely helmet etc.

Anyone have a good idea? Love it if there was an IR Spark. Or NiteIze made IR versions of their things. I mostly just use red blinkies on the back of vehicles or helmets for range safety lights but last I checked animals can see red so, not so helpful. 

When I need something between MS2000 to find me for real, and GITD for moving as a team, we go to IR chemlights (mostly minis to keep weight, size, and price down), but that's a consumable that expires and not a switched on thing with 10 year shelf life lithium batteries so, meh for a regular schedule of hunting I would think. 

 

Yeah, a top-mounted chem light or beacon would be part of the plan if at all possible. I actually have some IR chem lights, but I have heard they are near useless.

Nope, love IR chemlights. Even the tiny ones are visible very far away. Or... up close if you hide them in a little hole. Size is great.

Cyalumes are maybe the only thing I deal with regularly that has a no-shit dead serious shelf life. Okay, silicone also. Anyway, they will go bad. Keep in airtight wrappers, store like other chemicals: away from heat, light, etc. We were trying to use some ~10 year old minis we forgot about in the back of a nice storage closet and got about 95% failure rate. I brought a few pounds for route marking, and just sat there cracking them over and over. Every 20 or so would work, then I place it and move on. 

Bad ones usually are not dark, just super, super dim. 

Woodenplank,

Your PT Bravo can work, but swapping the single jawstrap for a true chinstrap system like the Ops Core H nape will make the helmet ride better with the weight of the -14 cantilevered off the front. If you do that you will have to drill mounting holes and provide your own fasteners, since the Ops Core fasteners are designed to have the thickness of a ballistic helmet included.

I have a PT Bravo, an Ops Core Bump, and a Gentex HST cut ballistic helmet. I used the PT helmet for those occasional night events that didn't require ballistic protection. It worked... sort of... I found that I often just using the HST for everything.  I picked up the OPs Core bump and have used it some. It is much better than the PT, but I don't find the dial suspension to be that comfortable for my head shape. I will likely end up selling it and using my HST for everything.

MOJONIXON posted:

I think Longeye has a bump helmet with the old Surefire M1 IR illuminator attached as XTCBX describes.  Kahana borrowed it at Hogpocalypse II earlier year.  I believe the helmet was set up with either a PVS-7 or more likely a PVS-14.  I don’t recall which helmet it was.  The set up seemed to serve Kahana well.  

@Community Member pick up the phone, you’re being called.  

Kahana borrowed my Gentex HST with the M1 mounted in a VTAC 1" offset mount which was clamped to ARC rail segment. I had a PVS 14 mounted to it with Wilcox J arm, rhino and shroud. I also have a Surefire Helmet light mounted for up close admin work and for IFF with the included small IR strobe.

The M1 is a great IR illuminator but is single function and almost to powerful for indoor work as well as being very tightly focused. It is a good distance illuminator for some uses. I would replace it in a hot minute with a Surefire Vampire V1. That offers good IR illumination and usable white light in a single package.

My current setup is a Streamlight IR weapon light on one rail, and a Surefire X300 on the opposite rail.

MOJONIXON posted:

I think Longeye has a bump helmet with the old Surefire M1 IR illuminator attached as XTCBX describes.  Kahana borrowed it at Hogpocalypse II earlier year.  I believe the helmet was set up with either a PVS-7 or more likely a PVS-14.  I don’t recall which helmet it was.  The set up seemed to serve Kahana well.  

@Community Member pick up the phone, you’re being called.  

It was Longeye's helmet with mounted PVS-14 and XTCBX's Surefire M1 IR illuminator attached as described.

k

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Kahana posted:
MOJONIXON posted:

I think Longeye has a bump helmet with the old Surefire M1 IR illuminator attached as XTCBX describes.  Kahana borrowed it at Hogpocalypse II earlier year.  I believe the helmet was set up with either a PVS-7 or more likely a PVS-14.  I don’t recall which helmet it was.  The set up seemed to serve Kahana well.  

@Community Member pick up the phone, you’re being called.  

It was Longeye's helmet with mounted PVS-14 and XTCBX's Surefire M1 IR illuminator attached as described.

k

Thanks for K clearing that up.  I thought the M1 was Longeyes as well. I’ve been wrong before. Just ask Mrs. Mojo.  

Longeye posted:

TW seems to have been forgiven. Look at the quality of their gear. If it fits your use and quality spec, go with it.

I threw an XL TW bump on my head and it took about 10 seconds to make it fit perfectly and comfortably. Unfortunately, they were out of OpsCores in my size, so I couldn't compare the two. With the discount they give me, the price between the two is pretty negligible. 

Are there any benefits/down sides between the TW rails and arc?

It’s a TAM14. Thermal with a 3x digital zoom, you can toggle between white & black hot. They’re pretty decent and the best we have at my current Station for a handheld thermal (until you get up to the much larger & heavier but suuuuper awesome Flir Recon). We had the Eotech / L3 WTM-PL in TX that were really nice...I wish we’d get some out here. Those ones had better battery life, a quicker start up cycle and an IR laser built in to mark stuff for guys using NV. 

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I'm having issues with the mode selector switch on my DBAL A3 moving around on me. The DBAL is mounted up front on a 10" rail directly behind a flip up front sight. I activate the DBAL with the button on the unit, and my white light is activated via a pressure switch mounted directly behind the DBAL. 

What I run into is that my hand accidentally moves the switch from IR laser only mode to IR laser/ILLUM mode or OFF mode. This typically happens when I'm practicing transitions from rifle to pistol. 

I realize that one option is to train it more, figure out where in the transition my hand or sling moves the switch, and fix it, but I'm also looking for other solutions.  Is there a way to tighten up the selector or protect it from accidental adjustments? I looked online for a shroud or something to protect the switch from accidental movement but I couldn't find anything. 

 

I for one won't blame you (more training...) but bad design. Raised switches are stupid. Should have guarded them, I think with the boxy shape, like some old timey mil radios, with a little wall extending up from the edges. 

Which we can do! I'd think about something like attaching a chunk of rigid plastic (scrap PS or Kydex) to the side the unit, extending back far enough to avoid switch bumping. Hold it on with double sided tape or self-adhesive velcro or something reversible. You can even prototype it with cardboard and duct tape for a single range session to see if it helps. 

shoobe01 posted:

I for one won't blame you (more training...) but bad design. Raised switches are stupid. Should have guarded them, I think with the boxy shape, like some old timey mil radios, with a little wall extending up from the edges. 

Which we can do! I'd think about something like attaching a chunk of rigid plastic (scrap PS or Kydex) to the side the unit, extending back far enough to avoid switch bumping. Hold it on with double sided tape or self-adhesive velcro or something reversible. You can even prototype it with cardboard and duct tape for a single range session to see if it helps. 

Check out Sugru, too. You could mold a thin noodle of it and build it up around the button, then let it cure. The stuff molds similar to playdoh before it cures up, and has a rubbery consistency once cured. 

I love coming to LF for solutions, you guys never let me down. I'm going to try the sugru and I'll report back on whether it works. 

I still haven't removed the blue screw from the DBAL so I'm also not running it in high power mode. After looking at the dbal just now, I see that the switch modes for high power put the nub of the switch in the 12-3 o'clock position and closer to the tape switch inputs. That kind of gets it out of the way and more protected so that could also be my solution. 

Thanks for the replies and ideas

Instead of Sugru, maybe try WaterWeld. It is a premixed two part epoxy that comes in a stick format. You cut off the amount you need, fold it into itself several times until the color changes to a uniform gray color, then place and mold as needed. It is stiff when mixed and has 5-6 working time. It is machinable, waterproof, sticks to porous and non porous surfaces, etc.

It is a handy thing to keep in your box. I have dummied up wedge grips, reshaped pistol grips, used it to round of sharp corners on things, repaired water leaks, etc.

The epoxy sticks are useful, easy to use, and the waterproof thing cannot be over-stated. They can generally be applied to actually currently wet things, often actually underwater (depends on the substrate). They look like this: 

Tube with inner and outer stuff. Usually off white and off black. As stated: Mix them with your hands. Cold Play Dough consistency, won't get your hands especially dirty so go for it. 

Many brands of it. JB Weld WaterWeld is good, I have also used the Oatey one and it's the same AFAIK. Often found in plumbing supply. Especially once opened, they will not last forever. Months, but not years, so don't just toss it in the get rubbermaid and assume it's good forever. 

WoodenPlank posted:

 Has anyone used the RAPTAR ES Lite? Optics planet has them on sale for $750 right now, and I need a good illuminator - getting the rest of the package would be one hell of a bonus at that price, but I've never used one. 

 

 

Yes.   The ES lite illuminator sucks a dead donkey dick.  

Its Civilian power and maybe even less than the maximum.    Good for 15 yards probably.  

If you want good illumination for a civvy unit get the MAWL. or run a SPiR or D2 unit. 

I ended up getting one of the Armasight/FLIR 8000 long range IR illuminators on clearance on OpticsPlanet for $65 with free shipping. So far, I am pretty happy with the performance on it. I modified a VTAC light mount to fit the short straight body section on the FLIR and have been running that for coyote hunting.

The one annoyance is having to use the rifle to sweep when looking for coyotes, so I have been considering changing things up and mounting the FLIR on the left side of my helmet via pic rail and the light mount instead of on the rifle. 

Update: turns out the proper remedy for the selector switch on my DBAL A3 was to send it into Steiner.  Not sure why this wasn't obvious to me in the beginning. 

I was experiencing issues with the IR illuminator shifting on me during firing, so I sent it in for evaluation. 4 weeks later and the DBAL arrived back with the IR issue fixed and a much stiffer selector switch. The issue with the switch was not something I mentioned to Steiner before sending the unit back in to them, so I'm pleased to see that they gave the unit an overall inspection and made some additional tweaks. 

So I have traded my way now into a pair of ANVIS 9s (don't ask...). Luckily, they're coming with at least one aviation mount that has an integrated power supply. Un-luckily, said mounts don't fit the Wilcox shroud on my bump helmet. Looking online, I see everything from $30 Chinesium adapters to $150 for US produced stuff - all of them are just a little piece of machined aluminum with a few holes. Budget isn't going to quite allow for a proper SAM mount and battery pack just yet (that's the eventual plan), but I want to get these going on my helmet relatively easily. Has anyone tried any of the Chinesium crap, and is it really worth 5x the cost for a US adapter when there's no wiring, etc involved?

Alternatively, if anyone has anything laying around they don't need that might help me get this going without another $600+ in mount and battery unit, lemme know.

PlasticMag posted:

The Chinesium crap will work in a pinch - it's machined aluminum and to the right specs, amazingly enough. Back in the day the US plates went for $45 or so... not sure why they went up in price.

Yeah, $125-150 for a US adapter (most without the actual QD plate, at that) surprised the shit out of me. I'm going to see what I can score an old Rhino mount for at the local surplus joints to cannibalize a plate off of before I decide to order a Chinese adapter off Fleabay that's going to take weeks to arrive.

Meanwhile, I nabbed a Nightcap for next to nothing today that I can use in the meantime. I needed one anyway to have to share with a buddy when someone wants to go night hunting with me, and I got this one for a song. I'll add a real shroud later so I can run the 14 or 9s on it as needed 

WoodenPlank posted:
PlasticMag posted:

...

Yeah, $125-150 for a US adapter (most without the actual QD plate, at that) surprised the shit out of me. I'm going to see what I can score an old Rhino mount for at the local surplus joints to cannibalize a plate off of before I decide to order a Chinese adapter off Fleabay that's going to take weeks to arrive.

Not following what all is up with ANVIS mount finagling, but if you need a Rhino mount, real ones can pretty often be found on eBay for like $20 still. It helps to filter by "used" as the airsoft grade stuff will break or get tossed it seems, rarely is sold used. I mean, none that cheap this week, but if nothing else... $35? https://www.ebay.com/itm/Norot...p;LH_ItemCondition=4

Sometimes, you can find them broken for even less. Usually, broken arm, but if you just need to take bits off you might be able to score.  

Also good to take the time to search broadly. "Night Vision Mount" and so on. Maybe someone doesn't know what they have, and you get some bits you need cheap after all? What's this?  https://www.ebay.com/itm/origi...p;LH_ItemCondition=4

Sorry, the rhino comment was referencing that the Chinese ANVIS adapters never come with the plate that actually snaps into a standard ground shroud. I was going to check the local surplus places first to find a rhino in could cannibalize the plate off of. I think the local surplus has them for around $30.

The second Ebay link isn't anything I recognize.

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I'm waiting for the ANVIS adapter to get to me via the slow boat from China, but I did score a second Rhino mount to cannibalize for the plate from a surplus shop. I also picked up a barely used Norotos 3-hole shroud for cheap, and got a Crye Nightcap for nothing. The NC isn't bad on comfort, I rolled around looking for coyotes with it and the 9s mounted up over the weekend for a few hours without issue. It is fidgety with my glasses, but workable. Definitely looking forward to getting the adapter, though, so I can throw it on my TW helmet. 

I knew going to a dual tube unit would make a difference in visibility and ease of performing tasks, but holy shit I didn't expect it to be as massive of a difference as it is. I'd say going from a 14 to 9s is almost as big of a jump as going from nothing to the 14. One of my buddies has a WP -14 and his 14 might have a *slight* edge on sensitivity, but having both eyes in use definitely makes up for it.

My buddy that I got the 9s from also gave me a Chinese knock-off ATPIAL. Surprisingly, the LED IR illuminator is half decent in it (albeit short range due to being LED and hot having any adjustment), and the IR laser is actually pretty damn usable. I'd say the ATPIAL knockoff is on par or even a little better than my full power PAQ-4. The visible red laser is a fuzzy mess, however, but it was at least good enough to zero the lasers up, and they do appear to be slaved correctly. I fucked up and didn't tighten the mount down worth a shit, so it walked loose under recoil on my SBR, but until that happened it seemed to hold up well enough. I wouldn't rely on it for anything important, but at least it gives me some IR options on my SBR if I need them.

It was also a clear enough night to finally see how some of the IR stuff I got from one of my engineer buddies at Bushnell worked out. He sent me a FIRI illuminator and Night Chase backup front sight with integrated IR illuminator and laser. Those are all eye safe, but when I covered the illuminator on the Night Chase, I was still able to see the laser out to ~1k yards. It wasn't as bright as the fake ATPIAL and real PAQ-4, but still very usable. The FIRI let me see 66%-ish IPSC steel at ~600 yards, too. Those are living full time on my coyote rifle with the ATN thermal so I can work up close off the laser and illum if needed.

 

Out of curiosity, has anyone got any input on either a pinhole cover for an ANVIS9, or just plain covers to protect the lenses? My set came with modified cannon plug covers to protect the lenses in storage, but I'd like something a little more usable - especially something I can leave in place like a rubber bikini cover or similar. I'm going to look at Butler Creek caps that I can modify into pinhole covers, too, if there's nothing better.

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