The basics: it was fun. Great fun!
You can find my first timer’s report over on The Firearm Blog, but I thought I’d share a few extra thoughts here and some of the amazing photos snapped by the Crimson Trace team.
On practiscore I placed 123 out of 185, which put me well behind the Miculek’s of the shooting world. I was surprised (and delighted) to come out ahead of Matt from Outdoor Hub, and Shelley Rae but placed right where I expected behind Caleb Giddings.
The coolest score stat for me personally was Stage 6, where Mike Hughes totaled 53.83 seconds. I was right behind him at 54.44 seconds, which feels pretty good.
At the end of the day though: competitive shooting is really about you as an individual. You don’t “lose” when someone else has a better time, and you only “win” when you feel like you’ve given your all, and improved from your last match.
The Crimson Trace match took place over five days, with 10 unique stages that highlight the challenges of shooting at night.
The Midnight Invitational gathers some of the top dogs in the shooting world. Top Shot winners, national champions, media writers, and industry professionals make for a unique 3 Gun shoot.
I was on the range shooting all night: from sunset right till 4:00am, and its easily the most unique shoot I’ve ever attended.
This was my first time shooting seriously in the dark, and my first time using lights and lasers outside of a static range environment.
The first thing most people want to hear about is the grenade launcher. Their eyes swim while imagining massive fireballs illuminating the night sky. That’s a little over the top, but it is pretty cool for a 40mm virgin.
We were using an FN MK 13 EGLM ambidextrous launcher with chalk rounds to engage a vehicle. The shot was taken from the 40 yard line, so this was more a novelty than marksmanship, but still plenty of fun. The pull on the launcher is like nothing I’ve ever used before: more christmas-cracker than trigger.
Another highlight was Stage 3, which used an FN AR-15 outfitted with a FLIR Thermosight RS-64. Shooters targeted “heated steel” downrange that was almost invisible in the dark, but glowed hot through the optic. An on-target hit would spark nicely, and a bright green glowstick would swing into view. Its the sort of reactive system that feels good to hit: you get the crack of the rifle, the thwack of your round hitting steel, and a little glowing flag waving back at you.
I’ve spent some time with night vision, but we don’t get much hands-on time with suppressors or full-auto guns. Stage six, a cooperative effort between Gemtech, PWS, and i2 Technologies was a great close quarters scenario where each shooter would be fitted with dual PVS-14 night vision goggles, then clear the house using a suppressed Glock 17, a suppressed select-fire PWS, and a semi-auto Mossberg.
I’ve attended 3 Shot Shows now: and while I don’t mind media day at the range, there’s generally little more to do with a demo gun other than point it down-range and pull the trigger. The Midnight 3 Gun definitely steps outside the “try this” box and invites shooters to “use this.” You’re given a course of fire, and the clock is ticking.
Once again I owe a big thanks to my sponsors, who encourage me to face border guards and get sand in my shoes for the sake of some world class shooting.
Click any of the images below to see their full-size glory.