No matter how much time I spent practicing my tactical, admin, and emergency reloads during the day, it didn’t prepare me for the boot to the gluteus maximus (see diagram to left) that I was about to receive in the dark of the night. NVG’s offer no forgiveness when it comes to dealing with reloads and malfunctions. They leave you hanging in the breeze like Janet Jackson at the 2004 Super Bowl. Several years prior to that pig skin tossin’ soup or bowl thing, that reference might have implied a firm and beautiful posture, but I digress.
Being married for the last eight years, I had considered myself quite proficient in the blindfolded game of “put the object in the tight little space,” yet even with one eye open, I was left consistently missing the mag-well; an all too commonplace. Faced with rejection and defeat, I set out to practice repeatedly until I had mastered it.
Once mastered, I went to the garage to start mastering tactical, admin, and emergency reloads in both the daylight & NVG’s. I quickly realized that if anyone truly wants to win the fight, you have to learn to own the night. The process is simple; throw on your gear and practice three times with no NVG, then shut off the lights, dawn the NVG, and practice your admin reload. I assembled this 90 second video to give you a basic outline of what it should look like.
When you understand the process, it’s time to up your game. Double checking that your weapon is empty, position yourself to practice a tactical reload. I didn’t have this one mastered well enough and committed to muscle memory prior to going in to film “Own The Night,” and I feel it held me back. So don’t let my prior mistakes keep you from succeeding with NVG’s.
That is probably one of the most common reloads you’ll ever have to encounter, so please, do yourself a favor, and practice, practice, practice! A quick tip that I learned from years as a touring illusionist, is to videotape every session. Now, more than ever, it’s incredibly easy to do… I still have stacks of VHS tapes with masking tape labels covered in notes like “dove from balloon practice session,” “Debbie does Dallas,” and “Award Winning Bird Act Practice.” Although I’m sure I won’t ever re-watch the 80’s classic, the other videos really helped me hone my skills, which eventually lead me to several headlining gigs and world tours.
Last but not least, is my favorite. The emergency reload is a great way to assess how well you know your gear. Do you really know your weapon like the palm of your hand? I mean really, nobody I know ever “knew the back of their hand”… never did understand that phrase. Nonetheless, it’s critical that you can run your gun with light, or no light. Know what makes it tick, click, and bang.
I suggest using snap-caps for this drill, so when the gun comes back up, you can actually “fire” a round once you’ve acquired your target again. Remember, slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Good luck!