Muzzle Flash - night blindness?

Muzzle Flash - night blindness?

This is a discussion on Muzzle Flash - night blindness? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; In related threads I've mentioned I moved away from Golden Sabers for SD, partly due to the very bright muzzle flash. Everything else I have ...

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    Muzzle Flash - night blindness?

    In related threads I've mentioned I moved away from Golden Sabers for SD, partly due to the very bright muzzle flash. Everything else I have read about the round is good, so I'm not taking issue with some perceived performance issue (which would be silly, IMHO).

    My question relates to muzzle flash. I've not shot a .38 or 9mm in the dark, and I am wondering if I am overly concerned about muzzle flash. I expect if I ever have to use my gun there is a very high likelihood it will be in the dark, and I will have some night vision (read: getting up in the middle of the night). Is it possible for one or two very very bright flashes from a firing weapon to kill your night vision?

    Anyone with experience in shooting at night, under any conditions, care to chime in and enlighten me? (Sorry, bad pun).

    Thanks
    PEF
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    VIP Member Array Badey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    In related threads I've mentioned I moved away from Golden Sabers for SD, partly due to the very bright muzzle flash. Everything else I have read about the round is good, so I'm not taking issue with some perceived performance issue (which would be silly, IMHO).

    My question relates to muzzle flash. I've not shot a .38 or 9mm in the dark, and I am wondering if I am overly concerned about muzzle flash. I expect if I ever have to use my gun there is a very high likelihood it will be in the dark, and I will have some night vision (read: getting up in the middle of the night). Is it possible for one or two very very bright flashes from a firing weapon to kill your night vision?

    Anyone with experience in shooting at night, under any conditions, care to chime in and enlighten me? (Sorry, bad pun).

    Thanks
    PEF
    I don't know about anyone else, but one bright flash kills my night vision for several seconds. It doesn't fully recover for a couple of minutes. I am not sure if I am the norm or not, though.
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    Ive tried many to see which ones I would be happy using at night. I also have ported several snubs an was looking to limit the flash an smoke. The best for me is in .38 an .357 is buffalo bore 158 low flash an their 9 mm penetrator low flash I do not know or am I affiliated with them just like the product. Its also very clean burning. Their website has some great info. I am a amateur astronomer so have lots of experience with night vision. Many of us meet at dark sky areas to use our scopes an when ever anyone uses a flashlight without a red filter there is a collective gasp as everyone closes their eyes and hollers at the offender
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEF View Post
    In related threads I've mentioned I moved away from Golden Sabers for SD, partly due to the very bright muzzle flash.

    Is it possible for one or two very very bright flashes from a firing weapon to kill your night vision?
    Learned to shoot handguns at a small indoor range that had extremely poor lighting. Was easy to simulate moonlit situations (ie, dark house with negligible light around). Found much the same as you, with the GS rounds. I tended to find that matching the load to the barrel length of the gun had the greatest effect for me, at avoiding as much of the bright flash as possible. But anything that ends up with a monstrous fireball out the muzzle does blow my vision for awhile, yes.

    One thing that helps my eyes deal with it, to a very great degree: a good flashlight. Doesn't cure it, in a darker area, but it avoids the worst of the effects. Again, my experience with this is in a couple of darker indoor ranges, not in actual gunfights. Perhaps some of the military or LEO types can speak to night blindness, in "combat" situations.
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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    Bright muzzle flash blinds me horribly, but my eyes are very light sensitive. Easiest way to know...shoot some in the dark ( Safely!!!!)
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    30-something years ago I stood inside the sleeping porch of our old lake cabin with the lights off and fired a 4-inch .357 Magnum out the door in the pitch dark, at square 5-gallon fry-vat oil cans placed in the yard along with sections of appliance crate. It was point shooting as the sights could not be seen. Good hits were registered at 3-5 paces (approx 5 yards). Some hits were registered a 7-10 paces. Muzzle flash was the focus of the experiment. At the time I didn't feel the muzzle flash really was detrimental but, of course was firing six-shot strings. With a high-capacity handgun, things might be different. The fairly immense flash was instantaneous, like a strobe. Perhaps the pulse emitted doesn't have time to cause the pupil to narrow much. The eyes are certainly dazzled and a central halo is apparent but at self-defense distances it didn't seem to matter much. I've always held that muzzle flash concerns are overblown. Now, with older eyes I don't know. Guess the test should be repeated.

    A properly wielded flashlight makes a big difference. I have no lights mounted on firearms and have to resort to holding the flashlight. It's worked well enough on varmints around the house when I was young or while in the woods at night over the years. A shotgun works better for the varmints than the handgun though.
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    I did a low-light (dusk) shoot during a Pat Rogers pistol class. I was shooting a 4-inch 1911 with Winchester generic ball .45, and there was no objectionable muzzle flash from my own gun. Most of the class was shooting .40 or .45, not many 9mm, but the flash from the guns adjacent to me was not a distraction. In a different class, the top guns were doing a shootoff at the end of class as the sun was going down, and even in early dusk light the one guy's SBR was almost strobe-like.
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    I've done low light shooting a couple of times. Most people were using 9mm or 45 from full size or compact guns. Muzzle flash not objectionable and didn't destroy vision, partly because the lighting was "low" and not middle of the desert dark. That's more typical of what you'll have at night in your house...

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    Muzzle flash can make a difference.

    I was doing some night shooting with pistol, shotgun and carbine as a required course with the Sheriffs Office. We were to roll up on scene, light it up, spot light on target if we could get to it and shoot several B27 silhouettes.

    Sounds real easy right? With several sets of bright flashing lights going, sources of light everywhere in the pitch black, it was anything but dark. I exited the vehicle, drew my Sig and placed several shots center mass with my then Sig 220.
    As I transitioned to the 12 gage, I made the mistake of looking at another officer exit his vehicle with his AR and fire several shots.

    That was a big mistake. That fireball burned itself on my eyeballs for a full five minutes. All I could see what that fireball imposed on everything I looked at.

    Did it affect my shooting? You'd better believe it. I started shooting what I thought was center mass on the target only to fire the required shots almost off of the paper. When I had to transition to the AR, I was totally worthless and couldn't see diddly squat. I shot where I thought I was supposed to on the target only to be way off center.

    So, Yea, losing night vision can be a serious issue out in the real world. Don't directly look at it and you'll be OK. If you happen to focus on it at the wrong time, you just hosed yourself.
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    Senior Member Array velo99's Avatar
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    Spoke with my brother/range partner about low light and night time shooting. He seemed interested to try it. I have a pretty decent flashlight I would probably use if I got up in the night. We'll probably do it after time change when we'll have more time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    Muzzle flash can make a difference.

    I was doing some night shooting with pistol, shotgun and carbine as a required course with the Sheriffs Office. We were to roll up on scene, light it up, spot light on target if we could get to it and shoot several B27 silhouettes.

    Sounds real easy right? With several sets of bright flashing lights going, sources of light everywhere in the pitch black, it was anything but dark. I exited the vehicle, drew my Sig and placed several shots center mass with my then Sig 220.
    As I transitioned to the 12 gage, I made the mistake of looking at another officer exit his vehicle with his AR and fire several shots.

    That was a big mistake. That fireball burned itself on my eyeballs for a full five minutes. All I could see what that fireball imposed on everything I looked at.

    Did it affect my shooting? You'd better believe it. I started shooting what I thought was center mass on the target only to fire the required shots almost off of the paper. When I had to transition to the AR, I was totally worthless and couldn't see diddly squat. I shot where I thought I was supposed to on the target only to be way off center.

    So, Yea, losing night vision can be a serious issue out in the real world. Don't directly look at it and you'll be OK. If you happen to focus on it at the wrong time, you just hosed yourself.

    OOOooo...Hotguns! How far were you shooting? How much were y'all shooting and how rapidly? I was thinking that there wasn't much that could be brighter than a heavy handload of Blue Dot fired from a revolver with the added "bonus" of a barrel/cylinder gap. That AR 15 apparently "upset the apple cart."
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    Very informative, HotGuns. I too have been wondering about this as I haven't had the chance to do any low-light shooting/courses but am looking to do so in the near future.
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    For those that reload with Unique, try that at night. Its almost as bright as a welding torch! i made some fairly hot357 loads once and tried them at night. It was awhile before I could see anything. Other powders are not quite so bright. DR

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    Clearing a house which is what Im guessing is the focus of this thread is, your flashlight if used as it supposed to be will probably mess up your night vision as much as the muzzle flash from firing a weapon.
    Just sit in a lighted room of your house and use your flashlight to light up something you can make out in the next darkened room. Flick off the light after a second or two. You wont see that same object at all for a few seconds. Muzzle flash from a weapon you are firing doesnt last as long as that does. Just tried it. Woke the wife up with the sks though when she heard the gun shot outside lol.
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