Darkness - A Form of Tactical Concealment

by Ron Grobman

During my service in the IDF my unit operated almost exclusively in complete darkness. Operating under the concealment of darkness gave us a huge tactical advantage, not only for the ability to surprise the enemy but also to ability to be concealed. Except in Security Ops, we seldomly used white lights.  When in use we still had to understand the importance of staying concealed whenever possible. As a civilian, I adapted these tactics for the defensive shooting and self-defense world, since night vision and thermal optics are no longer readily available to me.

First of, let’s understand concealment. In simple tactical terms it means being hidden from the enemy. Concealment is different than cover, which is being shielded from gun fire.  When operating in the dark we are naturally concealed, unless someone has night vision. As a civilian in defensive situations, whether it be a home defense scenario, or an engagement outdoor in the night time, you will most likely need to use a light. Knowing how to use that light tactically is crucial.

The human eye is a remarkable organ, consisting of rods and cones, nerve ending (specifically, cranial nerve II,  the optic nerve), and blood supply. The eye will adjust to different light conditions very quickly by constricting and dilating the pupils. However, It may take up to 45-50 minutes for the eyes and the brain translating the image to fully adjust to the new environment.  Knowing this, we can apply it to defensive situations. Tactically speaking,  a light must be used only when needed, when we absolutely cannot see with our own two eyes. This prevents over exposure to a potential threat as well as a blinding effect on our eyes as they will immediately attempt adjust to light by constricting pupils. That effect also goes in reverse, when your threat is blinded by your light, you will have the opportunity to improve your position in the fight. You may choose to turn off the light and improve your position, move to cover, or simply proceed with attacking while your opponent is stunned.

Understanding the concept of concealment and how to use it to our advantage will allow us to use darkness as concealment to find our way into a better tactical position.

Link to related reading: "The shift to concept based training"

About the Author: 

At the age of 16, Ron became the youngest certified Krav Maga instructor in the United States through Krav Maga Worldwide. He has since attained the rank of 1st sergeant in the Israeli military, served in the IDF Special Forces reconnaissance battalion as a sniper, been certified through International Krav Maga under Gabi Noah, and gained Krav Maga Trainer certification from the Wingate Institute in Israel. Ron was able to accomplish his goals though working with civilians, law enforcement agencies, and military personnel as a Krav Maga instructor. In 2016 Ron founded Tactical Fitness, a training company based out of Austin, Texas specializing in Krav Maga and firearms training.

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