Student Review: “Working the Night Shift at Max’s……”: Barry

“Working the Night Shift at Max’s……”

On Friday, 13 May I attended a Night Firing Class at the Velocity Training Center.  Due to family commitments I was not able to sign up for the CTT portion of the class until late and it was fully booked (Note: Barry is already an Alumni of a previous CTT class).  I decided to attend the Night Firing portion as I have not had any formal training on the use of the Night Observations Devices (NODS) in 20 plus years.  I figured Max and the 1SGT might have some updated information for me!  I was not disappointed.

3 other students from Combat Team Tactics (CTT) attended this training.  This was the usual mix of down to earth people with a similar mind set.  They made me feel right at home even thought I had just met them.

Training started with a lecture on the use of NODS and their positives and negatives in a tactical setting.  This is really solid information that is based on real world deployments and use.  In my view, this is the real core issue that separates Max’s curriculum from many other trainers.  The instructors have recent combat experience and  hours of practical hands on use of the NODS and thus are able to cut thru the BS and deliver to the student practical, tactical information in a short period of time.

Right off the bat, a simple procedure was used to zero the IR lasers with minimal time and no expenditure of ammunition.  A procedure that a civilian operator can accomplish in his or her own backyard in low light conditions without firing a shot (of course you need to verify the zero on a range at a later date).

Various drills were run to gradually accustom the shooter to low light shooting and shooting with others in close proximity.  The NODS greatly restrict your field of vision so, trusting your team mates and constantly verifying where they are is a serious issue.  Night movement is never easy and it is even more challenging with NODS.

Fire and movement drills were run on the range until the instructors were comfortable with us.  After jamming magazines, Max gave us a short scenario in which we would need to use the NODS to move thru a heavily wooded (and mountainous area-all of West Virginia is built on a steep hill) and engage a heavily armed outlaw group that had recently raided a local farm.  We were able to move, locate and engage this group by fire and maneuver under NODS.

The training was excellent, distilled down into what you needed to know and then under controlled and safe conditions students were able to execute a simple problem under NODS.  Outstanding!

Max and the 1SGT were absolutely safety oriented and never let us get ahead of ourselves.  Muzzle awareness is one of the keys to success in tactical training.  It is even more challenging at night, under NODS while maneuvering up and down the hills.


  • Practice at home, if you can in a dark room, basement, etc. Changing magazines in the dark is challenging.  A little practice will make the training easier.
  • Get comfortable with your gear in the dark. “Feel” for where everything is before you get to the training evolution
  • Walk on some hills with a load if you can.
  • Wear your NODS some in the dark and get used to them before the training cycle.
  • This training is not the end, but a gateway to use of the NODS. You must continue to practice under night conditions after you depart.
  • Bring a lot of loaded magazines to the training, this makes Max happy.

I guess it’s time for me to mention the obligatory unwritten theme in almost every one of Max’s posts…and that is fitness.  I think many who read these AAR’s are reluctant to attend training because almost every AAR mentions fitness.  Practical fitness is the key.  You don’t need to be an iron man or woman to attend this training.  You do need to be reasonable fit otherwise you will waste your time, money, and perhaps endanger yourself or others.  All training evolutions I have attended at VTC have ample time for any student to hydrate, load magazines and recover “if” the student is reasonably fit.  If you are planning on carrying a weapon to defend your family, home, etc. you need to be in decent physical condition.   You can get this way if you make the effort.  I “may” hold the record for the oldest student to attend training at VTC.  At age 70, if I can do it surely you can.

I am encouraged by the students I meet at Max’s training.  Their motivation and interest motivates me.

Thankfully, no FUDDS!


Note: Barry is nearly 70 years old, in great shape, and a combat veteran (wounded) from Vietnam – an officer in a Ranger Company.