Survival Retreat Security in Low Light Situations

Survival Retreat Security in Low Light Situations

In Security by M.D. Creekmore

Survival Retreat Security in Low Light Situationsby SurvivorDan

While the grid is up or generators are running, I suggest layers of lighting. Security lights (check these out at around the residence are the norm. They should be aimed out and be annoyingly blindingly bright.
I have two sets on separate circuits so if one set has malfunctioned or is taken out I can turn on the other and still illuminate the same area.

I like automatic motion sensors coupled with the ability to manually control the lights. If you have outbuildings, have lights mounted both motion-sensor activated and manually controlled from your residence. I also like some low/medium wattage lights on my perimeters as back-lighting intruders may be useful.   If the perimeter lights are disabled then you will know that there could be some mischief coming.

Preserving your natural night vision:

Simple idea, but reducing your exposure to artificial lighting (including the flare of your match) preserves your night vision. The use of low-level red/amber LED lights for map reading and locating supplies and weapons during a confrontation will also help preserve your night vision. After thirty minutes in the darkness, your eyes are capable of detecting much more than you would expect them to be able to discern.

Also, there are more light receptor rods (used for scotopic or low light vision) 15 to 20 degrees out from the focal point of your retina, so turning your head slightly from side to side provides better discernment of objects in extremely low light than staring directly at them.

If you are thusly barely able to detect your assailants (but you are certain they are your attackers) when you look directly through your sights you will only see blackness but as you know they are likely there, fire at the center of the darkness. I know this flies in the face of the old axiom to always being absolutely sure of your targets.

Anyone who has been in a firefight and fired at the muzzle flashes and into the darkness knows there are exigent circumstances where the positives of such tactics outweigh the negatives.

Speaking of muzzle flashes I have demonstrated to students at night fire training that the flash image target (a muzzle flash or a momentarily illuminated target) moves as you move and thus you miss. You turn your head slightly or move your entire body and when firing you are firing at a ghost retinal image that is not where it was generated.

So keep your head still when firing at flash-retinal / ghost images. If your immediate zone is too hot then just fire for effect while moving. Movement is life and that same slight side to side head movement as you move to a new firing position through uneven terrain will aid you in seeing where you are bugging out to.

Not light related per se, but when all is dark your ears may be your only way of ‘seeing’ what your attackers are doing and where.  Protecting your hearing will help in the darkness. Those with electronic shooting hearing protection will have an advantage over unequipped attackers as they will be deafened by gunfire while you are not.

Also, the adjustable sound amplification capabilities of most electronic ears can provide you with an edge.  Some makes of electronic ears offer directional discernment capability.


Bright tactical flashlights (strobe preferred) should always be on your person and pre-positioned throughout the property (Check this one out!). There are many, low power consumption (LED) but high lumen output handheld tactical lights available on the market today. {I am currently in the process of converting my old incandescent (power hungry) Surefires to the new LED lamps.}

I have used such lights to temporarily blind, disorient and often discourage a would-be attacker. So bright handheld pulsing lights can be a non-violent deterrent and if not, he who can see what he is shooting at has the advantage.

But, don’t forget that they can see your light too. Still, given my druthers, I would rather be the fellow blinding an assailant with my tactical light’s strobe setting whilst applying all necessary counter-measures.

Long guns should be equipped with mounted tactical lights with on/off momentary touch switches. Handguns, not rail equipped can be used in conjunction with techniques (see Harries Technique, et al) to direct the light in your support hand while simultaneously providing additional control to your dominant hand held the weapon.  There are off-set or oblique tactical lighting techniques that make it more difficult for your attackers to know where you are at.

Try moving through your house with your tactical light off to the side, away from your body and being pulsed momentarily aimed off the ceiling or a wall at an angle away from your path. Much harder for someone concealing themselves to know where you are at any exact moment.  Many gun shops and ranges offer tactical light classes and I heartily recommend such training. Invaluable.

Pre-arranged light based codes will serve you well if other communications systems fail.

When the grid is down you will need flashlights that can be recharged with solar panels or other means (see MD Creekmore’s recommendations here). Sure you can have hurricane lamps and torches but then you are mostly illuminating the wrong target……yourself. There was a good reason that many battles in bygone times were fought in the daylight.

Night Vision Devices:

Night glasses are telescopes or binoculars with large diameter objectives. Large lenses can gather and concentrate light, thus intensifying light with purely optical means and enabling the user to see better in the dark than with the naked eye alone. Such binoculars are useful but their obvious advantage is reduced by the limited dilation capabilities of the human pupil. Still good to have a set handy.

The best and most widely available type of night vision devices is the NVDs.   Few have good NVDs and have familiarity with them. But if you have either night vision goggles (take a look at these on or night vision binoculars and can maintain them grid down, then you rule the night.

They have drawbacks too as those that incorporate active illuminators can be detected by counter-snipers. Most commercially available NVDs are passive image intensifiers but even those may be temporarily incapacitated by a blinding light directed at you. Fortunately,  most devices will adjust quickly.

No night vision device is perfect but in the absence of adequate tactical lights and NVDs amongst your attackers….you will rule the night. Looking out with night vision devices at a field full of exposed crawling tangos, who think they are unseen, is a confidence builder and a game changer. Combine your night vision superiority with suppressed weapons and it becomes a lop-sided firefight. Your side has a high probability of prevailing.


Bullets coated with or built with a base filled with a pyrotechnic chemical composition (typically strontium nitrate compounds combined with magnesium or phosphorus) which start burning immediately after exiting the muzzle of the weapon providing a visual guide as to the trajectory of the bullets fired, allowing for quick adjustment if off target.

Tracers would have an obvious advantage particularly during a low-light or nighttime gunfight, allowing a gunner to ‘walk’ his rounds in on an attacker’s position.  The downside is that the attackers can ‘trace’ back the path of the bullets to the gunner, thus targeting him.  Still…would could come in handy if applied judiciously.

Flashbang devices:

Think cherry bombs or homemade – sodium chlorate/antimony, charcoal/aluminum or magnesium powder, etc. Blinding flash-bang devices may be deployed against attackers in order to blind and deafen them while you shield yourselves from their brief but intense light and sound. Your vision may be limited in the darkness but you can help blind your attackers.


If you need to suppress nighttime infiltrators, flares are a good tool. Tube-launched parachute flares would be nice. I’d settle for some pistol launched maritime flares. Fiery arrows (lit road flare bearing?) have been used in the past to illuminate and even immolate foes and would still prove useful. I’m sure some of you could come up with a lot of homemade flare recipes.

Strategically pre-positioned firewood piles with a remotely triggered ignition set-up (gasoline and Tannerite?) could come in handy if you have tangos whom you need to illuminate. In extreme exigent circumstances, extra Tannerite and ball bearings might negate the need to illuminate them.

(Remember that any booby traps may make you subject to arrest and/or civil liability.)

For those surprised that I appear a bit more militant and hardcore than usual, I might point out that many of these measures may discourage would-be attackers from attempting or continuing an assault on your retreat. Violence is my least favorite solution to a problem. Avoiding a fight is always my first choice.

But failing that……rule the night and apply sufficient violence to end the threat.