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Silent But Deadly: 8.6mm Fix w/ AGM Rattler at Midnight Brutality Thermal Division

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Thanks to the 1 Shepherd cadre for making Midnight Brutality possible! And thanks to our excellent match sponsors:

Tactical Night Vision Company (TNVC)
B.E. Meyers Advanced Photonics
Live Q or Die

Midnight Brutality was a 6-stage all-nighttime match held at the Echo Valley Training Center. It was designed to test gear and skills in a dark environment, and it was both tremendously fun and very educational.

This is my run through the match in Hunter (thermal) division. During the match development and stage testing process, we were unable to come up with a way to reliably heat all the targets, and so we ended up cancelling the official thermal division (it had very few entrants). I stuck with it, but it meant shooting all targets that were ambient temperature. Rules of the division prohibited me from using any visible or infrared illumination, so it was just the Rattler scope for shooting and a set of dual-tube PVS 14 NVGs (generously loaned by TNVC!) for navigation.

For my optic, I used an AGM Rattler TS35-640. That’s AGM’s high resolution but smaller lens model (it has a 35mm lens instead of the 50mm lens of the TS50). A few of the targets were difficult to distinguish, but the great majority were pretty easily visible despite the low temperature differential between them and the surrounding dirt and air. I was really happy with the unit’s performance, especially on stage 3. That was my first stage, and I ran it under the worst sort of darkness – even the best image intensifier tubes were struggling. The stage was in a steep forested hollow, with no moonlight and significant cloud cover. And yet, the Rattler gave me a really clear view of the target, and allowed me to do extremely well on the stage.

My rifle was a Fix bolt action made by Q, chambered for 8.6mm Blackout, paired with the Pork Chop suppressor. Gorilla Ammo generously supplied my ammunition for the match, and the gun ran great. It was accurate, light, fast-cycling, and exceptionally quiet. The bolt action mechanism was definitely a handicap to me on the stage 5 (the shoot house) and stage 2 (shooting from the moving Humvee) – but that’s simply because the match was designed with semi autos in mind and only an idiot would bring a bolt action!

Overall I came in 29th place of 102 competitors, and had a great time doing it. Really, they only change I would make if I could do it over would be to get a much better helmet (I was using an old PASGT surplus US Army one) for my NODs. Despite it being a handicap on a couple stages, I really enjoyed the experience of running the match with the Fix. I went into the match a bit dubious about the Fix/Rattler combination, and came away from it a solid devotee.

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