Preview – Warrior First, Tools Second
Photography by Shinnosuke Tanaka and John Teator
Khyber’s Wes Doss Shoots Down the Misconceptions Surrounding the Use of Lights, Sights, and Lasers
It’s easy to be distracted by all the shiny toys. The high lumens. The fancy optics. The colorful lasers shimmering in the night. The lure of kitting up with cutting-edge accessories is ever-present and understandable. In theory, these tools should enhance your shooting — and may even make you look sexier (individual results may vary).
But Wes Doss cautions not to get caught up in the overemphasis on gear in this era of “tacticool.” As a U.S. Army veteran, a former law enforcement officer, and the founder and head firearms instructor at Khyber Interactive Associates, he has experienced firsthand how equipment can fail at the most unexpected times.
“What’s going to save you in a gunfight is you and your skills, not some expensive piece of equipment,” Doss says. “Therefore, we emphasize you, we emphasize the tactics, and we emphasize the practical application of these products.”
The products he’s referring to are lights, sights, and lasers. Three types of gear that can provide tremendous advantages for a shooter — but only if they’re not relied upon in lieu of mastering the fundamentals of shooting and tactics. Doss is passionate about sharing his 20-plus years of experience in this area. And he has spent the better part of 2013 on the road teaching these concepts in a series of no-cost, one-day courses to military and law enforcement personnel as part of the cross-country Lights, Sights & Lasers Tour, which is sponsored by XS Sight Systems, Crimson Trace Corporation, Blade-Tech, and several other companies.
RECOIL had the opportunity to join the tour at its stop at the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office in Reno, Nevada. It was immediately apparently that Doss sees lights, sights, and lasers not as mandatory gear, nor as accessories, but rather as important supplements to help bolster a shooter’s increasing skillset.
Let There Be Light
The operator is always the No. 1 most important element in an engagement, while his weapon is second, Doss says, adding that the weapon is not effective unless the operator has mastered the fundamentals. He emphasizes that a light is a supplemental tool used to aid in identifying targets and barriers in low-light situations. If you don’t learn how to use the light tactically with intermittent illumination, or if you fail to understand that those who can be seen can also see you, your light can be as much a liability as an asset. For example, a lack of training can telegraph your movement, illuminate you and your partners, and heavily heighten the perceptual narrowing effects of tunnel vision.
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