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Shots in the Dark: Gearing Up for the Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Invitational

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From a prone position, using the foregrip as a monopod, the CRP-18 landed 10 shots in a 2.5-inch group at 200 yards. It's the rifle that will be accompanying me to the M3GI this year.

From a prone position, using the foregrip as a monopod, the CRP-18 landed 10 shots in a 2.5-inch group at 200 yards. It's the rifle that will be accompanying me to the M3GI this year.

Shots in the dark are generally considered to be a poor choice, but there are ways to get around this problem and Crimson Trace has made it their business for years to correct this problem. This week I’ll be covering and shooting the second Midnight 3 Gun Invitational, otherwise known as M3GI, in Bend, Oregon. This event is shot in the high desert of Oregon in total darkness as a showcase for some of the most advanced lowlight shooting and vision products available.

Choosing the best equipment is a major part of any competitive shooting exercise and I’ve chosen carefully for my trip. For pistol, I chose the Springfield XD(M) 5.25″ 9mm I used in the 2012 Bianchi Cup. The XD(M) has been a flawless performer and has yet to fail to function through thousands of test, practice, and competition rounds. I’ll be using the same Bladetech OWB holster I used in Bianchi because I have the utmost confidence in it.

To enhance my lowlight shooting, I’ll be using the Crimson Trace LG-446 Lasergrip. This unit installs using the removable backstrap and is triggered by gripping the gun just like the Crimson Trace Lasergrip I use on my everyday carry S&W. I have been a proponent of the Lasergrip since the very first one I used and won’t have a carry gun without one.

My shotgun will be the Mossberg JM Pro. I’ve used this gun in 3-gun competitions and even put it in as part of a stage in a local club match. With over 60 shooters in the match, all fired the Mossberg and all praised its flawless operation and manageable recoil. I have a Crimson Trace CMR-201 Rail Master mounted on the forend.

My rifle choice is the Colt CRP-18. A super-reliable and accurate gun, the Colt has served me well in local 2- and 3-gun matches and I even used it in the National High Power Rifle Championships to prove a lightweight and accurate AR-platform rifle can perform beyond its original purpose. With a Bushnell Elite Tactical 6-24x scope, I finished fifth in Any Sight/Tactical, a respectable finish for a washed-up High Power shooter with little practice.

For the M3GI, I’ll be using a more suitable Bushnell 1-6.5x Illuminated Elite Tactical scope. The Colt/Bushnell combination provides MOA accuracy off the bench with Hornady 55-grain Varmint Express loads. To enhance it for shooting in the dark, I’ve added a Crimson Trace MVF-515 Modular Vertical Foregrip. This unit has a pressure-sensitive switch for both laser and flashlight and can be used as a monopod for accurate prone shooting. In zeroing and practice this week, I fired a 10-shot, 2.5-inch group at 200 yards using the MVF as a monopod and getting proper elevation by putting my fingers under the rifle’s pistol grip. Not as steady as a benchrest, but darn close.

Lasers can provide accurate shooting in lowlight and many defensive situations happen poor lighting conditions. It’s going to be fun to see just how well all these products mesh together this week in the high desert. Normally, I’d be worried about staying awake during an all-night shooting event but I think this will be exciting enough to keep even me awake past my normal bedtime.

Image by Dick Jones

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