“It’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on,” says John McClain, when asked about last year’s dark divisions at the inaugural Safariland Expedition Multi-Gun Match. McClain should know, he was the winner of the Dark Tactical division in 2017, and will be back for more night match action June 7-10 at the Pro Gun Club. in Boulder City, Nevada. He encourages first-timers to come out and give the night match a try, and offers up his Top 5 Tips for making the most of the event.
1. HAVE FUN
“The biggest distraction that you have a lot of the time when you go to your first night match is just that fear factor,” says McClain. “That mental side of going into the unknown and never having done it before and not being sure if you’re going to be able to pull it off.” He urges participants to just come out and have fun. For starters, the Safariland night match is not a completely dark match since there’s ambient light. Big double stacks of barrels are illuminated by lights that change colors from green to red to blue and yellow whenever you pull the trigger and there’s the sound of gunshot. “It has a carnival fun feel. It’s very obvious you’re there to have a good time.”
2. KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
McClain advises that if you’re not sure what gear to bring—ask. “If you contact the match director and just reach out, shoot them an email, or give them a call and say, ‘Hey it’s my first night match and I’m not sure what all I need to bring,’ he’ll give you a whole checklist of everything you need,” says McClain. “Because they’re the match director, they know the match, they know the setup, they know what you’re going to require.”
3. BE PREPARED
Although there are flashing lights at the night divisions, you’re going to need a good light and setup. “A lot of the things I saw people not prepared for that have never really done a night shoot before, was they didn’t either have good quality flashlights, or they didn’t have a good solid way to mount them on to their firearms.” McClain notes that there is generally one of two results when participants opt for a cheap light and clamp. One, the light falls off the gun because the mounting system is too weak to handle the recoil, and two, the light itself breaks.
4. TRUST YOUR GEAR
You want to have confidence in your gear. “The best thing to do is to make sure that you’re running gear that you trust,” says McClain, “that you don’t have to worry about. And that’s the greatest thing about running with the Safariland stuff, is that I don’t have to worry if my gun will fall out, or something like that.” When you don’t have to worry about your gear, you can focus on pulling the trigger, and being fast and accurate.
5. DON’T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY
If you see a guy at the match with wild and crazy colored pants, that’s McClain. He’s a guy who walks the talk when he gives the advice to have fun and don’t take it too seriously. “If you can walk away from the experience having made some awesome memories with a good group of people then you already won.”
Stay tuned for our next Safariland Expedition blog where McClain tells us what gear he uses and how he personally prepares for competition.
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About the contributor
John McClain is a competition shooter based out of Las Vegas, NV. Known for his flashy, bright pants that he wears during shooting matches, he has also trained and fought his way to become a top tier multi-gun competitor. While being considered a serious top tier competition shooter was always a goal, it’s safe to say that he wants to make sure he’s also having fun anytime he’s on the range.