Last week was a holiday so we skipped a week of Friday Night Lights. Need your fix of night vision and thermal content? Well, today is a big one. I went to the ECNS 4 (East Coast Night Shoot 4) in Ohio. It was bigger and longer than before. Two days and nights of firearms and night vision related goodies with more vendors and attendees than ever before. So let’s see what the hubbub was all about.
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ECNS 4 – Bigger And Longer
The East Coast Night Shoot is hosted by my friend from Pittsburgh, PA and the venue they use is the Southington Hunt Club in Garrettsville, Ohio. As I mentioned last year, yes we know Ohio is not on the East Coast but the name stuck and that is where it is held. Don’t like it? Host your own.
This year’s East Coast Night Shoot (ECNS) is actually their 4th annual event and this year they expanded the event to two days and two nights. They had a total of 297 attendees and vendors. They had 31 vendors this year!
Not all vendors had booths there but they did help sponsor the event to help cover the costs for food, renting the range and providing ROs for the ranges. Some of them even donated prizes for the raffle.
New Night Vision Showcased At ECNS 4
This year we got to see some new night vision offerings from a number of companies. My friends at Nocturn Industries showed up for the first time and unveiled their latest offerings.
The Chimera bridge is not technically new but their Chimera-R is. R is for rugged. Nocturn showed off their line of rugged housings which are machined 7075 aluminum.
But metal is not the only upgrade. They added a power button on the front of the bridge. Before the Chimera bridge was constant on as soon as you connect it to a battery pack. The only way to turn the panos off was to articulate the arms up and let the reed switches shut power to the pods.
Next up is their Katana-R. Yes, the Katana is going full metal! With lightweight lenses, fully built, it weighs just 15.4 ounces!
This one has the optional LEMO port at the bottom for remote power.
Nocturn also had their own custom bikini covers.
Next up is their Manticore. We saw a prototype at SHOT Show but this is the final product. It is all metal, and has an onboard IR illuminator and manual gain.
They position the LEMO port off to the side of the battery compartment.
Low Light Innovations
LLI was there last year with their Aeternus and LLUL-21. Well, they announced their latest housing on social media a couple weeks ago and they brought the prototype to ECNS 4. LLI calls it the MH-1. Just like Nocturn, LLI is switching to machined housings only they have opted for aerospace-grade magnesium and titanium alloys.
The MH-1 is modular. You can change the power supply to a variety of battery options as well as remote power. LLI also claims the MH-1 will be able to convert to monoculars with a modular bridge system.
Another feature the MH-1 has is manual gain with a simple plug-in EGAC using 11769 tubes. No need to solder or swap out the pigtails. Another innovation is the adapter rings between the objective lens and intensifier tube. They are making the MH-1 modular by having various adapters made for different objective lenses. Rather than make dedicated pods, you can change out the adapter rings for a different objective lens.
Night Vision Plus
Last year I met Connor of Night Vision Plus. If you recall he came out with his Arc Panning Bridge shortly after last year’s ECNS. Well, he has been busy designing more and came to ECNS 4 with his newest iteration of the Arc Panning Bridge and his new monocular housings, the NV+14.
As you can see, the new Arc Panning Bridge is a lot thinner. I would like to see these machined out of aluminum one day. They are a little bit wiggly when panned all the way out and with heavier PVS-14s on the ends, it might move more.
A small but significant upgrade is the hardware Night Vision Plus is using for his Arc Panning Bridge arms. These bolts allow for tool-less installation and removal but if needed there is a slot for using a screwdriver or coin. Also, these are captive. They will not fall out when you remove the monocular. Fully built with RPO lenses and doubled on his Arc Panning Bridge it weighs less than a PVS-31A.
But the real show stopper are these NV+14 monocular housings. The housing weighs just 1.75 ounces!! That is not with glass or the tube of course. These are powered by a CR123 for longer run time and have manual gain!
Everyone who held a bridged set with RPO lenses could not believe there were tubes in them. They felt too light!
There was a small vendor piggybacking on his friend’s table and he had some interesting designs that caught my eye at ECNS 4. He made a Jerry-C iris adapter. One problem with running a COTI device is that it is hard to use an adjustable iris. Often they are too big to fit between the objective lens and the projector of the COTI. Well, AMMJ Solutions solved this. See the picture below.
His adapter clamps onto the objective lens of your night vision. You then slide the Jerry-C to the adapter and screw on your adjustable iris.
Another innovative accessory he designed is throw levers for the adjustable IR illuminators on DBAL A3 and PEQ-15.
While the throw levers and Jerry-C adapters are 3D printed, AMMJ also makes machined accessories. Here is his Holosun AEMS adapter plate for mounting it to an Aimpoint T1/T2 mount.
I met up with my friend Ryan of Valhalla Tactical and he showed me something new. It is so obvious and simple it makes me wonder “Why did I not think of this?”. Valhalla Tactical used user feedback on their ODA tailcap – certain units needed a way to make sure their white lights could not be activated so they came up with a throw lever for the SureFire Z68 Scoutlight tailcap. Now you can turn the tail cap a 1/4 turn with ease to turn it off or turn it back on. Then activate white light with the ODA switch.
Guns Of ECNS 4
My friend Jacob of Chevtec was at ECNS again this year and this time as a vendor. He set up a little table so people could shoot some of his post samples and 40mm goodies.
Jacob brought out his 3D-printed Glock frame and a post-sample Glock with full auto sear conversion. He wanted to compare the flex under recoil of the frames between the 3D-printed frame and a factory Glock frame. I brought my Chronos 1.4 high-speed camera to ECNS just for this.
While I was at Jacob’s table at the 300-yard range he let someone shoot his M203 so I filmed that in slow motion as well. I also captured a POV shot of me shooting his M203.
Gigliotti Rifle Works
While I was headed to the 100-yard range to check out some machine gun rentals, two guys from Gigliotti Rifle Works flagged me down. If you recall, they are working with Dakota Tactical on the M-LOK handguard for the MP5-SD. They asked if I had shot a B&T TP9 before. Well, they are coming out with their own drop-in trigger that makes the TP9 a lot better.
The trigger is a straight pull sort of like a 1911 so they opted for a straight trigger bow. They plan to make curved ones but I do not see the benefit of doing that. The trigger creep and reset are greatly reduced. The trigger pull feels to be around 3-4 lbs. This is a much better trigger and makes me want to get a TP9. They have not set a price just yet but project it to be around $300-400. Click here to see a short video of the trigger pull and reset.
Washington County Machine Gun Rentals
The guys from Washington County Machine Gun Rentals were at the ECNS renting machine guns. I stopped by because my friends mentioned they have a 1964 Vietnam-era flamethrower and I wanted to film it in slow motion. Fortunately for me, Dominick of Steel Industries and Nick of Nocturn Industries were there and they had both booked the flame thrower. So I was able to witness it being fired and captured it on camera.
Random Guns At The Range
This Keltec CP33 caught my attention due to the HRF SKIFF but also the 3D-printed handguard. The owner said he found this online for free and printed it out.
Dominick Steele’s Cadex in 6.5 Creedmoor. Later he shoots it long range and I help spot with the JIM LR.
One of many Flux Radiers at the ECNS.
Wally and his home made flame thrower.
700 Yard Range
This year I spent most of my time at the 700-yard range. Daniel Doughtery aka Doc_412 set up a .22LR challenge. Hit a steel target 400 yards away. I borrowed his CZ and shot SK Standard Plus. I used my JIM LR to help spot and confirm hits on steel.
The JIM LR was very popular at the ECNS. Not many people have seen a cooled thermal device let alone seen bullets fly under thermal.
As mentioned earlier, I helped spot Dom with my JIM LR. You can see the IPSC-shaped steel target on my tablet’s screen. That is 700 yards away.
ECNS was very dark. No moon just starlight and little to no ambient light. A lot of people struggled to see the steel targets 700 yards away even with illuminators. Also, it did not help that it was freezing. The Conex boxes were actually slightly more comfortable than being outside of them. Bodies inside helped to warm up the air.
Final Thoughts On the ECNS 4
The ECNS 4 was great. There were a lot of people there and the vendors were very generous with their time and knowledge. This is one of the few places you can try out night vision and the only cost is the price of admission.
Earlier in the year J.W. Ramp, one of the co-hosts for ECNS, reached out to me to help him get orthographic photos of night vision devices from a bird’s eye view. I took a bunch of photos of some of my more esoteric night vision goggles and they made it into this year’s ECNS event shirt. Can you name all the devices on this shirt? There are only two goggles on here that I have not used before. Everything else I have tried and reviewed.
Huge thanks to J.W. and Daniel for inviting me to the ECNS. And a big thanks to the guys in the red jackets helping to make the ECNS run smoothly and safely. There is just not enough time to see and do everything there.
PSA: do not play with dragon’s breath. Someone played with the dragon’s breath and set fire to something above the 150ft retaining wall.
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