GBRS Group: Shadows that Bite

Other things you can run into when training is the limitation of the range. Constantly shooting stationary targets can produce a false sense of security which can be countered by smart role players being directed by competent cadre that can control the situation and give an honest debrief. Remember, the enemy always gets a vote.

Above: Entering a doorway can be practiced in the same way one learns to draw a pistol. By breaking down complex maneuvers into parts, each one can be individually assessed and optimized for when it counts. 

What are the differences between using night vision solo versus in a group?

GBRS Group: The value of practicing solo CQB is that it shows the importance of doing it as a group. When alone, you see all the angles you wish you had a buddy to cover. For solo movement with Night Vision, you can be as weird as you want. When you’re with other people, your head has to be able to spin and see where they’re at.

Is there any difference between shooting in the daylight and shooting under night vision?

GBRS Group: Everything you practice during the daylight should be able to translate directly to shooting at night. In the dark, you don’t get to look at your hands, so a reload has to be the same every time. If you have to change the way you hold your rifle to shoot with night vision, you’re doing it wrong. The repetitions matter.

What skills that you train during the daytime can you translate into night vision?

GBRS Group: The only additional thing you should be dealing with is the night vision itself. If one of your tubes gets knocked out of focus, you should be able to fix it in one swipe. If your battery goes out you need to be able to do a one-handed battery swap. If you have to stop and get a white light out to do anything, then you don’t know how to use them.

If you’re basing your actions off operating at night, you have to be just as proficient at manipulating that equip- ment as you are anything else you use. Weird things happen at night and I need to know how to diagnose and fix all of my equipment.

What different types of environments have you used night vision and how do they affect the gear?

GBRS Group: Pretty much every environment: diving underwater with the tubes on, navigating, to jumping from a plane, to beaches, to desert. The temperature shifts are a nightmare. Jumping from 25k feet, to landing, that condensation build-up is ter- rible. In cold weather conditions, when you enter a building, the condensation is going to build instantaneously and fog up the tubes. If you don’t know that, you’re going to walk into that room blind. Rain, sleet and snow make visibility terrible as well.

If there’s condensation on Night Vision, and you walk into a dust cloud, it can quickly turn into mud. Most operators carry a specific rag just for cleaning and wiping their tubes.

What are things that you can do with night vision that you cannot do with Thermals?

GBRS Group: With Night Vision you can tell the emotion of who you’re looking at and read facial features. Since night vision is the amplification of ambient light, it can be defeated by good camouflage.

On the other side, you can see really well through a Woodline with thermals. Unless someone is wearing special materials, they’re going to give off that heat signature. What it doesn’t offer is details, which are much more important when up close and attempting PID.

Where most equipment is at now, smoke and glass can sometimes defeat thermals, but we wouldn’t be surprised if that changes soon.


Passive Aiming, or looking through your optic under night vision seems like an example of “what was old is new again.”

DJ: I wasn’t about the whole passive aiming thing until I got out of the military. Why would you want to look through one tube, and line it up with a smaller tube while shooting at night with people moving around you? We just spent $3 million to build an operator up to make everything easy, and you want to make the one thing that should be easy, now harder. I didn’t get it.

If you’re not using a raised mount, it’s not even the same thing on the shot timer. That’s a stance that we believe in: head’s up shooting. If you bring those optics higher, it makes you shoot from a head’s up posture. If I throw my weapon system out and that laser does not turn on, then I can shoot through my optic, but I am never banking on it.

Slade: Soldiers have been recovering night vision equipment for years overseas, and it’s no secret that there are forces pursuing a similar night vision capability to the United States. On top of that, night vision technology is getting cheaper and easier to acquire. The world has watched how the United States has done business for the last 20 years, and we don’t want to fall into complacency.

Passive aiming is a good skill to have. There’s no down side to being able to make a well-placed shot at night, on NODs effectively and quickly without putting out a light signature, even an IR laser.

If you could leave a student with one vital habit that you wish you had learned early on as a SEAL, what would it be?

GBRS Group: Understanding why you’re doing what you’re doing. I think back on all the time I wasted while in training because I didn’t know the connection between what I was practicing and reality. Without understanding this, you can have the best training in the world, and it all be for nothing.

We started GBRS Group because the vast majority of experience got washed away too early when too many guys got killed or got hurt and had to step down. I don’t want to see another ticker on the news. Another soldier killed overseas or another police officer shot. We want to help the people who are still in the fight, in order to save as many lives as we can.

Find your Why.

It’s not uncommon to see veterans struggling with belonging or finding meaning in their new lives. And this is no longer restricted just to the veterans. What advice do you have for finding that why?

GBRS Group: For Veterans, I have to say thank you. Because what I see more often than not are the ones who suf-
fer the worst are the guys who gave a shit the most. The guys who wanted nothing but to be a Green Beret, Ranger, SEAL, name it, and had it taken from them in an injury or they got to an organization who let them down. I say thank you for giving it 100%.

The people who get out of college, who struggle to find their why. There is no set plan. You have to go make it happen. Go make your own tribe. You have to surround yourself with people who’s goals are aligned and are either struggling with the same stuff or have been before.

Luckily for me, all the shit that I went through, all of my friends have been through it too.

You’re supposed to be confused right now. Everyone is searching for a sense of purpose. In the SEAL teams, the guys that wanted to be there were the ones giving it their all. It’s a deal with the devil that you make in that selec- tion process, you have to be able to give up everything.

But now, you create your own universe.

I thought I was going to be a Navy SEAL forever, but I had to leave eventually. But there’s so much living to be done after the military.

GBRS Group Slade Skating

GBRS Group

IG: @gbrsgroup

Name: DJ Shipley
IG: @tribesk8z
Age: 35
Favorite Quote: “How far are you willing to go? Farther than you.”
Recommended reading list: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle, Legacy by James Kerr
Favorite skate shop: Tribe Sk8z
Where did you learn to skate? Chesapeake, Virginia. The older guys that lived down the road got me started.
Preferred Handgun: Sig P320 Legion
First Tattoo? Shark on my right calf, which has been covered up.
Childhood idol/hero? My dad, because he could beat the brakes off your dad.
Choice night vision? Four-Tube White Phosphor
Ear pro mounted to helmet or under? Under. It gives me more options.

Name: Slade Cutrer
IG: @slayderaider
Favorite Quote: “Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist.” — Pablo Picasso
Recommended reading list: The Frontiersmen by Allan Eckert
Favorite skate shop: Tribe Sk8z
Where did you learn to skate? Hawaii and Washington state when surf was flat and the snow was sh*t.
First tattoo? I got a honu (sea turtle) on my lower calf when I was 16. My buddy from Tahiti drew it for me.
Childhood idol/hero? None in particular; Jeremy McGrath and Vietnam-era SEALs would be the closest thing.
Choice night vision? WP 4 tubes (GPNVG-18)
Ear pro mounted to helmet or under? Under, officers and army dudes wear them on their helmets. You always need ear pro and comms, and it’s nice to take your helmet off when able.
EDC: Custom TXC Holsters X1:Pro GBRS Variant, Agency Arms Sig P320 X-Carry

Name: B. Cole Fackler
IG: @therealphatty

Age: 36
Favorite quotes: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
Favorite skate shop: Tribe Sk8z
Where did you learn to skate? In my driveway Preferred handgun: Agency Arms
First tattoo: Tribal arm band when I was 16 years old Childhood idol/hero? Laird Hamilton
Choice of night vision? Fusion (NV + thermal)
Ear pro mounted to helmet or under? Under




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