Friday Night Lights: Rifle Dynamics ROKC 2022 After Dark AAR

Are you an enthusiast of the dark as well as a Kalashnikov fan? Well, this week’s topic for Friday Night Lights might very well tantalize and entertain you. Last week we took a look at a budget entry-level thermal camera that uses smartphones to see and control it. Today we take a look at Rifle Dynamic’s Red Oktober Kalashnikov Championship (ROKC 2022) After Dark event which was last weekend.

Rifle Dynamics @ TFB:

ROKC 2022ROKC 2022 banner

The Rifle Dynamics Red Oktober Kalashnikov Championship is a rifle match that focuses on using Com-Bloc weapons. Ideally AK variants. The match started on Thursday for the staff to shoot and went on until Sunday. I went there on Saturday during the day to check out the match and stages. I was invited by Rifle Dynamics to shoot the night match, ROKC 2022 After Dark. This year they officially held a night match but first let’s take a look at the day match.

The stages were rather straightforward. Some were like miniature Finnish Brutality where competitors were required to exhibit some physicality beyond moving themselves and their guns through the stage. One stage had you move a large steel target in a stage. Another stage required picking up a kettlebell and throwing it to your next shooting position as you zig-zag down the stage.

The stage below required the shooter to move this dummy replica Maxim machine gun and place it in a pintle mount down range. Fortunately, you do not have to touch the dummy prop while shooting. So gamers opted to pick up the dummy prop, carry it downrange to the mount then race back to the start position. Their gun is staged empty on the ground so you have to pick it up and load it to shoot the stage all while on the clock.

I was observing this stage and the wind had picked up. There were warnings of high winds leading up to the ROKC 2022 match. Sure enough, we experienced 25 mph winds. I thought the berms of the shooting bays might offer some protection against the wind but it did not help. See the photo below.

I took the photo above just moments after the wind decimated this stage. It was so strong it not only knocked over some of the targets but the partitions as well. It even snapped the wooden uprights of some of the targets and walls.

Another stage was a hallway of palettes.

You have shooting ports and need to engage targets on either side.

Below was a bonus stage where you use a pistol only.

This year Rifle Dynamics had Infinity Target sponsor their ROKC 2022 match. This is the first time I have seen these targets. It is certainly an idea that is so simple you think “Why didn’t I think of it?” They are made of a rubber-like material, sort of like a horse mat or rubber dummy. The zones are engraved into the material and it is painted white.

Just like the Rubber Dummy targets, the target is self-healing and impacts show up. To “reset” or “paste target” you just spray the impacts with white spray paint.

Want An AK12? Give It A Forever Home!

My friend Houston had his AK12 that he built from parts he acquired from Russia.

He even has the original manual. According to Houston, he even talked to our very own Vlad for advice on building this AK12.

Shooting AKs In The Dark

This is the first time Rifle Dynamics officially held a night match for ROKC. Last year it was something unofficially started. I had asked the guys at Rifle Dynamics if it would be possible to use the range at night to shoot some stages in the dark. The match staff, range staff and Rifle Dynamics were ok with it. It was fun but there were very few participants last year. This year is a different story. At ROKC 2022 After Dark, there were easily 20 shooters per squad and there were four squads. The ROKC 2022 After Dark match consisted of only four stages from the day match. They altered the stage description a bit. For example, the stage with the Maxim prop gun did not have the dummy prop in play. There was another stage where you used a revolver stage gun to shoot a rubber dummy in the head before using your own gun to shoot the stage. They did not do this during the night match. Probably the biggest change was the round count. They made everyone shoot four rounds per target. If the target had body armor (khaki-colored piece of rubber in front of the target) then you had to shoot the target 5 times. On one stage they made you shoot the target 10 times and shots outside the armor did not count. Some competitors were not happy with this. It seemed wasteful to them. The match staff thought having a higher round count for four stages would satisfy people who paid $80 extra to shoot the ROKC 2022 After Dark side match. I would have preferred they had us shoot 6 stages. You would end up shooting a similar round count but I do not think people would be as upset.

The stages we used were stages 2, 5, 6, & 7. We were the third squad so we started on Stage 6. It was a rather straightforward stage. You have two shooting positions to start from. You had to shoot a piece of steel at the back of the stage from each position. There were two pieces of steel, one in each corner. Then you could proceed into the shooting box and shoot the Infinity Targets. At the end, there were three targets with armor and you had to shoot these five times each.

There were some shooters on our squad who did not have night vision so they utilized white light and in some cases a laser. The Rose placed road flares in front of the steel targets and on some of the Infinity Targets to help those without night vision.

Under night vision, this creates a photonic barrier. So using an IR illuminator helps a lot to see the targets behind all that light.

Hogarth Hughes (that is not his real name) taped a Maglite to his VZ58.

One of the coolest shooters to watch was Caleb and his semi-auto PKM. It was just cool to watch him walk around like a heavy in some video game hip firing his belt fed in the dark. He had a number of malfunctions but no one on our squad begrudged him. We were just enjoying the show. I filmed some of his runs with my PSQ-20 to get some sweet thermal fusion images.

Not sure why but his shots would occasionally spark aggressively from the muzzle. Most AKs, especially 7.62×39, cause sparking down range when the bullet hits rocks. But this wasn’t that.

Remember those Infinity Targets? I noticed something really neat about them when I filmed with my iRay RH25 Rico Micro. The rubber retains the heat from the bullets passing through them. See the photo below. You can clearly see the heat from the four rounds that were shot at this target. They show up as white-hot since that is the color palette for the thermal device. But do you see the black splotches on the target? Those are the previous hits that were covered up with spray paint. They show up as black since black is cold under this palette. I could spot shooters’ hits easily by just looking at the targets without needing to walk up to them.

Here is a video of some shooters during ROKC 2022 After Dark and three of my stages. The first stage was an abysmal failure with my HK93 and MKE polymer magazines. I reverted to my PSA AKV pistol and that ran without issue.

ROKC 2022 After Dark Final Thoughts

As I said earlier, last year only a handful of shooters partook in shooting AKs in the dark. This year there were plenty of shooters. However, there were some issues. The first was the wind. I did not mind it but some shooters, from the day match, were not happy with shooting with such strong winds. The other issue was the excessively high round count. Rather than enjoying the shooting experience, I felt like I was just wasting ammo for the sake of a high round count. I rather have shot more stages than waste extra rounds on the same targets. Another issue I noticed with our squad was that it took a while to rotate through shooters. The ROs could be more efficient and organized. Since all the targets required to paint, there should have been fresh cans of paint. But we were desperately using whatever leftover cans were on the stages.  In some cases, we went to nearby stages to harvest their spray cans since we often ran out of what was already on stage. With regards to the shooters, they should have their gear, ammo and gun ready to go while the rest of the squad is resetting down range. They should be standing at the start position, gun empty and pointed up or down safely. This way we minimize downtime and can clear the stages more quickly.

I enjoyed shooting the night match but there is room for improvement. Thanks to Rifle Dynamics for inviting me out there.

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