POST FALLS – His goal is to “keep good guys alive.”
Ed Santos’ years of experience in the military, as well as law enforcement, have allowed him to gain firsthand knowledge of high-stress lethal encounters and the physiological effects on the eyes in low light.
In fact, he has just published a book on the subject entitled “Rule the Night, Win the Fight, A Practical Guide to Low-Light Gun Fighting.” The book was well-received recently at the National Tactical Officers Association which is comprised of 800 SWAT police officers from around the world.
“We lose 70 percent of our police officers in diminished light at a distance of 15 feet or less in the time of 2 1/2 seconds,” says Santos, owner of Center Target Sports, an indoor sport shooting and training facility in Post Falls.
Santos is a retired Army officer, a recognized Idaho court system firearms expert witness, and has been a certified Level One Reserve Deputy in North Idaho for more than nine years.
Through Center Target Sports and Tactical Services Group, a division of CTS, Inc., he teaches the latest, cutting-edge defensive skills, techniques and concepts to law enforcement, civilians and armed professionals across the country and internationally.
For years, Santos has watched armed professionals, military, law enforcement and private security operators work from a position of self-imposed disadvantage while performing their duties in reduced-light conditions.
He has analyzed this behavior in an effort to better understand why this phenomenon is so common, and has wondered why officers seem to overcome most of these stress-related situations when working in a lighted environment but continue to falter in low-light situations.
“Over time I have come to believe reduced job performance, or an obvious rise in anxiety among armed professionals, has to do more with their lack of confidence in their ability to ‘Rule the Night’ than anything else,” says Santos. “That is the reason for the book.”
Santos discusses visual patience and believes the important part of visual patience is taking the time necessary to get accustomed to the dark.
“Police officers responding in a dark environment are legally blind for the first 20 minutes,” Santos says.
Santos also believes that effective low-light tactics can only be accomplished through cutting-edge training and tactics utilizing top-quality equipment, and he hopes the book will serve as a practical foundation for those who need to learn low-light tactics.
Massad Ayoob, founder of the Lethal Force Institute, a full-time researcher on the use of force and management of violent encounters, and a 20-year chair of the American Society of Law Enforcement Trainers, wrote the book’s preface.
Ayoob says this about Santos’ book: “Ed is right when he says those who have the tools and tactics to win the fight in the dark will rule the night. All I can add is he who controls the light need not fear the darkness.”
Santos says the book talks candidly about the how and the why, something not found in other books about the subject.
“I hope this book will fill the void of information and spark a desire in armed professionals to want to learn more,” says Santos. “If that happens, then we will all be better at ruling the night and winning the fight.”