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tydephan
August 23, 2006, 08:27 PM
When I went to purchase a Glock 22 (G3) recently at my local gunstore, I had an interesting conversation with the sales guy.

He was trying to sell me on an older glock, but I told him I was interested in the Generation 3 because of the rail system. I told him I wanted to mount a tactical light on the weapon.

He said he was retired State LEO and that mounting a light on a pistol was not smart, as it allows the bad guy to "paint" where the shooter is (i.e. shoot back where the light is coming from.)

I've tried searching to find a thread that covers members' opinions regarding advantages/disadvantages to a tactical light on a pistol, however I've not run across any. Apologies if I've missed something obvious.

Personally, I would think a semi-auto with a lasermax internal laser and a tactical light (or the light/laser combo) would make the ultimate solution. The internal laser would allow for independent use in a surreptitious situation. However the light could be utilized when needed.

So, thoughts?

hpg
August 23, 2006, 08:30 PM
I've said the same thing all along about the gun mounted lights. I agree with him 100%. hpg

4V50 Gary
August 23, 2006, 08:34 PM
Back in the '40s, an old FBI agent demonstrated with an airgun what happened to folks who held their flashlights beneath their guns. A light does indeed paint you and you should consider the advantages of blinding an opponent and illuminating your target against being shot. JMHO.

tydephan
August 23, 2006, 08:44 PM
Yeah it would be a real hard decision if I was forced to deal with an intruder in my house. Obviously, I would want to see what is going on, but I would want to do so without giving away my position. Even the laser carries with it the potential to give away my position.

This whole thing started rolling around in my head again because the other night I was forced to deal with a 4-foot ****** off cottonmouth in my back yard. I ate him up with my 10/22 (much more fun than a shotgun), however it was hard as hell to keep it illuminated with my stinger flashlight while shooting.

Obviously, shooting a pistol in one hand and holding a flashlight in the other is a lot different than completing the same task with a rifle, but nevertheless it got me to thinking about the best tactic and whether I should actually equip my Glock with a tac light.

smince
August 23, 2006, 08:48 PM
There are "right" and "wrong" ways to use a light in a tactical situation. You don't just turn it on and leave it on to create a target.

As for lasers, I've seen people get so used to looking for the dot, if it craps out, they don't automatically use their sights. They waste valuable time wondering where the dot went.

My preference is for a good hand-held light, the correct knowledge of how to use it, and a good set of iron sights(tritium optional).

jhenry
August 23, 2006, 08:51 PM
I personally carry a good light seperate from the weapon. I don't have to cover someone or something with my weapon to illuminate it. I can also use my flashlight without having to dink around with my weapon to take a light off of it. I do think lasers have some merit and have been thinking of a Crimson Trace setup. There are some applications where a weapon mounted white light makes a great deal of sense but the average CCW does not fit in that niche.

4V50 Gary
August 23, 2006, 09:02 PM
Heck, if it's rattlers, go for the flashlight capable model.

DonR101395
August 23, 2006, 09:22 PM
I use both. I like a weapon mounted light but, you will never find me without a good handheld light. Working with a weapon mounted light takes practice, there is more to it than sticking it on, turning it on and going through your house.


Back in the '40s, an old FBI agent demonstrated with an airgun what happened to folks who held their flashlights beneath their guns. A light does indeed paint you and you should consider the advantages of blinding an opponent and illuminating your target against being shot. JMHO.

I would agree with this if you were using a flashlight of the 40's vintage. i.e. 2 cell C or D battery flashlight. With the newer surefire, pelican etc. the light is more focused and intense. Also more prone to blinding or disorienting especially with the strobe on the Gladius. IMHO it comes down to tactics and training to use your light sources to your advantage.

Maveri9720
August 23, 2006, 10:47 PM
I think it all depends on the application.

If you are using this as strictly a home defense weapon, then I am in favor of getting a tactical light mounted. And I also agree with the opinions that YOU are the one that paints yourself to the BG. You don't turn the light on and start clearing your house with it. You turn it on for a sec, then off again. You point it at the ceiling to illuminate the room, so the BG can't see where it came from.

There is alot of knowledge to be learned from something as simple as how to properly use a flashlight in a tactical situation.

Now, if this is a CCW, then I will have to disagree and not recommend it. I would recommend though, that you carry a tactical flashlight, such as the Surefire's or Streamlight's. Small, powerful flashlights that are 6" or less. Reason being is that a CCW should be as concealable as possible. Adding a rail mounted light adds more weight and usually thickness and sometimes length depending on which one you choose. Secondly, now you have to get a special holster to accomodate the light. Third, it is something else that can get snagged or caught on either your holster or shirt.

Another biggie, is that now you have to draw and point your weapon at whatever you want to identify. Say you hear something rustling in the woods nearby, you have to draw your weapon and point it at whatever you want to light up and now you are opening yourself to the potential of getting into a good amount of legal trouble for drawing your weapon when there was no threat on your life. Not to mention breaking the safety rules.

I have an 870 shotgun for HD that I just mounted a Surefire weapon light on b/c I can't carry a flashlight and my shotgun at the same time and it is strictly for HD. My carry weapon doesn't have a light on it, but I carry one on me just in case.

As stated before, a good, powerful flashlight is another means of non-lethal defense that can provide you the much needed time to either flee or draw your weapon and defend yourself. I highly suggest you look into it.

Just a couple of my thoughts.

Syntax360
August 23, 2006, 11:01 PM
Ever try pinpointing the position of a 120 lumen light shining in your face in a dark room? It's definitely hard, and usually a little painful. It's almost like looking at the sun - everything is blinding. I firmly believe that you would have more than ample time to drop the hammer once or twice before a perp was even able to decide what just happened.

A low output incandescent light source might not be a great idea, though.

Capt Charlie
August 23, 2006, 11:38 PM
You're going to find a lot of debate on this, even among LEO's, hence the large diversity of handgun/light techniques. I think this boils down to individual situations and judgment calls.

If you're searching a totally dark area in which you think an armed person is present, you're better off holding the light in one hand as far from your body as possible.

On the other hand, if there is ambient light or you're back-lit, a weapon mounted light leaves you free to concentrate on handgun technique while you light up those darker areas.

This is one of many things you need to consider before you go charging into a poorly lit situation, whether you're familiar with the area or not. A lot of times, even officers enter a dark building concentrating on the dark, and they are not even aware that they are back-lit and stand out like a sore thumb ;) .

My advice is have a weapon mounted light that can be easily removed, and learn several handgun/light techniques.

TexasCop
August 24, 2006, 11:29 AM
We use weapon mounted lights on all of our SWAT guns, not just flashlights but the high-output, intense focus lights, and from having played the bad guy on multiple occasions, when you get those lights shining in your eyes, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint where the light is coming from.

Using lights does take some training, knowing when to use it and when not to use it whether it's weapon mounted or not, but one of the basic rules of firearms is to know your target and be sure of your target, if you can't see your target and you shoot someone in your house, (this is barring all you closet hiding, tinfoil-hat wearing, rain-water drinking, conspiracy people) I would want to KNOW that it's not my wife, kid, mother-in-law or anyone else I wouldn't want to shoot...

Go with the weapon light and take a class or two in low-light tactics.

pax
August 24, 2006, 12:04 PM
A weapon-mounted light is not a target identification tool. It is a shooting tool.

Why not use it for target ID? Simple.

It's a bad idea to "paint" your home with the muzzle of your loaded gun, even if you do it in the tactically-correct floor-to-ceiling, two-seconds/two-steps manner. Are your children behind those walls? Above that ceiling? Are you sure?

Even if you are holed up and waiting for the bad guy to come to you, it's probably better to make sure the intruder isn't a loved one before you point your loaded gun at him.

pax

KC135
August 24, 2006, 12:11 PM
It is my belief that flashlight are heavily over used.:barf:

As a citizen involved in training non LE, I do not like the idea of a handgun mounted light. Would much rather have the ability to put light where I want it in a stressful situation with a gun in my hand.:)

Remember the startle reflex--if trigger finger is even close to the trigger.:eek:


LE can and will do it the way they want, which is fine with me. They understand their needs far better than I do.:)

Samurai
August 24, 2006, 01:20 PM
Not to be a complete gear-geek - and, no, I don't have any - but...

The price of nightvision has gone down drastically through the years. For what you'd spend on a REALLY nice tactical light, plus labor to have it mounted on your Glock, you COULD find a set of nightvision goggles. I just saw a pair that retailed for $250.00. Now, I've never done tactical drills in nightvision goggles (though I have played with them a little). But, it seems to me that nightvision makes a WHOLE lot more tactical sense than lighting a big beacon on the end of your pistol that says, "Aim here!"

Of course, this is for the things that go bump in the night only. For conceal carry, I don't know why you would want to restrict yourself to only shining light on those things that you drew your pistol on. (See Capt. Charlie's post, above.)

Ace On The Line
August 24, 2006, 02:06 PM
I use a SureFire 6P, I don't see the need for a rail mounted light outside of the military or police use. Lighting tactics can best be achieved when using the light as a separate tool. I think a lot of users that have rails don't understand proper techniques as to using them. The lights are more of a toy to them than a tool. They don't understand how to use it properly in a tactical situation that calls for a light. I'm not saying that goes for everyone that uses a rail mounted light, but there are a lot of buyers that think lasers and lights are all you need along with a high cap magazine. If you don't take the time to train properly in their use, then they are worthless gagets.

Capt Charlie
August 24, 2006, 02:24 PM
But, it seems to me that nightvision makes a WHOLE lot more tactical sense than lighting a big beacon on the end of your pistol that says, "Aim here!"
Actually Samurai, most of these units do light a beacon, at least the infrared light source on most of them do. I have a first generation monocular, and it doesn't work in total darkness without the IR illuminator. IR is invisible, you say? Yes it is, but the illuminators on these are not pure IR, and there is some visible red light from the source. In a totally dark room, they really stand out. I bought mine thinking it would give me a tactical advantage when searching a building, but now it's nothing more than a conversation piece.

Other down sides to the 1st and 2nd generation stuff are the limited range of most of the integral IR illuminators. They work well in a room where the light can be reflected back to the unit, but out in the open on a really dark night, their range is sorely limited. I've found that, in a field where the ground and plants are dew covered, the range is limited to about 15 yards.

But the biggest downside to any generation is the lack of depth perception. Even with the binocular units, you don't have 3-D vision, and when you have to move about in a 3-D world, that's a real disadvantage. Military helicopter pilots found this out the hard way :( .

The newer, 3rd generation stuff is a lot better than its predecessors, but those are still pretty pricey and out of reach for most of us.

Samurai
August 24, 2006, 02:29 PM
Interesting... Well, that saves me from making a bad purchase.

But, I'd still espouse the independent flashlight routine. At least then, once you found one BG, you could keep him covered while you continued to scan with the flashlight...

Ah. Who am I kidding? I'm no expert in all this...

bclark1
August 24, 2006, 03:04 PM
i'd discourage a laser too. people say it's a standoff device but for us civilians we're legally obliged to keep our weapon holstered unless we have justification to shoot, so the notion of somebody backing off because they see a red dot is sort or preposterous, as they should see the gun, period, if they're aggressing and you have a justifiable shoot on your hands. in terms of giving you a tactical advantage... i've got a lasermax in my sig, and i don't feel like it does much for me. it's a fun toy but if i ever needed to draw, my finger's going to the trigger, not the takedown lever to turn it on. and unless you do a lot of trigger time burning the laser batteries, i doubt you'll see your accuracy improve dramatically with it if you already have decent practice with your gun. rails and attachments definitely have a cool factor, but i think they're sort of impractical for those of us not presented with offensive situations.

roscoe
August 24, 2006, 03:55 PM
having played the bad guy on multiple occasions, when you get those lights shining in your eyes, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint where the light is coming from
True, but what if the BG is armed and you don't hit him with the light right away? In that case, you have just identified yourself. If he is hiding behind the sofa and you light up the kitchen door on the other side of the room, he gets a free shot. You just can't be sure you will be blinding someone right off the bat.

At least, that's how I figure it.

JN01
August 24, 2006, 04:33 PM
I'm curious. The general consensus seems to be that a weapon mounted light is bad because it gives away your position or illuminates yourself. Yet most are recommending an independent tactical light.


Won't the independent light expose you just as well as a weapon mounted light? If you were to leave any kind of light on constantly the BG will certainly know where you are.

If you use it intermittently, even with a quick flash, you will be screwing up your night vision. If you are going back and forth between light and dark areas (such as LE searching an outdoor area) this might make sense, but it seems that if you are awakened in your home at night, you might be better off using your night eyes than a flashlight- assuming that there is enough ambient light in your home (i.e. dim light from the streetlights, etc and you don't live in total darkness like a windowless basement) to identify any potential target.

Our front door has side light windows, so when the porch light is on, you get just enough light inside the house to see pretty well once your eyes get adjusted. An intruder coming in from under the bright light into relative darkness can't see as well immediately.

Of course there are plenty of other reasons to have a good flashlight handy.

OneInTheChamber
August 24, 2006, 04:34 PM
My opinion on weapon mounted lights:

PROS:
1. Faster, more accurate fire with both hands on weapon
2. Ability to clear a jam, open a door, push someone back, etc. while still retaining the light and the weapon. You can't do that with a flashlight in one hand and the gun in the other.
3. Ability to keep the light on the target as you fire, should the need arise.

CONS:
1. Poor choice of holsters.
2. Can give away your position. However, thousands of things can give your position away in an HD situation. That's why the best move is to stay put unless you have someone in need of help. If you can get everyone in one room, don't try and clear a house on your own.

LEO's have use for both a tactical light and a weapon's light. SO DO YOU. If you don't use a weapon's light, don't use that Walmart special light you got for $10. Spend atleast $50 on a reputable brand (surefire) that has atleast 60 lumes. Using a cheap flashlight for HD is like using FMJ's in the gun. If you are serious about defending yourself and have the made the choice to keep/carry a weapon; do it the right way, not the cheapest.

bclark1
August 24, 2006, 05:02 PM
if you have an independent light, you can shine at an angle or hold it away from your body, so if you draw fire to your light it's not coming COM. that's not necessarily the easiest or best thing to do, but it's just one of the degrees of added flexibility you get if it's not mounted.

i sat through an LE night practice once, wasn't shooting myself but just watched some technique. wish i'd had a tac light at the time so i could've committed a bit more of it to memory. i don't recall any of them having weapon mounts though, mostly surefires.

JohnKSa
August 24, 2006, 08:36 PM
There are infrared illuminators that are totally invisible to the naked eye--the ones I'm familiar with use infrared LEDs, like the ones in a remote control but much brighter. (Not the red indicator light on top of the remote that lets you know it's working, these are usually behind a plastic shield and never appear to light--unless you look at them with night vision.) I'm not really recommending night vision--if you want the good stuff, you're gonna have to pay! And if you don't get the good stuff, it's going to be more hassle than it's worth.

Weapon lights.

1. Make sure you get one that goes on and off EASILY, QUIETLY and FAST. While it might be nice to put a light on the gun for going in and out of doors, and to take it off for holstering, I don't think you want one permanently mounted, or one that's too hard to put on or remove. Practice installing and removing them so you can do it WITHOUT putting your hand in front of the muzzle.

2. RESIST the temptation to use a weapon mounted light to sweep for targets. Remember, your gun is pointing where the light is, and you don't want to be pointing your gun at things until you're sure you want to shoot them. If you must leave it mounted while searching, you can shine it against the ceiling or a wall to illuminate the area with reflected light until you know where you want to point your gun.

3. You MUST test your weapon thoroughly with the light mounted. It's definitely possible for a mounted light to affect the functioning of a firearm. That's something you want to find out at the range, NOT in the middle of the night. This will also let you know if you've got a light that can stand up to the recoil of your pistol and ammunition.

I see the biggest advantage of a weapon mountable light is that it frees up a hand when necessary. It's kind of a bummer to grab a handgun so you'll have a hand free to open doors, etc. and then find that you can't do any thing with your other hand because it has a light in it. On the other hand, there are some issues that need to be considered before simply buying a light and mounting it.for us civilians we're legally obliged to keep our weapon holstered unless we have justification to shootI don't know about your local laws, but this is not true in many areas. Drawing a weapon is certainly something to be taken very seriously, but it's not usually necessary for deadly force to be justified in order to draw legally.

Maveri9720
August 24, 2006, 08:57 PM
I don't know about your local laws, but this is certainly not true in many areas. Drawing a weapon is certainly something to be taken very seriously, but it's not usually necessary for deadly force to be justified in order to draw legally.

That's interesting. When I was reading my laws about deadly force, I never came across anything about drawing only. Does this mean that I would have to call a lawyer or someone to get this explained to me, or is it supposed to be with the deadly force info?

I'll have to go through Georgia codes again and look for drawing a pistol.

Also, can you please elaborate on deadly force not being needed to draw your weapon? Or maybe cite some laws that apply to this please?

Thank you

JohnKSa
August 24, 2006, 09:23 PM
I can cite TX laws, but I don't know anything about GA law.

ยง 9.04. THREATS AS JUSTIFIABLE FORCE. The threat of force is justified when the use of force is justified by this chapter. For purposes of this section, a threat to cause death or serious bodily injury by the production of a weapon or otherwise, as long as the actor's purpose is limited to creating an apprehension that he will use deadly force if necessary, does not constitute the use of deadly force.

So, you can THREATEN deadly force when only force (not deadly force) is justified. Or, put another way, drawing and displaying a gun is force but it is not deadly force and therefore can be done legally even in cases when deadly force is not justified.

It IS still considered to be using force but that justification is easier to satisfy.

Maveri9720
August 24, 2006, 10:11 PM
Very interesting. Thank you for providing me with the quoted law.

Georgia has the same verbage referring to using force, but not deadly force. But it isn't written in the deadly force section, like your's is, about drawing your weapon to create apprehension.

I am going to try to get this answered, b/c I would love to know.

Georgia law says you can't use deadly force to protect your property, ie your car, but it does say you can use force. I was under the impression and still will be until I can clarify, that drawing your weapon isn't a legal option.

Thanks again.

v8fbird
August 25, 2006, 11:01 AM
"Using a cheap flashlight for HD is like using FMJ's in the gun. If you are serious about defending yourself and have the made the choice to keep/carry a weapon; do it the right way, not the cheapest."

Uhhh.......TONS of people, me included, use FMJ as their self defense round, for a plethora of reasons.

OneInTheChamber
August 25, 2006, 11:26 AM
There are very few calibers and situations that make sense to use FMJ. Unless you are trying to penetrate a barrier or body armor, you're better off with a JHP. Not many home intruders where body armor. Not many self defense scenarios involve shooting through a vehicle's door.

Even in the slow moving .45 ACP you can still profit from a properly loaded JHP.

I do understand that "tons" of people do it; but that doesn't make it the best option either.

I'd be really interested in hearing the "plethora of reasons" for an FMJ versus a modern, reliable JHP such as a Hydra-Shok, Hornady TAP, etc.

smince
August 25, 2006, 11:34 AM
I'd be really interested in hearing the "plethora of reasons" for an FMJ versus a modern, reliable JHP such as a Hydra-Shok, Hornady TAP, etc.

Might be better off to make that a separate thread. It'll be a long one...

v8fbird
August 25, 2006, 11:39 AM
Run a search, I bet you will find a hundred threads on the best type of self defense ammo.

I use it first and foremost because my gun doesn't seem to like HP ammo.

smince
August 25, 2006, 11:43 AM
Run a search, I bet you will find a hundred threads on the best type of self defense ammo.
I bet it won't be FMJ.

I use it first and foremost because my gun doesn't seem to like HP ammo.
What do you have? Most modern semi's are designed around working with an HP. Better get it worked on or trade it.

tydephan
August 25, 2006, 12:08 PM
Well...ummm...anyway...I appreciate everyone's time and thoughts regarding TACTICAL LIGHTS mounted on a weapon. Your thoughts have been duly noted and given me a lot to think about.

As a side note, I do not have a weapon mounted light and have always subscribed to the "independent light" theory (typically a Streamlight Stinger, although I do have a mammoth Maglight I still use occasionally), however your thoughts and opinions have made me realize that I need to learn more about low/no-light tactics.

Thanks again for all the thoughts.

v8fbird
August 25, 2006, 12:11 PM
"Better get it worked on or trade it."

OR, I could just keep using FMJ for which I have had not a single problem through thousands of rounds....

tydephan
August 25, 2006, 12:24 PM
And I also read, in regards to weapon-mounted tactical lights (not fmj vs jhp), that, of course, you can have more than one source of light. Thus, if you are hell-bent on mounting a light to your weapon, it is also practical to have an independent light as well, so your options are open at all times.

Just a thought...

tydephan
August 25, 2006, 12:30 PM
An interesting article on low-light tactics by Surefire (imagine that!)...

https://www.surefire.com/surefire_institute/content/SureFire_Low-Light_Editorial.pdf#search=%22low%20light%20tactics%20with%20flashlight%22
(will require adobe acrobat reader)

bclark1
August 25, 2006, 12:45 PM
yea i guess i didn't take geography into account - sorry about the overly broad statement. i've always lived in no-carry areas, just moved to ohio where i can, but there laws still seem to be written pretty restrictively and i don't want to take any chances. i think a lot of brandishing goes unreported, and does deter violence, but my point was just that you're not going to draw on somebody 30 yards out who's not intently focused on you. if the red dot's going to make a difference, it's just my opinion that i think the gun itself would be adequately visible and make them rethink their advance whether or not there's a laser on it.

Capt Charlie
August 25, 2006, 01:53 PM
I'd be really interested in hearing the "plethora of reasons" for an FMJ versus a modern, reliable JHP such as a Hydra-Shok, Hornady TAP, etc.

Might be better off to make that a separate thread. It'll be a long one...

Ahem!

Um... I believe the subject here is, To Light, or Not To Light... with apologies to Shakespeare ;) .

stephen426
August 25, 2006, 02:28 PM
For those of you worried about giving away your position, just chuck a flash bang into the room first! :D :p I'm not too sure the wife will bee too pleased about all of the broken glass and charred carpet, but the bad guy will most likely have soiled himself and dropped his weapon!

One other thing to think about... How many of you practice shooting with one hand. If you use the FBI light technique, keeping the light as far away from your body as possible with your weak hand, you are forced to shoot with an unsupported hand. I don't know how good a shot your are one handed, but I can say my one handed shooting is much worse than my 2 handed shooting. Add stress and adrenaline to the equation and it may equal to a lot of missed shots.

Anther techniqe, Harris, a reverse grip on the flash light with the weak hand and the shooting hand supported by the wrist of your weak hand, is similar to having a weapon mounted light. The bad guy can still hit you by shooting at the light. Some support is better than no support, but it is still not as steady as a two naded grip.

I think this would make an interesting poll. I'll go set one up.

dfaugh
August 27, 2006, 02:17 PM
IMHO, using a light is the same as painting "Target" on yourself. I can navigate my whole house in the dark, quite well, and ambient light is enough to identify my target. Haing a light just screams "Shoot me NOW!

Now, if my dogs are raiising Cain at o'dark-thirty in the morning I WOULD use a light for outside my house, so I can see what's going on.

smince
August 27, 2006, 02:22 PM
I WOULD use a light for outside my house, so I can see what's going on.
If a light is a target inside, isn't it a target outside:confused:

dfaugh
August 27, 2006, 02:30 PM
If a light is a target inside, isn't it a target outside

Not really, as I can effectively use good cover if I'm inside, and potential threat is outside. And often, the "threat" will be a wild animal, if its outside. Yes, someone COULD target me (or the light) but its the difference with being a few feet away, and several yards away. If I'm checking out somethong outside, I'm armed for longer distances (hi-cap rifle) than for inside (shotgun).