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Steli
January 3, 2008, 07:28 AM
I went to an indoor range today and did some low light shooting. I have practiced low light shooting only a few times before and never did any reloading. I used the harries and also sort of a neck-index-technique. Now the shooting itself went fine but when it came to reloading I didn't really have a clue what to do.
Since I have done some one-handed-shooting-only in the past, I reacted as if shooting one-handed - I dropped the empty magazine, put the gun back in the holster, retrieved a fresh magazine with my strong hand, inserted it into the holstered weapon and then released the slide by letting the rear-sight catch my belt and thus releasing the slide.

I have no idea what the "correct" and proper technique to this is. Can anyone please enlighten me in this regard?

brickeyee
January 3, 2008, 10:24 AM
You let the flashlight dangle on the cord while reloading.

An empty gun takes precedence.

Chindo18Z
January 3, 2008, 11:36 AM
Alternatively (if your light has no lanyard or you prefer not to use a lanyard)...

Place the light in your mouth, freeing up your weak hand. Seriously.

Hemicuda
January 3, 2008, 02:17 PM
place mag-base in left hand, sticking up past flashlight, eject spent mag to ground, slam home fresh mag with left hand, while retaining flashlight against palm with left thumb...

a bit awkward, but better than trying to re-holster in an IWB one handed, in the dark, with the other hand holding a light to help draw unfriendly fire...

Rob Pincus
January 3, 2008, 03:41 PM
Letting the light dangle on the lanyard (or smaller retention loop around finger(s)), as suggested above, is the best way to go and the probably the only thing that will be both fast and reliable in the middle of situation.

Mannlicher
January 3, 2008, 03:54 PM
I would think step one would be to turn it off. I would not want to be illuminating myself while out of ammo. Leaving it on just shouts "Over here, over here.......Shoot Me NOW"

Musketeer
January 3, 2008, 04:12 PM
I would think step one would be to turn it off. I would not want to be illuminating myself while out of ammo. Leaving it on just shouts "Over here, over here.......Shoot Me NOW"
Beat me by one post!

gspfunk
January 3, 2008, 04:30 PM
The dangling (and flailing, if you're using your flashlight hand to reload) light might actually create more confusion for an intruder....or, if they figure out what you're doing, it gives them a chance to get out; which is a better case scenario for most of us.

Ever have someone toss you a flashlight in the dark? If it was flipping end over end and you didn't get hit in the head w/ it, you did well:p. I know that's more extreme than a dangling light, but same principle.

David Armstrong
January 3, 2008, 05:18 PM
Others have already hit the best response, IMO. Turn off the light, tuck it away (pocket, belt, waistband, etc.), reload, get light back. If you just have to keep it on, try tucking it into the armpit and clamping down. The pit on the gun side works best for me, others prefer the off-side.

Finger
January 3, 2008, 05:47 PM
What kind of light are you using? If you are using a small Surefire or other with a ring on it for a lanyard, put a ring from a smoke granade on it. You can put it over a finger on your light hand and flip it out of the way for reloading. Then flip it back for shooting. Very fast

Rob Pincus
January 3, 2008, 06:34 PM
As David pointed out, tucking it quickly is an option if you don't have a lanyard... I always preferred just jamming it into my belt-line as it was fastest considering my off-hand going to the belt for a reload anyway.

-RJP

Erik
January 3, 2008, 11:23 PM
An option, not necessarily the option:

Depending on the size of the light relative to your hand, "freeing" up the index finger to grasp the magazine along with the thumb may work for you.

Of all mentioned, I prefer the lanyard, assuming I have time to use it. I practice the above for when I don't, and have stowed many a larger light as necessary.

Night Trooper
January 4, 2008, 10:41 PM
1. Turn off light
2. Move (to cover if possible, if not just away from where you last were located)
3. Stow light: either let it dangle if you have a surefire of that size or if using a C/D cell light put it under shooting arm in armpit (secure, you move with it in this position, can retrieve it in deployment position and you know exactly where it is)
4. reload (DO NOT push the mag "home" with the back of your hand, you will break a metacarpal (long bone in back of your hand) which aside from being freakin painful makes you unable to grip things real well.)
5. Rack the slide direclty in front of you, fairly close to your body (hand scan find each other easier in dark under stress) with your non shooting hand ending up staying behind the weapon as your shooting hand partially extends (your light won't fall from your armpit). Hmmm, wheel gunners sure have the advantage here!!!
6. Retrieve your light (if in your armpit simply reach from position on chest to armpit) and viola time to return to shock and awe!!

Flash, identify, shoot, move

Capt Charlie
January 5, 2008, 12:51 AM
Move (to cover if possible, if not just away from where you last were located)
Be absolutely certain that you are not backlit!

Move to where the shadows behind you are the absolute blackest! You'd be surprised how many people, including cops, fail to think of even a small amount of light silhouetting them.

Now this is the kind of thread we like to see in Tactics and Training :cool:.

Steli
January 5, 2008, 09:07 AM
Thanks for the replies guys. I tried the armpit technique and I think I'm gonna stick with that. It's really easy to use and it gets the light out of the way quickly without any fumbling around trying to put it in a pocket or pouch or whatever.
I do have a lanyard for the Surefire G2 that I'm currently using but I don't like it very much because when the light is on my duty-belt the lanyard just hangs there dangling around and probably getting caught up in something at the worst moment. Besides it just doesn't seem to look neat and professional on the belt.

anyway, I have gotten an idea and now I am going to start working on some more low-light-shooting soon. I guess I should have focused more on that in that past, especially since most firefights do happen at night. At least I can put some emphasis on flashlight-techniques, now that I have figrued out a big gap in my set of skills. I'm definately gonna read some more about the whole concept of low-light-shooting as I have not given it enough thought in the past.

so thanks again for all your input

David Armstrong
January 5, 2008, 03:18 PM
(DO NOT push the mag "home" with the back of your hand, you will break a metacarpal (long bone in back of your hand)
I've got to question this. I'd never heard of it being a problem, I've done it (used the back of a hand) a few times myself during injury drills, and just to check I went in and tried it with a 1911, a Glock 17, a Makarov, and a P5, without any trouble (other than having a bit of hassle getting the mag ot seat with the P5). Are you sure you are doing it right??

fastbolt
January 5, 2008, 05:43 PM
Reloading a handgun gets a lot of lip service. When, where, how, why, etc..

Once you start watching folks perform whatever techniques(s) they seem to favor, though, it can sometimes seem that actual practice may be a bit lacking.

At least I can put some emphasis on flashlight-techniques, now that I have figured out a big gap in my set of skills.
Been there, realized that ...

Add using a flashlight to the situation and things can really go downhill fast unless this has been anticipated and addressed with training.

I tend to favor a few variations of continuing to control the flashlight during reloading. Naturally, these are to some degree dependent on different circumstances, including how I'm dressed and what size flashlight I'm using at the time.

These variations generally involve using an armpit, pocket or waistband. The armpit & pocket variations seem to have been the most useful in the greatest variety of circumstances ... in my experience.

I vary my training clothing to encompass the variety of clothing I may usually be wearing both on-duty (uniform & plainclothes) and off-duty, including in all manner of weather. I train to be able to perform reloading and flashlight retention under a variety of physical postures and manners of movement, and not just those involved when deliberately expecting and anticipating shooting (although they certainly receive reasonable emphasis during training & practice ;) ).

I prefer to avoid becoming encumbered with things on lanyards or 'rings' while using small articles of equipment, but that's just a personal preference.

In my everyday assignment I'm frequently using one or another small flashlight when entering a residence or commercial building, sometimes 2-3 times within an hour. Different situations have arisen which have required that I be able to quickly and completely disencumber my flashlight hand. I have little way of anticipating the degree to which I may need to disencumber my flashlight hand, so I keep it simple. Dropping it in a sport/suit coat side pocket has been the fastest for my needs. Faster than reaching under a coat and trying to access a belt holster, anyway.

Yes, losing control of a flashlight is still an everyday possibility, especially when moving around outdoors. Doesn't mean I'm willing to have it hanging from my wrist or finger, though.

Balanced compromises and informed decisions ...

Balanced compromises have to be determined by each person.

Regardless of what technique, or techniques ... and equipment ... choices you make, remember that proper application, training & practice can 'make or break' their usefulness.

I can't count the number of bulbs which have failed, as well as both rechargeable & standard batteries which have failed ... and often in less than desirable circumstances.

As far as uniform assignment which involves wearing a type of small flashlight which is carried in a holster on the gun belt? (I know, I know, some folks nowadays prefer to call it an equipment belt, but I entered LE work back when Buscaderos were authorized. ;) ) I'd offer one observation ...

I've seen more than one person who carried a flashlight on their 'off-side' (non-gun) reach for their flashlight instead of a spare magazine, or a belt-holstered folding knife, and that was just under the minimal stress of a range session. (FWIW, the lights don't fit in the magazine well) Imagine that person trying to momentarily store the flashlight in the belt holster, reach for a magazine to reload and then reach back for the flashlight (and not another magazine), all in the same approximate location on the gun belt ... under real stress.

I'm not implying the location should change. After all, the user is still going to be reaching for, and using, the light with their non-gun hand, right?

Repetitive, proper training can hopefully help mitigate some potential problems, though. Don't reach for the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Now, being able to work with an experienced partner who is trained in the proper application and employment of flashlights is really something to be appreciated, too.

brickeyee
January 5, 2008, 08:55 PM
If you use the rear button on the light the 'on/off' decision is easy.

When the light is released on the lanyard it is OFF.

I would never use a light that is just 'ON'.

The fact that you have an empty gun already means things are in bad shape.

Night Trooper
January 6, 2008, 12:48 AM
Quote: (from Dave Armstrong)
I've got to question this. I'd never heard of it being a problem, I've done it (used the back of a hand) a few times myself during injury drills, and just to check I went in and tried it with a 1911, a Glock 17, a Makarov, and a P5, without any trouble (other than having a bit of hassle getting the mag ot seat with the P5). Are you sure you are doing it right??

Good point and I guess I should have blabbed further. I should have said it CAN happen, not definately. It's actually a great way to seat your mag. That being said I have bony hands and have bruised the back of my hand before as my gun was held at a bit of an angle. Now ad the adrenaline of a gunfight and a controlled slide in/lock takes on a new level of speed and strength which can cause an injury. If you can use the meaty part of your palm, maybe event he butt of your light I think you are alot safer in all situations, including worst case, jacked up shoots. Train as you fight........

IdahoG36
January 6, 2008, 01:55 AM
I would never use a light that is just 'ON'.

Agreed. That will turn your flashlight into a bullet magnet in a gunfight. I have seen the technique where you briefly shine the light where you want to move, then move, never leaving it on. I personally prefer a weapon mounted light as it keeps your other hand free.

kgpcr
January 6, 2008, 02:12 PM
leaving a light on is a sign to shoot me! i am over here!

easyG
January 9, 2008, 01:50 PM
Others have already hit the best response, IMO. Turn off the light, tuck it away (pocket, belt, waistband, etc.), reload, get light back.
Exactly!

James K
January 9, 2008, 02:16 PM
I don't understand. There is no problem when the light is on the gun, as shown in those gunzine ads.

When I have questioned the idea of putting a light on a gun, then holding the gun in front of the face, I have said that doing that just might draw fire. I am always assured that no matter how big the area or how big the building, a modern flashlight will instantly blind any opponent and disable him for at least a year or two, so he cannot possibly shoot at the light. I am further informed that anyone who suggests having a separate flashlight held away from the body, or anyone who suggests (if indoors) simply turning on the lights, is old fashioned and has not gone through proper combat training (reading the ads in G&A).

Am I wrong? Is it actually possible to have a light not attached to the gun? Or am I just an old fashioned cop who can't really understand the advantages of making myself a target.

Jim

Dachaddwick
January 11, 2008, 07:30 PM
i actually was watching some training videos today for law enforcement and they were showing the armpit technique. seems like the best bet to keep the light on and ahead of you.

brickeyee
January 12, 2008, 02:08 PM
So in a state where you have an empty weapon, and shooting has already occurred, you want to advertise your location while executing a reload?

Dash
January 13, 2008, 11:07 AM
turn the light off and use your strong side armpit to hold the flashlight while reloading

Playboypenguin
January 13, 2008, 11:13 AM
We were taught that the first steps were "turn light off & obtain cover" in this situation.

That not being a possibility we were taught to kneel, place the flashlight base under you forward foot, reload, retrieve light.

Powderman
January 14, 2008, 06:50 AM
How to do it?

1. LIGHTS OFF! You should not have your target illuminated for too long anyway.

2. MOVE IMMEDIATELY, AND GET DOWN!!! As has been said before, if you can take cover. And remember the difference between COVER and CONCEALMENT: Cover stops bullets. Concealment simply hides YOU, and may or may NOT stop a bullet.

As you move, get down. You don't have to go prone. Simply dropping to a crouch or one knee down will do.

3. PRACTICE, THEN DO, THE TACTICAL RELOAD. Some might not understand why. Here it is--if you are on a hard surface, the sound of your mag hitting the floor is a signal that you are run dry. If you MUST drop the mag, try snapping your wrist sideways as you hit the release. This will fling the mag AWAY from you.

Now, GET THAT RELOAD IN FAST! And, how is this accomplished? Practice, again and again. Practice your mag changes in steps:

a. Acquire reload, oriented properly.
b. Drop empty mag.
c. Insert reload smartly.
d. If needed, retract slide briskly and let it run home. Don't ride the slide!!!
e. Re-engage.

Practice slowly, first looking at what you are doing, then looking at your target during the mag change. Proficiency will come; concentrate on SMOOTHNESS, not speed. Smooth equals fast--and remember it takes an average of 3000 repetitions to "engrave" the muscle memory.

I believe that if you carry a gun, you should practice your reloads--WITH A PROPERLY CLEARED WEAPON, EMPTY MAGAZINES AND FACING A SAFE BACKSTOP--daily, if possible. You can also use weighted mags if you can get them--or make up a mag of dummy rounds if you can't. I would (in that case) mark the magazine full of dummies, and use it ONLY for training--that way if you ever actually have to draw and shoot, you don't get the click, instead of the boom.

tc556guy
April 28, 2008, 01:27 AM
Under the armpit or, if kneeling, under the crook of the knee, which is just as secure as the armpit. Kneeling is preferred if possible, as things have a shorter distance to fall if you lose control of them. The negative will be that you are on your knees and can't move as quick ( especially if you aren't as spry as you once were ).

Obviously the light is turned off during all of this.
None of the lights I use has a lanyard.

revance
April 30, 2008, 10:43 AM
Lots of people are stressing to turn your light off...

I would stress not to use a light that requires an independent action to turn it off. I wouldn't use a flashlight that didn't have either a forward clickie or a temp on button. When you remove pressure from the button, it should turn off.