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Old December 23, 2007, 05:56 PM   #1
rbrgs
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Lights on Guns?

I know that lots of new handguns come with light rails, and there are about 100 different ways to mount a flashlight to an AR-15, but I just won't do it. To me, pointing a gun at something and then turning on the light to see what it is violates too many safety rules. What do you think?
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Old December 23, 2007, 06:05 PM   #2
hogdogs
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I am in a different boat... Until recently I would have just as soon shot it out in the dark inside my home... Outside in public I see no need for a light as I have no risk of shooting my own. I am considering a pressure switch activated light for my 500 mossberg once i have a an auto loader for hunting. Until I can set aside the pump I would have to put on and remove the light each time it went from HD to hunting gun.
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Old December 23, 2007, 06:22 PM   #3
bigghoss
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well I've cleared buildings in the dark without a light on my weapon and it sucks. the light drawing enemy fire isn't as big a problem as some people think because you use the momentary switch and only turn it on when you need it, you don't just turn it on and walk around with it on the whole time. my TLR-1 is bright enough to blind someone. I've also seen them used when you know a suspect is hiding somewhere to blind them while they come out and keep them from attacking you and forcing you to shoot.

it would be good to use it in conjunction with a handheld light and only use the weapon light when you are fairly certain someone is hiding somewhere and you need the gun ready
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Old December 23, 2007, 06:23 PM   #4
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Developing situational awareness and threat assessment skills aside, I feel there are def. situations where it is prudent to see what, or more importantly,who one may be forced to fire upon, before firing; even if family/bystanders are not a concern.

I can see how it could be a double edged sword though, depending on the actual light solution (ex. Is one printing as a target themselves or blinding a potential BG?), environment, etc...
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Old December 23, 2007, 07:14 PM   #5
rbrgs
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I do use a light in the dark, I just won't put it on my gun. My flashlight technique (which I actually practice at our club's biannual night shoot) involves a full size mag light on my offside shoulder. I don't clear buildings; if you have to, I'm not gonna say anything about that.
I just don't feel right about pointing the gun first, then turning on the light to see what it is.
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Old December 23, 2007, 07:30 PM   #6
PPGMD
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It's best to be able to use both an off hand flashlight, and an on gun flashlight. An on gun flashlight is particularly helpful when the lead starts flying, you can fire faster, and more accurately with a gun on the light rail, then you can without.

But an offhand flashlight is better for searching.On long guns you can't use an off hand flashlight, you need it attached to the gun for all situations. For concealed carry lights on rails aren't practical though, due to the lack of holsters to accommodate different gun and light combinations. I carry a Surefire 6PL in a pocket when CCWing.

Also a target is still a threat until after you identify them as not being one. Most schools will teach you to keep your gun on target but your finger off the trigger while communicating and identifying possible intruders.

The four rules are great for the range and IPSC, but the rules are applied slightly differently when in a SD/HD situation.

Anyways I suggest you take the Surefire Low Light Operator class, it will change your opinion on how to use your flashlight in a combat environment.
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Old December 23, 2007, 08:20 PM   #7
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I think that a tactical unit, with the duty of clearing a building or similar unit and going in as a team is trained enough to know when to use/not use a tactical light, so I leave that to their discretion. I personally do not think it would be of any advantage to me. I know my home better than anyone breaking into it, so I consider the darkness to be to my advantage. In my normal outside routine, I'll trust that my eyes are as adjusted to the darkness as any adversary, and since a tach light won't sit in a holster well, I wouldn't use it even if my 1911 did accomodate it. Heck, I don't even have night sights. I simply don't see myself in a situation that would require them. I don't see myself in a warehouse hiding behind a pillar, aiming at a BG who's hiding behind a 55 gallon drum. I can point shoot fairly well. I do however carry a small but effective flashlight.
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Last edited by Tanzer; December 23, 2007 at 10:00 PM.
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Old December 23, 2007, 08:30 PM   #8
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Let me say that for CC handgun situation out in public I see no need for a light. If i am attacked it will be at a firing range so close I will be at point and shoot rules. Not full sights no need to illuminate the target. In the HD situation I think I would like "one last chance" to verify my target as a BG not a groggy teenage child of mine that forgot or did not deem fit to reply when daddy goes in search of "FRIEND OR FOE". I can choose to shoot a shadow without a light so long it is obvious that it is not anywhere near the structural construction of anyone in my family. It is the possibility that the shadow may be near the same height and weight of my kids that would make me want to poke them with a light before covering the trigger. In my "search" of my home I opt not to use any light as not to draw my opponents attention prematurely. I try to decide when and where to engage my adversaries in life.
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Old December 23, 2007, 09:28 PM   #9
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Well, I was trained to use a light in the off hand, holding it in front, as well as up and away from me, on the theory that if a BG shot at the light, he might not hit me. Now, it seems that not only do people want to put lights on their guns, they want to hold the gun directly in front of their faces. If I am a BG, hiding in a big area like a warehouse, and feel I have nothing to lose, I will shoot at the light and the cop behind it will be in bad shape, as in dead. And please, I have used very bright lights in dark areas, and there is no such thing as a gun-mounted light so bright it will blind everyone anywhere in a big open area. Anyone who thinks otherwise just hasn't tried it. And anyone who thinks he can turn on a light and immediately spotlight the BG is out to lunch. He may be in front of you, or off to the side, or on a balcony, or behind a counter, or anywhere in the place; the chance of lighting him up first try is about nil.

In fact, my instructors pointed out that if possible to do so, it is best to simply turn on the regular lights. Your eyes might take a second to adjust, but so will the other guy's and with the area lit up you are on even terms. (You don't just switch on the lights and stay by the switch - you move as soon as you hit the switch.)

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Old December 23, 2007, 09:42 PM   #10
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The Felonious Encounters study found that having a light wasn't a liability, only in one case did the attacker fire at the light. The FBI method though sound is doesn't give you that much of an advantage over other methods when the light is used properly.

You are seriously under estimating the power of the small tactical light. The lithium powered lights are much more powerful then people give them credit for. You turn the light on identify, shoot and move.
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Old December 23, 2007, 09:50 PM   #11
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I just dont need one. For my house my 12ga and 00buck need no light as i have night lights on
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Old December 23, 2007, 10:17 PM   #12
R1145
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Long guns, yes...

...handguns, maybe...

In a low-light encounter, having a light on a long gun is an advantage. You're not using the light to search (Rule 2 in effect), just activating it briefly to illuminate a target (Rule 4).

I've never carried a handgun with a mounted light (our K-9 officers do, because their other hand holds the dog, right?), but I think a separate light would be more versatile.

Instead of a mounted tactical light, what about a prosthetic third arm to hold the light and still leave a hand free...?

Last edited by R1145; December 23, 2007 at 10:20 PM. Reason: added reference to Rule 4
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Old December 23, 2007, 11:27 PM   #13
woodland
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Hmmm. I have yet to see a techinique for using a long gun while holding a flashlight in one hand.
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Old December 23, 2007, 11:35 PM   #14
Playboypenguin
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I find a firearm mounted light to be a big tactical disadvantage...especially when misused and left on full time in a low light situation.

Not only does the light immediatly give away your position to an unseen assailant, it also lets them know which direction you are facing.
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Old December 23, 2007, 11:48 PM   #15
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Easy solution

You wanna know what the easy solution to pointing a gun at somebody with a light attached and not worry about accidently shooting them....KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOU WISH TO FIRE YOUR WEAPON...case settled
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Old December 24, 2007, 01:57 AM   #16
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I see no need for a light to be mounted on one of my handguns. I like the balance of my guns as they are, so IF I need a light, it'll be in my other hand.
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Old December 24, 2007, 08:34 AM   #17
Caeser23
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90 lumens from my m3 is plenty of light to identify a threat in my home w/o pointing the gun directly at a burgler, those of you that think you have to aim the flashlight directly at the shadow to identify it obviously have never owned one.
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Old December 24, 2007, 09:11 AM   #18
Spade Cooley
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When its dark they can't see you. When they turn on the light they can see you. Why draw attention to yourself? I do not want anything that bulky on my gun.
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Old December 24, 2007, 09:56 AM   #19
PPGMD
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Quote:
When its dark they can't see you. When they turn on the light they can see you. Why draw attention to yourself?
Except it's rarely that dark that neither person can see one another, instead you see a moving shadow, if it's a bad guy he knows that you are a threat, if it's a good person (just in the wrong place at the wrong time) how do you know without lighting them up?

Now if it's a bad guy where would you rather have your other hand, off fumbling with a flashlight, or on your gun allowing you to shoot more accurately, at a higher rate of fire? With a good pressure switch you can control when the light is turned on and when it isn't, or you can simply use an extended finger to work the controls.

Also most polymer guns balance well with a tac light on the rail.
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Old December 24, 2007, 10:14 AM   #20
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Long gun, yes. Pistol, no. Just my opinion based on how I'd use them.
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Old December 24, 2007, 11:01 AM   #21
dixierifleman
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have you ever cleared a house using 7 Bravos? it sucks. i had a Surefire on my A4 before i got issued 14 Charlies and a PEQ15
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Old December 24, 2007, 11:10 AM   #22
Tanzer
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Quote:
Except it's rarely that dark that neither person can see one another
+1. True darkness, like you'd find in a cave, is rare. There is usually ambient light. Even deep in the woods.
Turning on the lights is a tough call. If you live alone or with just your spouse, that's one thing, but as someone else pointed out, you may have a sleep-walking teenager. Also, 98% of us will be somewhat excited/nervous. It all goes back to knowing yourself. I'm sticking with the "no light" tactic, it just works best for me.
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Old December 24, 2007, 01:50 PM   #23
The Tourist
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I've never needed it, but I think I would blink mine on and off and keep moving.

If you can see the attacker, then he can see you.
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Old December 24, 2007, 03:44 PM   #24
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To each his/her own on weapons lights. Your individual/team training using them properly and as situation dictates should keep you from doing the right/wrong thing. Mil/Leo both prior and active service will carry the knowledge from their training in both like and dislikes. Home defense will take consideration on a individual level and things like kids, dogs,single or split level home, and a look into the mirror on your abilities. If, and, or buts..... are just that if you have never trained or gone full speed.
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Old December 24, 2007, 03:50 PM   #25
ssilicon
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Ask us what we think...

I think a light makes you the one easy to target. Flashlight on guns are only if you are going against someone unarmed, and I mean without so much as a club. In short, basically a dumb idea IMHO.
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