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Old August 12, 2008, 01:31 PM   #1
jjyergler
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Lights on Guns?

I have picked up my home defence handgun, with the intention of possibly using it in a SD situation three times in the seven years of living in my home. On all three occasions, I had a flashlight separate from my firearm. The two occasions in which the light was used, I was glad to have a light separate from my firearm. This has caused me to question the practical value of a light mounted on a firearm.

Situation #1 I was alerted by my dogs to something out front. On my doorstep, I heard what sounded like a breakin attempt. I opened the door to my porch, and two drunk guys were fighting on my walkway. I had a light in my left hand, Sig in my right behind my back.

Situation #2 In my backyard, There was a commotion, my dogs were letting me know something was up, and I went out. I found that some drunk partiers had spilled over from a backyard down the street. I was in the same posture as before

Situation #3 In front of my home, I heard a couple of gunshots. I called the police and took a position on my front porch to observe from the shadows. This time, I didn't want to use a light as I didn't want to give away the fact that I was there.

In situation #1 and 2, I needed a light separate from the weapon, as I didn't want to have a gun pointed at what turned out to be innocent drunks. #3, I didn't need or want a light at all.

I was wondering, is my experience in the norm? Have any of you had experiences in which you armed yourself in response to a possible threat? If so, was a mounted light useful or unnecessary?

As a corollary, as I read this, I realize just how important a dog is to your home protection plan. In Florida, a/c is on a lot, but their senses can still reach out and detect problems.
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Old August 12, 2008, 02:14 PM   #2
Shawn Dodson
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Why not both a handheld and a weapon mounted light?

I've investigated unusual noises at night - ones that I couldn't attribute to the cats or dog - with a handheld. In one instance it appears I interrupted car prowlers while they were rifling through my car at 0'dark hundred. I never exited the house, nor did I open any exterior doors (which I believe is very risky to do). It was pouring rain at the time. It seems just the light shining out the windows was enough to drive him/her/them away, as my car was apparently the last one (of several) on the cul de sac to be hit.

What about my faithful and reliable dogs that bark at anything and everything? I woke them from their deep slumber when I stepped out in the garage to see if they may have made the noise.

I didn't know my car had been broken into until I got in it to drive the work the next day. The first things I noticed were the passenger seat being reclined all the way, and papers from the glove box all over the passenger side. I'd gotten in late that night, after being out at sea for a couple of weeks, and I'm glad I took all my important stuff inside the house. The car was older and the electric door locks were kind of intermittent. In this case the right rear passenger door didn't lock. My first though was: "Boy, I sure made a mess last night."

All that was taken of any value was my company cell phone.

I arm myself whenever there's an unexpected call at my door late in the evening.
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Old August 12, 2008, 03:36 PM   #3
Keltyke
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This has caused me to question the practical value of a light mounted on a firearm.
Makes a nice target for the BG. A lit target is your friend, shooting from darkness is your friend. It'd depend on how strange the noise was on whether or not I jumped out of the boat and chased the sharks, though.
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Old August 12, 2008, 03:44 PM   #4
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Now you got me wondering if I shouldn't get a dog !! ???

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 12, 2008, 03:51 PM   #5
Slopemeno
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I don't think it's an "either-or" question. Carry an extra light.

If you ever have to fire in the dark, and you really, really need to- that weapon mounted light will seem like manna from heaven. Remember, it only goes on momentarily, fire, light off, move.

FWIW-I'd seriously rethink your "going-to-check" habits. I speak from experience that the time I "went to check" it really was what I thought it was, and I should have called the cops THEN, rather than after the foot and car chase...but they got him anyways, so that's all good. The cops nabbed him so quick I couldn't even finish my story to the dispatcher...sort of a let-down, actually.

My 2 cents, and you can take it for what it's worth- stay inside. Use your eyes and ears. If I thought someone was breaking into my house the last thing I'd be doing was opeing the door for them.
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Old August 12, 2008, 03:56 PM   #6
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Well, not self defense really but.

I worked as a bouncer at a VERY large bar (1,200 people a night) for about a year and a half. My prefered take down method when dealing with anyone more than half of my size who was being roudy was:
  • Surefire light activated into eyes (amazingly affective in a dark club atmosphere)
  • Right hand to throat
  • right foot/leg behind drunks' closest foot/leg
  • take-down to floor

I like the idea of having the light off of the gun. It then becomes it's own weapon in a way. Just my 2 cents ::Shrug::
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Old August 12, 2008, 04:00 PM   #7
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I like the idea of having the light off of the gun.
Liking an idea...and actually liking it in practice are two different things. Try a light on your gun. I did.

Guess where the light is now...
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Old August 12, 2008, 04:14 PM   #8
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FWIW-I'd seriously rethink your "going-to-check" habits.
Slopemeno, I agree 100%. Don't attempt to confront or clear unless you're trained in it. Unless there's an active attempt to break in, stay inside, call the cops, bunker up, and prepare to repel intruders. Everything you have out there is replaceable.

When you were hiding in the shadows on your porch with your weapon, I'm glad a LEO didn't see you. It would have been several VERY tense minutes until they figured out who you were. Probably after you had several sidearms pointed at you, and were disarmed and handcuffed.

In all three situations, YOU WENT OUTSIDE. BAD idea. you left a defendable position to reconnoiter.

Sounds like your big problem is drunks. Ya can't shoot THEM!
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Old August 12, 2008, 04:21 PM   #9
jjyergler
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Slopemeno, good point, although I think my "porch" requires explanation. It was an enclosed room with glass and a solid door at the front. Both times, I could tell the noises were outside this enclosed room. I had no lights on in the room behind me to sillhouete me. I guess, as a former infantryman, you could call it a combination of overconfidence and curiosity.

I say "was" because of the twin b****** Frances and Jeanne. No more porch. Rest of the house is ok, though.

The first situation was pretty funny. Drunk Redneck #1 wanted to drive home. Drunk Redneck #2 threw his keys into the woods. DR1 started walking home, but DR2 knew he couldn't make it. He chased him half a block down the street and tackled him. The fight went up my drive and to my front porch. I later told my neighbor that, hey, at least he was looking out for his friend. Great guy, too bad he moved.
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Old August 12, 2008, 04:22 PM   #10
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On a shelf beside my bed there is a Ruger P345 with a Streamlight TLR-1. Right beside it is a Surefire 6PD with a CREE LED upgrade.

I'm of the both mounted and separate mindset.

My HD 870 setup also sports a TLR-1

My AR sports a Surefire.

Light is there. Sometimes the situation may call for light, sometimes not. But it's having the option that matters IMO.
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Old August 12, 2008, 04:35 PM   #11
jjyergler
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Keltyke, only once did I go outside, and then I walked out the front door and went around to the back. I know not the best move, but actually, at that point it sounded like a rape...let's say the I misjudged the emotion behind the commotion. The other two times, I didn't leave my Florida room at the front of the house.
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Old August 13, 2008, 08:12 AM   #12
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Liking an idea...and actually liking it in practice are two different things. Try a light on your gun. I did.

Guess where the light is now...
I've tried them. Not saying I don't like them, it's just that for me I like having the light off of the weapon. Something about pointing a Glock at someone just to see what they're doing doesn't sit too well with me.
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Old August 14, 2008, 03:17 AM   #13
Shawn Dodson
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Something about pointing a Glock at someone just to see what they're doing doesn't sit too well with me.
You don't have to point it at anyone. Just splash the light off the floor, ceiling, wall, ground, etc.

You *should* almost never find yourself in a situation where you have to illuminate a threat to ID it. A simple verbal challenge, in a command voice, will do the job for you, unless you have a sleep walker or a deaf family member/visitor.

WHO'S THERE!
I HAVE A GUN!
I'VE CALLED POLICE!
GET OUT OF MY HOUSE NOW!

Everyone should be briefed that whenever they hear you issue a verbal challenge, you're not fooling around and they should respond immediately to eliminate a deadly mishap.

Cheers!
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Old August 14, 2008, 06:22 AM   #14
Keltyke
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Quote:
WHO'S THERE!
I HAVE A GUN!
I'VE CALLED POLICE!
GET OUT OF MY HOUSE NOW!
The BG has stopped listening to you at the second sentence. You'll only have a couple of seconds of his attention before he's thinking what to do next.

FREEZE!
or
STOP OR I'LL SHOOT!

Short and to the point. That's what out CWP instructor told us.

Who's there? You don't really care. When you say my second command, if it's a friend, he'll say, "Hey, Joe, it's only Frank."

I've called police? Not germane at the moment. He can shoot or rob you while they're en route.

I have a gun? He might have one, too, and that might provoke him to shoot. Our best friend is SURPRISE.

Get out of my house? Not nearly forceful enough.
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Old August 14, 2008, 08:20 AM   #15
Sparks2112
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WHO'S THERE!
I HAVE A GUN!
I'VE CALLED POLICE!
GET OUT OF MY HOUSE NOW!
+1 Stop or I'll shoot. All that other stuff seems likely to get you shot if you're confronting an armed intruder, IMO.

As far as splashing the light off the walls etc... If someone is in my house I want the light in their eyes. If it's someone that doesn't need shot then some white spots in their vision isn't going to hurt them. If it is someone that needs shot, well then, I'd rather have blind fire coming my way than aimed fire if I can't put them down quickly enough.
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Old August 14, 2008, 09:08 AM   #16
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I've tried them. Not saying I don't like them, it's just that for me I like having the light off of the weapon. Something about pointing a Glock at someone just to see what they're doing doesn't sit too well with me.
I agree. I tried the handgun-mounted flashlight and I took it off pretty quickly. I think lights have a place on longguns...but not on pistols.
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Old August 14, 2008, 09:49 AM   #17
Keltyke
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If someone is in my house I want the light in their eyes.
Yup. One of those new VERY bright LED flashlights held AT ARM'S LENGTH away from your body will work. So will security floodlights. In my house, I have the ability to light the top of the stairs and leave the bedroom door in the dark. When at all possible, challenge/shoot from cover/dark.
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Old August 14, 2008, 10:30 AM   #18
buzz_knox
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The advantage of the light held at arms length is that it provides another target for the bad guy to shoot it. The blinding light theory doesn't hold water, since many of us have been blinded by car lights (expecially those halogen) yet somehow were able to maintain control of the car.

The disadvantages of the light held at arms length is that 1) you are doing the ultimate chicken wing, with all the problems inherent in running into things, 2) you are giving up some element of control over the weapon by going one handed, and 3) you are relying on the bad guy to aim accurately at the light, when history (as well as the theory behind the "blinding light") dictates that such accuracy is unlikely.
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Old August 14, 2008, 10:37 AM   #19
Keltyke
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The disadvantages of the light held at arms length is that
All good points. I wasn't advocating using the light, just saying if you gotta use it, do this. You're right, if the BG already has a bead on you and he's blinded, he'll shoot where he was originally aiming.

About the only light I'd really recommend using, other than the floodlights, is a laser sight.
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Old August 14, 2008, 11:15 AM   #20
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My nightstand gun is a Springer 1911 and doesn't hold a light ... that said, I prefer an off-weapon light, keep a Surefire 9p next to the gun ... and I agree with those who suggest remaining inside ... safer for you and better in court if you actually have to shoot an intruder ... once they're inside, you are free to defend yourself and your family; outside, you might have some 'splainin to do ...
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Old August 14, 2008, 12:34 PM   #21
Slopemeno
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I've tried both in night paintball, and I'll take the weapon-mounted light any time. All the guys in the break area saw me attaching the light to my gun, and they all said "I'll just shoot at your light" but it didn't work out like that.

Remember, the idea isn't to search with the weapon mounted light- the idea is to only turn the light on briefly, ID and shoot, and turn the light off.
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Old August 14, 2008, 12:42 PM   #22
Sparks2112
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I've tried both in night paintball, and I'll take the weapon-mounted light any time. All the guys in the break area saw me attaching the light to my gun, and they all said "I'll just shoot at your light" but it didn't work out like that.

Remember, the idea isn't to search with the weapon mounted light- the idea is to only turn the light on briefly, ID and shoot, and turn the light off.
Paintball gun would meet my classification as a long arm, at which point yes the light should be on the gun.
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Last edited by Sparks2112; August 14, 2008 at 01:39 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old August 14, 2008, 01:06 PM   #23
Keltyke
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I've tried both in night paintball, and I'll take the weapon-mounted light any time.
You can afford to be wrong in paintball.
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Old August 14, 2008, 02:51 PM   #24
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Well, that's one way to look at it. Another way might be to try things and see what works. That's the reason all sorts of organizations use scenarios to train for all types of events. I found a weapon mounted light to be an amazingly effective tool that (used correctly) swung the momentum of the scenario in my favor over and over.

Keep in mind I didn't switch the light on an go sweeping it around. My technique was- Listen- move toward the sounds. Stop- Listen- advance. When I could see an outline and I was fairly sure I had one of them in the sights, it was ON-ID-Fire-off-move.

And yes, it's a long gun. I think for HD a short shotgun and doing your best to stay put are probably the hot setup. The one-man houseclearing a lot of people on this thread seem to be considering is, in my opinion, a mistake. If you think someones there, get 911 involved.
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Old August 14, 2008, 02:55 PM   #25
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If you think someones there, get 911 involved.
+1 Infinity

Getting loved ones and bunkering down is the only tactically realistic option, IMO. Anything else and you're either WAY too eager to shoot someone, or too diluted to realized that you CAN get shot. Once again, just my opinion.
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