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Old August 25, 2012, 08:59 AM   #1
thedudeabides
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weapon lights

I really can't get over the typical pros/cons.

For a home defense gun, I feel like being able to see in the pitch black of night of my home and sweep the shadows, but the Tapout shirt wearing "tactical specialist" at my local gun range claims that it just gives someone a target and laughs every time I do drills with a light mounted on my guns (I would never CCW a light, though).

While I understand his argument, in theory, I feel like having the option of a light (one that is easily turned off and on, or even removed) is better than none at all.

I know it's a can of worms, but it isn't a cut and dry argument, IMHO.
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Old August 25, 2012, 09:20 AM   #2
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Quote:
but the Tapout shirt wearing "tactical specialist" at my local gun range claims that it just gives someone a target and laughs
I'm not sure what he laughs at, but this made me chuckle

I use a separate flashlight, myself. Don't care for having to point the gun at what I want to illuminate. Yes, it fills a hand that would otherwise be free, but it works for me - plus, the D cell Maglite makes for a handy "donking" stick if the merde really hits the ventilateur
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Old August 25, 2012, 09:25 AM   #3
allaroundhunter
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Pros:
See what you are aiming at
Better able to identify a threat
Better able to identify the level of the threat
If you don't want to use it, you don't have to turn it on
If properly used, most of the following "cons" are either negated or entirely not applicable

Cons:
Give away your position
Allow intruders to instantly fire back and kill you (according to some people)
Whatever your light is on, your muzzle is as well (weapon mounted light)


For a home defense gun, I will always recommend a flashlight either be mounted on the gun, or used in conjunction with the gun. It can save your life, and it can keep you from taking a life that wasn't the "threat" that you thought it was in the pitch black. I have weapon lights mounted on my HD guns, and also keep a handheld light next to them.


I'm guessing the "tactical specialist" has never been hit with 100+ lumens after his eyes are adjusted to darkness if he is making that claim...




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Old August 25, 2012, 09:31 AM   #4
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I have seen a lot of comments pro/con and have no idea which route is absolutely the best one to take. When I purchased my first home defense handgun, I installed crimson trace grips on it, feeling that the very sight of a laser being pointed at you would perhaps scare an intruder enough to go out the door...I practice with it at the range and find that it provides for super fast target acquisition. However, I do keep a flashlight in the night stand next to the gun. I have tried practicing with the flashlight, but don't feel as confident in my ability to acquire a fast sight picture. Whatever works best for the individual.....
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Old August 25, 2012, 09:33 AM   #5
Crow Hunter
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People who laugh about someone using a light in conjunction with a weapon have apparently never tried to shoot at something in the dark and hit it. (Or they are morons and don't care, funny, most people that I see wearing Tapout shirts ARE morons, I wonder if their is a correlation.)

You can't hit what you can't see and you can't see in the dark.

That being said, the proper use of a weapon mounted light or separate light (my preference) is not to leave the light on all the time. You flash it momentarily and you move you don't leave it on all the time.

Not carrying a light with you when you CCW is a bad idea too.

You should NEVER shoot at a target that you can't see.

Think about all the places that you go when you are CCWing. How many are in buildings that could have a power failure, how often are you moving from a building to your vehicle in the dark? Don't count on always being in lighted places, carry a light, just for mundane things if nothing else.

That is also why I don't carry a weapon mounted light on my CCW, I don't want to draw my gun every time I need a light and to keep commonality of training, I don't have a mounted light on my bedside handgun either.

There is a mounted light on my under the bed carbine though.
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Old August 25, 2012, 09:51 AM   #6
osageid
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^^^^^this! Never shoot at what you can't identify, as I recall there was a case in which a shooting with "misidentifying" a target lead to criminal charges on the behalf of the shooter. It has been a few years since this occurred.


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Old August 25, 2012, 10:15 AM   #7
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Don't care what some "tactical specialist" says. I keep a light on the bedside with the pistol and have one mounted on the shotgun in the closet rack. I do not use the lights while moving around the house but i do illuminate before I shoot, that way I can 1/ ID the potential target and 2/ blind it, an intruder may get a shot off first but I am unwilling to risk shooting my wife, children or grandchildren because I don't know what I'm shooting at.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:03 PM   #8
peacefulgary
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No light for me.
My wife and myself are the only people who live in my home.
And my home never really gets that dark anyway (due to light from the street lamps and from my neighbors floodlights, and a few night lights in the bathrooms).
And my humble abode is not that large.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:17 PM   #9
Crow Hunter
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Quote:
No light for me.
My wife and myself are the only people who live in my home.
And my home never really gets that dark anyway (due to light from the street lamps and from my neighbors floodlights, and a few night lights in the bathrooms).
And my humble abode is not that large.
You never have blackouts where you live? No storms causing power outages? Your neighbor never turns his lights out? Street lights never blow out? You have perfect light coverage in every nook and cranny in your house? Never a chance that someone you wouldn't want to shoot comes into your house on accident?

I wouldn't want to rely on that personally.

But if you have thought it out and feel confident in your choices, good luck with it.
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Old August 25, 2012, 06:24 PM   #10
cmoulton
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When doing MOUT training we would use weapon mounted surefires on our M4's. One time we did force on force training and were using simunition (shoots little chalk clay things from standard weapons with a "simmunition" bolt carrier). Well whenever we would go into a house we would simultaneously flick our lights on. The OPFOR who was sitting inside the dark house would nearly be blinded and had no chance at getting an accurate shot off. Sure they could shoot at the light but when a light is shining directly in your eyes its hard to determine the target since your entire vision including peripheral are filled with overwhelming light. This is why it is important to buy quality light that is extremely bright. I know this is a completely innacurate example being that this is room clearing and not HD but its the closest real life experience I could relate.
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Old August 25, 2012, 09:54 PM   #11
allaroundhunter
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Cmoulton, your example is just fine, and it gives a much better perspective than 99% of people will ever experience firsthand. The theory is the same, only the roles are reversed for an HD situation. You are the one lying in wait, and you have the flashlight to temporarily blind and disoriented the intruder.

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Old August 26, 2012, 12:21 AM   #12
peacefulgary
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Quote:
You never have blackouts where you live?
No.

Quote:
No storms causing power outages?
Very very rare.
And I have plenty of battery powered lamps.

Quote:
Your neighbor never turns his lights out?
They have a light sensor.
It gets dark, they switch on.

Quote:
Street lights never blow out?
Not so far.

Quote:
You have perfect light coverage in every nook and cranny in your house?
Perfect light coverage?
Like the perfect light coverage one would get from a light on the end of their pistol?

Quote:
Never a chance that someone you wouldn't want to shoot comes into your house on accident?
Absolutely not.
I keep my doors locked.
To enter my home without my consent one would have to break in.
No one can enter my home by "accident".
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Old August 26, 2012, 12:33 AM   #13
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A handheld Surefire "BackUp" goes wherever the 1911 goes... and a Insight M3X mounted on the shotgun with an intermittent pad switch is in the bedroom. Both lights are over 100 lumens... 'cause I don't shoot what I can't see.
It's good to know where someone can hide in your house... you light up (and light off) those spots as you clear a room or hall. I know my house very well, so the light is more a tactical, "target disruption/acquisition tool" than something I need to find my way around.

Cheers,
C
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Old August 26, 2012, 09:55 PM   #14
vanilla_gorilla
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My S&W M&P 9mm is both my HD handgun as well as my LEO duty gun. It wears a Streamlight TLR-1 in both roles. Having cleared multiple buildings, including ones not familiar to me, I will take the weapon mounted light every single time.

In our academy class several years ago, we had room-clearing exercises with fake guns. I loaned out my TLR-1 then to anybody who wanted to try it. Not one single person could say that clearing a building was better using a hand-held light that with the weapon mounted light.
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Old August 27, 2012, 09:47 AM   #15
WESHOOT2
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Quote:
I use a separate flashlight, myself. Don't care for having to point the gun at what I want to illuminate. Yes, it fills a hand that would otherwise be free, but it works for me - plus, the D cell Maglite makes for a handy "donking" stick if the merde really hits the ventilateur
I do exactly this.
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Old August 27, 2012, 01:05 PM   #16
Crow Hunter
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Quote:
Very very rare.
And I have plenty of battery powered lamps.
Do your lamps come on automatically at night or do you get up when the power goes out and turn all these lamps on? (In the dark)

Quote:
Perfect light coverage?
Like the perfect light coverage one would get from a light on the end of their pistol?
You are right, but a flashlight beam can be directed into the shadows. Unless your house is perfectly round interior, no light source can illuminate everything, particularly lights from outside.

Quote:
Absolutely not.
I keep my doors locked.
To enter my home without my consent one would have to break in.
No one can enter my home by "accident".
So anyone breaking into your home will be shot no matter what?

You have no relatives/friends/etc whatsoever that might gain entry into your home that you would not want to shoot?

Maybe the lights are that bright in your area, but even when I lived in a subdivision the lights weren't bright enough that I could tell who a person was or if they were armed.

If it works for you, drive on, it wouldn't work for me based on my experience.

I personally couldn't stand trying to sleep in a house that was lit up like daylight inside. It is pitch black in my house at night.
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Old August 28, 2012, 01:35 PM   #17
James K
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I was taught to hold the flashlight in the left hand (or off hand), up and forward of my body so the body is not illuminated. The idea of going up against an armed opponent in the dark with a light on the gun and my face right behind it gives me big time heebie-jeebies. I think the "tactical" people who urge that are more interested in selling flashlights than in stopping an attack.

The often heard statement that the light is so bright it will blind everyone within 20 miles so they can't shoot back is BS. That would be true only if the light hits the BG as soon as it is turned on. If it doesn't, he will shoot at the light, guaranteed.

I know the flashlight peddlers will not agree, but my trainer pointed out what should be obvious if going into a dark area where trouble might be lurking, the easiest and best way to illuminate the scene is simply to turn on the lights. You might be at a temporary disadvantage, but so is he and you are expecting the light, he is not.

In your home, you know where the light switches are and where the furniture is, he does not. So, unless the power is out, why mess with a flashlight that shows only part of the scene and provides a target. Just turn on the lights.

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Old August 28, 2012, 02:05 PM   #18
Grant D
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I have one on my 9mm carbine.
It's mounted in front of my vertical fore grip,and I can turn it on, or off with my thumb, without having to move my hand. It seems to work well in that position for a quick on and off of the light.
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Old August 28, 2012, 03:27 PM   #19
.22lr
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If you must have a light:
Accept the limitations, seek decent training and practice with the light.
If you will never allow a light on one of your guns:
Accept the limitations, seek decent training and practice without the light.
There are big pros and cons to each.

That said, I keep a light on my bedside gun, I also keep a stand alone flashlight, and I tend to just turn on the lights once I hit the first floor.

Just because you have the option of a light doesn't mean you have to use it.
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Old August 28, 2012, 07:59 PM   #20
KenW.
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Your mounted light is not a replacement for the handheld. With a two hand grip on your pistol the light will illuminate more than your sight picture. You can bounce light off walls and ceilings too.
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Old August 28, 2012, 08:08 PM   #21
vanilla_gorilla
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Quote:
I know the flashlight peddlers will not agree, but my trainer pointed out what should be obvious if going into a dark area where trouble might be lurking, the easiest and best way to illuminate the scene is simply to turn on the lights. You might be at a temporary disadvantage, but so is he and you are expecting the light, he is not.

In your home, you know where the light switches are and where the furniture is, he does not. So, unless the power is out, why mess with a flashlight that shows only part of the scene and provides a target. Just turn on the lights.
I absolutely cannot imagine why I'd want to place myself on even ground with the bad guy I'm trying to find, whether he's in my home or in a home I'm clearing. I want every single advantage I can beg, steal, or borrow. Turning on the overhead lights and blinding the both of us is exactly what I would avoid at all costs.

And if some trainer is telling you that, I'd suggest he probably he find a trainer himself.

Sorry if that doesn't fit in with your grand idea about those evil flashlight salesmen.
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Old August 28, 2012, 09:34 PM   #22
JC57
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I had a Streamlight TLR-3 mounted on my Glock 22. Worked great. Nice bright light, you didn't have to turn it on unless you wanted to, super bright.

It was a home-defense-only gun, so no concerns about finding a special holster for it.

I made sure to practice with the light attached, and it didn't seem to affect the operation or the accuracy of the gun.

Only problem was that the clip where it attached to the rail broke, so it's now useless as a gun light though still a handy little flashlight. I don't know if that was from the .40cal recoil or if I over-tightened it.

Sure seemed like a good idea to me. I wasn't going to be walking around the house in the dark with the thing on all the time. The intent would be to "pulse" the light as needed to check a room or corner, or leave full on if I in fact encountered an intruder.

Nice additional fact is that whatever was right in the middle of that bright circle was going to be point of impact, so it made a good point-shooting tool as well.

I've had power outages that have lasted days or even weeks, and I'd rather have that than try to use a candle.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:23 AM   #23
allaroundhunter
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JC, Straight products carry a lifetime warranty and their customer service has been great IME. Shoot them an email and they will get back to you rather quickly.

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Old August 29, 2012, 05:06 PM   #24
Skans
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I can think of several good reasons not to mount a light on a handgun.

1. Another distraction I don't need
2. I would be too embarrassed to show up at the range and practice with a "tac-light" dangling from my handgun. And, if I'm not willing to practice with a flashlight dangling form my handgun, how do I know what it will shoot like if I ever really need to use that gun?
3. A flashlight generally makes a gun which is capable of being operated with only 1 hand a 2-handed Albatross.
4. Forget CC with a dangling flashlight
5. For the cost of a "tac-light" I can buy 100 similar lights at Harbor Freight.
6. My house has light switches and light fixtures.
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Old August 29, 2012, 06:31 PM   #25
Dragline45
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For all the disadvantages of giving away your position with a light on your gun, in close distances the light can actually blind your target and be an advantage. The only reason I don't have a light on my pistols is because I refuse to pay $150+ when the $30 flashlight sitting on my nightstand does just fine.
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