The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Gear and Accessories

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old December 13, 2012, 07:19 PM   #1
Pops1085
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2012
Posts: 212
Is a light on a HD gun practical?

Trying to decide if I should spend some money this christmas and buy myself a light that I could either put on my Ar-15 or my G21. Are they practical or are they a good way to get yourself shot? Do LE use them in real scenarios or are they mostly just a movie and video game gimmick? Some solid advice would be appreciated.

Last edited by Pops1085; December 13, 2012 at 08:23 PM.
Pops1085 is offline  
Old December 14, 2012, 03:35 AM   #2
allaroundhunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 6, 2012
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 1,670
Yes, they are practical and you should not have an HD gun without a flashlight near it (handheld or weapon mounted).

It seems that you have zero low-light training, so that would be the first thing that I will recommend.
allaroundhunter is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 12:29 AM   #3
johnwilliamson062
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2008
Posts: 6,784
I disagree with lights.
I've been around gunfire at night. I did not want any light source anywhere close to me. No matter how bad the position is, I can't imagine turning on a light to navigate in a fire fight.

No one knows my house better than me in the dark. I don't need a light to navigate it. Only one person should be in my house. My wife. If she is in a dark room she will either be screaming that I need to change the light bulb OR next to me.

I got into this with an instructor at a decent training institute and he said no matter what using a strobe tactic to close down a hallway or such was valuable enough everyone should have one. It is a parlor trick. It probably works for entry teams breaking into college kids house to serve a no knock warrant looking for a pound of pot, but not much else. If I think there is someone in my house and suddenly I have a strobing light in my eyes I am shooting it.

Besides what exactly is someone doing charging down a hallway in their own home? Stay put and fortify.

I did install low intensity single LED night lights in certain areas that should silhouette anyone standing in likely areas.

I have lots of headlamps and flashlights though. In my experience the quality of headlamps improves drastically from $15-30 and then more or less plateaus. More comfort, different shade filters, etc. I haven't found flash lights get much better than the small ones at the dollar store as far as a simple light source. Spend more and you can get one that works as a club or is waterproof or something, but I'm not interested.
__________________
$0 of an NRA membership goes to legislative action or court battles. Not a dime. Only money contributed to the NRA-ILA or NRA-PVF. You could just donate to the Second Amendment Foundation
First Shotgun Thread First Rifle Thread First Pistol Thread

Last edited by johnwilliamson062; December 15, 2012 at 12:37 AM.
johnwilliamson062 is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 12:48 AM   #4
ripnbst
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 24, 2010
Location: Tulsa, OK
Posts: 1,388
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnwilliamson062 View Post
I disagree with lights.
I've been around gunfire at night. I did not want any light source anywhere close to me. No matter how bad the position is, I can't imagine turning on a light to navigate in a fire fight.

No one knows my house better than me in the dark. I don't need a light to navigate it. Only one person should be in my house. My wife. If she is in a dark room she will either be screaming that I need to change the light bulb OR next to me.

I got into this with an instructor at a decent training institute and he said no matter what using a strobe tactic to close down a hallway or such was valuable enough everyone should have one. It is a parlor trick. It probably works for entry teams breaking into college kids house to serve a no knock warrant looking for a pound of pot, but not much else. If I think there is someone in my house and suddenly I have a strobing light in my eyes I am shooting it.

Besides what exactly is someone doing closing down a hallway in their own home? Stay put and fortify.

I did install low intensity single LED night lights in certain areas that should silhouette anyone standing in likely areas.

I have lots of headlamps and flashlights though. In my experience the quality of headlamps improves drastically from $15-30 and then more or less plateaus. More comfort, different shade filters, etc. I haven't found flash lights get much better than the small ones at the dollar store as far as a simple light source. Spend more and you can get one that works as a club or is waterproof or something, but I'm not interested.
It's good you've been around gunfire at night, have you been around lights at night? Having huge pupils trying to gather light that all of a sudden gets flashed with light leaves you temporarily blinded. A strobe would be shot at in my house too, if I could see it after the first flash or two.


I've got to disagree with almost your entire post. I am a fan of lights on guns in various scenarios, but mine isn't one of them.



Scenarios I like lights: being in unfamiliar areas like someone else's house or an unfamiliar neighborhood. For LEO and the like I think WML's are great as they are constantly flush with potential they could be in someone's house they are unfamiliar with. I also like them if you have a house with children. Holding a small child while retreating down a hallway is much easier with a free hand.

Scenarios where I don't like lights: you live alone or it's just you and a significant other. No one knows your floor plan better than you which I do agree with the quoted post on. An unidentified target in your kitchen in the middle of the night when you just left your wife in bed is a threat, shoot it til it stops.

Dollar store flashlights are NOT adequate. I buy mag lites only, plenty cheap enough and their new LED ones are plenty bright. If you want better the stream lights and other "tactical" lights are nice but as a young father those are not in my "flashlight budget".

If you have a scenario where light is advocated a WML (weapon mounted light) is better than a handheld light.

Lock down and fortify is the strategy of preference which i again agree with unless you have children you need to go fetch first. This is where light is critical.

Keep safe and make an enlightened decision

Last edited by ripnbst; December 15, 2012 at 12:54 AM.
ripnbst is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 01:18 AM   #5
johnwilliamson062
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2008
Posts: 6,784
I will agree that law enforcement when on duty needs a light. Lights are basically an offensive tool in this context. They are also more than likely to be up against an adversary for which a parlor trick works. If you are in a situation where you are fairly certain your firepower and training far outpaces that of your adversary and 5+ people are following you through the door a light isn't a bad thing.

WMLs... Usually throws off the balance of the gun. If it doesn't have a pressure switch on the grip it is hard to turn it on off. If it does have a pressure switch you have to deal with the wires and the holster/snag complications. You also can't throw it or leave it in a location.

I was thinking about needing to get kids at the end of my post as that would be a case where a homeowner basically needs to become offensive. I'm not there yet personally, so I don't give it much though. I guess my nephews are screwed if they spend the night. I think If I was there I would change my current bedroom in my house so mine would be the first at the top of the stairs. I'm a big fan of stairs as choke points.

What is inadequate about the dollar store flash lights? I don't have one. I have... IDK, ten. They are all over my house. The switch is the only thing I can complain about. The contact switch on a more expensive light is quieter and more responsive. The maglite XL 50 is 30 times as expensive as the lights I use though. I would never be able to buy ten of them. I also like the 3 AAA battery holders in the cheap lights giving 4.5 volts. Easy to wire them to other things.
__________________
$0 of an NRA membership goes to legislative action or court battles. Not a dime. Only money contributed to the NRA-ILA or NRA-PVF. You could just donate to the Second Amendment Foundation
First Shotgun Thread First Rifle Thread First Pistol Thread
johnwilliamson062 is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 11:18 AM   #6
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Posts: 10,388
Quote:
Trying to decide if I should spend some money this christmas and buy myself a light that I could either put on my Ar-15 or my G21. Are they practical or are they a good way to get yourself shot? Do LE use them in real scenarios or are they mostly just a movie and video game gimmick? Some solid advice would be appreciated.
People like them or they don't in regards to perceived tactical benefits. Yes, LEOs really use them. Yes, lots of homeowners really use them. Be it a weapon mounted light or a hand held light, it is important that when using it that you use it effectively. Both methods of deployment of portable lighting have advantages and disadvantages and depending on your perspecive and perceived needs, one way or the other may sway your opinion. That it is on the weapon does not make it offensive and the need for one isn't an offensive or defensive issue per se, but an illumination and transportation issue.

As for the balance issue noted, the gun's 'balance' changes with every shot fired. Balance is not a serious negative issue with a weapon mounted light as implied. If the balance is a problem for you, then you probably can't handle the recoil or the balance change as the gun is fired. Think about it. The weight of a fully loaded .45 acp 230 gr. round is .74 oz. So the gun changes its weight by that much with every shot and so balance changes as a result with every shot. Considering the gun only weighs about 38 oz fully loaded, a change of 9.62 oz would be a significant balance change when fired to empty (weights are for OP's Glock 21).

However, that the balance does change by adding a light, is true, and for most people this is actually a benefit. The light adds 1.5-3.5 ozs of muzzle weight, thereby reducing muzzle rise during recoil.

Wires and pressure switches? Maybe somebody sells handgun lights with pressure switches and wires still, but I haven't seen them for sale in years. That is pretty out of date and old school technology.

Holsters? Not really a problem at all for common guns like the Glock. Additionally, most WMLs that you run on a pistol attach and detach very quickly. You can run it as a handheld light or as a WML, and option not available to simple handheld lights, especially not those from the dime store.

One real benefit of a WML is that you don't have to leave flashlights all over your house to have access to it, LOL. It rides with you on the gun if you carry it in a holster.

Also, a WML does not negate the use of another handheld light at the same time. You can have both.
__________________
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011

Last edited by Double Naught Spy; December 15, 2012 at 07:26 PM.
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 11:38 AM   #7
LockedBreech
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 6, 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,999
I use a Streamlight TLR-1s on my nightstand Beretta. I will always have a railed nightstand pistol with a light on it.

Tactical disadvantages of a light source are not worth considering compared to accidentally shooting a friend or family member. I'd rather die than do that, easily.

I do acknowledge that a separate handheld light alleviates the risk of muzzle sweeping people, but I don't trust myself to fumble for two separate objects with separate control interfaces woken from sleep at 3AM. By just worrying about the pistol I can keep 100% focused on trigger discipline.

As for the balance issue...just make sure you get practice time with the light mounted, just like you'd practice with a new carry load.
LockedBreech is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 01:44 PM   #8
SteelChickenShooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2011
Posts: 859
To me having mounted lights make all the sense in the world. Apart from that I also think having a small separate flashlight is a reasonable choice if you can operate and handle a firearm that way.
I have a light on my AR as well as another light on my Glock.
However, lights can interfere with pocket carry and / or holsters.
Therefore, some of my firearms do have lights and others do not.
In my case, I don't really expect a midnight home invasion, but I do realistically expect a midnight coyote at the edge of the woods perhaps going for my puppy. In that case the under-barrel illumination lights up the backyard.
SteelChickenShooter is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 01:54 PM   #9
nate45
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 15, 2007
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,746
Having a good light and knowing how to use it has been proven tactically sound. Its only wise to have a good hand held or weapon mounted light and know how to properly employ it.

As far as the negatives of giving your position away, etc, etc those are only uttered by those who have no concept of the on/off switch and sound weapon light tactics.
__________________
"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."- Thomas Jefferson
ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ
(>_<)
nate45 is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 03:38 PM   #10
Pops1085
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2012
Posts: 212
God I fricken love this forum I'm pretty new to all this but I gotta say you guys make pretty good discussion points! What do you guys think about a flashlight adapter that would hold a cheap rear activated led light? I mean that thing is super bright and the adapter is only another 20 bucks vs 200 for a surefire
Pops1085 is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 04:35 PM   #11
SteelChickenShooter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 12, 2011
Posts: 859
I have some of those lower cost adapter options but just have not used them. I did dry fit them on my guns so I know they do operate. It makes sense if you can fit a particular flashlight in it with a rear button on/off switch. I happen to use the lights that fit the standard rails on common handguns. However, I also have tactical flashlights that will fit those lower cost flashlight adapters, so if some button batteries happen to die, or I want to try something different, I can insert my flashlight into that adapter then snap it into place.
A shotgun comes to mind. I normally keep my light within reach, but if I chose, I could readily pop that into place on a shotgun.
So to back up my other post, I say it just makes sense to have one or even more light mounting options. You plan out the scenarios and outfit your firearms as bright or as dark as you see fit. Mine are set. Some are bright, some dark, as well as alternate lighting available on the side to use or not use as needed.
SteelChickenShooter is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 04:42 PM   #12
allaroundhunter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 6, 2012
Location: Southeast Texas
Posts: 1,670
Quote:
I disagree with lights.
I've been around gunfire at night. I did not want any light source anywhere close to me. No matter how bad the position is, I can't imagine turning on a light to navigate in a fire fight.
1. I have also been around gunfire at night, and without the light, it was hard to know what was being shot at. Again, rule #1 is to know what you are shooting at.

2. The light is not used to navigate. It is used to identify the threat. When properly used, the light is flashed on to quickly check an area, then the user moves so that if fire is directed at where the light was, the threat will be shooting at the wrong place.


As far as why would someone be moving through their house? Well, to find family members and to hunker down with them, or retrieve them and move them back to a safe room.

If you don't want a flashlight, go for it. But having one does not mean that you have to use it. It is better to have and not need than need and not have.... And it is even better to have it and have the proper training with it....


Quote:
What do you guys think about a flashlight adapter that would hold a cheap rear activated led light? I mean that thing is super bright and the adapter is only another 20 bucks vs 200 for a surefire
Any flashlight is better than no flashlight. Personally, I think that Surefires are way overpriced. Yes, they are great, but with their current products you are paying more for the name than the product.

A good Streamlight light can be had for around $100 (TLR-1)
allaroundhunter is offline  
Old December 15, 2012, 07:25 PM   #13
Double Naught Spy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2001
Location: Forestburg, Montague County, Texas
Posts: 10,388
Quote:
I do acknowledge that a separate handheld light alleviates the risk of muzzle sweeping people,...
Since we are talking about HD, a reasonable WML, many of which are well over 100 lumens (most 90-200 lumens for pistol-sized WMLs) are more than powerful enough to light up much or all of a normal room with the gun held in a low ready position in a single spot. Reflected light goes a long way unless you have black carpeting and walls.
__________________
"If you look through your scope and see your shoe, aim higher."
-- said to me by my 11 year old daughter before going out for hogs 8/13/2011
Double Naught Spy is offline  
Old December 16, 2012, 12:09 AM   #14
colbad
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 3, 2012
Posts: 308
Based upon 30 years experience dealing with bad people in bad places and situations, you are a fool (or never been in a real "situation") if you do not think a light is invaluable in any low light deadly force situation. Also, you probably never trained hitting a target in the dark or understand proper light discipline. Secondly, if you shoot someone, you better be able to articulate to a jury the threat. Just because an unarmed person is in your home may not justify a shoot situation. Know your state law. Third, it's probably the threat you don't see that will kill you. Worst of all, should you accidentally shoot your neighbor, family member or friend (whether or not they should have been there) is something you will have to live with. One universal rule of shooting is target identification and acquisition before you pull the trigger. A light allows you to do both. So many of the comments on this string are so wrong it is clear people are just talking out their "six".....most likely by Xbox warriors.

Good comments allaroundhunter.
colbad is offline  
Old December 16, 2012, 04:01 AM   #15
armsmaster270
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2008
Location: California
Posts: 1,943
Having been there, My life was saved by a good handheld light(Streamlight SL-20), enabling me to back off an assailant and giving me the time and space to shoot him before getting stabbed in the chest.
__________________
http://www.armsmaster.net-a.googlepages.com
http://s239.photobucket.com/albums/f...aster270/Guns/
Retired LE, M.P., Sr. M.P. Investigator F.B.I. Trained Rangemaster/Firearms Instructor & Armorer, Presently Forensic Document Examiner for D.H.S.
armsmaster270 is offline  
Old December 16, 2012, 05:59 PM   #16
DonJ441
Junior Member
 
Join Date: December 11, 2012
Posts: 3
The only way my wife would be comfortable with me having a pistol near the bed at night was if I had a light on it. Just some insurance in case one of my sons comes to visit without letting us know.
DonJ441 is offline  
Old December 16, 2012, 06:07 PM   #17
drail
Junior member
 
Join Date: February 2, 2008
Posts: 3,150
A powerful light carried on my belt is far more useful to me than a light mounted on a gun. I need a light MANY more times than I need a gun. I am unwilling to point a gun at anything I do not intend to shoot just so I can see something. Several times I have been in large buildings when the power went out and it got really dark instantly. A light mounted on a gun isn't going to be real useful in this situation and could even create panic in the world of sheep we live in today. In any case, carry a good light. Always. (or as my flight instructor used to say, "Carry at least three" And as always, he was right. Nothing like landing an aircraft at night while holding a flashlight with your teeth on the instrument panel because all the alternator belt let go)

Last edited by drail; December 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM.
drail is offline  
Old December 16, 2012, 08:45 PM   #18
LockedBreech
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 6, 2009
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 2,999
Quote:
Originally Posted by drail View Post
like landing an aircraft at night while holding a flashlight with your teeth on the instrument panel because all the alternator belt let go)
While I disagree with your view on weaponlights, that is incredibly ballsy.
LockedBreech is offline  
Reply

Tags
ar-15 , handgun general , tactical light

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12285 seconds with 9 queries