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Old January 14, 2013, 11:24 PM   #1
Striker1
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How do YOU operate a Pistol Mounted Light??

Hi all,

I am interested in how you properly operate a pistol mounted light?

Thanks
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Old January 14, 2013, 11:47 PM   #2
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Old January 15, 2013, 12:02 AM   #3
R1145
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My agency trains that the light is only used for target illumination, and is pointed only when a possible use of lethal force is legally and ethically justified. The light should be activated by the non-firing hand. In a fight, you would probably illuminate the target, engage, then immediately turn off the light to minimize the exposure of giving away your position (if possible, moving to a new position quickly to avoid return fire). Sometimes, though, you would continue to illuminate the target (say, taking someone into custody).

Also, remember it is not an aiming light and is not zeroed to the handgun: Use your sights (or at least a flash front sight picture)!

I actually don't use one, because I figure I need to have my flashlight out anyway for searching, etc.. I like tac lights on long guns, though.

Last edited by R1145; January 15, 2013 at 12:07 AM.
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Old January 15, 2013, 03:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
I push the little button.
If that's your answer, you probably don't need to be in this conversation...
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Old January 15, 2013, 03:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
My agency trains that the light is only used for target illumination, and is pointed only when a possible use of lethal force is legally and ethically justified. The light should be activated by the non-firing hand. In a fight, you would probably illuminate the target, engage, then immediately turn off the light to minimize the exposure of giving away your position (if possible, moving to a new position quickly to avoid return fire). Sometimes, though, you would continue to illuminate the target (say, taking someone into custody).

Also, remember it is not an aiming light and is not zeroed to the handgun: Use your sights (or at least a flash front sight picture)!

I actually don't use one, because I figure I need to have my flashlight out anyway for searching, etc.. I like tac lights on long guns, though.
Thanks for the well informed reply. FWIW, I am well aware of what the light is used for, but I have never received training on this particular set-up...just hand held lights.
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Old January 18, 2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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I have found that I can flash the light to the side of a room and see what's in there without having to point the light (and gun) at someone. Quick flash, move. Anyone in front will be somewhat dazzled, even if the light doesn't hit them directly.
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Old January 18, 2013, 09:54 AM   #7
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A good habit (in my opinion) to get into is to train the non-dominant eye to close when doing this. That way, after the light is turned off, you still have some night vision left in one eye. Enough to use night sights if necessary, or to navigate with ambient light.
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Old January 18, 2013, 10:15 AM   #8
allaroundhunter
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Proper light manipulation is done with the support hand. Maintaining a firing grip with an indexed trigger finger until you have confirmed your target.

Also, do not go walking around with the light on (weapon mounted or handheld). Proper use is to quickly flash an area that you are interested in, then quickly turn the light off and move; this is why many weapon lights have the momentary 'on' function - and why that switch on the paddle is 'down' for most lights (more ergonomic for RH shooters).

If you have seen a target during your scan, you either engage, or if you are better served by moving (i.e., target is looking at you and is aiming near you), shut off the light, move a step or two, and put the light back on and engage.
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Old January 18, 2013, 10:37 AM   #9
Mike Irwin
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I don't.

I'm a firm believer in keeping the light and the pistol SEPARATE.
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Old January 18, 2013, 08:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
I don't.

I'm a firm believer in keeping the light and the pistol SEPARATE.
Not really relevant to my post then...
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Old January 18, 2013, 08:33 PM   #11
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I shoot thumbs forward. Use my weak hand thumb to tag the momentary switch on my TLR-1s. Quick bursts at a time, never leave it on, keep moving, and stay off the walls.
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Old January 19, 2013, 03:13 AM   #12
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You will shoot with it in the on position or you will be shooting in the dark with poor target aquisition. Momentary is good for pistol deployment, movement, searching. But shooting at your target it should be ON, when the firing stops, then back to momentary unless you are covering down on your target or in need of scanning the area for further threats!
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Old January 19, 2013, 03:23 AM   #13
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I use a flashlight in my off hand. I don't want a light lined up with my head as a target.
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Old January 19, 2013, 08:59 AM   #14
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I would never have a light on my pistol (or rifle). I often want to illuminate something without sweeping it with the barrel. Also, point out where your gun is? No way.
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Old January 19, 2013, 11:52 AM   #15
Striker1
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Quote:
I use a flashlight in my off hand. I don't want a light lined up with my head as a target.
Quote:
I would never have a light on my pistol (or rifle). I often want to illuminate something without sweeping it with the barrel. Also, point out where your gun is? No way.
Gents,

This thread is not to debate the merits of mounted VS hand held lights but the proper technique for operating a pistol mounted light. If you wish to discuss hand held vs mounted, please start your own thread.
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Old January 19, 2013, 02:44 PM   #16
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If you do not put a light on your rifle or pistol, then you are at a great disadvantage if you get into a night shoot.

Why do you think law enforcement and SWAT teams have pistol and rifle mounted lights?

Civilians face the same threats as LEO's. You should consider some updated tactical shooting training and night shooting training.

All major LE agencies have night shoot qualifications and tactical shooting exercises with Tactical lights.

Companies like Surefire design weapon lighting system for military and law enforcement for a very good reason.

In review of officer involved night shooting incidents, nearly every time LEO's and military personel involved in night shoots using pistol or rifle mounted lights put thier bullets on target with quicker and more precise target aquisition.

I use my rifle and pistol mounted lights nearly every single night I work patrol and have used them during nearly every single search warrant service for interior structure clearing.

Weapon mounted lighting systems are the BEST way to deploy and the only safe way to to deploy.

Then again, I don't just stand at a shooting range table in a fatla funnel and shoot my guns with one eye closed either!
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Old January 20, 2013, 12:51 PM   #17
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I am not going to debate the pros and cons of weapon mounted light versus non weapon mounted light the OP is interested only in how to use a weapon mounted light.

That being said I have given this some thought and if defending a perimeter from behind a berm or in a bunker or foxhole, I would prefer two persons, one the shooter with a flash suppressor and low flash ammo some distance from the other person who runs the light attached to a piece of PVC plastic pipe so he can stay down in the safety of behind the berm or in the bunker or foxhole, the shooter would do the looking directing the man controlling the light by voice commands or cell phone or radio contact, on up or down or right or left, and stop when on target. A periscope would be interesting to use also if you did not have night vision or thermal.

At one time for room clearing, i thought of inventing a light that was round and threw light in all directions that you could throw in a room check for threats and if no threats retrieve the light for the next room. While that would be not as good as a flash bang grenade, I read some where that Israel who are always creative, invented the same thing combined with cameras and a grenade, throw the light into a room, if the camera(s) expose a threat, detonate the grenade.
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Old January 20, 2013, 01:51 PM   #18
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When we go into structures for building clearing, like houses, we use our weapon mounted tac lights and also turn on light switches as we go. Lighting is your friend and so is 3 man bump fluid paced room clearing which is basically an assault that does not give the bad guy much chance!

Use that light with off hand switch activation.

I do understand many military spec ops units do not like tritium sights because they are a position give away or they black them out. Many do not use pistol mounted lights because they use night vision. This is how to roll in combat, but civilians and LEO's generally do not use night vision. But night vision is an awesome option if you can afford it!
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Old January 20, 2013, 04:29 PM   #19
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Quote:
Civilians face the same threats as LEO's. You should consider some updated tactical shooting training and night shooting training.
I disagree to a certain extent. LEO's enter dangerous situations and locations looking for suspects...whereas civilians are looking to avoid bad guys and getting away from dangerous locations. Civilians who carry for self defense do not need a taclight-equipped pistol.

I do not carry a pistol with a taclight attached because it is unnecessary. The only taclight equipped weapon is my carbine.
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Old January 20, 2013, 04:55 PM   #20
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whereas civilians are looking to avoid bad guys and getting away from dangerous locations. Civilians who carry for self defense do not need a taclight-equipped pistol.
Making a blanket statement like this always leaves you wrong. What if a civilian can't get away from a dangerous location? Never say never. Period.

To demonstrate, let me give you a hypothetical:

You are driving at night and your car breaks down on a dark road. As you are fixing it, an assailant gets the drop on you. Do you really think that you have time to pull out your gun with your strong hand and your flashlight with your weak hand before defending yourself?


There are times when a weapon mounted light on a carry gun are not only applicable, but are a good idea as well. Better to have and not need than need and not have...

Anyways, rarely do I keep my TLR-1s on my carry gun, typically when my M&P goes on my hip, the light comes off, and when my gun goes into the gunvault at night, the light goes back on.
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Old January 21, 2013, 05:01 AM   #21
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Katrina, Rodney King Riots, SF Earthquakes, other national disasters, OCCUPY Movement protestors, are all examples of incidents where civilians were required to protect themselves with firearms in situations where there were power outages, rampant looting, rape, assault, robbery, murder, and other crimes. Each one of these incidents came close to martial law.

We did not hear about much from the media, but if you were in the Rodney King riots, many people and criminals were shot and killed by civilians and police.

So Skadoosh, civilians do engage in the dangers or may be subjected to the dangers similiar to LE and military. I am guessing you have never been involved in civil unrest where crime is at your doorstep! I disagree with what you stated! There is always great potential for natural disaster or civil unrest and we must all be prepared and not live in denial!
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Old January 21, 2013, 07:36 AM   #22
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You guys are hijacking the thread that the op has tried to keep on track, it's not a debate on a pistol mounted light, it a technique question.
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Old January 21, 2013, 08:19 AM   #23
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To the OP - It has a lot to do with what kind of light you have attached to your handgun. Lets just assume your talking about something like a surefire white light rig.

1. If your in 100% total darkness where you cant see your hand in front of your face (unlikely) then the act of turning the light on places you at a disadvantage. The bad guy will know exactly where you are before you know where he is.

2, If your in 100% total darkness the bad guy cant see you any better. Your number one asset at that point is your hearing - you need to ID approximate location before you go turning on a light.

3. If your in 100% total darkness and your LE and you take a shot without seeing hands your in deep $H1T.

4. Realistically it going to be a low light confrontation as opposed to a no light confrontation. Weather or not you hit that remote switch is going to depend on how low light. Question is : how sure are you that the dark blob in front of you is the threat?

5. Point>Illuminate>ID>engage (dependent on your ID of course) . After that you have some decision to make based on whether or not it was a single intruder, or your confidence that the threat has been neutralized.

Do you want to keep the light on longer to ensure the threat is gone or do you want to continue the clear to ensure ALL the threats are gone?


No matter what I write or anyone else writes ref white light shooting there will be disagreements ad nauseum. I can come up with a zillion different scenarios that will either support or destroy different techniques (mine included).

In other words If your in a no-light low-light engagement you have stepped into a bad situation.

If you really really really want to be the night avenger get some genIV Night vision and either an I.R. light or better yet an I.R. Laser (might as well go with a suppressed weapon) and you will come out on top of a low-light/no-light fight every time :-)

barring that - its a crap shoot


If someone wants to start a thread on handheld light - I'll be happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the Ayoob, OK , Offset, parrallel, team illume techniques of night fire. :-)
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Old January 21, 2013, 10:56 AM   #24
Striker1
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All...a little clarification seems to be in order. My original question was only to find out how the light is mechanically operated. I did not intend to start a discussion on when, why or any of the other tactical aspects.

Sorry for the confusion, I should have been more clear in the original post.
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Old January 21, 2013, 05:08 PM   #25
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So Skadoosh, civilians do engage in the dangers or may be subjected to the dangers similiar to LE and military. I am guessing you have never been involved in civil unrest where crime is at your doorstep! I disagree with what you stated! There is always great potential for natural disaster or civil unrest and we must all be prepared and not live in denial!
This cracks me up. If you absolutely must need a taclight on your pistol, you're doing it wrong.

Quote:
You are driving at night and your car breaks down on a dark road. As you are fixing it, an assailant gets the drop on you.


Obviously the assailant must be an invisible ninja or a vampire of some kind that I wont be able to draw a bead on him with my trusty snubnosed revolver...
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