View Full Version : extremely stupid question

December 13, 2006, 07:23 PM
I really must be missing something. I fully understand the concepts and advantages of weapon mounted lights and lasers. However,I cannot see the advantage of possibly making a perfect aiming reference right in front of you.
Looks to me like that would be the FIRST target someone would shoot at is the source of said light. Also,I really don't like the idea of aiming a loaded firearm at an unidenified target,possibly family,etc. Please show a ol country boy the "light".

December 13, 2006, 09:02 PM
"there are no such things as stupid questions, only stupid people" Mr Garrison in south park

from what I understand the origin of weapon mounted lights is the military/police world where you are assaulting or entering another person's area. in this situation your opponent knows his surroundings and knows the entry ways or the "fatal funnel" the aggressor will be coming through.

if you are the the aggressor you need to learn your surroundings quick and identify your target. there are several downsides to a weapon mounted light. so it isn't for everybody, for some it is worth it.

December 13, 2006, 09:34 PM
Weaponlights aren't that useful for checking out bumps in the night. I strongly prefer a flashlight. The light on my .45's rail is basically just to be able to have a light available while I dial the phone or something.

Lasers are extremely useful though. They incredibly increase your ability to hit the target in low light. Very fast, very accurate. I use Crimson Trace and highly recommend it.

I really think the idea of making yourself a target is more theoretical than actual. I mean, sure, if you saunter around like Barney Fife or something, you might get shot. You have to use well thought out tactics with the light.

If you use it right, a flashlight can be deceptive. You can screw up an opponent's dark-ada[ted vision, and give the impression you are in one place when in fact you are somewhere else. Example: you peek around a corner with a light up high. Someone is there, and they then try to engage you. They engage where they saw you, up high. But by the time they do, you have moved to the floor and peek again. If they have brought a weapon to bear, you will be low and out of their vision with a clear shot. So you use their inclination to target a light source to your advantage.

Or something like that. There is a book written by Ken J. Good available through Night-Ops or Blackhawk or Strategos International about using lights in armed encounters. It is a good read.


December 14, 2006, 02:48 AM
That is why you do quick burst from the Weapons mounted light or hold your handheld light away from your body. Lights in a fight are bullet magnets.

December 14, 2006, 03:04 AM
Or you can shoot in the dark.

Night vision devices are the best solution. I understand monoculars are favored these days -- leaves one eye free for instant adaption to sudden light.


December 14, 2006, 08:38 AM
Weapon mounted lights have there place in LE and Military roles for sure. There's no question that a light on a weapon is more of a help than a henderance when you're, lets say, checking the hold of a ship in the engine room.

For home defense and CCW, I prefer NOT to use a light. I keep a flashlight next to my gun at night, but it's really for after the fact. See, if I've been sleeping for a few hours and something wakes me up, I can already see pretty well. Plus, I know the layout of my house. It makes no since for me to turn on a flashlight and kill my night vision when I can maneuver just fine without having to give away my position to the BG that now sees my light. If, at any moment, I decide I need the light, it's a simple push of a button to turn it on. Just my $.02

December 14, 2006, 10:10 AM
Even if one were to use a mounted light on a weapon, I would still suggest having a separate light next to the bed. There are many situations where the need for light arises but drawing a firearm would be inappropriate (to say the least).

That being said, I wouldn't put a light on my pistols. There is one on my shotgun, just in case I ever need it.

December 14, 2006, 11:08 AM
It really depends on your philosophy of self-defense. To put it simply (I don't have alot of time to explain), if your goal is to evade, to sneak around, to not get caught, to escape, then it is to your advantage to stay dark. It is to your advantage to avoid being a target by lighting yourself.

However, if it is your goal to overpower, to crush the enemy, to bring a lot of heat down on an attacker as HARD as you can, if it is your goal to STOP an attack, then it is to your advantage to be able to place a shot as quickly and accurately as you POSSIBLY can. That means equiping yourself with aiming devices, lights, thermal-imaging night-vision, laser-guidance systems, and anything else that might help you land the shot as quickly as possible.

So, I ask: What are you wanting to do?

December 14, 2006, 01:02 PM
SureFire makes a couple of flashlights (A2 Aviator and Kroma) that have a red light low level and a bright white high level. I use a red A2 to avoid blowing my night vision.


Dave R
December 14, 2006, 01:51 PM
This is actually a very good question.

I see it as a two-edged sword. On the one hand, if you illuminate, you can get a better identification of the target, and better aim.

On the other hand, you give the BG a better aim point, too.

The military sometimes faces similar problems, on a very large scale. If you have a fleet with a suspected sub in the area, you can use active sonar ("pinging") to determine for sure whether there's a sub in the area. But if you do, you give the sub a great target.

I think the tie-breaker is that you probably have a duty to verify the target before you fire. So if you can't verify without illumination, then you have to light 'em up.

Depends on the situation, though. If you can make a positive ID without light, don't light.

Big Calhoun
December 14, 2006, 04:02 PM
If you've looked at some of these weapon lights head on in the dark, you'd understand. My Streamlight M6X provides a fairly focused beam that gives off very little rear ambient light. In total darkness, it provides enough illumination for me to see my potential target without disturbing my eyes own natural abilities to adapt to the light changes...I call it 'bulb shock' -- when you turn on the lights in complete darkness and wince.

Anyway, when looking at it directly (with fully charged batteries), it is blinding. With my eyes, I don't even notice the laser when the light is on at the same time.

Now, am I going to take my gun if I hear something scurrying outside...most likely not. Gotta 4 cell mag lite. But if I know that my perimeter has been breached, then the weapon light is the only one I'm going to rely on.

December 15, 2006, 06:58 AM
the only time i would want a laser os some sort, would be for point shooting with a pistol, other then that i just dont think that sights and a laser would help, thats my opinion though.

December 15, 2006, 09:17 AM
I know the Marine Corps, and others, have tested weapons mounted lights with Simunitions and found that the often worried about targeting of lights doesn't occur. The lights are too bright, even on an offset illumination the subject is often disoriented, suffering from temporary blindness and cannot accurately shoot back.

Kind of think of it this way, stay in blacked out room for an hour or so, than turn on a really bright light, try to at that instance to take an accurate aimed shot, you find your eyes aren't up to the task.

Now outside, it may be an issue since the person shooting may be quite a distance away.

December 15, 2006, 09:26 AM
I've had some of these types of lights shined in my eyes, and I've done the shining, too. These ain't your grandad's Mini-Mag's we're talking about here. If you have a good-quality light shining right into your eyes, it takes most (if not all) of your will power to not turn away. I can imagine shooting at one, but I can't imagine being able to get off any aimed shots. I don't see anything wrong with having a weapon-mounted light, but (as has already been posted) there are times you would want to leave the sucker turned off.

It's just another tool in the box. Better to have it and not need it than...

Para Bellum
December 15, 2006, 03:39 PM
Looks to me like that would be the FIRST target someone would shoot at is the source of said light. Also,I really don't like the idea of aiming a loaded firearm at an unidenified target,possibly family,etc. Please show a ol country boy the "light".

I fully support that. Plus: you are much faster than with a laser and invisible with tritium sights...

Charles S
December 15, 2006, 04:37 PM

Excellent summation of tactical choices.

Training is your friend. A night handgun course by a competent instructor that covers range time, kill house, and force on force will greatly increase your knowledge of the use and importance of tactical illumination.

Once you have taken a course in night combat you will never again question the need for a good light or two. Night sights are important...(I can do without them) a tactical flashlight is absolutely essential and part of my every day carry.

December 15, 2006, 07:32 PM
invisible with tritium sights...
Except from behind. I had my wife stand in the front yard with my Colt with Trijicons mounted. I could see the illumination from the sights about 15yds away.

Tactically, you don't walk around with the light on. We mounted flashlights on paintball guns and played a few night games. Ray-o-vac type lights, yes, they are a target. But I mounted my Surefire 6P on my gun and everyone I faced said they couldn't see anything to shoot after I blinded them with a quick burst of light.

December 16, 2006, 07:21 PM
When the occasional sound awakens me I have a remote that I can click on 6- 250 watt exterior lights that are pointed toward the house from about 50' out in the yard, really illuminates the back of the home including light through the first floor windows. Second click is 3-250 watt lights flooding the main foyer, third click is the front lighs (same as back).

The one time I felt the need to set off the back lights I positioned myself to walk out onto the second story deck. The back lights illuminate the first floor not the second story. The noise was glass breaking but didn't sound like it was a house window, I thought maybe a neighbors. I clicked the lights on as I opened the door and walked out on the deck. Saw 2 kids running away. Further investigation showed they had wandered through an area that I had stacked some old storm windows and they broke a few. I do not believe they were anything more than kids that wandered into the wrong area. I let the locals know what happened and went back to bed.

I do carry a G26 w/night sights and a surefire. I guess I'd much rather light up everything with super bright light than have everyone stumbling around in the dark. Besides, I have the remote and can turn them on and off. Tuff to navagate after being blinded once or twice.

James K
December 16, 2006, 08:02 PM
When I took LE training, the practice was to hold the flashlight in the left hand, out and forward of the body. The idea was to keep the light away from the body to prevent backglow from showing you up. Also, if the BG wanted to fire, he would most likely assume the light was in your right hand and fire to his right of the light. With the light in the left hand, he would miss.

But when I asked the same "dumb" question, I got the brushoff. I was told, with as close to a sneer as it is possible to get in typing, that modern lights were so bright they would blind everyone within a 20 mile radius, that modern bad guys didn't shoot at lights or around them, that I should buy $2000 worth of night vision equipment, and that I was about as outdated as Fred Flintstone. Oh, and that I didn't use the right "tactical" equipment, including, I presume, a black nylon tactical jockstrap.

I don't think the question is dumb at all. I still think it is the idea of putting a light on your gun, then holding said gun right up in front of your face that is dumb.


December 17, 2006, 02:10 PM
what are the pros/cons of using the colored lights? beezaur mentioned the red lights, but i've also seen other colored filters available. is the red less likely to ruin your vision once its adapted to the dark?

December 17, 2006, 02:50 PM
Red light both keeps your dark-adapted vision and is less observable by an opponent. Dim red light, that is. The A2 Aviator probably is on the upper end of what you want for a "navigating" light. The new Kroma's low red setting is more appropriate.

Other colors will not preserve dark-adapted vision. There is some level of dispute over the use of extremely dim white light instead of red. However, it is a fact that most of the cells in your retinas do not detect red at all, and therefore do not get bleached out by low levels of red light. So, when you use red light, the cells that detect red get bleached (i.e., desensitized) but the others remain undepleted and sensitized.

I think when you get to the point of target identification, you want white light. I would hate to try to defend using green or some other color in court, even if it did work better (and I think there is a lot to be said for a bright, floody green light to enhance shape recognition).


December 17, 2006, 04:51 PM
Clint Smith from the Feb 2007 issue of GUNS: "Even though it is probably best not to use a light in a fight, it is also very likely one might need to so you can positively identify what the heck you're shooting at!"

T. O'Heir
December 18, 2006, 10:05 PM
"...show a ol country boy the "light"...." Most of 'em are there because the owner saw one on TV and they think it must be good because cops(SWAT etc) sometimes use 'em. These'd be the same people who think you can have a 'tactical' firearm.