View Full Version : To mount or not to mount? (William Shakey Spear)

Lost Sheep
August 30, 2009, 10:15 PM
To mount or not to mount? (William Shakey Spear)

I have recently been prompted to question my thinking on weapons-mounted lights and using them.

If I found myself with my light/laser equipped gun and no other light, would I slip the light off the gun to use independently, or leave it on the the gun and use it like that?

If you found yourself in a situation akin to clearing a house, being followed in a dark alley or in down a darkened trail (woods or park), any sort of situation like that; and in possession of a gun with a light mounted in the typical fasion where it points to wherever the gun is aimed and no other tools of self defense (cell phone, any other flashlight, etc). What would you do, and why?

1 Keep the light on the weapon.

2 Separate the light and the weapon.

3 While I have a strong opinion, it is too situation-dependent to generalize.

In considering the choice of leaving the light mounted on the gun (forcing you to point the gun at anything or anyone you wished to illuminate) or taking the light off the gun to use independently (thereby forcing you to occupy your off hand with the light and giving up the aiming assistance the weapon-mounted light provides).

What factors would you consider in making your choice? Rank them in order of the weight they carry in your mind.

To assist my re-thinking this subject I seek fresh thoughts to illuminate my path.


Lost Sheep

Cruncher Block
August 30, 2009, 10:23 PM
It's real simple to me. It's a light mounted to a gun, not the other way around.

I would pull it off and use it independently of the gun. I'm guessing more things need to be lit up than need a gun pointed at them.

IMHO, a better approach is to not limit oneself to either/or. Have both a weapon-mounted light and a handheld light. Put the handheld on a wrist lanyard and let it drop if you need both the light and the gun.

August 31, 2009, 01:12 AM
I am issued 2 M&P 45 pistols at my agency. One is equipted with a lights one is not. Of course I always carry a very high quality compact flashlight. As you can imagine there are situations where pointing your weapon mounted light at someone or in certain areas is not an option. I always carry the weapon mounted pistol whether working day or night. I only carry other pistol when in plain clothes when I need something smaller and more concealable.
I train to shoot and clear rooms with both. Its great to be able to point a beam of light into a closet with my weapon mounted light while at the same time alluminating another red zone (say another closet door I havent cleared yet) with my hand held light. That way i'm not surprised by that door opening while clearing the first closet. Both have light.
Yes in a perfect world another team member would be holding that second door while I cleared the first with a partner but sometimes its just me and a partner clearing an entire house while trying to serve an arrest warrant.
I like to have options and a backup light. Ive been in the middle of an op and my weapon mounted light go out. Yeah I have extra batteries on my vest but whos got time to change them in the middle of clearing a house.

August 31, 2009, 06:03 AM
A weapons mounted light/laser for the times that your other hand is needed or may be needed. Also carry a backup hand held light on my off hand side that can be used as a seperate light source.

August 31, 2009, 07:29 AM
I prefer night sights over lasers and flashlights. If I need a flashlight, I'd rather it not to be mounted on my gun. Besides, that rail is reserved for my my tactical knife.

Brian Pfleuger
August 31, 2009, 09:02 AM
My way of thinking is that if the BG decides to shoot at the light then I would prefer that they are not shooting at my gun/gunhand/gunarm. Among other reasons.

August 31, 2009, 11:17 AM
As further fodder for discussion the following pictures show four variations of using a flashlight in the off hand. Which would you prefer from these four or describe (or post a picture) another that you prefer.

#1 Harries Technique
#2 Chapman Technique
#3 FBI Technique
#4 Hargreaves Lite-Touch Technique

These are borrowed from the Surefire website article which list both pros and cons for each technique pictured. It also has a few more variations of light techniques. (http://www.surefire.com/articles-handheld_techniques)

I was taught a #1 and #2.
I found that I could shoot better (faster and more accurately) using #1.

August 31, 2009, 03:31 PM
i keep a laser and tac light on the rail of my P99.

August 31, 2009, 03:59 PM
I duct taped a 6 cell d battery flashlight to my 1911. Hard to get it up on target tho so I may cut it all off.....

Lost Sheep
September 1, 2009, 01:33 AM
Remember the premise, please.

You have a light mounted on your gun and no other lights. The danger could be multiple human or animal threats. You must be ready for anything.

Do you separate the light and gun or leave the light mounted on the gun?

Please don't just state what you would do (or were taught). Share your reasoning.


Lost Sheep

September 1, 2009, 01:49 AM
Light and gun separate. Identify my target without pointing a gun at them.

I dont own a gun with a rail, except my Blaser. :p

Wildlightemupat200yardsAlaska TM

September 1, 2009, 02:09 AM
Tell an Officer to Identify his target without aiming at him. Tell an officer to have a TARGET in a real life daily work situation without aiming at the target. Let's see the percentage of Officers who aimed their weapons at the ground while shining their lights on a target that may or may not have posed a threat.

September 2, 2009, 01:37 AM
If we are talking tac lights and threats the two should not be seperated. Also the tac light should be on a presure switch, if not your just flagging yourself. To wave a flashlight around is just nuts. :D

September 2, 2009, 02:28 AM
If I were invading a home, I would shoot every bullet I have at that light.

September 2, 2009, 07:45 AM
:confused: It can be confusing to some degree about how to use your tactical light for home defense, etc.

I have tried both methods (holding light away from gun and attatched to my Glock 21). Both methods work and each have their specific benefits. However, I found out (for me anyway) that the best way to utilize my tactical light (Streamlight) was to mount it on the rail. I actually tested both methods at my farm (at night) and shot 6 rounds each at my large paper target.

Hands down, the mounted light was way more accurate (was using both hands on the gun for stability) as compared to shooting with one hand and the light in the other. I know there are reasons againist this method but to me, hitting what you are aiming at is the most important factor in my opinion.

Besides that, when you hit someone with a blinding high intensity light (they are temporarily blinded). I know because I had my wife shine it briefly in my eyes, (not attached to the gun at the time) and it was extremely uncomfortable and rendered my night vision useless! That is how I am going to use my tactical light from now on. Works best for me.

September 2, 2009, 09:02 AM
I was taught and continue to use the FBI technique. Seperate the light from the weapon which is retained at the low ready. #1 reasoning is armed bad guys tend to shoot at the light (threat). Also seperating it from your body gives you an advantage in that a blind attack from cover can be repelled as your weak light arm is in a blocking position already. #2 reasoning is that lights are used to identify targets and in the case of a weapons mount, should your target be a friendly then in order to have identified it you would have had to cover that nice person with your loaded weapon. With proper training either method is fine however in a limited civilian application I would recommend sepperating the tools as years of muscle memory regarding flashlight use in an incident of high stress could cause the user to point that weapon in a rather unsafe and dangerous manner.

September 2, 2009, 10:17 AM
If the light is already on the weapon I see no reason to take it off. Tac lights are not laser beams, and in my experience they throw off enough light to identify targets even when the muzzle of the gun is pointed at the ground.

September 2, 2009, 10:27 AM
If I were invading a home, I would shoot every bullet I have at that light.

If you are hit with one of the modern tac lights at 15 feet, you arent going to do much of anything:p

Tac lights are not laser beams, and in my experience they throw off enough light to identify targets even when the muzzle of the gun is pointed at the ground.

Yet a good, hand held tac light is a weapon in intself. Shine a 200 lumen surefire in your own eyes and see.

WildmynewaliasisloumannAlaska TM

Yankee Traveler
September 2, 2009, 08:32 PM
Better to have it and not need it then neec it and not have it.
One rail mounted. You can use it as a primary flashlight or secondary.
One old school 4 or 6 cell Mag Light. You can use it as you primary weapon...or secondary

September 3, 2009, 10:12 PM
After considering my choices, I use a 3 D cell Maglite converted to 1000 lumens as my primary light held overhand in my weak hand with a lanyard so I can drop it without losing it. I have a TLR-2 Streamlight/laser mounted on the rail of my Glock 17 in my strong hand. If I identify a threat then I would use the weapon light otherwise I will use the handheld light. The Maglite is also a good impact weapon.

Outside here is in the middle of the woods and the Maglite will light up a couple of hundred yards to see what is happening.

September 4, 2009, 12:46 PM
It depends, on a hand gun it'll be unmounted (Don't have rails on my handguns)

On a long gun it makes a bit more sense to have a mounted light, just because trying to hold a flashlight in 1 hand and operate a rifle or shotgun would create IMHO a more dangerous situation than having the light mounted would.

I know this is in the handguns section, so I guess I'll have to vote unmounted.

September 4, 2009, 03:11 PM
I have a light mounted on my HD gun/ The potential to have to go one-handed while wrangling kids/wife make it impractical to rely on a handheld. I have one of those in the lockbox as well, but I want the weapon-mounted light.

G-man 26
September 6, 2009, 11:25 AM
I have to say, +1 to the mounted light AND a second light on a lanyard loop. You have options that way. I just got another G-17 and this one has the rail. Next purchase will be a mounted light. I would keep them together, but I also want a momentary switch as well as the constant ON. My 2 bits.