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Old March 24, 2016, 06:54 AM   #1
gbclarkson
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Laser and/or light and/or night sights?

I would like to add illumination to my bedside pistol, either a Springfield XDm or a Bersa BP9cc, but I don't know what I need. All of my low light shooting experience has been with .223 tracers or fuzzy night scopes under controlled conditions in the ...uhh, let me think... early 2000s.

Do I need a light/laser combo or just a light or just a laser? How do night sights factor in? What do most feel comfortable with? Please offer suggestions with a small town public servant's salary in mind.

Pics are useful also.

Thanks,

Geoff
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Old March 24, 2016, 09:29 AM   #2
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I don't use flash lights on my pistols. I do like laser sights.

What I like best about laser sights is they are great for dry firing. Nothing beats dry firing training whether you shoot a lot or not. But dry firing doesn't really help unless you can tell where the gun is aimed when the hammer falls. The laser does this.

The only night shooting I figure I would be doing is defense at night. Flash lights light up everything including you. The laser doesn't.

I have night lights in my house. I have a college age granddaughter that shows up a lot, often in the middle of the night since we keep her room ready for her. She often comes in late, sneaking in to keep from waking us up and I have 4 large useless dogs who would let burglars come in and carry off everything I have without making a sound.

Night lights let me know if its my granddaughter or someone else coming in. I have the laser if I need it.

Also the area where I hunt antelope is littered with rattlers. The laser if perfect for dispatching them. Just put the red dot on their head and drop the hammer. For some reason they just set there and don't move looking at the laser.

Anyway if I want a flash light I'll get a flash light. If I need a flash light to shoot I want to hold it away from my body and gun. I use a grip laser, no switch so I only activate it the when I'm ready to pull the trigger. I use night lights in my home, it lights up the area I want to check, instead of lighting me up. Plus they help me keep from tripping over my black lab on bathroom trips in the middle of the night.

But again, the best advantage of the Laser is in drive firing.

I would highly recommend watching the Crimson Trace Video on the computer to get an idea of its capabilities.
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Old March 24, 2016, 10:14 PM   #3
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Upside of a gun mounted light is it frees a hand if you need to use it. That said, I use a flashlight for a variety of reasons including the use of a revolver that doesn't readily accept a light, old school training, and more light than most gun mounted lights, especially if you are on a budget.

Night sights are great. Several have posted about using glow in the dark paint and or nail polish..which is the frugal way to go. I have used it and it works...not great but better than nothing. ..YMMV
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Old March 25, 2016, 01:54 AM   #4
Bill DeShivs
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Gimmicks are great.
Learning to point-shoot is better.,
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Old March 25, 2016, 02:13 AM   #5
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I do not believe in flashlights if I have to encounter an intruder in my house. I make it a point to know the lay out of my house by closing my eyes and practice walking from the kitchen to the master bedroom without bumping into furniture or making noise which would alarm the intruder.

The intruder is at a disadvantage by not knowing the layout of the house and using a flashlight in my opinion would give my position away. If anything use a red dot if possible on your handgun, and a laser second. If you opt for the laser insure that you do not activate the laser until you have eyes on intruder. This way you can still hide behind some form of barrier or cover without having to completely expose yourself if possible.
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Old March 25, 2016, 04:16 AM   #6
rburch
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Flashlights are really useful for finding out if the person in your house is an attacker or your kid coming home unannounced.

The main disadvantage of a handheld light is it makes it very hard to get a proper 2 hand grip. The main disadvantage of a weapon mounted light is your gun is pointed wherever you point the flashlight. The main advantage to each is overcoming the other's disadvantage.

My home solution is to use both, I have a compact handheld light with a wrist lanyard, and a TLR mounted on my nightstand gun. This allows me to use the handheld light to locate and identify, and the mounted option if I need light during any shooting.

The lanyard allows me to let go of the handheld light, so I can reload, clear malfunctions, grip the gun, or do any other required action with my left hand, and not lose the light.

It should be noted a good flashlight can be a weapon in and of itself, both as an impact tool, and just by impairing your attacker's vision.

As for giving away your position, that is a concern, but it gives away the position you were in when you used the light.

If you use momentary, and infrequent flashes only as necessary and move quickly the instant the light is off, this can largely be mitigated.

I like night sights on my defensive guns, but also recognize their limitations. They will let you line up the sights, but they don't let you identify your target. Also in darkness if you light up your target enough to ID them, the night sights aren't useful.

That said they are an advantage in low light.

Whatever you choose for your defensive gun, practice with them in low-light and darkness.

My suggestion for that is check with local competitions, one of the IDPA clubs I shoot at from time to time does a night match every year in November.

You shoot 6 or more stages starting after the sun sets using ambient light, a flashlight, or both.

They run standard IDPA divisions, and an outlaw mounted light division. So far I've only shot the handheld, and it made things interesting, but gave me several chances to use the light and gun while I was focusing on something other than using the light or gun.

I know other clubs around the country have similar matches, and it's a really good way to get some practice running a gun in the dark.
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Old March 25, 2016, 05:51 AM   #7
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I'll take night sights and a gun mounted flashlight. The proper way to use a gun light is to flash it on and off in quick bursts. You don't keep it on continuously.

It's not a "must have" accessory for me but it's sure handy. I never thought I'd like it until my agency required me to use it on duty. I think it's great now.
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Old March 25, 2016, 07:33 AM   #8
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After getting used to using a flashlight, the advice from a big city special unit guy on a podcast interview makes good sense.
Just turn the house lights on.
While that might be kind of extreme, I now keep a couple of low intensity lights on in strategic parts of the house all night.
Just bright enough to be able to identify what's what, but not bright enough to remove confusion to an intruder not familiar with the layout.
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Old March 26, 2016, 10:12 AM   #9
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I like the weapon-mounted light. A quick flash to the side or up illuminates long enough to ID the unknown without actually pointing the gun at him, and will dazzle the person enough for you to move and take appropriate action.
To dark adjusted eyes, a flash from a decent LED light is physically painful!
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Old March 26, 2016, 10:23 AM   #10
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WeMO!
Many use it to remotely turn on lights in other rooms instantly.
Light up the bad guy, not yourself, as it is not clear to an intruder where you are or how the lights came on.
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Old March 27, 2016, 01:40 AM   #11
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Night Sighting ?

I've used CT Lasers since Company was formed.No issues,but so many tactical advantages,especially in the home !
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Old March 27, 2016, 02:26 AM   #12
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Why I like night sights:
I find them easier to use in low light conditions but they look just like contrast sights in daylight.

Why I like lights:
If you are in total darkness and you need to know who is or is not there you have two choices. Switch on the lights around the house or switch on a torch. Both have advantages and both have disadvantages.
For me a light on the gun means you can illuminate your target and only your target. The powerful beam will dazzle them and you don't need to move to a wall-switch that might mean moving out from cover.

As someone said, competent point-shooting, to me, seems like a very useful skill. I'd rather that than rely on a laser, but that's me. It does mean practice, though.

If useful, here is the link to the review I wrote for my new light.
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Old March 27, 2016, 08:55 AM   #13
g.willikers
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Point shooting is always a good skill to have.
Never know when the sights won't be there to see.
But for home defense, target identification always precedes shooting.
So some kind of light source is needed to avoid serious mistakes.
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Old March 27, 2016, 08:39 PM   #14
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I used to think all were gimmicks, but no more. Night sights are good on a carry gun. Lasers can be great for shooting from non traditional positions or in low light, but don't help identify the target in the dark. Weapon mounted lights hard to keep on a carry gun, but work GREAT on a HD gun. All are just tools in the toolbox that can be effective under the right conditions. I have a mix of all 3 on various guns.

On a bedside gun I'd put a good light on it, much better than a separate light in the other hand. You don't have to point the gun at someone to identify friend or foe. With the weapon pointed at the ground it will light up any room in a home well enough to clearly identify someone. Even outdoors you'll be able to identify someone from 25-30 yards away without even pointing the weapon in their direction. If you do they will be too blinded to see or shoot at you if you've chosen a good light.

I've even placed one on the handguard of my AR's. With a 1-4X scope on 1X I can see well enough to get hits out to 60-70 yards at night. With a really good light over 100 yards. I never took weapons mounted lights seriously until I had a chance to coyote hunt at night. It made a believer out of me.
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Old March 27, 2016, 09:27 PM   #15
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For a house gun, probably the most important thing is identifying who's in the house. Having a light is the most important, whether gun mounted or handheld. Night sights are only good if it's dark/dim enough. In the house, you're probably not going to be using them. A laser allows for shooting in awkward positions, including retention.

A decent consumer grade laser/light combo are the Streamlight series. Dependable is one word to described them.
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Old March 28, 2016, 12:20 AM   #16
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All the people who are calling lights and lasers "gimmicks" are violating one of the most important gun safety rules: Know what your target is and what lies beyond it. You can find so many cases of accidental shootings because the gun owner did not identify their target before shooting. Of course we have to discount the pop out of the closet situations, but that is why clearing a house is best left to the police.

I believe the best defense is to have several layers of defenses before it ever gets to the gun. The first is to have a house that is uninviting to burglars. That means well lit and minimal hiding spots. The second layer is a alarm systems and signs that warn there is an alarm system. A dog is a great additional line of defense if you have the time and space for it. Fourth, make sure you have good strong doors and locks. I live in South Florida and impact resistant windows are ideal. They reduce noise, save heating and cooling costs, and are obviously resistant to impacts. If you don't have any kids at home, it would also make sense to have a nice solid bedroom door with a decent lock on it. If someone decides to target you despite all of the above, then you have little choice but to use a gun. At least it will have taken the bad guy some time to get through you defenses and given you some time to wake up. If you don't have to fetch other people in the house, stay in the room with the gun trained on the door. in that case, you probably won't need a light. If you have to go to other rooms to get kids, than a light is great to have.

I just recently bought this light. It has the laser integrated into light which is a great feature. The price is great and the light is really bright. It has the ability to choose light only, laser only, or both. If you flip the switch up, it is momentary on. Flipping the switch down keeps the light on. It comes with a pressure switch and a switch that works for lefties.

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Old March 28, 2016, 02:18 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbclarkson View Post
I would like to add illumination to my bedside pistol, either a Springfield XDm or a Bersa BP9cc, but I don't know what I need. All of my low light shooting experience has been with .223 tracers or fuzzy night scopes under controlled conditions in the ...uhh, let me think... early 2000s.

Do I need a light/laser combo or just a light or just a laser? How do night sights factor in? What do most feel comfortable with? Please offer suggestions with a small town public servant's salary in mind.

Pics are useful also.

Thanks,

Geoff
How about a light switch?
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Old March 28, 2016, 08:38 AM   #18
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Also remember that household electricity can fail or be disconnected...
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Old March 28, 2016, 09:01 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by shep854 View Post
Also remember that household electricity can fail or be disconnected...
If you live the kind of lifestyle where the quality of burgler required to raid your home has to know how to disconnect high voltage powerlines from your property, then you can afforded an emergency generator and hook it up to the main so it trips both itself and an alarm when power goes out.

You can also aford guard dogs, backup lighting, a mote filled with laser-sharks, Voltron as the guard, etc...
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Old March 28, 2016, 09:31 PM   #20
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I suppose someone trying to burglarize a home could go to the risk and trouble of disconnecting high voltage power lines, but that would be laboriously time consuming, not to mention dangerous.
A smart one would snip a little wire seal and pull the electric meter from it's socket which is required to be readily accessible by the NEC, in all of about 20 seconds to accomplish the same thing.
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Old March 29, 2016, 01:23 PM   #21
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Pull the meter and no electric. Easy and safe way to disconnect power.
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Old March 30, 2016, 09:43 AM   #22
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On this matter, I won't say what I think you should do. I'll say what I do.

Night sights and a weapon mounted light along with a handheld light. Not everything deserves to have a gun pointed at it when it just needs illumination.

I've never been big on lasers. I understand they're a great training tool and that they're great for people with vision problems, though.
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Old March 30, 2016, 09:47 AM   #23
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On this matter, I won't say what I think you should do. I'll say what I do.

Night sights and a weapon mounted light along with a handheld light. Not everything deserves to have a gun pointed at it when it just needs illumination.

I've never been big on lasers. I understand they're a great training tool and that they're great for people with vision problems, though.
Well you're not supposed to use a gun light as your primary illumination source anyway.

The point of having a gun mounted light is to keep a 2-handed grip while illuminating something you would otherwise be pointing your gun at anyway.
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Old March 30, 2016, 03:32 PM   #24
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Well you're not supposed to use a gun light as your primary illumination source anyway.
The point of having a gun mounted light is to keep a 2-handed grip while illuminating something you would otherwise be pointing your gun at anyway.
I'm pretty sure that's more or less what Constantine just said.

I would suggest that you practice shooting one handed as well as off handed so that you're somewhat prepared for when you're possibly not able to keep a 2-handed grip... just in case.
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Old March 30, 2016, 03:34 PM   #25
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I'm pretty sure that's more or less what Constantine just said.
I'm pretty sure it's not.
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