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Old August 28, 2005, 04:30 PM   #1
black bear 84
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shooting in low light

Shooting in low light

In a previous post, I talked about the use of the Harries technique and its suitability for use with the big Maglite 2 or 3 D and others similar flashlights.
See this link:

I am going to explain how to employ the other useful techniques of using a flashlight with a pistol, especially useful for those flashlights that have a tactical switch.

As many of the members already have a Surefire of two or three batteries with a tactical switch or a similar one of another brand, going from 60 to 200 lumens, I am going to explain the two most popular techniques. One is the Harries which I have already explained in the previous post in using with my MAG 951 lumens light.

Michael Harries invented this position and it is considered one of the first positions ever that coordinates the use of the flashlight using the two hands.
For using with tactical switch lights (with a switch in the tail), the flashlight is grasped with the left hand around the body and the thumb will activate the switch.
The back of the hands are pressed together and maintain an isometric tension to help control the recoil of the gun. Your wrists will be crossed and the light will be parallel or close to the muzzle of the gun.


The Roger-Surefire
Holster maker, ex FBI agent, and competition shooter Bill Rogers teamed up with Surefire to adapt a rubber grommet or washer to the Surefire 6 Z (now available in most combat models of Surefire and copied by others light makers).
The position is also called the cigar position, as you grasp the body of the flashlight like a cigar, with the index and middle finger. The tail cap is resting on the fleshy part below your thumb and a little pressure back on the rubber ring will activate the light (the tail cap button resting in that part below your thumb will switch the light on).
That position will let you grasp the hand shooting the pistol with three fingers of the left hand, and it is the only position that let you use a two-handed grip.


The Chapman technique
Ray Chapman was the first IPSC world champion. He invented his position for use with the Kel-Lites of the 1970’s (probably the first high quality Police Flashlight) that have a sliding switch on top of the barrel. It is still a great position to use for those that don’t want to cross the wrists as in the Harries position when using a big flashlight.
It is well suited for the Maglites and for the modification of the Maglite like my own MAG 951 lumens.

You just grasp the flashlight as you usually do, with your thumb in the switch and your fingers circling the barrel and you bring it up to index your fingernails with the fingernails of the shooting hand.


In my other post I have mentioned the old FBI technique which is to separate the flashlight high and away from you in order to confuse you opponent about your position.
Another technique that doesn’t offer any support to the shooting hand but it can be very useful when using a pistol with lousy sights (original 1911, Luger, etc) is the one I used more than 40 years ago when I started combat shooting.
It indexes the light on top of my head, letting the light fall on a line from the sights to the target. Even the minuscule back up .380 or the Baby Browning sights gets illuminated using this ridiculous position.

In closing, I would like to say that in my opinion lights with less than 60 lumens are out of the new low light fighting techniques.
For my belt light I will prefer to have a minimum of 200 lumens, using the Surefire C-3 and the P-91 lamp as my favorite.
But if I have to clear a room I prefer a light with more power. My Surefire M-6 with the 500 lumens lamp will do, but I prefer even more lumens to really blind, disorient, and roast my opponent. That is when I use the MAG 951 lumens light.

I want to show you some pictures that illustrate the amount of lumens you are putting out when using a Surefire Centurion 2 with the 60 lumen lamp, the Surefire M-6 with the 500 lumens, and the MAG 951 with the 951 lumens.



THE MAG 951 (951 LUMENS)

black bear
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Old August 28, 2005, 04:34 PM   #2
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Nice article Good read
Gun safety is my religion....Preach it
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Old September 1, 2005, 08:06 PM   #3
black bear 84
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Thank you for your appreciation of my post.
best regards
black bear
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Old September 2, 2005, 11:00 AM   #4
john in jax
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Thanks for the post/info, I'd just like to add that a laser sight has really helped my target acquisition in low light conditions. Like you mention, I don't care how big the white dot's are on your Novak combat sight when it is dark or near dark you aren't going to be able to see them. A laser helps me acquire the targat faster and allows me to maintain (what I'm going to call) "periphial awarness" - - i.e. I don't have to focus (get tunnel vision) entirely on the sights.
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Old September 5, 2005, 01:24 PM   #5
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good read and a very nice visual aid
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Old September 5, 2005, 04:18 PM   #6
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Good info. I learned about the Harries technique not long ago, and I've been working on it since. For me, it provides more stability, since I'm not very good at one-handed shooting (something else I need to work on).
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Old September 5, 2005, 05:33 PM   #7
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Excellent article, Black Bear! I have been practicing the Harries technique and it seems very natural. I'm getting to where I can do it decently. I have replaced the bulbs in my Surefires with P61s for a notable difference.
What is your opinion of laser sights on a tactical shotgun and/or carbine for HD?
Again, thanks for the article!
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Old September 7, 2005, 10:22 AM   #8
black bear 84
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Alpineman and Tinkcanting<

Thank you guys for the appreciation of my post.

John in Jax,
I agree 100 % on what you say, specially about the tunnel vision.
I use the magnific Crimsom Trace Laser grips in my .45 and in my .38 Chief Special. It make so easy to shoot at night with them.
I can even shoot from the hip and have complete vision and command of the situation as I use a very powerful light with extraordinaries blinding capabilities (951 lumens)

Here is my .45 Gov't with the laser grip, together with the MAG 951 lumens and the Black Bear 678 lumens.

You have asked my opinion on Home Defense carbines and shotguns with a laser, I LOVE THEM!!!
My house is next to a large woods and I need to control from my windows a field of fire of about 60 yards. This a pistol alone will not do, for that reason I have some long guns with laser and light under the barrel.
The lights are TACM III with remote pressure pad, and the laser also have a remote switch.

I even have a .22 mounted that way to take care of some raccoons that sometime show up at night to fight my dog.

Here is a picture of my Mossberg shotgun and Mini 14 with laser and lights and also the .22.

And two months ago I got me an AK and I also converted it into a night figther gun

Some toys to play with them at night.

Best regards
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Old September 7, 2005, 11:33 AM   #9
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Thanks, Black Bear!

I really appreciate your guidance. I live in a more urban environment (suburbs) than you so my requirements for HD are a bit different from yours. My indoor field of fire is 25' max and my backyard maybe 45'. I have an 870 equipped with a Surefire and a Kimber Ultra Carry which is also my carry weapon. Based on what you say, the 870 will be upgraded with a laser. I also have an office upstairs that is separate from the main living quarters, again with a 25' max FOF. It overlooks the living area below and so is good vantage point. I work up there at night a lot so I just bought a Hi-point 9mm carbine which is coming this Friday. I have a laser/light combo to put on it and will keep it in the office. BTW, I live a mile from a beautiful indoor range and practice with all the weapons once a week.
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Old September 7, 2005, 01:16 PM   #10
black bear 84
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you have good armament!! that shotgun with the 6 P (it seems) and the tailcap from Tac-Star should do the trick if you need light, but to add a laser to the barrel you will be better off with this mount (the tri mount)

Then you can attach and detach your laser and light at will.
The Hi Point will be happy wirh your combo laser and light (a Streamlight M-6 ??)

Good thing your Range is near, mine is 8 miles away.

black bear
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Old September 19, 2005, 04:36 PM   #11
black bear 84
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Here I am back again to show a new position, is to be used with my new light the POLAR BEAR 426 lumens. The Polar Bear 426 lumens compete with the Surefire M-4 (350 lumens 20 minutes run on four 123's batteries)
My Polar Bear is rechargeable so the runtime of 70 minutes is FREE, before the Surefire M-4 can run 70 minutes will have spend $23.25 in batteries

Here are the two light:

And the position is like the Rogers-Surefire in what you hold the flashlight like a cigar, between index and middle finger, the index also activate the switch momentarily or click, as you wish and this position allows TRHEE FINGERS ON THE GUN.

Best regards
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Old September 20, 2005, 12:35 AM   #12
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Wow! TFL now comes with commercials. Some good info though.
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Old September 20, 2005, 09:09 AM   #13
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First of all, are you SURE that this is not an 'infomercial'?

I dont know much about 'harris technique', or fancy stuff like that. I do however, practice a lot, shooting in low light conditions. I have Trijicon night sights on all my CCW handguns. I am comfortable, and prepared to take care of bidnez if problems happen under other than perfect conditions.
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Old September 20, 2005, 04:08 PM   #14
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Black Bear, don't you think it would be more appropriate if you are trying to educate us with proper techniques that maybe you should not be violating any of the 4 rules of gun handling? You are obviously not shooting, so why is your finger on the trigger in two of the images?

The effort to share knowledge is appreciated, but I am sure you were not intending on sharing incorrect gun handling.

I take it that you are using a digital camera. Is that so? If so, then you should be able to take or retake pics until they are not blurry. That is the beauty of using a digital camera. You don't have to keep the pictures that don't come out right and you can retake pictures until you do get it right.

Your 3 light comparison is tough to judge as you didn't take all the pictures with the same size format. Either you were further away or used less zoom for the last image. I realize that you are trying to be consistent by illuminating the same room, but you don't actually get a consistent or comparable image. Either way, less zoom or further away over states the amount of light generated by including a greater portion of your image as the more highly reflective white ceiling. So more reflective area is visible, hence giving the impression the light is brighter. It may be brighter, but you haven't shown it with actually comparable images.
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Old September 20, 2005, 05:26 PM   #15
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When we were doing night fire at Ft. Hood they didnt give us any flashlights...

My question is if you go into a dark building in pursuit of an armed bad guy.
Say for instance you have to go down a long hall where the bad guy can see the beam form the flashlight. Couldnt he use that as a target? If I was being chased by a guy with a flashlight and was around the corner in the long hallway I would adopt a prone positon and put just enough of my head and arm to aiw with a little offset to the left of the flashlight assuming that most folks are right handed.....

Im not one of those types that clear buildings.

...nor would I go after a guy into a building..... when I call 911.

inquring minds want to know........
Have a nice day at the range

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Old September 20, 2005, 07:43 PM   #16
black bear 84
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Sorry to influence the young with my bad practices, I started shooting a long time ago and watched movies with John Wayne and never saw him with the finger outside the trigger.

Is obvious that you don't believe that my MAG 951 is brighter than the Surefire M-6.

See if these pictures taken at fifteen yards from the tool shed with the camera in the tripod and the lights coming from 43 yards away will please you.

Surefire M-6 500 lumens

MAG 951 II (951 lumens)


Shoot three times, one center and one to each side, he could be aiming in a Chapman or Rogers-Surefire or Harris etc. right at you and the center hold will be valid. The ones to the side are just in case he is left handed or right handed in which case the positions of the pistol and flashlight will be reversed

I don't like to paint scenarios and get my imagination to play with them; if you are not trained to react under stress a certain way it is very unlikely that you will remember what to do in any of the hundreds of variations in gunfights.

Just do your best.
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Old September 23, 2005, 06:09 PM   #17
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Thanks for starting this topic, black bear. When I first opened it, I was expecting another thread about the Harries technique, and only that technique. I have tried it many times, but just never could get comfortable with it. I have always used a variation of the Chapman technique, though I never knew there was actually a name for it. I like the way I have 3 or 4 fingers helping to support the gun, and more importantly, I can quickly separate my hands for dynamic movement. I feel that the harries method forces me into a locked shooting stance, and doesn't offer me near as much freedom to react when the targets and I are both moving quickly. Kinda like trying to stand in a perfect isosceles and focusing on the front sight with a moving target. It can be done, but requires you to force yourself to do it, and doesn't seem near as natural to me.

I've met several folks who insist on using the light to see their sights, but I don't. I use the silhouette of my sights against the brightly lit background. Or, I just point shoot, and have had pretty good success at close range.

I find that when I'm using a gun and light in conjunction, I NEED the light to do its job. I only use the light hand for lighting up things- if I remove the light, I am lost. After using it, I don't have any night vision, and if the light is not on my target, (which is usually moving) there just ain't no way I'm gonna hit it. I don't place as much emphasis on being able to use the light like a club. It's there for light only. If my gun didn't already take care of the problem, I use the gun as a club, and the one or two times I've actually had to use the light, I just punched with it. Things happened too quick to swing it like a baton anyway. I also find that when I have to open a door or something, I use the gun hand. Again, the Chapman technique makes it much easier to do stuff like this.
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Old September 24, 2005, 06:36 PM   #18
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There is one more technique for situations where you can see the target but can't see your sights. It uses a red LED flashlight with a push button rear activated switch like an Inova. The light is pointed at the ground not at the target and it illuminates your sights. This is great with a fiber optic front sight. The red light has the advantage of maintaining the shooters night vision. Generally it's best to move after every shot or burst. If your night vision has been destroyed by bright white light you have blinded yourself. The bright white light you are suggesting will wipe out the usefulness of tritium sights and blind the shooter for any other movement. There are situations where bright white light is useful but not in all situations for all shooters. Night vision is fragile and cannot be quickly regained in middle aged shooters. The use of white light would shift the advantage to your opponent if he is younger. The "Hennigan Technique" has worked beautifully in night combat competition and is well adapted for twilight, gloaming and moonlite defense. It is especially useful for middle aged shooters with fiber optic or tritium sights.
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Old September 24, 2005, 10:26 PM   #19
black bear 84
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What I need my night vision for when I have a light that can turn a house like in full daylight??

And I tried to blind myself by standing 10 feet in front of a white wall with a stainless steel pistol in my hand and blasting the wall with a 2,000.000 candlepowers spotlight!! and can not blind myself

And in your scenarios the bad guy never have a flashlight, have dark adapted eyes and is is impervious to your light and always smarter.

People reading this thread don't have to take my word for it, you can make the test yourself if you have a white wall and a powerful light!!

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