Everything I Needed to Know About Weapon Lights I Learned from Modding Doom 3

Crimson Trace has invited me to participate in a midnight 3-gun competition out in Oregon in a couple of months. Needless to say the idea of running and gunning in pitch black darkness has me all excited, and I’ve already started working out how I’m actually going to see anything. I asked some of my ex-military friends for advice on weapon lights, and for shotguns the consensus seemed pretty clear that Doom 3′s Duct Tape Mod got it right. If you guys have some suggestions about how I can best see in the dark, feel free to chime in through the comments.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

24 Responses to Everything I Needed to Know About Weapon Lights I Learned from Modding Doom 3

  1. avatarRalph says:

    Night vision goggles.

  2. avatarAlex says:

    Zip ties are good too

  3. avatarKevin says:

    Luckily gun barrels in a shooting competition won’t get hot and melt the glue. Oh, wait. …

  4. avatarScot says:

    Sling it below the tube with zip ties to keep the flashlight from getting singed and the tape from getting gooey?

  5. avatarM&B Strategies says:

    First, Nordic makes a rail that bolts to your tube clamp.
    Second, invest in a remote switch. Activating a light with your thumb on an AR or pistol is fine, but 12 g recoil can smart a bit. Especially with slugs. Ask me how I know.

    Our eight annual 3 gun match is this Saturday. Keep it as simple as possible. Night matches here are lovingly referred to as “Murphy Matches”. If it can go wrong, it will at night.

    I may be ROing the CTC match.

    • avatarAharon says:

      “If it can go wrong, it will at night.”

      That is exactly what our Drill Sargent said to us in combined Basic-Infantry School. Sure enough, during our first drill night of combat training, our company of trainees ended up lost all over Ft. Benning Georgia. They literally had to call in the MPs to help search for some guys.

    • avatarAharon says:

      During my first night jump:

      - A Special Forces Group Surgeon played Jump Master. He had no idea what he was doing.
      -They mixed up the rendezvous point telling us it was in the opposite corner of a huge field in Illinois.
      -The emergency ambulance driver drove his vehicle into a ditch and it required a tow truck to get it out.
      -A major (actually a really good officer) almost collided with a moving train as he approached the field.
      - One man landed hard on a metal beer can he had put in his BDUs giving himself a huge nasty bruise.
      - One or two men landed in trees.
      - Yours truly, me, was first man on second stick. The winds picked up after stick one went out and I was kept in a hold position too long in an open door C130 with ground temps 23 degrees. I fell out the door like a log (no body position) and hit like a log. It was so cold up there that the ground felt warm.

  6. avatarBob says:

    The only problem I have with putting a flashlight onto a gun (and it’s a big problem), is that everywhere you point the flashlight, the muzzle of the gun follows. You shine the flashlight at your daughter who was grabbing a mid-night snack from the kitchen, and you’re also pointing the shotgun at her. Then what if she screams, startling you, and you accidentally kill her. VERY VERY BAD!

    Get a small flashlight with a lanyard you can put around your wrist. Carry the flashlight in your “support” hand and your gun in the other. If you need to shoot, let go of the flashlight and let it drop onto the lanyard. Or learn how to modify your grip to include holding the flashlight and supporting the gun with the same hand.

    You don’t have to violate one gun-safety rule to follow another rule:
    # 4. Be sure of your target and what is behind it. (This rule means you should use a flashlight in the dark …)
    # 2. Never point the muzzle of a gun at anything you are not prepared to destroy. (… , but the flashlight should not be aligned with the muzzle of your gun until you are ready to shoot.)

  7. avatarSteve says:

    Bob, I think Leghorn was asking specifically about duct-taping a light to his scattergun for use in a night time 3-Gun event.

    But to your point of weapon-lights and violating gun safety rules. You are quite correct that it is a possibility, and I like your idea of using a flashlight with a lanyard.

    I think, as others have pointed out that running a flashlight taped to your gun during competition is likely to give problems due to the barrel heating up and melting the tape/glue.

    If it were me, I would probably spend a few bucks and get one of those barrel clamps that can also clamp a mag-tube and flashlight.

    • avatargreat unknown says:

      FYI, there are silicone tapes which can handle 500F. Don’t know how strong they are mechanically, though.
      But I agree. A barrel clamp is stronger, safer, and allows less shifting of the light.

  8. avatarJeff O. says:

    There’s an easy solution to the question of duct tape melting and falling off.

    Go buy a couple of those 100 round packs at Wally-world and shoot through them. :)

    Do it in the name of Science!

    Here, I’ll make it even easier: Hey Foghorn, if i tape a light to my shotgun then use it in competition, will it stay on or will the tape get hot and melt?

  9. avatar"Dr."Dave says:

    Oh, man.

    Who ever gave you advice was a moron. Duct tape. Does. Not. Cut. It.

    You’re using duct tape to hold a $200 light to a nice shotgun, you’re wrong. Plain and simple.

    Grunts do lame shit like that because they have to, and have no other options.

    Read my lips: Brownells. Next. Day. Air.

    Also, mounting that light so far back is a mistake. You’re going to get HUGE shadow. Try and keep the tip past the magazine tube. You’ll still get shadow from the barrel, but thats pretty hard to avoid.

  10. avatarKen says:

    From my experience, I prefer mounting lights to the inside/support hand side on a rail system. This prevents me from seeing shadow created by my barrel. Because the weapon is in the way, blocking line of sight to the shadow area.

    I run a Surefire Vampire V2 in a Haley Strategic Thorntail mount. LED light with IR. And a weapon mount for a PVS-14. You could take it a step further and throw in a DBAL. To get an IR pointer and visible laser pointer too.

  11. avatarJ in Ga says:

    If you can’t swing a decent light, don’t duct tape a flashlight. Go buy a headlamp.

  12. avatarHelen A Handbasquet says:

    Say… Is that a Surefire E2D Defender strapped to that shotgun? Excellent choice.

  13. avatarPhydeaux says:

    There are a number of good lights from 24Seven, O-Lights and others that are 1″ in diameter and nicely match 1″ flashlight mounts that will attached to a bit of Picatinny rail at the end of your shotgun. Surefire has the reputation, but their specs seem to lag some of their competitors (like those mentioned above).

    A remote switch is nice, but most run the full current driving the LED through the cable and can get hot. 24Seven is the only one I know of where the remote switch is actually a low voltage switch and consequently does not get hot.

  14. avatarDarren says:

    Elzetta makes a nifty shotgun mount for flashlights, and it’s flashlight agnostic — you can use any proper-diameter light you want. It’s also fairly flexible regarding shotguns, which is why I bought it for my Benelli Nova.

    $36.95 from Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Elzetta-Tactical-Shotgun-Flashlight-Mount/dp/B004R5V47C

    Andrew over at Vuurwapen is an Elzetta fan.

  15. avatarChris Dumm says:

    Nick,

    Several options come to mind:
    1. Get a replacement fore-end with a 1913 rail attached. These are available for most, but not all, shotguns.
    2. Get a small rail adapter that clamps to the barrel and magazine tube. These are universal-fit.
    3. Get a small rail adapter attached to a ring which you screw into the end of the magazine tube (or between the tube and the mag extension like I’ve got.) This is what I use on my 870. They also work for standard-capacity Mossbergs.
    2. Get Eotech to send you one of their fore-ends with the light built into it like we saw at the SHOT Show. These are ONLY available for Remingtons and Mossbergs, as far as I know. (This is the coolest option!)

    http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1405318

  16. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I had a machinist friend of mine custom make a flashlight mount for my AR-7 that I have tricked out It clamps a 3 battery “C” cell Maglite to the handguard and the light beam is zeroed to point ofd aim at 25 yards. Cost me $60 about 25 years ago. I have to agree with Dr. Dave, duct tape is a really REALLY bad choice.

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