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43 Responses to Question of the Day: Home Defense Rifle: Laser, Light or Both?

    • wheres the bad guy going to aim his weapon and fire?…..thats right…your light…whose standing behind the light?…thats right…you……… quick laser tag all the way

      • The reason you want a light is so that you know who you are shooting at. I’d rather get shot then shoot my kid because I thought he was a burglar.

  1. Neither, too many things to snag up, go wrong, or turn on at the wrong moment. If you can’t navigate your house without the aid of a light, I suggest you work on that.

    • The light is about target identification. I have small kids and I would hate to go all shooty at the proverbial bump-in-the night just to find out later that it was my kid.

      Mother-in-law who was just visiting for the weekend? Meh.

  2. I don’t see a problem with a laser, as long as it’s activated by the same switch as the light. You don’t want to be fumbling with multiple switches.

    I don’t see much need for one on a long gun, though– at close range, intuitive shooting is better- for me at least.

    A laser might be helpful on a handgun, and it might make a stockless shotgun into a viable weapon.

    It’s a good idea to have an ordinary flashlight on hand, too. Nice to be able to light something up without lighting it up, if you know what I mean.

    Personally, I investigate bumps in the night with a handheld flashlight and a *holstered* handgun. That’s outside, though. Never been woken up by one.

  3. Neither.

    I’ve heard that lasers lead to legal trouble (sorry for the alliteration).

    As for lights, seems like a great way to advertise to the bad guy “shoot right here!” The BG will – most of the time – see your light before your light illuminates him. Plus, it kills your night vision.

  4. Neither. If you need a light, there’s that switch thing on the wall. If you need a laser to hit a BG at 20 feet, you’re already in more trouble than you can handle.

    • OK. Let’s look carefully at this scenario.

      I’m searching for a bad guy inside my house. I don’t know where he is, even which room he might be in.

      How do you turn on a light switch that is on the wall a foot inside a room?
      1. Open the door. If you do this correctly, you will step away from the door-frame opening as you rapidly push/pull the door fully open. As you do this the bad guy goes to full defensive alert. He points his gun at the door opening, but he doesn’t have a good target. So he either freezes and waits for you to enter the room, or he finds something to hide behind and waits for you to enter the room.
      2. You reach into the room with one hand groping for the light switch. Now the bad guy has a good target (your arm or he might determine from the position of your arm where your body is), and he shoots you in the arm or in your body through the wall. If he doesn’t have a gun, then he attacks your arm or body with whatever is available to him.
      You just lost this gunfight before you even had a target to shoot at. This is why you do NOT turn on the light switch inside a room. After you have completed a pie-slicing drill, entered the room, and believe the room is empty, then it might make sense to turn on the light in that room and take one more look around to confirm the bad guy isn’t hiding anywhere in the room.

      You know the way around your house in the dark. The bad guy may need a flashlight just to move around inside your house. Use this as a tactical advantage for you. Your tactical flashlight should come on after you have found a target, just before you shoot/don’t shoot, to identify that the target is indeed an unfriendly. A hand-held flashlight can be held at arms length away from your body. Then if the bad guy shoots at the flashlight, he will not hit a vital part of your body.

      The best solution for this problem is to put a light switch in the hallway just outside the room. This will allow you to light up the room from safely outside, then do the pie-slicing drill on a well-lit room.

      • OK. Let’s look carefully at this scenario.

        I’m searching for a bad guy inside my house. I don’t know where he is, even which room he might be in.

        1- Call the cops, set up a defensive position in your room. If you have kids I feel bad for you son.

        • Agreed. Completely.
          It is much better to setup a defensive position, and wait for the bad guy to come to you. If you have children in distant parts of the house, then that might not be an option.

          I was addressing the lack of thought behind the posts about turning on the light switch.

  5. Flash bang. If it works for Delta it works for me. Get inside their OODA loop and stomp it flat.

  6. I think a light is a great idea. Depending on the set up of your house you might not be able to get to a light switch. There’s also the fact that you need to be able to identify your target before you shoot; I don’t even think I need to explain that one. Lights also work good for force multipliers; a good LED light will destroy just about anyone’s night vision.
    Yeah lights work both ways, but just because it’s on your gun doesn’t mean you have to walk around with it on. A decent light doesn’t weigh too awful much, there’s not really much to lose by having it.
    I don’t really see a whole lot of merit in lasers, but they do seem like they’d be useful for intimidation if the need for it ever arises.

  7. Neither.

    Both shout out “I’m here”

    Learn to “shoot”. Do it attentively. Swiftly. Quietly. You will most likely survive.

  8. Light. In my house, distances are gonna be 15 feet max. And I want a light to ID what I am shooting. Light won’t be always on, just a flash or 2 to see who or what made the “bump in the night”. Thankfully, the last thing I had to light up was a trio of raccoons in the trash can on my deck at o’dark thirty.

  9. Light AND laser. Clearly, no one here understands how to use a laser properly and effectively. Lasers most certainly have their uses.

    Hint: how useful are your iron sights or reflex sight going to be for shooting around a corner, versus using a laser? Which is going to expose less of your body?

  10. Hmm. All this money and time spent on guns and you never thought to upgrade your home.
    Please, consider the Following;

    Wire all lights and switches to a central computer.
    This central computer is not connected to the internet, and has a battery backup. An old laptop will do, just remember to improve the cooling system and get a new battery every 5 years or so.
    Get a terminal at your bedstand, you will need a few commands in terms of the lights.
    Burst then Night- All lights inside and outside of the building turn on maximum. After a split second the lights inside turn off, then after a second rise to minimal luminosity levels. BG is blinded, you can see, and he does not know where you are.
    Other things the home computer server could do is:
    * Engage Hi-def cameras, recording for liability purposes.
    * Calling the police.
    * Playing voice commands to confuse the BG “GET ON THE GROUND! HANDS ON YOUR HEAD!”

    It’s the 21st century guys, come on here.

    • COOL!

      Each individual home would want to customize the details for their situation, but I like the concept. Where would one get the software for this, and the hardware to wire it up?

      • RC turrets are kinda iffy as far as the “reasonably fear for your life” bit. Low light TV cameras, on the other hand… Why try to look to see where the BG is, when you can have a computer automatically see what doesn’t belong, and highlight him, so you can call the cops and tell them exactly where he is. Only need to go looking for him if he’s threatening your kids.

      • They have RC camera turrets. Honestly none of this is really that farfetched. Cameras are cheap as hell, so are computers, servos, screens… Really all that is stopping this from happening, or being incorperated into cookie cutter houses is a savvy buisnessman.

        Looks like I’ll need to man up…
        *dons sunglasses*

  11. I think a Hand-Held Flashlight is the way to go. Using a gun-mounted light violates one of the four gun-safety rules to satisfy another rule.

    The hand-held flashlight also gives one more flexibility when searching. Most importantly, when held away from the body, it doesn’t tell the bad guy where he should shoot.

  12. The question should be just about the Light or Laser or both issue, because I disagree with using a RIFLE in a home defense situation. A handgun or short shotgun is much better when negotiating the tight hallways and doorways of a house.

    But that is a separate issue for a separate thread. (Let’s not hijack this thread for that issue, please.)

  13. Lights/visible lasers on a weapon will get you killed. They are the most tactically unsound fad ever to hit the shooting sports. They’re fine for the military searching caves/houses when they are going to shoot the first thing they see. Cops and civilians are never going to be doing that kind of search. Leave the lights for the movies and Christmas trees.

    • Light or laser sight for home defense? For that matter, a rifle?

      In general, no to all of the above. I also recommend against sights that glow in the dark, unless you can guarantee that an opponent never will be behind you.

      A rifle with the right ammunition may be okay if you are crouching behind your bed, guarding the door. In most cases, and nightlight in the hall way will provide sufficient back-illumination when the door is opened. At that point, you know his position and he can’t be sure of yours. If you then activate a light or laser, you not only will reveal position, you also will lose a brief period of time.

      If you are moving room to room, a rifle or shotgun can pose problems when moving through doorways (need a hand to turn the knob, and then they can be unwieldy when you try to go through the doorway quickly, especially if you suddenly see the bad guy off to your left or right).

      In my view, a pistol is a better option for the firearm, as long as you don’t ape what you see on TV and hold it with your forearms vertical, with the pistol next to your face. That’s done so that the camera person can get the actor and the gun in the same frame. I had a cop friend who used to do that, until we ran a training scenario where I posted myself against the wall, on the latch side of the doorway. When he came through, I used a horizontal forearm to block him from lowering the gun, and used my other hand to “shoot” him.

      If you’re going to check some rooms, I recommend a multi-cell flashlight (with a pistol…this won’t work with a rifle). Hold it in you weak hand and, lens side of the light to the pinkie finger side of your hand and most of the flashlight tube extending out through your circled thumb and index fingers. Grip the pistol in your strong hand and position you hands back to back, gun hand over the flashlight hand. This braces the gun hand and also lets you align the piston and light BEFORE ACTIVATING THE LIGHT.

      You now can flash the light on, if you need to, but be sure to shoot or turn it off and quickly move. You also may use the flashlight (back hand) as a weapon, if need be. It also is possible to purchase a lithium flashlight that doubles as the end cap of a collapsible (e.e. ASP) baton.

      Of course, start by calling 911. Let them know you are armed. If possible, hunker down and wait for them to deal with it. However, if you live in the boonies, as I once did, or you can’t count on the local police department (which often means you live in a high crime area), or if you have kids to protect, remember that the cops will not immediately know you are the lawful resident. Remember, too, that the only time you should drop the hammer is if you are sure that the survival of the person in front of you is morally and legally irrelevant.

      Personally, I am a fan of a single action semi-auto (e.g. 1911 or some models of CZ) in .45 or .40, but concede that a revolver or Glock would be a better choice for someone who not only will put in the practice time, but who will not have a really good instructor (expertise well beyond that of the typical cop).

  14. I carry a flashlight but have none mounted on my weapons.
    Not to smart giving away your position unless you have too.

  15. Like Dad said when he was in the PTO, “The enemy shoots at the lights, even if it is a cigarette”.
    I noticed that Guy Sajer on the Russian Front witnessed the same thing.
    It was interesting that the Russians would start bon fires at night to creat night blindness, but they would stay away from the fires as they attracted German gun fire.
    Try to use a light source away from you. Lasers make dots of light to shoot at as well.

  16. Mount a red dot on your rail. Doesn’t give away your position, and is good at close to medium range. The SEALS use it, too, btw, and they’re a discerning bunch.

  17. I know that this is a rifle question, but I like the thought of a laser on my self-defense revolver. I spend a fair amount of time at the range ensuring that the laser is pointing to point of impact up to 50 feet out. If I have to fire quickly, the laser saves me a little bit of valuable time acquiring a sight picture. It would seem to me that the same should work on a self defense rifle assuming that it is momentary activation – that is it is not always on, it is only triggered right before I fire.

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