Question of the Day: Light or Laser for Your Home Defense Pistol?

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Reader Night Hunter writes relays the following advice on lights and lasers in defensive situations

I live inside the city limits of a large city in New Mexico.  Over the last 20 years I have had to confront over 550 criminals invading my 18 acres of property during all hours of the day and night. Within reach is a 10mm 1911 with alternating hollow point and solid 180 gr bullets loaded to a velocity of 1360 fps. Also a .40 S&W loaded with 180 gr hollow points to 1180 fps. As with all target shooting placement is the key. And shoot until ammo exhausted . . .


I have replaced the long gun in my house, going from a 12 ga shotgun to 5.56 as that pump gun requires two arms to activate. Tye 5.56 has a mounted flashlight that’s calibrated with the center of beam to the hit zone so in close quarters I don’t have to worry about sight placement. A laser would accomplish the same, but that little dot doesn’t illuminate other problems. This setup is quick and fast with auto-feed delivery.

An observation about pistol weapon-mounted lights and lasers based upon 20 years of night work in New Mexico: just say no!

All that a weapon-mounted light does is advertise your position. Yes, it can blind whomever you illuminate, but anyone not in its beam will have you.

What I do is hold the light at full extension above my head and to the left. There are a number of reasons for lighting this way. First, chances are good that the target doesn’t know the area and a high light source will confuse. Maybe you loose an arm, but you can still have a weapon in the other.

Second, The light source doesn’t require movement of the body and weapon to acquire threat. A searching movement with the light, using only the wrist is much faster in coverage and if you have tritium sights you can acquire the target much faster. The downside is you need to shoot one-handed.

My experience is that it’s quicker to illuminate the problem using this method than trying to place a two-handed beam on a threat. You are locked into that position with no flexibility. Find your target with a left hand light and shoot with a right hand pistol.

Certainly this method creates a problem for reloading. The light has to be turned off, stowed while reloading and then reactivated. But it’s my feeling that the first kill wins. That means you have to hit the target first and this method gives you the best chance. Maybe the only one.

I have never had to shoot a-holes at night because being able to cover five or six or more of the them with a turn of the wrist has run some of them out of their shoes.

One man’s opinion. What’s yours? Do you have a light or laser (or both) on your home defense pistol?

 

comments

  1. avatar DeeBo says:

    Your*

    1. avatar working4change says:

      light every time. ar15 has white light, blue light, and red laser. pistol has white light.

      both white lights are 1000lumens and will blind any target(for sec or 2). lights are better so you see your target and are sure its not friend or family. lasers in the dark to nothing to identify or help on placement of rounds… yes you hit what you point at, but have to see the target to choose a placement. night vision can be good or really bad. if they flash a 1k lumen light in your face and you have night vision on… your blind for quiet a while, aka dead.

      1. avatar EJ says:

        Best Solution is to keep an inferred light on the gun and a some NV Goggles on your head. This way you do not give away your position and have better sight than naked eyes and a flashlight.

    2. avatar Naz says:

      I hate pop ups that ruin the online reading experience. Way to ruin the site.

  2. avatar Grindstone says:

    I don’t live on 18 acres that is apparently being invaded by ISIS (seriously, 550 criminals?). I have a small house. My weapon light on my M&P is enough to light up 80% of my house from the bedroom.

    I seriously dislike whenever some “expert” says “you MUST do things this way!” No. Tailor it to YOUR situation.

    1. avatar Vhyrus says:

      By criminals he means people who happen to be walking through his property at night. The only large city in NM is Albuquerque so I doubt border crossers are walking an additional 200 miles past the border just to play red rover in his field.

      1. avatar John Thomas says:

        maybe he considers las cruces a large city? in any case, thats an average of 1 incident every 13 days. dubious.

        1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          It’s only an average of one incident every thirteen days or so, if he had claimed that every incident among the estimated 550 interlopers consisted of but a single criminal per incident. However, he specifically mentions incidents involving multiple criminals, sometimes five or six or more criminals in a single incident.

          Given that, individual incidents throughout those twenty years could be spaced as much as weeks or months apart. If mass population movements are influenced by special events, perhaps specific to their individual home countries, or by seasonal events, such as agricultural harvesting seasons, then incidents may be concentrated in certain times of the year and non-existent throughout much of the others.

          I don’t know whether he’s exaggerated the numbers here, but they could be more plausible than they might seem at first. Still some interesting tactical feedback, though, from someone likely with some experience, howsoever extensive.

        2. avatar Mike H in WA says:

          Assuming for just a moment that every incident was involving 6 individuals, that’s roughly one incident every 2.6 months. If the extremes are every 13 days and 2.6 months, an incident a month seems like a happy medium. Which then brings back up what his definition of “criminal” is.

          My parents’ acre sits literally right on the Canadian border in WA (within 1/2 mile of border), and it’s surrounded by my cousin’s 40, and until they retired, two other cousins’ approximately 200 of farmland, and we never had this sort of issue with “criminals” trespassing. Maybe once a year, at most, between that collective 240+ acres

          Now, that being said, I live in the ‘burbs of Seattle in a condo. There is a light on my Sig. It’s a condo… normal breathing would give away my location. If someone forces entry into my place, there isn’t going to be time to try and go all Splinter Cell on them. It’s too close quarters to try and sneak around. And any proper torch is going to light myself up with the light bounce from the walls… whether it’s hand held or weapon mounted.

          As others have stated, it’s situational. Anyone declaring that one size fits all isn’t someone I’m normally going to trust.

        3. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

          Except…………..NOBODY said this was one size fits all. The author specifically said this was his experience, explained how it worked for him, then invited others to comment on their experiences. It’s only a couple of responders here who have set up the straw man of “one size fits all”, when nobody ever claimed such, then proceeded to knock down at straw man rather than rebut the author’s points. Pitiful.

      2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

        Sorry, guys, but if you knew more about the auto salvage business his level of intruders would seem pretty common. Junkyards are constant nighttime targets for criminals. The threat potential at these businesses is constant, both day and night. Your local Pick ‘N Pull may not look like it at first glance but it is one of the better protected businesses in your town.

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          And why a ‘junkyard dog’ is a valuable member of the security team.

          There’s very valuable stuff in modern junkyards. Especially considering the electronics in vehicles. Intact airbags are easily over a thousand each.

        2. avatar Max Planck says:

          You’d kill someone over a hubcap?

          Oh, the question….Light AND Laser. Outdoors, lumens rule.

      3. avatar Joe says:

        The entire SW is overflowing with illegals and you and some genius from Canada are debating the #s…

        /no wonder Obama…

  3. avatar Panzer says:

    A light properly used will enable a person to identify the target. The target may not be someone or something you want to shoot. And in close quarters under stress and urgency, point and shoot will probably be the norm for most of us, unless highly trained. Lasers are good, however, and would compliment a light Given one or the other, I’ll take a hand held light over a laser or gun mounted light. With a gun mounted light and laser, you have to point a loaded weapon ready to shoot at a target that you might not want to be a target.

  4. avatar Gus MacNamara says:

    Yes I do have a weapon mounted light on my HD pistol but is backup to my hand held light. I train with both.

  5. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Shotgun, light, sling. What more do you need?

      1. avatar Anner says:

        A PPQ on your hip

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Shotgun, light, sling. What more do you need?”

      Backup.

      4 legs or 2.

    2. avatar Tomyironmane says:

      I’d consider a light on a shotgun, were I not concerned about the light interfering with the bayonet lugs on mine.

  6. avatar Ross says:

    Light

  7. avatar Paul McCain says:

    “Over the last 20 years I have had to confront over 550 criminals invading my 18 acres of property”

    Time to move, or call in the Marines.

    1. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

      Yes…wow, that is almost 30 “criminals” average per year he apparently needs to pull a gat on – pretty incredible (and awful). Must be tough to enjoy yourself, let alone sleep. Maybe needs fence with razor wire, or sell and get out of dodge.

      1. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

        A less expensive alternative might be to plant bougainvillea plants along the property’s perimeter. It’s fast growing, blooms beautuful flowers, is hearty and adaptable to many soil conditions. You’d just need to build a trellis to support it and guide its growth.

        Main thing is that it grows four inch thorns, coated with a mildy toxic waxy sap, that easily pierces clothing and dives into flesh. Far worse than the sap or injury itself, though, will be the infections. Better clean that wound immediately and apply a common OTC topical antibiotic, cleaning and changing the dressing regularly until sealed. Otherwise it’s apt to spread throughout your limb, producing a fiery disabling infection. If it gets into your bloodstream and spreads to organs, you could be in mortal danger and antibiotic medicines may be too late. Tough conditions for illegal aliens on the move.

        1. avatar working4change says:

          perfect! dirt cheap wall along border. would be awesome if just dropping seed worked. like the rabbit hiding in the Brier Patch.

          and yes the thorns are nasty. friend got serious infection, i only had num feeling for about 30 minutes. few are resistant to it. most are not and dont want to temp Death.

          i had forgotten those thorns. hmmm might want plant some where the ATV dorks keep ripping our land.

        2. avatar Accur81 says:

          I’ve got some on our back fence. Nasty stuff. Plus the Weimaraner and Lab/beagle are constantly barking at “threats” like squirrels and bunnies.

      2. avatar Joe says:

        Maybe vote for people WHO WILL SECURE THE GD BORDER.

  8. avatar rammerjammer says:

    He lost me when he mentioned staggering his magazine with HP and FMJ. I’m no operator, but this guy just screams amateur mall ninja.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Yeah, the whole tenor of the post seems a little too “wannabe operator” for my taste. All of the numbers are way too specific, like someone making shit up and trying to sound like they’re not. 550? Unless he’s been keeping a running spreadsheet for 20 years of how many “criminals” he’s had to run off (5 or 6 at a time, mind you), wouldn’t most people just say “over 500”?

      If you’re trying to write an article about weapon-mounted lights, I really don’t care what the velocity of your ammo is.

      Come on, Dan. If you want to rehash the tired-ass “light vs. laser” debate again, just come out and ask it. We don’t need the mall ninja fan fiction to spice it up.

    2. avatar Refugee camp occupant says:

      Yup, that’s where I tapped out also.

      Operators gonna operate operationally. Now we know where Gecko45 retired to.

    3. avatar Chris Mason says:

      So, just so we’re clear here, there’s no practical purpose to loading your mag with alternating HP and FMJ ammo? I’m relatively new to this, so I don’t know the ins and outs of this (and Stinkeye responded to another comment that I made here already).

      1. avatar Billc says:

        There’s no benefit in alternating JHP & FMJ ammo in a pistol if you have tested the JHP ammo thoroughly in YOUR gun for reliability of feeding and ejection. I do know a few people – several of them cops – who keep a FMJ as the 2nd shot just to ensure it feeds when they need it, but my pistols run fine on the ammo I select for them.

  9. avatar JWM says:

    Either you have a different definition of “criminal” or someone sold you a house inside prison grounds. 550. Are you counting trespassing pigeons as criminals?

    Seriously, this is about the strangest post I remember on ttag.

    1. avatar David P. says:

      Tresspassing pigeons went extinct in 1914…… Or maybe that was passenger pigeons.

      I am a little disappointed that TTAG would run something like this. They went from announcing a new writer with tremendous cred to this story in the matter of a couple days. Kind of sad.

  10. avatar Calvin says:

    “And shoot until ammo exhausted” Wut?

    1. avatar Grindstone says:

      That’s why I make sure my ammo does calisthenics every day.

    2. avatar S.CROCK says:

      I picture this guy killing a coyote in one shot then doing a full 30 round mag dump, then he scans the area and reloads. As a true operator should.

  11. avatar Hinshelworld says:

    I have shot a lot with a flashlight in hand, using multiple techniques and I have come to one solid conclusion. They all suck.

    As soon as the shooting starts you will forget about the light and focus on the pistol. The light will end up being basically useless unless it is mounted to the weapon. Harries is the best bet to keep a non mounted light more or less on target in my experience.

    I have also done a good amount of force on force with sims at night, against people with mounted lights and those without. I can definitively say that in my opinion having a weapon mounted light does not give ANY advantage to an adversary. I challenge any of the “they will shoot the light” crowd to cite one instance of this actually happening in a relevant scenario.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Same experience here.

    2. avatar Gus MacNamara says:

      I pretty much agree with all of that. The light is an option to use when it makes sense which often is not at all but it has its uses and there are techniques that minimize the negatives of using one. A weapon mounted light is still an option I like to have and can be useful for a number of reasons.

      I also hope there are not too many that think a lights main usefulness is during actual exchange of gunfire. It is for when your absolute need to see takes priority over every negative and it is the best or only option. Some exceptions for IR lighting.

      As far as this story from Night Hunter I assumed it was satire just to ask or open discussion about a very heavily covered subject. Neither of which I have an issue with so I just took the bait and answered. If it isn’t satire I am going to reserve further comment.

    3. avatar Accur81 says:

      Well said, sir. A good LED light at close range is blinding.

    4. avatar AndrewinDC says:

      I’m far from being an operator, but I tend to agree. Thinking from the potential attacker’s perspective: I could aim and hit a light fairly often… if the person stood still and let me carefully aim to get a bullseye-worthy shot off. More realistically, I’d be quickly shooting towards a general vicinity and a couple feet difference in light location probably wouldn’t amount to much, especially at distances where your body, itself, isn’t perceptible. The scenario presented isn’t a pitch black room with no other light sources other than the handheld light. If someone has been outside long enough to let their eyes adjust to the darkness, there’s almost certainly ample light to see the body silhouette of the person approaching.

  12. avatar JoshinGA says:

    TTAG has taken to publishing mall ninja fantasy literature now? Is David Codrea really getting paid so much you have to publish this drivel to make ends meet?

    Staggered rounds? “FBI” flashlight techniques circa the 1980s? “550 criminals invading” his property? C’mon TTAG, youre better than this.

    1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

      Josh pretty much summed up everything going through my head

      And like someone else mentioned, I rolled my eyes and immediately chalked this guy up as a mall ninja as soon as I read the part about staggered FMJ/JHP complete with their individual velocities.

      Next article will be about how we should all have red lens covers on our lights so we don’t ruin our night vision whilst fending off the mongol hordes that are scaling the great wall of backyard to sack the great empire of kitchen.

      1. avatar Refugee camp occupant says:

        I wear my NVGs when I get up to take a leak. Obviously.

        1. avatar Retired LEO. says:

          I have to wear the NVG doing that otherwise the wife would kill me if a drop got spilled. Duct taping those rifle plates is a pain w/o help. That’s for those that remember the story of the mall ninjas.

  13. avatar Javier says:

    None on pistol 12 gauge has laser/light combo and shotgun is in pistol grip form.

  14. avatar Sock Monkey says:

    I have a flashlight on the twelve gauge.

  15. avatar John Thomas says:

    i use the same glock for concealed carry and home defense. no light or laser. i have my little surefire next to it on the night stand, though.

  16. avatar Gunr says:

    I use a light and green laser, Both are powerful. The cheap one just don’t cut it.
    I also have a powerful hand held light, to be used to find the target. then I turn on the gun mounted stuff, and shoot quick!
    Haven’t had to shoot yet though, hope it stays that way.

  17. avatar TravisP says:

    When I was in the Marines we had lights equipped to our weapons, but we used something called light discipline. You turn it on when you absolutely need it, and then turn it right back off. I don’t see a point in traipsing around my yard at night to try and encounter criminals, and if someone is in my home I doubt a light is going to give away my super squirrel ambush position, IE to the side of my bedroom door, aiming at said door.

  18. avatar Cliff H says:

    I checked my calendar to make sure and as I thought, today is NOT April 1st.

    WTF. In his obviously hazardous living conditions how is it he did not mention the level three body armor and the size of the ceramic chest plates he prefers? This is Operator BS at its best and I must say I was greatly amused at reading it.

    Flashlight techniques for clearing your criminally infested property at night? Give me a break. If he has in fact confronted 550 criminals on his property he has much more serious problems than what sort of light to use. Also explains why he has to do all of this alone – who in the hell would be stupid enough to hang around and share this chore with him?

    For the average person, unless it’s absolutely necessary, DON”T go looking for the BGs, especially outside at night. Find a safe spot, collect anyone you need to protect (in this guy’s case obviously nobody), and dial 911. Protect your space. If the BG is stupid enough to come looking for you he is obviously a target you do not need to light up to identify. Wait for him to come through the “kill funnel” (shoot to stop the threat funnel?) and take him on from a position of cover. Problem solved and for God’s sake don’t keep shooting until you’re ammo runs dry!

    Sheesh.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      BTW, is it my imagination or is the bolt locked open on that Super Glock in the picture?

      This story sounds more like a plot outline for an episode of “The Walking Dead” than a serious attempt at real world training. Should have pointed out the importance of head shots.

      Also, if he confronted 550 criminals and recommends shooting until ammo is exhausted (I’m exhausted just reading about it) he is either a VERY bad shot or he forgot to mention his successful kill ratio on those 550 miscreants.

    2. avatar Cliff H says:

      Sorry, brain fart, a not Glock guy. Obviously there is no bolt and the slide wold have to be locked back, so this appears to be some sort of prop gun with a fake barrel insert that leaves the ejection port empty even when the slide is forward.

  19. avatar Ralph says:

    I don’t live on 550 acres with 18 criminals invading every week or whatever. Nor do I have a gun attached to my flashlight. I have a switch on the wall that miraculously illuminates anything I might wish to shoot. No, it doesn’t look cool, but it works.

    I’m sure that gun-mounted lights and lasers have their uses, but except for making huge bucks for their manufacturers and retailers, I have no idea what those uses might be. YMMV.

    1. avatar My Older Brother Chet says:

      I launch parachute flares from my M203

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I stand corrected.

    2. avatar Dave says:

      Ralph, either that was satire, or you are a retard. You do realize the advantages for a weapon mounted light over a light switch? Remember, like tolerance, wall lights are a two way street.

  20. avatar Silver says:

    May I suggest moving? Or do squirrels count as invading criminals?

    To answer the question, light. A laser is too distracting, especially if it’s bouncing and jiggling around after an adrenaline dump upon waking up.

  21. avatar Matt Richardson says:

    Seriously… Who approved this publication?

    I recommend scotch and cigars come AFTER the workday, guys.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Life can’t be all serious all the time. We all need a chuckle now and then and good satire can do the trick.

      1. avatar Grindstone says:

        That’d be cool, but if that were the case, then this would be a great moment in Poe’s Law history.

  22. avatar tsbhoA.P.jr says:

    three glow in the dark dots.

  23. avatar Taylor TX says:

    “Within reach is a 10mm 1911 with alternating hollow point and solid 180 gr bullets loaded to a velocity of 1360 fps”

    I like a weapon light on anything intended for the purpose of “bump in the night”, but it never hurts to have a white light handy in your pocket etc. Other than the here I am factor, there is the inherent danger of searching with a weapon light. I dont have kids yet so there isnt anyone else in my house to muzzle outside my bedroom.

    EDIT:550 criminals, that is people trespassing?

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Maybe he considers feral pigs as criminals and wants to make sure he has the solid points to get penetration on the big ole mean male hogs.

  24. avatar Removed_californian says:

    Pistol light for HD? Of course.

    Pistol light for sweeping the property?

    No, I’m using my rifle. Which may or may not have a streamlight strapped on the side…

    I like being able to see things.

  25. avatar Mark Lloyd says:

    Not worthy of a reply, even from me and I can really throw them out!

  26. avatar mike oregon says:

    Not a fan of handgun mounted lights, rifle yes, among other things my E.D.C. includes a Led Lenser F1r set to 1000 lumens on first click.

  27. avatar Parnell says:

    Weapon lights on my Windham .223, Glock 21 and Stoeger 20ga side by side.

  28. avatar davidx says:

    Given that supposed scenario, I’d move. Given that the resident wishes to stay, I’d try to collect a team of security operators 7×24. I’d also set up triple-standard concertina wire with trip flares and motion-detector floods and place mines at strategic locations. Interlocking fields of fire with machine guns and sniper rifles equipped with NVDs. Air cover with a surplus AC-130 Spectre gunship and above that a couple of Warthogs. Drones surveiling the surrounding AO. And a red phone hotline to Paul Bart.

    1. avatar Mo says:

      I enjoyed a lot for your comment. Thanks

  29. avatar S.CROCK says:

    When someone lives in a horrible place such as ca and someone tells them to move, it can be a little impractical for some.

    When you have to confront over 550 criminals on your property, by all means move! Hire the local rebel fighters to give you protection out of the country (or 18 acres) and warn NATO of the developing threat.

    And light or no light, pump action or 5.56, 10mm or .40, if your go to HD weapon is not a vehicle mounted belt fed you are terribly unprepared.

  30. avatar actionphysicalman says:

    I’ll call you Night Hunter, but you have to call me Dragon.

    1. avatar My Older Brother Chet says:

      Its pronounced.. “Dwaygun”

  31. avatar Retired LEO. says:

    Only 1 I’ve ever had shoot at a light was a jerk with a Simunitions in training. Thought it was funny until he got fired for it. I use Harries most of the time as my. 45 & 10mm don’t have rails. Truthfully don’t see much use for a laser as all but 2 or 3 times I have had to fire a pistol have been under 30ft. Have a nice Viridian that came with a Ruger sr9 that came with a package deal I traded for. It fits nicely on my AR or pump. Only ammo I alternate is a tracer every 10th round in my rifle. I also keep a mag of FMJ in the 10mm for hogs. 550+ invaders you need some razor wire, claymores and a new place to live. If you like the ocean I’ll be happy to swap with you

  32. avatar John L. says:

    Re staggered HP and solids, and the criticism thereof, my wife and I are considering switching to that load pattern.

    Why? We live in an area where large predators (bears, mountain lions) are known to wander through; and in an emergency we’d rather not try to fumble for the right magazine.

    1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      Maybe Lehigh extreme penetrators would work for both people and larger critters outdoors? Just a guess from a guy that hasn’t shot either.

    2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      I’ve caught hell on here because the home defense 12 had bird shot, birdshot, buck, buck, slug. Alternating rounds is a good thing, when living in the country, coyotes were my #1 bad guy while raising rabbits. The 2 rounds of bird were for yotes and other varmints. The buck was a step up in case of intruders and bigger pests, the slug was pdx1 combo just in case. In 4 years on that 12 acres I only needed the first 2 shots.

      I must have been ultra safe in my adult life time, 2 attempts to break into my garage were thwarted by big dogs, and one trespassing a-hole in my tree stand during bow season. I couldn’t imagine an area with 550 bad guys and I live near Detroit.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        I definitely get the buck-buck-slug loading for self- or home-defense, but why the birdshot?

        1. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

          The birdshot was for shooting, coons, opossum, and coyotes near the rabbit huts. The shot gun was easily accessible, thats why I made the comment I never needed more than 2 shells.

    3. avatar Ed Rogers says:

      I use alternating rounds in my Governor (.410 PDX1 & .45LC HPs) and in my FNS40. I live and work many miles from the nearest sheriff office. The horror stories I’ve heard are enough to make me want to be prepared.

      I don’t really care what anyone thinks – it’s my right and I’ll excercise it as I see fit.

  33. avatar Rick K says:

    My HD shotgun has a light and I usually have a light on my bedside pistol. It is just not possible (for me anyway) to easily and safely carry a separate flashlight.

    I have a few handguns with CT grips but they aren’t a part of my night home defense. Not to say i wouldn’t use a laser if it was in hand.

  34. avatar W.P. Zeller says:

    I could see a gun-mounted light as a backup light, besides the hand-mounted primary one.
    Kind of like the J in the pocket. At least you’d have a spare nearby if the first failed, broke, or got lost.
    Laser: no. Never seen one used in a way that was either efficient or accurate. Astonishing the awful results I’ve actually seen in live fire when time and hits on target are considered. When there are lasers on the range, those are the slowest and least accurate shooters, and I mean, every time.

  35. avatar Bill Kohnke says:

    Folks, I’m enjoying the hilarious comments, but on a serious note, I’ve built up a number of shotguns for customers who wanted lights. I’ve always counseled my clients against using lasers except as training aids (the instructor can see where you are aiming and possibly spot some trigger control issues). Lights on a shotgun allow target identification, can blind an intruder, and can be used as a crude aiming device. Lights on a carbine or pistol can help illuminate your iron sights. Proper light discipline is a must, especially if working with a team (don’t want to blind a friendly). Keeping it on all the time can expose you to unfriendly fire from oblique angles. Also remember it does make the firearm muzzle heavy, so it may not feel as balanced and handy as before. Practice, practice, practice because he who trains, wins.

    1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

      VERY coolwebsite Bill! Not a lot of real names on here…

  36. avatar David Maxson says:

    CCW? No
    Home Defense weapon? Rail mounted light. 🙂

  37. avatar AllAmerican says:

    Who needs a flashlight? I light my way with muzzle flashes.

  38. avatar Excedrine says:

    Why not both?

  39. avatar Johnny B Goode says:

    My long guns have lights. If I can identify the target I have enough light to shoot with a pistol

  40. avatar Kevin says:

    Both.

  41. avatar Steve says:

    Ok, where to start…

    #1 I have a quality light and laser on every gun I own.

    #2 All things being equal, 2 hands > 1 hand for all shooting outside arms reach.

    #3 weapon mounted light frees up an extra hand for reloads/obstacle manipulation/injury mitigation/etc. while keeping the threat illuminated

    #4 if you can’t point a gun and THEN decide to shoot, you have no business with a firearm.

    #5 lasers are handy for shooting from non-standard positions where proper use of sights is difficult/impossible (injured/physical struggle/around obstacles/etc.). Not saying they’re ideal/likely scenarios, but defensive firearms uses are extraordinary events, and murphy’s law is in full effect at all times…

    #6 I don’t know where this guy learned to shoot/clear rooms/confront assholes, but having all of your arms at full extension like some kinda tactical scarecrow is silly. A quality light will illuminate plenty of the immediate area with it’s splash off of objects and beam spread.

    #7 if you’ve pulled a gun, and have turned on a light, you likely have the upper hand. If asshole wants to get froggy after that, it was probably in the cards anyway, at least with a weapon mounted light you’ve got a light that will go where you’re shooting, which is where you need light the most. I would also much rather have him have to stare straight into a bright light to aim at me than at my silhouette off to the side. Go try that in a mirror sometime…

    #8 pick ammunition for what you’ll use the gun for, don’t mix and match in a mag. 10mm is a round with a lot of penetration. The JHP will prolly do well against roving trespassers, but the FMJ still will probably overpenetrate. FWIW I have a pair of coupled mags in my AR (300blk, SBR, Suppressed), spare mag is supersonics, inserted mag is subsonics. That way I can shoot indoors without earpro and not go 100% deaf/blind in the first 2 shots, and supersonics for outdoor/end of the block work. Pistol is strickly 9mm Hornady Critical Duty. 12 gauge is PDX1 in right tube/slugs in the left tube (I have a KSG) for close up/less close up work.

    #9 surprise is gone once a light comes on/a gun is fired. Don’t rely on surprise. Rely on aggression and training, training, TRAINING.

    #10 let them come to you unless you MUST confront them (protection of family member/they’re burning down the house with you in it/etc.)

    #11 everything you do can get you killed, including doing nothing. I feel this guy needs to sit down and put some serious thought into his skillsets/training/planning/weapons/equipment.

    Just my .02

    1. avatar Mike H in WA says:

      #9 should be #1. The light source doesn’t matter.

    2. avatar Other Tony says:

      +1 to these general principles. I have light and laser on my home defense pistol. Training and light/laser discipline are key- know how to use them, and only have them on when needed. Very effective then.

  42. avatar Randall says:

    I read it twice . . . is this satire?

  43. avatar Fuzzy says:

    Is this guy Gecko45 coming back?

    http://lonelymachines.org/mall-ninjas/

  44. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

    10mm in a more open/rural environment? Federal 170 jacketed soft point. Hotter than most factory loads. Good expansion and more penetration than HP.

    Light? My wife likes the soft glow from the pile of smoldering zombies.

    1. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

      Oopsie-180 gr.
      I blame the clumsy thumb typing.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        180 grain soft point — assuming a muzzle velocity around 1300 fps — will provide some nice penetration. That would be an excellent load for deer out to 35 yards or so and black bears closer in. As for human attackers, that might actually be less effective than a 180 grain hollowpoint … it all depends on how much the soft point expands and how quickly it expands.

        1. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

          exactly – it’s a bit of a compromise round. I’ve seen some ballistics gel testing, for what it’s worth, showing pretty good expansion but my preferred ED round for the 10 is the Hornady 180 XTP. Good expansion in a round traveling between 40 and the hotter 10 loads. Sorta a 40+P.

          And in that one in a million (or is it?) situation, the 10mm JSP provides a reasonably penetrative round against most soft body armor. Remember when we used to worry about if the BG was wearing a leather jacket or not? Now, I keep in the back of my mind that the BG might be wearing armor and is on a personal mission responding to a Net video exhorting them to kill non believers…

  45. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I use neither a light nor laser on my home defense handgun. I do not want either to give away my position.

    Having said that, I do have a large (three C or D cell) ultra-bright LED flashlight next to my bed for night time emergencies. If I ever need to use it, I will either lay it on the floor illuminating my fatal funnel or, if necessary, hold it high and to the left as the author suggested.

  46. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Use whatever light that is good for you…and seriously 550 invaders? Maybe land mines-or move…

  47. avatar clickboom says:

    That’s a mighty big mall he must be defending. Probably has to deal with multiple rounds of 338 LM.

  48. avatar Mo says:

    Move from battlefield sir.

  49. avatar Sheepdog6 says:

    The 1985 LAPD training department called. It wants its training curriculum back.

  50. avatar Greg Bell says:

    Since I prefer the S&W J-frame I really don’t have to choose. The laser grips are a no-brainer. The LaserMax pistol light is also a no brainer. A separate handheld unit is always handy, but weapon mounted is the way to go in my opinion. I have gone through a fair amount of night training and the guys with handheld lights were always the slowest and least accurate. And guys with lasers were faster than guys without them.

  51. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Over the last 20 years I have had to confront over 550 criminals invading my 18 acres of property during all hours of the day and night.
    Aside from moving away, I think I would install a decent fence with an electric braided horse fence wire at the top as my daughter has. I would have the electric company install a few pole lights about the property. Do some horse boarding and put a few dogs in the fenced area. Both species act as sentries. The weapon mounted lights would be a tactical disadvantage on many fronts as you would have to sweep innocent people and give your position away to armed intruders.

  52. avatar Grumpy says:

    K.I.S.S. I use a weapon mounted light on my bedside pistol because provides an all-in-one solution to grab on in the middle of the night when I am half awake. Proper security lighting makes turning the light on an option, not a requirement. Also prevents needing to shoot in the dark which is high risk for most mortals.

  53. avatar Chris Mason says:

    “Within reach is a 10mm 1911 with alternating hollow point and solid 180 gr bullets loaded to a velocity of 1360 fps.”

    What’s the purpose of alternating two types of ammunition? I’m assuming that he means alternating rounds in the magazine itself (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) rather than alternating magazines with different rounds in each, but I’m curious as to what the benefits of this are. Is one type in case the target is wearing armor?

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      The purpose is to sound like he’s an ultra-prepared, 24-7, tactical badass ninja operator, not a fourteen-year-old whacking off to back issues of Soldier Of Fortune in his mom’s basement.

  54. avatar Dan says:

    In theory lights mounted to weapons would seem like a good idea. In reality not so much.
    A light on a weapon means that in order to use it effectively the weapon must be pointed
    at the object being illuminated. Makes it too easy to accidentally shoot someone when you
    merely intended to shine a light on them.

    Yes…..training and practice could address this issue….but it still doesn’t change the fundamental fact that to use the light you must point a deadly weapon…..and NO
    amount of training can prepare someone to deal with the adrenalin shakes, the butterflys
    and the tunnel vision that can come in a middle of the night intruder situation.

    Lights on weapons simply make the odds of shooting the wrong person even higher
    than they already are….not an acceptable action. There are other ways. Not quite
    as efficient but much safer.

  55. avatar I am Batman! says:

    I dunno while you’re all being so hard on the guy. I’ve personally run 219 criminals off my 66′ X 132′ North Phoenix property over the past 5 years.

    I duct-tape a 6-cell mag-lite to my johnson before walking out of my single-wide buck naked & screaming “where’s your Obama now!”, then (using my Saiga) I dump six rounds of #4 buckshot into the air, and two 1 1/8 oz slugs into the ground, just ahead of my feet. I did hit my pinky-toe with a slug once, but you really don’t need a pinky-toe anyway. That leaves two more rounds in the Saiga, and those are beanbags, ’cause I really am a softy, but don’t tell anyone, cause I don’t want to have to use them.

    I only had one guy keep coming after I fired the first eight rounds out of my Saiga, but I was able to make him turn away when he got close by removing the duct-tape holding the mini-mag-lite to my johnson.

    Not sure if it was the screaming I was doing when the tape was coming off, or the sight of the hairy duct-tape, but the criminal was all like “$hit, dude, NAW, That ain’t RIGHT”, then he went the other way.

    1. avatar davidx says:

      Winner of the innernet tonight!

      Just the idea of duct tape in that area…ewwwww….

    2. avatar Bob109 says:

      Wow! I know there are some bad neighborhoods in North Phoenix, but my God, where in North Phoenix is it that bad? Sounds like a place I need to avoid unless I have a long gun, full body armor, and 100 of my friends from the range. 🙂 Hilarious story, though.

  56. avatar Bob109 says:

    I will never be an absolutist. In close quarters, I will always prefer a pistol, but if a long rifle or shotgun works for you, who am I to argue. I prefer a flashlight held above my head, but if having a light attached to your pistol works for you, go for it. Listen to the experts on what they do and why, and then make your own choice. This is like those arguments about Weaver versus Isosceles versus modified Isosceles. I do the modified Isosceles. When I was an LE in the USAF, we were taught the Weaver. Both work and have their own pros-and-cons. Personally, I went to the modified Isosceles because I found under stress and while moving, I end up doing it anyway. Choose what works for you. The key is train, train, and train with what technique you have chosen. By-the-way, if you do choose a specific technique, learn how to do that technique correctly.

  57. avatar jandrews says:

    Shotgun.

    With light.

  58. avatar Night Hunter says:

    This, for those of you that think you know everything about living on this property.
    Checking my records, I picked a random years statistics.
    Total criminals caught, 54.
    Night time intruders, 24.
    From a spreadsheet presented to the Deputy Police Chief, head of the Gang Unit and the head of the policing sector I live in in a meeting requested by me and my neighbor who has similar problems.

    I will also point out that generally trespassing is the first crime committed on private property.
    Excuses are ignored after fence line jumped and posting signs are ignored.
    Police are called and assholes go to jail.

  59. avatar BIG AL says:

    Too many operators now…..really, a flashlight is going to give away your position??? So your aren’t going to TALK to the invader?, or SHOOT at the invader?, none of those would give away your position.

  60. avatar fteter says:

    My take on home defense and lights is admittedly not popular. I count on neither flashlight nor laser. My logic is that I know the layout of my home far better than any home intruder, so darkness and shadows are a bit of an advantage once I know the intruder is there.

    And I’ll know the intruder is there. Because the money that would have been spent on guns lights and lasers has instead been invested in a grid-independent set of wide-area cameras that provide motion alerts.

    This approach has worked several times in the past, once with multiple intruders. Although, thank Heaven, I’ve never had to shoot anyone (and I hope that streak continues). Still, I’m fairly confident in it.

    1. avatar Billc says:

      fteter,

      Cameras will help you see and ID potential threats. The only issue I have is that they only tell you where someone is up until the moment you leave the monitor(s). But if it works for you, great.

      Another idea to consider. I learned by having three cats in the house that LED nightlights are a good thing(tm). Especially if a misplaced step could result in shredded ankles. But placed in strategic locations they can cast shadows and silhouette intruders quite well.

  61. avatar Billc says:

    The hand-held vs. weapons-mounted debate is moot as far as I’m concerned. Do whatever fits your needs and works best for you. I favor the hand-held method for several reasons. First, I’m in suburbia and not dealing with 3 intruders per month. Secondly, most of the weapons I select for home defense are revolvers that aren’t easily adaptable to a mounted light. Lastly, the Harris technique is what I’m comfortable with and works well for me. Your mileage may vary.

    Older flashlights with incandescent bulbs were weak compared to many of today’s “tactical” flashlights. With most tac-lights putting out 300+ lumens, any opponent with night-adapted eyes will be temporarily blinded by the light within about 15 yards. Turning it off after a second or two leaves them “night-blind” as well. Even if they desire to take a shot at the light, it will be unaimed and a matter of luck to make a hit (especially if you’re moving).

    If the need takes you outdoors, a light mounted on a long gun is good. It reduces fumbling with the light. Better is a second, hand-held light available for wide-area searching and/or to check your six when focused on one or more compliant targets. A lanyard helps retain that light if things get suddenly busy.

    I question the necessity of any nighttime solo excursions outdoors. That seems a likely way to end up at room temperature. If there is a high frequency of intrusions I think investing in some form of NV gear would be a much better use of funds.

  62. I have a hard time believing this report – especially from someone who staggers his ammo with HP and FMJ.

    It just screams an operator who operates, operationally.

    😉

    1. avatar Night Hunter says:

      Dear Stephen,
      I understand your bewilderment about the HP and FMJ loading, and the rest of your post, and those like it.
      Question.
      Have you ever encountered a 300-350 pound Black Bear in your yard when you have just left your shop at 11:30 PM, 40 feet away, focused on you?
      Have you ever been nose to nose, 4 inches distance from the same?
      Of course you have not.
      I have.

      I find it illuminating that the posters who denigrate what I have written about MY EXPERIENCE, offered only as information, do so positioning themselves in front of a computer screen content in the content of what they think they know about something they know nothing about.

      It is also illuminating to peruse postings that essentially declare that I am a liar, an “Operator” etc.
      Those remind me of “Loudmouth Beer” parties I used to savor in my ignorant youth.
      Some of us never progressed.

      Unlike your posting, and others like it, attacking my personal observations, I do not desire you, and the others, to consider this a personal attack upon your existences. You are simply participants in a “Loudmouth Beer Party”, and I sincerely hope you, and all the others, are having fun.

      As for my self I search the net, read constantly and assimilate all that gathers my interest and process the information with a goal of knowledge. Some is discarded based upon experience and much other is discovered with delight.

      I have way too few minutes left in life at 67 years of age to waste them on a “Loudmouth Beer Party”.

      But some things in life require illumination.

      Best of all,

      Night Hunter

  63. avatar Hellbilly says:

    Why limit your options? I have weapon lights on all of my home defense guns. I also keep a regular flash light handy. The whole “weapon light gives the bad guy something to aim at” logic is moot when applied to home defense in most cases. Weapon lights should not be used for navigation, anyway. They should be used momentarily to identify and confirm threats. Second, I do not live in a cavernous, pitch-black, underground mansion. I live in a 2200 sq. ft. home with creaky floors and plenty of windows that let moonlight in. An intruder does not need to see my flashlight to know my position.

  64. avatar Brian Kern says:

    Well, I hate to say this, but when I was in Police Academy back in 1999 keeping our flashlight above our head and extended out to the left was the way they taught us to hold our light. I remember Jeffrey Pruitt, head of the local SO SWAT team explaining that if you hold your light under your gun like Hollywood likes to do, anyone aiming for your light is going to blow your head off. It’s why I carry a rear button single push light, so that it can be turned on and off quickly, almost like a strobe, in order to make it more difficult for someone trying to get a bead on you to aim. So I don’t think you’re too far off the mark here.

    1. avatar Billc says:

      Remember that tactics change to suit the environment and threat. I was taught the same kind of tactic with the flashlight out to one side back in the 1970s. In those days, flashlights were heavy things with 2-4 C/D-cell batteries and made of Aluminum. Your arm could quickly fatigue. The concept was sound for the day — most of those lights drove a standard incandescent lamp which wasn’t terribly bright. But that technique sucked big time inside a house. If you had to clear a 2-story house your off-hand arm would feel like lead by the time you were done. It has it’s place outdoors however, and in large open building like warehouses.

      Today’s tactical lights are far brighter than ever. If your light puts out 400+ lumens it’s too bright for someone to look directly at it without closing their eyes in reflex. The likelihood of someone taking an aimed shot at your light is almost nil if you’ve lit them up directly.

  65. avatar Ron says:

    I agree that a light on a gun isn’t particularly for me. I understand your reasoning for outdoor use and it makes a lot of sense, but for me, I have the added reasoning of not necessarily wanting to point my gun at someone in my house that I don’t want to kill, like my wife. It’s better to identify, then target, not both at the same time. This can apply to a potential self defense situation. For example, out walking in the park in the dark and someone suddenly shows up. Did they inadvertently startle me, as I have done to others, or are they on the attack. That 1000 lumens will allow me to identify the threat while the gun is coming out and I’m deciding, in that split second, if there is indeed a threat.

  66. avatar BIG AL says:

    Night Hunter—-no beer parties here, just a normal guy that knows all these “tacticool” “operator” bs stories are just that, bs. Nothing more, nothing less.

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