AEWL2 Weapon Light (courtesy aelight.com)

Chad just published a comprehensive weapons light showdown between the Streamlight TLR-1s, Insight Technology M3X LED, Insight Technology WL1-AA and SureFire X300 Ultra. The rabbi thinks the whole idea is flawed. After I sent him the press release on the new $95 AEWL2 Weapon Light heading for production (not included in Nick’s test), the rabbi dismissed the whole pistol light thing. “On a pistol, the light need to be turned on with either the trigger finger, which is not a good idea, or the support hand which is not a good idea. Can’t be shooting while activating the light with trigger finger and may not have the support hand free. The other option is a switch on the grip such as what Crimson Trace does, which is not a good idea. Not possible to activate the switch with a death grip. So far, I have not found pistol mounted lights to be a ‘good idea.'” Gentlemen?

 

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133 Responses to Question of the Day: Are Pistol Lights A Bad Idea?

  1. I don’t like the idea.

    #1 – It will probably not fit into the holster very well and could get stuck coming out of the holster.

    #2 – In daylight, it is just extra bulk on your pistol.

    #3 – A small separate light is a better option. There are a number of options for holding a pistol with small flashlight that work well.

    • 1: Valid, just get a custom Kydex holster

      2: Maybe, though the difference in bulk and weight is pretty minimal compared to not having a light or having to hold a light off-hand.

      3: Please. If the biggest criticism in the OP is that your off-hand isn’t always free, how is having a separate light a better option?

      • I preference a separate tactical light in one hand, I do not need both hands on grip to fire accurately, just practice it and it becomes second nature. And hand with light can still be a support hand with light being used. Just my preference.

    • #1 Invalid. Both reputable kydex makers (Raven) and big-league holster makers (safariland) have holsters that accommodate weapon lights and there is no snag while either drawing or re-holstering. I have been using a pistol light at work for two years (TLR-1) with a safariland ALS holster and it’s the cat’s @ss. The safariland holster it will also retain the gun without the light which gives you options.

      #2 True. However having the weight of a weapon light on the muzzle end of the pistol acts as a compensator. I am noticeably faster with follow-up shots when I have the light mounted so I keep it on both day and night. Plus you never know when you’ll be going from daylight into a dark building.

      #3 having a small separate light is a great option. However, it is not a better option for target identification. A pistol light is NOT a flashlight. It is used to temporarily illuminate a target prior to engaging with a string of fire. Identify location of potential threat (if not already distinguished by prior use of force determination), illuminate, assess target for threat, engage if necessary, cease illumination, move laterally, repeat as necessary. That sequence occurs in a matter of 1-3 seconds. It does not replace handheld flashlights, which are used for illuminating one’s surroundings. The techniques for using a hand-held light in combination with a pistol do work, but many are clumsy without a lot of training and the ol’ “put the hiring hand wrist over the flashlight hand wrist” technique typically puts the sights a lot closer to your eyes than you would normally be used to when shooting isosceles. It’s also less stable. However it does work if you get used to it.
      As for how to use the weapon light Rabbi is correct. Kinda. You pretty much HAVE to use the support hand thumb (so stack your thumbs facing the target don’t cross them) because I agree that using the trigger finger is a bad idea. However, in a situation where your support hand is occupied/injured/otherwise unable to grip the pistol, you’re probably too f*cked to use a handheld light anyways, aren’t you? The idea that one would dismiss a tactical capability like a pistol light because of that is a little silly. Plus, while it may not be the IDEAL choice, these lights DO allow you to use your trigger finger as a back-up in the event your support hand is otherwise engaged. That is why my TLR-1 has a temporary-on switch (right-handed shooter dependent) of the left and a full-on on the right; because if I have to use my trigger (right) it would be pointless to illuminate the threat temporarily because I would lose the beam of light when I place my finger back on the trigger to fire. Other lights have their own solutions, such as surefire which is ambidextrous. Push the switch forward for temporarily-on, flick it down for full-on, righty or lefty makes no difference.

      The number 1 thing to remember is that if you commit to using one, you must train with it to be proficient. Of course the same can be said of anything.

      BTW, PA rocks!

    • Another tactical “guru” expressing his opinions as if they were gospel. Weapon lights have their place.

  2. It seems the Rabbi’s comments are based on the assumption that the switch is only a momentary switch. My TLR-1 can be either momentary or toggled on without having to continuously “activate” the switch.

    I understand the pros and cons of gun mounted vs. handheld. Each has advantages and disadvantages. After weighing them, I chose to have a gun-mounted light for my bump-in-the-night pistol. I like it. Your mileage may vary.

    PS… No light on my CCW pistol.

    • Although the technology may not be adaptable as of this point, I would like to see the manufacturers build in a proximity switch with specifically designed holsters. You draw, the light comes on without any additional action. This is enabled by the user in the users set up of the unit.
      The holster would be designed for the gun/light combo. For those using the firearm in a secured safe in a home defense situation, a proximity pad could be used to keep the light off while the firearm is stored, switching the light on once the firearm is removed from the pad area (some users might wish to disable this feature).

      • The technology does exist, sort of. There is a holster manufacturer that has a holster for a laser equiped gun that trips the switch on the draw. Its only for a specific laser (I think manufactured by the same company). Its an interesting idea but Im not sure if I would (personaly) want it.

        • forgot…

          Are lights in the off hand perfect? Nope. It requires you to shoot one-handed or use a two-handed flashlight shooting technique which is not as easy as a regular two-handed grip.

          Both have their plusses and drawbacks. I think weapon-mounted lights have more drawbacks.

        • Viridian calls this technology ECR. http://www.viridiangreenlaser.com/advantage/ecr/

          That said, it’s not any type of user operated switch. It’s actually a circuit which responds to the presence of a magnetic field. The holsters have little magnets built into them which when placed near the laser or light module deactivate the device. All you need to do is draw your weapon and the module actives in whatever mode you’ve setup the Viridan (strobe, continuous wave, laser, both).

          Getting a nice concealed carry holster wasn’t really an issue either, I found a custom maker within a few miles of me who was even able to setup the whole ECR thing without breaking the bank. Zornholsters.com

    • You are correct, I am assuming a momentary switch.

      It is recommended that constant-on NEVER be used. Lights are bullet magnets. Having a light on constantly is going to broadcast your location and is asking for incoming fire.

      To use a light correctly, you should only turn it on in short, random bursts, just enough to see where you are going and to identify a threat. Constant-on is good for challenging/blinding as well.

      It is critical that you control the activation of your light as well as its deactivation. I refuse to carry any light with a click-on switch. All my lights only have a momentary contact switch. When I want my light off, I want it off immediately, and I don’t to deal with a click switch.

      In addition to switch manipulation, the other big problem with gun-mounted lights is that most people end up searching with their muzzle, pointing their gun in places they have no right to point a gun. Best method is to train the with the gun low and use the outside of the beam for searching. Under stress however, that technique usually dissolves leaving the shooter pointing the gun at people to light them up.

      A gun-mounted light is better for shooting because it allows a two-handed grip, but is terrible for searching.

      A light in the support hand is a better for searching because it allows you to hold to gun low and still search with your light and is easier to manipulate the switch.

      My tactical lights have only two positions, on, and off. Strobe is disorientating to the attacker but also to the shooter. It is easy to miss the signs of an attack under a disco light. I don’t like lights with multiple settings because there is a chance that I will get the wrong one under stress. On, or Off, are the only two choices that I want.

      • forgot…

        Are lights in the off hand perfect? Nope. It requires you to shoot one-handed or use a two-handed flashlight shooting technique which is not as easy as a regular two-handed grip.

        Both have their plusses and drawbacks. I think weapon-mounted lights have more drawbacks.

        • Touche.. Here’s my counter:

          Just because you have that thing in your [insert imagination] pants, doesn’t mean you have to play with it. It’s called discipline. In the event that you unfortunately have to draw your firearm in the dark, or , of less than desirable lighting, that doesn’t mean you HAVE to turn it on. You can just….. not turn it on. *GASP* But wait, that’s like… not putting on the safety on your 1911, because everybody knows you have to put the safety on, if you have a gun that has one, which is why they suck right??!! Or is it because it only holds 8 to 11 rounds… and now it has a light too… and now your attacker dodges those 8 bullets and kills you because he wears ultra-super-duper-dampening-protective-surefireproof sunglasses… at night… when its raining… dark.

          The post is just a theory, your theory actually. No proof. Literally no evidence. I don’t mind thinking about it at all don’t get me wrong. I just can’t think of a scenario, where, in the event I had to draw my gun on somebody, that after all the smoke cleared I would have said, “man I wish I didn’t have my flashlight on my heater”… …. …. like I said, discipline.

          If there is such scenario, please elaborate. For if there is a reason why I shouldn’t have a light on my piece, and its legit, I want to know so I can take mine off. Until then…

        • Rabbi is clearly too proficient for his own good and thus completely misses the whole point that 95 out of 100 citizens need when using a gun for home defence. Are we discussing lights for the vast majority or the tactical lights here? Decide this and the answer becomes much clearer.

        • Pete,

          I would be happy to reply to your comment if you would restate it in a comprehensible manner.

      • A gun mounted light can be perfect for searching, point any light at the floor of a dark room and in will illuminate the entire space.

  3. I’ve heard this school of thought before and for the most part agree with it. My eyes are still young and my night time vision is aided by ambient light in all the environments I’m in regularly. It isn’t the answer for everyone but I prefer to operate without a light, keeping my response as simple as possible to a threat.

    I do have support hand operated lights for rifle and shotgun, however, as it is a much more intuitive operation. It comes back down to training with YOUR system and making it intuitive for you.

  4. Historically, I’ve never really disagreed with a post from RF. Maybe a tiny thing here or there, but never the whole post. Can’t quite say that here. Dismissing a rail mounted light because you have to use your trigger or support finger… one time…. to turn it on, is ridiculous. It boarder line promotes not training. You can find a holster that will accept a light, or make a kydex hybrid yourself.

    If the threat is so imminent that you “shouldn’t” be turning on the light…. then your simply not going to turn it on. First of all if you can identify that a threat is in fact that imminent than you likely don’t have use for a light at that particular moment…

    Millions of LEO, military and civilians run their guns with lights….. that many people can’t be wrong. Or can they? Or are they?

    • I agree with your first point entirely. It is not an issue of light or not. If you chose to have a light mounted on your gun, then you need to train with it. All the time. Until you are competent. No question.

      Shooting a handgun requires a lot of practice. But so do all of the other components. Chosing the right holster and then training your draw from that holster is just as important as shooting well. If you add a light, then you need to practice the entire manual of arms with the light.

      Some may chose to have a handheld light. Some may chose to have a weapon mounted light. Some may chose to shoot using the Force to guide their bullets. But whatever that choice, you have to practice until you are proficient.

    • Michael, more details my reasonings are above.

      LE and mil have a totally different mission, training, rules of engagement and circumstances than those of private citizens.

      LE and mil don’t alway have a choice as to how they do things or what they use, and yes, its not always correct in my opinion. and not always the best for private citizens.

  5. Is it a bad idea? Probably. But in the situation the pistol light was designed for, all others are worse. In a home defense situation while trying not to run afoul of Rule 4, taking your support hand off to reach for a wall switch is a worse idea. So is shouting “honey muffin, is that you?” into the dark. Far better to have it in that case.

    located bedside, the weapon light also isn’t so much a consideration for snagging on a draw either.

    • I feel the other choices are worse too..
      I’m an old man, and if I need to be fast and accurate after waking up suddenly at 3AM, my flashlight is going to stay in it’s head-board holster. I put a TLR-3 on my full-sized home defense pistol. The light is small, low snag, light weight and easy to use.
      I like the idea of a handheld flashlight, but looking for a flashlight in the dark, with my left hand, (while the pistol is in my right hand) isn’t the way I want to use my waking-up-to-fight time.

      If I had to carry concealed, I wouldn’t likely need a weapon-mounted light and I wouldn’t carry a full-sized pistol.

  6. I’m not a fan. For one thing, anything you cover with your flashlight is covered by your muzzle. That’s illegal if it covers a person who is not a threat. Also, it can make you a target; any armed person in the room can simply shoot at the light. I AM a fan of the Massad Ayoob technique of holding an unattached light away from myself and using it intermittently while moving. I’ll save the rail space for a good laser.

    • These comments are nuts hahahah. Has anybody ever been shine in the eyes with a surefire?! It’s safe to say if you flag your attacker with a 500 lumen beam of light they aren’t going to have a one up on you and just start shooting at the light.

      • The problem is, as I see it, that if you already know where your target is, the light won’t help much more. It’s more likely that you’ll be searching for the target with your Sure Fire light, in which case he’ll know where you are immediately while you’re sweeping around trying to find him.

        A flash light might be useful in some circumstances, but I think it’s more likely to make you a target than illuminate someone you want to shoot.

      • I would like to see a test in a dark range where a TLR1s is on strobe by the target. Blind fold the shooter. Move the target and TLR1s down range. Remove the blindfold and shoot at the light. I would like to see if the rabbi is capable of hitting the target under those circumstances.

        • The issue is not whether someone is blinded by a light in their eyes, the issue is weapon manipulation and not be spotted by the perp before you spot him.

          I posted more details on my reasons above.

        • Rabbi, you speak of not alerting the bad guy to your presence, which I totally understand by the way. When things go bump in the night at my place, I too am very selective about if/when I reveal my position as I clear the house. Additionally, I agree with your methods of use described above and they are pretty-well nested with my comments at the top, although we disagree on certain things.

          It’s a trade-off; by illuminating you are indeed giving away your position. However, by illuminating a threat briefly it could help the shooter avoid catastrophe. Perhaps in the chaos of the home invasion your wife ran downstairs to get the phone (or whatever). Now the bad guy is still down there and you are at the top of the stairs but your returning wife is only a dark shape moving quickly towards you. Or maybe it’s family members from out-of town who have a key (true story) and they coordinated their visit for the wrong night and entered stealthily so as not to wake you. These types of things occur and (besides flicking on a light switch which of course also has adv and disadv) a little target identification goes a long way regardless of whether you are .mil, .leo or .civ.

        • Yes, Hall, lights, like just about everything else is a trade-off. No technique is perfect for all situations.

          By the way, you wife should never run downstairs for the telephone. In an attack, the family should move to a safe room, were long guns and a cell phone are located. Call police and defend that room.

          Searching the house is walking into an ambush.

        • I am aware, and she knows the drill. That was a hypothetical scenario for readers here who might not have a battle-drill established for home defense and as such chaos may ensue. My relatives from out of town, not so hypothetical :). However, while plan A is to baracade, in the event of a determines intruder plan B is remains counter-attack.

      • Well I can tell you from a personal experience that you are WRONG on that one because bad guys DO sometimes shoot at the light.

    • +1

      My former armed guard father-in-law did this when confronting tresspassers. Hold a Maglight at arms length and shine in short bursts. I have smaller mag with a strobe option I keep by my nightstand handgun.

    • Try something tonight, grab a flashlight turn off all of the lights in your house and walk through the house with your light pointed at an angle towards the ground. You will find that you are able to see well enough to identify anyone in the room without having to cover them with your muzzle.

      • Mike, that is the perfect way to search with a gun-mounted light. However, stress usually takes over and people end up pointing their gun where they shouldn’t.

        • “…stress usually takes over and people end up pointing their gun where they shouldn’t.” …. Or in other words, when the SHTF people forget the 4…. no 5… or is it 100, safety rules. So if stress “usually” takes over, why should we even take the time to learn ’em? Screw it cause when the stress takes over your gonna have that itchy finger on the trigger and your gonna be flagging everybody including the dog and you’ll probably shoot whatever it is your pointing at because stress took over….

          So, in other words, when the stress takes over…. your no longer a responsible law-abiding gun owner that is capable of making clear headed decisions… Rabbi should probably delete that comment before the gun grabbers like MikeBWHATEVERTHENUMEBRSARE gets a hold of it….. and my post…. maybe all the posts?

        • virgin,

          Those comments are pathetic. If you had any real training, you would understand why.

    • Yep… that is what I was told in NC. Even if they break in, once they are in your house you must assess whether they are attacking you… and you can’t point your weapon at them… IN YOUR OWN HOUSE!!! These laws must be changed. If someone breaks in… they are committing a crime and home owners should be allowed to hold them at bay with threat of deadly force. Not so say that the law should allow indiscriminate use of force… but aiming at someone is treated the same as firing at them… It definitely shouldn’t be… especially if the intruder put themselves in that situation

  7. *Additional Point – Using said flashlight, you muzzle everything you just wish to look at, even grandma and the dog. Separate handheld or (my option) headlamp.

  8. I think they are ideal for a nightstand weapon. I prefer something with a laser sight like the TLR4.
    Helps ID friend from foe, potentially distracts a foe, puts a sight on target useful for a high stress situation. The only argument I see is that it may reveal your location to an intruder when you can’t afford to do so.

    For a carry weapon it’s probably more harm than good.

  9. I keep a light on my home defense gun. If I hear a thump in the night, I want to be able to differentiate a robber from a roommate.

  10. Agreed. The bump in the night could be a burglar, or a neighbor moving a couch at 3AM . You do not aim your weapon -or the light attached thereon-at something you aren’t willing to destroy. The LAPD might not identify their target before shooting, but we hold ourselves to a better standard.

  11. All I’ve got to say about gun mounted flashlights is- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.

    • As has been mentioned… you don’t have to point the light (and muzzle) directly to illuminate the area. Bounced / reflected light off the floor works quite well.

  12. Always thought that a pistol light was like advertising. Kind of a “Here I Am, Oh Shoot Me Now” sign.

    • Agreed. Especially if you are awakened late at night by an intruder. You’re the one with the night vision advantage,

  13. I’m not a fan of them on a carry weapon for several reasons already mentioned.

    On the house gun, I don’t have a problem with it, but I prefer something that strobes with a helluva lot more kick than you’re going to get in something that mounts on a handgun.

  14. Only if your goal is to destroy the nightvison of someone who might shoot back. I prefer a seperate, handheld light.

  15. Pistol lights have their drawbacks because you can easily be breaking the “Dont Point Guns at things you Dont Want to Shoot” rule.

    But.

    There are big advantages to having a pistol mounted light.
    – Support hand free to do other tasks (call cops, open doors, corral kids, etc). We had a “Bump in the Night” scenario a while back where I had to go investigate. I did fine until I got to the door to the garage…then I had to choose: Put down the gun or the flashlight in order to open the door. With a WML you Don’t have to choose.
    – You are guaranteed to HAVE a light when you need it. You wont be using your WML for other everyday flashlight duty, thus the battery is more likely to actually work when you need it (My 4yr old wont be running off with my WML like he does with all my other flashlights).

    Personally, I keep both a WML and a standalone flashlight handy. Use the standalone light as my Primary and the WML for backup.

    Bottom line: Understand your gear and the correct application of it. I have a WML because I like that it is there if I need it.

    • Steve has said exactly what I was thinking. My power goes out alot and flashlights seem to move around alot in a house of six people. If it is on my gun, I know where it is and that it’s power wasn’t run down unbeknownst to me for a kid’s game of manhunt. Likewise, there are conceivable scenarios where I can have gun in one hand and light in other and conceivable scenarios where I want two hands on the gun as well as a light. I don’t want to compromise in those scenarios.

  16. My “bedside pistol” has a light/laser combo on it as well as a suppressor. The light is a Streamlight with a rocker select switch and a constant on switch. I would prefer to keep both hands on my pistol and switch on the light with the index finger on my support hand. I live alone so anyone in my house at night is a POTENTIAL threat. I am a believer of target ID and have no intention of shooting someone in my house unless I have no other choice. I will illuminate them with the muzzle pointed directly at them. If said individual decides to leave, I’m good with that. If not, then so be it. YMMV.
    My primary EDC is a 1911 without a rail and I keep a separate light on me.

    • Same here, I live alone. Any and all bumps in the night are potential threats. Also, I live in a condo, so holding a light in the off-hand (which I’m not a fan of to begin with since it ties up my off-hand) a ways away from my body isn’t really an option.

      • I should clarify it’s not an option because of lack of space… any encounter with a bad guy is likely to occur in or around a particular hallway… there isn’t enough space to get the arm extended away from my body.

  17. I’d rather hold the light away from myself, in my off hand, than have it attached to the gun. So I keep a nice big flashlight along with the bedside gun.

  18. I’m a fan, as long as they’re used correctly. Having a pistol mounted light gives you the option to use your non-gun hand for other activities while still maintaining situational awareness. I generally carry both a pistol with a WML and a hand held light.

  19. Dont condemn it to death its a tool and it gives you options to choose from. You can either use your weapon light or a flashlight.

    None of my pistols have rails on them (my hd gun is an AK with a light) but I hope on rectifying that with a new pistol.

  20. I believe years of people using pistol lights successfully debunks the notion that weapons mounted lights can’t be operated effectively. Military, LEO and civilians have used them for many years and apparently the idea has caught on given the volume of weapons mounted lights and accessories we’ve seen flooding the market.

    The question in my mind is, “Is it prudent to have a weapons mounted light on civilian defensive pistol?”

    To that question I say “no”. I don’t believe it’s a good idea to mount a light to a defensive pistol and use your handgun as a flashlight. I’m talking strictly of civilian use of such a set-up, not LEO or military use. The military and police may use weapons offensively whereas civilians use them defensively. There is a difference.

    For a civilian I believe it’s a bad idea to get in the habit of using your handgun as a flashlight. If you’re in a house full of family members and you hear a bump in the night, walking through the house pointing your weapon around every room, even those occupied by family members that may be sleeping, is a bad idea. Walking outside of your house pointing a weapon around as you use it as a flashlight is another bad idea. If you want to escalate a situation, I can’t think of a better way to accomplish that than to point a weapon at someone. What if the person you illuminate isn’t a bad guy… what if they’re a police officer doing their duty or a neighbor looking for their cat? You’re now in some seriously hot water, assuming you don’t get shot in response.

    For civilians a good flashlight should be carried separately from their weapon. In most cases you won’t need a weapon when you need light, so I believe it’s a bad idea to combine the two tools.

    • If I hear a “bump” in the night, I won’t be going OUTSIDE my house to investigate (as you described searching in the night with a gun as a flashlight). So, that scenario is moot (at least for me). I cannot imagine any scenario where I’d go OUT of my house to confront a potential bad guy.

      Inside… I like to have one hand free. I can use reflected light if needed. But, we have nightlights around the house. So, I wouldn’t likely need the weapon-mounted light at all.

      • You’ve never had your car broken into? I did 2 months ago and I did go outside to investigate. The thugs were gone, but I wasn’t going to hide in my house. I only wish I had gotten outside more quickly.

    • Tim,
      I love the channel, BTW.

      I use pistol lights in all three walks of life (.mil .leo and .civ). For the use you describe above, I couldn’t agree with you more. A weapon light is NOT a flashlight. A weapon light is used for threat illumination, fast use-of-force analysis and that is it. Period. Carry two handheld surefires for illuminating surroundings.

      However, it seems rather hasty to condemn them for .civ use. I believe that their value is probably greater for civilians than for .mil, if used as I just described. Afterall, a .mil user is going to probably kill a lot of things in that house and the only lights and lasers he uses will be IR anyways; no white-light required 🙂

      For .leo and .civ that’s a different ball-game with greter restrictions placed on their use of force. It’s all fine and good to rest on castle doctrine and blast away at any intruder. Criminally, you may be okay depending on your State. However, civily you might be screwed, especially if it ends up being a bad shoot where you engaged someone that a jury may think you reasonably shuldn’t have engaged. Like the mentally-challenged kid down the street who was wandering around and found your door to be unlocked. Stuff like that happens, albeit rarely.

      If a civilian does not use the weapon light like a navigational flashlight like you said, and they train to use it appropriately then a weapon-light can be a great-tool for a .civ user in a home defense scanario. Illuminate, (re)assess threat, engage, cease illumination, move laterally or to another covered and/or concealed position, repeat as necessary.

    • Yes, they are. On my little ranch I often need to investigate some thing or another and moving through multiple gates, pens, etc requires a free hand – having a weapon mounted light is very helpful. While the Rabbi’s points are all valid, each individual needs to consider their own particular circumstances, abilities, experience, and training. There is no right answer to the question posed.

  21. Home defense/duty weapon the light is a must. Yes you are probably gonna muzzle sweep everything in your house but in the end it’s gonna come down to the most important aspect of owning a gun, TRIGGER DICIPLINE.

  22. I strongly disagree.

    IMO, a laser sight is a must-have on any defensive gun (carry or home defense). The reason a laser sight is such a good thing has to do with the human response to a threat, called “sympathetic nerve response” or fight-or-flight syndrome. Adrenaline courses through your body, vision narrows and focuses intently on the identified threat, strength is increased, fine motor control is greatly diminished. How are we trained to aim a pistol? Focus on the front sight. What does our body make it difficult to do when confronted by a deadly threat, even with extensive training? Focus on ANYTHING other than the threat. While training with sights is key to proper form and developing “muscle memory,” if most police officers involved in shooting incidents say afterward that they can’t even remember seeing their front sights, I don’t trust that I’ll do any better. However, a bright green dot appearing on the target is something I know I’ll be able to focus on.

    What else are we trained to do in a deadly encounter? MOVE. Who here can line up their iron sights while moving? A laser sight is a significant advantage in situations where you can’t take the time to get a proper stance or sight picture — while moving, around barricades or obstacles, even if you’ve been knocked down and are shooting from the ground.

    Add to that the fact that most confrontations/DGUs occur in the dark. A laser dot is much easier to see than even tritium sights. Check out statistics on police departments’ hit percentages with and without lasers. I don’t want to throw any numbers out there, but from what I recall the difference is pretty stark. Then there’s the “intimidation factor,” which shouldn’t be discounted.

    On the tactical illumination issue, as others have mentioned there are plusses and minuses to handheld vs. weapon-mounted. Weapon-mounted is always there and doesn’t change your shooting grip; handheld lets you see more without sweeping your gun around.

    All of my defensive guns have a laser. Lights are bulkier, and I still haven’t found a light/laser combo that I can carry IWB, but all of my pistols carried OWB and stored ready for home-defense have a light/laser combo. My home defense pistol (Glock 22) has a Viridian X5L, which is activated by the trigger finger from the outside of the trigger-guard (just below where your finger should rest normally unless you’re firing). When carried, Viridian’s “ECR” holsters automatically activates the light/laser in whatever mode I set it, the moment it’s drawn. (However, this is a retention holster for OWB open carry, not CC.) My main CCW (Glock 23) has a Crimson Trace green “Laserguard” mounted — it’s on as soon as I grip the pistol. No “death grip” required. It can be turned off for training/practice.

    I had thought that the doctrinaire “no-one needs a laser” and “they’re only good for cat toys” crowd had gone the way of the dodo by now. Obviously not.

  23. Massad Ayoob is generally in favor of them, which is enough for me. I agree that it’s something you need to train with. However I think it’s much better than trying to shoot with a handheld light.

  24. A lot of TTAG commentors have declared that they don’t want a safety on their self defense gun. It’s a potentialy deadly complication in a stress situation. How does that line of reasoning apply to a WML? If you’re afraid you can’t train yourself to sweep a safety in that moment, how are you going to do with a light switch on your piece?

    And if racking a shotgun is bad tactics, how is probing the night with a light attached to you or your weapon A good idea?

    • The light/safety comparison doesn’t really hold up because you don’t need to switch on the light in order to shoot. If you forget it’s there or can’t hit the switch in time, you’re no worse off than you would be without any light whatsoever. The WML might help you, and it definitely won’t hurt you the way a safety can if you forget about it.

      • Not so much.

        No matter what you carry you should practice enough that manipulating any safety or switch should be from muscle memory. If your carry piece has a light then the switch should come as second nature. If not, you need to practice more or take it off. There’s no excuse for less than 100% muscle memory with what you carry.

        After having EDC’d a 1911 for the past 15 years I’m just now getting the hang of not “swiping” for a safety on the Glock I bought five months ago. Practice, practice, practice.

  25. I had to use my handgun during a break-in to my home in the middle of the night. At the time, i did not have a light on the gun and did not want to turn lights on in the house to give away my position. Lucky for me, the idiot who broke in wasn’t very smart and I was able to turn the lights on. However, immediately after the incident I purchased the Streamlight TLR-1s. I will never be without a flashlight on the rail of my home defense handgun. Why? Because I can activate the light and still have a free hand to call 911 and open the door to let the police in, that’s why. If you have never been in the situation you probably won’t understand it’s value. Having both hands tied up is not efficient and leaves you no way to see what’s going on and make a call to the authorities.

    • +1

      Another valid point, the importance of a free hand to call the police.

      Another reason why a free hand is important: if you’re a parent with small children, a free hand can mean the difference between carrying your child to safety versus burying your child because they ran unrestricted into the field of fire when you engaged the intruder.

  26. Might as well ask if lights on long guns are stupid for HD. I have lights on my shotgun and AR. No easy task to have a separate light and keep a long gun ready. Once you hit the light you’re committed.

    I’d rather have one on my pistol than not. Still haven’t bought one yet though.

  27. Shoot accurate groups under stress in low light with your support hand dangling on a separate light? I doubt it. Military, Spec Ope, and LEOs use weapon lights for a reason. There’s no reason to flag your target when a light gives you good peripheral illumination. Also, most shootings occur during the hours of darkness.

    I don’t always use weapon lights, but indefinitely appreciate the option.

  28. There are usually many more things in the dark that you don’t want to shoot than things you do want to shoot.

    If your light is weapon mounted then you are pointing your weapon at targets you have yet to verify. Violates “knowing your target and what is beyond”.

    You should achieve situational awareness before you muzzle things, not as you muzzle things. For home and personal defense, use a handheld flashlight.

  29. I don’t like a flash light (a “torch” as the British would say) on a gun because they totally give away your position in a gun fight. Even worse, they give a criminal a nice target for return fire.

    A person who trains enough doesn’t need to use sights on a pistol to hit a target at close ranges (say up to 20 feet or so) — hence they don’t need a light to see sights and line them up on a target.

    Of course you need enough light to be able to see the criminal — you cannot aim at what you cannot see. And you also need to be sure that the criminal is indeed a criminal and not a child returning home after sneaking out in the middle of the night. These could be two reasons to use additional lighting. Even then, I would prefer a handheld flashlight held up and away from my body — and only illuminated if absolutely necessary.

    Remote controlled lighting in your home would totally eliminate the need for a flashlight. Even more imperative, make sure your children understand: they put themselves and their entire family in an extremely risky situation if they sneak out and return in the middle of the night.

  30. Shoot accurate groups under stress in low light with your support hand dangling on a separate light? I doubt it. Military, Spec Ope, and LEOs use weapon lights for a reason. There’s no reason to flag your target when a light gives you good peripheral illumination. Also, most shootings occur during the hours of darkness.

    I don’t always use weapon lights, but I definitely appreciate the option. Perhaps I’ll post some groups with and without weapon lights. That’s a bright idea we could all live with.

  31. They have there place (K-9, SWAT, home defense), that being said I use a handheld flashlight as part of my EDC, if I’m carrying a brace of handguns I’ll run a Surefire on the secondary.

  32. I’d prefer to have the option, thank you. If I encounter scum in the dark, I want to be able to see that my sights are lining up on said scum. Just try aiming in the dark: Your iron sights might as well not be there.

  33. “I don’t like a flash light (a “torch” as the British would say) on a gun because they totally give away your position in a gun fight. Even worse, they give a criminal a nice target for return fire.”

    This has been repeated over and over in here and I can understand why. However, it’s not the problem most people think it is.

    The thing is that LEDs are extremely bright, enough to blind, and badly. A few months back my wife woke me up at zero dark thirty. She said “the power just went out – go check it out”. So, I grabbed my gun and my light – a 320 Lumen Surefire – and started out of bed. Well, for some reason our bedroom door was closed, which it never is, and the door is white. It was so dark (power was out) I could not see that the door was closed. I turned on the light while three feet from the door pointing right at it. WOW! I was completely blind for more than 30-seconds. Not only blind but completely disoriented.

    A bright light will end the fight in a hurry if it is pitch black dark and the perp’s eyes are dark adjusted. Try it some night. Let your eyes adjust for 30-minutes and just blast that LED light at a white wall in front of you. “ouch!”.

      • Tell me about it! I learned a really good lesson that night. Turn the light on the first time while blocking the beam and letting only a bit of light through….

  34. A gun light on a house pistol is not meant to be used like a flashlight pointing straight ahead. The pistol is held in low or high ready. The light, when needed, is used as a bounce light off the floor (much like bounce flash on a camera) vastly mitigating the brightness issues people mention. It is as illegal to sweep someone in the dark as it is with a gun light on, so low or high ready is the rule in any case. Use of the light is optional. If the house power has gone off, it is extremely useful to have the light mounted. For a camp gun or cabin defense long gun a light is very advantageous. For a CCW pistol a pistol light seems counter-productive as to size and likely need. A very bright small flashlight for carry makes more sense, as you can use it for those needs during which drawing your firearm from concealment would be absurd.

  35. Most of the comments go to the “bump in the night” scenario. Which is understandable, as I do not see it on a daily carry piece.

    I wonder how many have ever considered just how disoriented they are likely to be if awakened from a dead sleep in the middle of the night? Happened here recently (house alarm went off — it was a false alarm, but that’s another story) and I pretty much beclowned myself groping around. Since I keep lights on throughout the house (kitchen light stays on all the time, the rest are night lights that come on only after dark), I wasn’t really groping in the dark. I was just very disoriented, for at least 30-45 seconds. Not sure what to do about that. But given the non-negligible probability that somebody innocent is just as likely to be in the path of my light as I sort things out, I’m doubly on board those who think it is not a good idea to be pointing the muzzle of my XDM at them at the same time.

    I keep an extremely powerful Cree technology flashlight next to the XDM on the dresser (hoping, I suppose, to blind anyone I shine it on). It goes in my left hand, (ice pick hold) the XDM in the right. And the right hand hangs down, not pointing at anything but the floor (and finger out of the trigger guard), until I’m certain there is something I want to point it at. When that time comes, I either cross the left hand for support under the right as I aim and fire, or I drop the light and go to a two handed grip. Never having had to make the latter decision, I don’t know which I’d do. Whatever come naturally, I suppose.

  36. Best adjunct to a home defense weapon (preferably a short barreled 20 g pump loaded with #4 birdshot) are two mean, ill-tempered, grumpy, bad-assed toy poodles. When they go barking batshit at 3 in the morning, you know its not a family member.

  37. I keep one on each of my house guns, you reach for the pistol and you also have a light.
    Just be sure to strobe the room and not use the light as a flashlight, as for pointing a firearm at someone, how does this differ from when you “slice the pie” when clearing a room?

  38. While I haven’t read all of the comments, I’ve read most of them and it appears to me that each one of us has to make the decision based on our own situation and preferences. I have a separate handheld for all the reasons cited above but having said that, I’m not going to go hunting the bad guy if he’s already in the house. He’s coming to me and he has to step into a standard hallway to get at me. I’ll be down low, behind the door frame, watching the hallway and when he steps into the hall, he’ll be backlit from the light in my neighbors yard, I don’t need to give away my position with a light or laser and it’s time to unload on him before he knows I’m waiting. My doors are locked so it’s not my neighbor, my wife is behind the bed or in the master bath on the phone with 911 and my kids are at their own homes. I’m 68 years and I’m just not bad enough anymore to go hunting him down. If he doesn’t come into the hallway, so much the better. I’ll let the cops handle him.

    There are ton of different scenarios we’re talking about here. Situational awareness my friends. If you want to sneak around corners, slicing the pie with a 300 lumen light or pretty green laser, giving yourself away, be my guest. I’ll be waiting in the dark at the end of a 40″ wide, 15 ft long funnel with full mag and nightsights and he’ll be backlit.

  39. If you don’t want a light, don’t get one. If you do, train with it.
    Clearing a house is easier with one. But that’s just me.

  40. In my case, being out in the wilds of Montana, i am less concerned about opposition that is armed with a gun, but more likely fangs, claws, and teeth. In that case, the light mounted on rifle or pistol works pretty well, because it is pitch dark out here. A light can at least temporarily freeze a varmint. Inside, we have prepositioned riot shotguns. Since one of my granddaughters walks around in her sleep, I get various noises, on a regular basis. I listen for more violent s0unds indicating a breakin, headlights coming up the road, and the location of my bedroom is where I can see out without being seen. I agree with the experienced people, flashlights destroy your nightvision, as well as announce your presence to the enemy.

  41. I believe a comparison with police and LEO is completely invalid given the distinct nature of the reasons a civilian vs uniformed personnel would use a pistol.

    A homeowner is DEFENDING their space from outside incursion. In the case of the military/LE, they’re OFFENSIVELY entering a space with the understanding that a hostile/ suspect may be close by. Having a weapon mounted light frees the team up to focus on searching the space for threats/ suspects, and arrest or detain with a free hand as needed.

    An ordinary Joe should NEVER clear the home as a cop or soldier would. Not only is that a good way to be ambushed by the bad guy, when the court case hits the docket the scumbag-or their survivors-can claim Joe Ordinary sought out a confrontation with his SWAT death ray laser/ light equipped handgun. The bad guy would be a Rhodes scholar if the homeowner didn’t chase the suspect down and execute him in the living room, yadda yadda and etcetera.You as the homeowner will likely win the case-at $50,000 expense for legal costs. All that goes away by just holing up in the bedroom and dialing 911.

    • “…when the court case hits the docket the scumbag-or their survivors-can claim Joe Ordinary sought out a confrontation with his SWAT death ray laser/ light equipped handgun. The bad guy would be a Rhodes scholar if the homeowner didn’t chase the suspect down and execute him in the living room, yadda yadda and etcetera.You as the homeowner will likely win the case-at $50,000 expense for legal costs…”

      Depends on your jurisdiction. Here in Washington State, forced entry is automatically grounds for justifiable homicide. If a bad guy enters your home without your permission… even if he walked through an unlocked front door… it is assumed that you can reasonably expect your life to be at risk and you can use lethal force. Doesn’t matter if you confront him or he confronts you. He’s in your home without asking your permission. I have never heard of someone here being sued by either an intruder or his family/estate because a resident shot him during a break in. If they did, it would have instantly made the news here because it would be precedent setting.

  42. I see a lot of people talking about holding a light in their left hand and shooting. A question for all of you… Have you practiced shooting like this? If you don’t practice, good luck if you ever have to do it especially under a high stress situation. It is one thing to think you can do it and another to actually do it.

  43. I’m no gentleman — and I agree with the rabbi. No gun-mounted lights for me. In the stress and confusion of a life and death situation, a light switch would be a distraction, and there’s also the possibility of hitting the wrong button at the wrong time like this guy. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/plano/headlines/20101119-gun-mounted-flashlight-blamed-in-fatal-plano-police-shooting.ece

    I have a small flashlight that I can use with my weak hand if I need to. I have no probems hitting what I aim at holding a pistol in my strong hand only.

    YMMV, but for me, no lights.

  44. I’ve found weapon lights to be a silly idea.
    My home always has some for of low ambient lighting, nightlight in the kitchen and bathrooms, aquarium lights in the living room.. it’s enough for me to see.

    And well, think or a moment on where that light is. Now, picture what is directly behind that light.

    Your head. You illuminate the bad guy AND give him a point of focus to shoot at at the same time. You’re better off with ambient light and no extra baggage on your gun.

  45. The First Light Tomahawk seems a practical option between a weapon mounted light and a plain hand held light. It shines at 90 degrees to its body. It is small and stays in/on the hand without having to be gripped. This lets one transition from rifle to pistol, use that hand to open doors, climb, etc. I don’t have one but it is on my wish list.

  46. If you are searching house to house in Iraq or cave to cave in Afghanistan, and you are going to shoot the first thing you see no matter what…then use a weapon mounted light. Otherwise, the Rabbi is right.

  47. I agree with the Rabbi on the light being a bullet magnet. I’m shooting at the light if someone is shooting at me with a gun mounted light. I think you’re making yourself an easier target, and there are to many things to mess with if you need to shoot.

  48. I have one mounted on my nightstand 9mm, which also has a front night sight too. I believe it is still more efficient than a flashlight in my support hand. I use the firearm mounted light as/if necessary, in tactical mode, for identification, but have the night sight for aiming.

  49. I think this subject is over analyzed to the point of being silly.

    If you jump a home invader does it really matter whether the light is weapon-mounted or held out to the side? How far out can you actually hold a light in a hallway? Also, I thought the main argument for using a handgun for home defense over a long gun is that with a handgun you have a free hand to dial 911, open doors, corral kids, turn on lights etc. If holding the light off to the side is so great maybe someone should make a 24″ picatinny flashlight extension to slap on the side of your AR’s quad rail.

    To me assuming that light position would make a difference is assuming a jumped home invader is a practiced enough shot that he’ll put a bullseye double-tap straight at the light wherever it may be. Jumped criminals can’t shoot for shit and it’s a roll of the dice whether you get hit or not no matter where your light is.

    If you want one, get one. If you don’t want one, don’t get one. Pick what you like then practice, practice, practice. Practice enough to have enough muscle memory you don’t even think about it.

  50. Weapon mounted lights, regardless if its a pistol, shotgun, rifle or tactical salami, are a good idea.

    It’s very important to identify your target at night. Just think if there’s a power outage, you won’t be able to turn on the lights to your living room if you hear a bump in the night.

    As for those who say “you’re just giving away your position”…
    1) Unless you have REALLY good flooring, the robber will know you’re coming if they hear the creeks in the floor boards.

    2) Have you ever been in a dark room and had a very VERY bright light shined in your face? I have. Instinctively you’ll want to move your head away or close your eyes. Don’t believe me? Go into a dark room, wait for your eyes to adjust for the night. Then have a friend blast you in the eyes with a Streamlight TLR-1. You’ll wish you hadn’t. I also guarantee that you’ll see splotches where you got shined upon.

  51. I only carry concealed, now that I have retired as a full-time LEO. In uniform, I can see the possibilities. On my bedside gun, yes (a G19 with a Surefire).

    However, while some holster makers will accomodate a light, the added bulk for a concealed gun does not work for me. I’ll stick to a separate light.

    For a home defense SGN, I also like it. What I don’t like is what I have seen both in pictures and in action – officers using their weapon mounted light, simply as a light, during searches. So everywhere you want to illuminate, you cover with the muzzle. Not cool, violates several safety rules, and an invitation to a ND.
    Obviously, YMMV.

  52. Who knew a simple comparison story about a few pistol-mount weapon lights would spark such a heated debate? I certainly had no clue when I wrote it.
    I think there’s no right answer to this question. There are far too many variables involved for each individual. In my case, the light works. The laws in my state, the layout of my home, my military training, and other factors unique to my situation make the weapon mounted light a viable option for defending my home.
    If you choose to do things differently than I have, that’s fine. There is no right or wrong answer here. Just be sure you practice shooting in different scenarios with the light that you have chosen. If you haven’t had any type of defensive training, take a class or two. Don’t be caught in a life or death situation using tactics that look cool on an episode of CSI, but will get you killed in real life.

  53. if you can draw and shoot your pistol with a light just as fast, accurate, and safely of course, then i see no issue with it.

    I would prefer to have my light separately on my belt since i would have access to a light without having to draw my gun.

    for a long gun? definitely. lights are essential alongside a optic and sling.

    • Please state what it wrong with his advice, what the correct answer is in your mind and what education and experience you have to back it up.

  54. Interesting theories. I’ll stick to my training. If I’m running around with a firearm at the ready, it’s because I have already made a conscious decision that I am in fear or imminent danger.

    Having established that I fear for my safety, where my eyes go, so does my muzzle, for one without the other is pointless.

    Thus, if my eyes need light to see, it makes no difference if the light is attached to the weapon (my preference) or held by my support hand; however, a support hand is that only when it supports the firearm. As it clutches the light, it is not a support hand. I prefer to have both hands on my firearm if possible.

    YMMV.

  55. I’m very much a noob so I defer to those with experience. But in a home defense situation for me it seems wisest to grab gun grab kids and hunker down while calling 911. I can move in dark in my own house and if needed set the small handheld surefire on the floor dresser or bed pointed at door while taking cover in another dark corner with kids close and under more cover. Seems to me if you cant hit a man sized target st 7 yds either hand the first need is more practice until you can.

  56. This is another of those contentious topics. Personally, my HD pistol has a rail mounted light. The light is either on or off, no momentary operation. I like it there becuase it leaves my support hand free for support (who’d have thunk it?) or for reloading, calling 911, whatever. I don’t wear a holster to bed so it’s a nonissue. YMMV.

  57. Weapon mounted light? Sure, if it solves a problem for you then by all means. Stand alone light? Mandatory with or without a WML. Also, everyone try this, get something that isn’t a gun in your strong hand and a flashlight in the other then walk up to a closed door. Did you freeze unable to determine what to do next? Did you stare at your hands and try to decide which item you’d have to put down in order to open the door? I’ll bet every one who tries it either 1. Opened the door with the light still in hand, 2. stuffed the light in a pocket or, 3. put the light under their arm.

    Come on people, we’re smarter than this. What’s with all the absolutes? Are some of you really out there freezing up on how to open doors when your hands are ‘full’?

    WML is very useful in some situations, it does have draw backs, and it does need its own training regimen. A stand alone light is a must even with a WML.

    As for the stress issue, sure it’s a factor, but it’s not the main factor. Personally my stress level is very low when I investigate a random noise or whatever the dog is barking at. If I actually identify a threat then of course the stress level is going way up. . . but then, if I have identified the threat, I’m only muzzling that threat, WML or not. Again, we’re smarter and better than this. How many DGUs per year Vs how many accidental shootings? Some how normal people everywhere manage to get by without accidentally shooting family members, stressed or not. The whole muzzling issue is largely a range rule for newbies. Sure, it’s a good idea, but frankly every officer, SWAT member and soldier you can find a video of muzzles every one he meets while room clearing anyway, light or no light. They just don’t shoot anyone who isn’t posing a threat. For that matter I’ve never seen a stick line up for an entry that there wasn’t considerable muzzling of each others feet and legs. If you’re really going force on force and keeping your weapon at low ready as you enter rooms you’re going to lose, period. You can only come through the door, but the BG can be anywhere in the room. You’d better be muzzling everything your eye tracks over if you want a chance to fire first. Is this safe? Who ever said armed combat was safe? It’s dangerous to you, to the bad guy, the bystanders, everyone. The no muzzling rule is for ‘safe gun handling’ not combat.

  58. It all boils down to what you’re using it for. Personally, I won’t go into the woods without a light on either my rifle or pistol, depending on what I have on me at the time. Having a stream of light right where your weapon is aimed is a pretty desirable feature when the sun goes down, and you hear some rustling in nearby foliage. If you want one, get one. Use it and train with it. If you like it, and it works for you, that’s awesome. If not, it’s not like the thing is permanently attached to the weapon, and you never know if and/or when it’ll come in handy.

  59. I’ve read every post here and can’t help but ask.
    Why are people so worried about sweeping
    their WML when their finger should NEVER
    be on the trigger? Your trigger finger IS the
    last step to firing your gun. It should NEVER
    be on the trigger. NEVER NEVER NEVER.
    So given that, what is the worry? A few
    of the posters did get it right.

  60. I could see using a weapon light for a home defense pistol, like the one I keep in the drawer. I tend to carry smaller compact pistols, but have a full sized pistol by my bedside. A crimson trace laser and a weapon light on it could be useful for investigating a ‘bump in the night’. Even more useful is approaching the perp in the darkness of the night, but say that’s not an option (needing to navigate a dark area of the home); the light comes in handy.

    Another, not mentioned feature is this. Say I sneak up on an intruder whose in my home, of course I don’t know that they aren’t armed but they don’t have one in their hands and they don’t see me. This puts me at a great tactical advantage to have plenty of time to turn on the light, and still be back at the trigger long before he could draw ANYTHING. The light not only alarms and potentially disorients the perp AND gives me a clear look at him so I can indeed see IF he’s going to reach for anything, but it obscures ME from view (even faced a car with it’s bright lights on? All you can see is the lights, no windshield, no grille, etc.) So for a home defense pistol (or rifle/shotgun for that matter), I can see a few situations where a weapon light could be exceptionally useful.

    Though of course, a Mag light in the support hand is a welcome option as well. Especially because a mag light can be a heck of a weapon.

  61. Hey guys great conversation with lots of good points. I think that having a pistol light give you options that you wouldn’t have otherwise. People will run into trouble when they try to do too much with it. In most scenarios a handheld flashlight is better so you should have both and train with both. I would definitely want a pistol light once I had located the bad guy and I wanted to keep my gun on him. Anyway, there are lots of great pistol lights out there that work differently, I have recently done a small primer article with a top gun light comparison guide.

  62. My only comment for your consideration is a mounted light means you have to flag what you illuminate with the muzzle of a hot gun. If that bump in the night is your spouse, child, pet or drunk neighbor, you’re violating one of the 4 Cooper safety rules. Different than in a combat situation in hostile territory I’d say. Using a separate light in the weak hand and training with such a tool for keeping muzzle at low ready while searching may be a better option for most people who don’t have the training under stressful situations to respond appropriately and safely. A startle response to movement with a hot gun in “go” position is a tragedy in the making.

    Jeff Cooper advocated four basic rules of gun safety:

    1. All guns are always loaded. Even if they are not, treat them as if they are.
    2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy. (For those who insist that this particular gun is unloaded, see Rule 1.)
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger till your sights are on the target. This is the Golden Rule. Its violation is directly responsible for about 60 percent of inadvertent discharges.
    4. Identify your target, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything that you have not positively identified.

  63. The comments here demonstrate what should be apparent. In some situations, a weapon-mounted light would be a good thing to have. And in other situations, it wouldn’t. For most carry situations, I don’t see the point. But for the weapon that lives in the night stand next to the bed, I see plenty of good reasons to have a light and no good reasons not to have one.

  64. What is it about so many firearms enthusiasts that makes them such know-it-all blowhards? The guns they own are the best and everything else sucks. The caliber they use is the only intelligent choice. The know the best grip, stance, technique, etc. and everyone else is bumbling, incompetent, Barney Fife.

    Our preferences and opinions are not applicable to everyone and all situations. If you don’t like lights on your guns don’t use them. Personally I like the option to be able able to see what I’m shooting at in any scenario. If you don’t I honestly don’t care.

  65. I stumbled upon this old thread and have a couple thoughts.
    I like to have every option and advantage that I feel is plausible so I have both WML/L on a nightstand pistol and hand held tactical lights and use them in the combination I feel most appropriate for the scenario. I still have kids at home so I have to get to and protect them if we have an issue. I send my doberman ahead of me in that case.
    The other big issue is in this part of the country it’s rare to get the single intruder, they work in teams of three to five typically so we have to factor that into or response plan.

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