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opplanet-streamlight-tlr2-weapon-mounted-flashlight-laser-31.jpgDo you have a gun on your flashlight? A recent report by the Denver Post finds that gun-mounted flashlights are increasingly being linked to accidental shootings and negligent discharges by police. Record-keeping is spotty, but the paper found that over the last nine years, there have been at least five shootings by officers who happened to be using the lights, with two of the victims being other officers. The problem seems to be one of both training and equipment. On the training side, one police trainer said, “I’ve seen officers use a flashlight-mounted gun . . .

to help a person search their wallet for a driver’s license. I’ve literally seen that on a traffic stop.” On the equipment side, a Texas officer with years of service, a reputation for being a great shot, and a spotless safety record accidentally shot a suspected drug dealer while attempting to simply shine his flashlight on him. That officer now believes that the weapon-mounted lights are a bad idea, saying that incidents like his are nearly inevitable in the future. Other (unspecified) training experts believe the lights are here to stay, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Your Lockdown of the Day™ comes from Los Angeles, California. Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen was on lockdown for a little over four hours Monday after police received a call that someone with a gun was headed to the campus. Students and staff were warned to stay inside or away from campus while authorities investigated. The lockdown was lifted around 2 p.m., and it was not immediately apparent if there had been a genuine threat. Police were looking into the identity of the male caller who’d made the initial report. Monday was the last day of final exams at Valley College, and exams that had been scheduled for 12:30 p.m. were cancelled. I’m sure that had nothing whatsoever to do with the alert.

The ammunition shortage that we’ve been experiencing for quite a while is now being felt on the other side of the world, literally. Australian importers of firearms and ammunition say the situation there is a crisis state. The managing director of Nioa, Australia’s biggest firearms and ammunition wholesaler, says the company has been forced to wait up to three years for some of its American stock to arrive, leaving customers scrounging and making do with existing products. He says some of those three year delays have started to fall back down, but even they are still in the 6-12 month range. The pest management industry is also being hard hit, making it hard to keep the large populations of feral pigs and wild dogs in check. With their usual ammunition either unavailable or extremely high-priced, they’re forced into looking into other options like locally sourced powder, which is high quality, but extremely expensive and limited in quantity. Amidst all of this, even the government agencies are having trouble, though they’re getting priority on whatever is produced or imported.

Niagara Falls, New York held a gun buy-up over the weekend, and officials judged it a success, with “at least 120 guns bought back.” It was the usual routine, with prepaid cards ranging from $25 to $100 given out for the various levels of weapons. They were giving $25 for nonworking/antique guns, which is unusual. Most groups are onto that by now, and will take the gun but won’t give you anything. At the other end of the scale, “assault weapons” would score you a whole $100. The event ran from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, and people were lined up 20 minutes before it opened. Those in charge see that early line as a sign of people really wanting this service, but I’m more cynical and see it as a sign of people just wanting to get there early so they can get on with the part of their Saturday that doesn’t involve interfacing with the government.

This isn’t a gun video, it’s a knife video. A really big knife video. I hope you’ll forgive me, because I think it’s pretty awesome.

If he made those and reinforced them with steel like he talked about, I’d buy one.

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  1. Someone turned to desperate measures to get out of taking finals. It worked, bought them 24 more hours to procrastinate studying.

    • Kids were phoning in bomb scares to avoid finals when I was in high school in the late 60’s.

      Move along. Nothing to see here.

  2. The issue with flashlights on firearms is it breaks one of the very rules gun owners live by: Do not point your firearm at anything you aren’t willing to destroy. Problem is, when you point your flashlight at something to identify it, you’re also pointing your firearm at it.

    • +1

      Exactly. Department policy should be that the gun-mounted flashlights are only used for identifying your target in a dark place. No other uses allowed. Or just remove all of them, and force them to use a separate flashlight all the time.

      • When you point a flashlight at a bad guy, he can’t see anything behind the light. So if the bad guy decided to shoot, he will usually shoot at the light. If you put the light on your gun, then what is behind your gun? Your head or your upper body. The bad guy will probably shoot you in the head. They used to train officers to hold their flashlight with their arm straight above their head or way off to the side for this very reason.

  3. Joerg Sprave is a magnificent human being. The perfect combination of ransacking barbarian and mad genius. That laugh of his just makes my day whenever I hear it, especially since it’s usually preceded by him launching a chainsaw from a crossbow or some other insane shit.

    • I completely agree. He has this perfect air of steampunk mad genius. It’s utterly brilliant. Very much like that kukri. If he can work out how to reinforce the handle, he will have a more or less perfect camp/backpack chopper. I’d definitely buy one.

    • His laugh is infectious, but I’m really impressed by the thought and craftsmanship he puts into the stuff he builds. Amazing!

  4. I’m surprised students don’t pull this trick more. Go to a payphone, make a call, get a day off school, care of your paranoid statist panty wetters.

    Also, nice to see New York taxpayers’ money wasted on another Evidence Destruction and Trash Buying event. The sad part is that the local government could make a load of money reselling those guns to legal buyers, but they won’t, because that would be too logical.

  5. I’ve tested many different flashlights and lasers on pistols and I am unable to figure out how you pull the trigger while activating either.

    • The laser on the S&W Bodyguard is pretty intuitive – simple push of the button for on and stays on until you turn it off. I doubt you’d ever be in a situation where you needed the pistol when you’d have time to activate it (since the Bodyguard is meant to be used at extremely close range), but it’s there.

      Regardless, trying to activate gadgets when the chips are down doesn’t seem like a great idea to me. Of course, I’m also not a fan of weapon mounted lights. They have their uses (moving from bright sun into a dark interior – you’re not using NVGs for that). But overall, the one thing they do a great job of is identifying you for any bad guys.

    • It’s why I like the Crimson Trace setup. If you’re holding the gun, the laser is on. No extra steps needed.

    • On the surefire ones I’ve played with at my LGS you can use your secondary thumb in a “thumbs forward” grip to push on the little lever. Doing it this way, so far as I’ve seen, will only activate the light when you are putting pressure on it.

  6. The weapon light problem is easy. Don’t use it for mundane tasks and use a regular flashlight for searching.

  7. Point your gun at someone, use your trigger finger to switch on your flashlight — what could go wrong?

  8. I have a weapon light. I use the two handed grip with the thumb of the non-gripping hand pointed forward along the frame of the gun. This is what I use to activate the light switch and so my trigger finger is only used to operate the trigger when needed.

    • It could blow out.

      You need to whip up a tactical hurricane lamp for that muzzleloader.

  9. ???

    …Texas officer with years of service, a reputation for being a great shot, and a spotless safety record accidentally shot a suspected drug dealer while attempting to simply shine his flashlight on him.

    4 safety rules anyone?

    • Well, he brought it on his patrol so I’d say he treated it as if it were loaded.

  10. I decided long ago that a gun mounted light is secondary to a hand held light. You have to know if something needs a gun pointed at it before you point a gun at it.

  11. My nightstand has a Tac45 with a Surefire X300 attached and then a Surefire G2X next to it, I like options. That said when things go bump in the night you can safely shine aim the Tac45 at the ground and light the X300 to see the whole room your in without muzzling your kids or cat.

    As for bad guys shooting back at the light, never been in that situation and not sure how real life DGU would play out but either 1) I am pointing my handheld light at the bad guys then my gun or 2) lighting up my floor with the gun then moving the gun to the threat, either way I am giving up my positioning in a dark house.

  12. Carrying a secondary light should be mandated if you want to use a weapon mounted light on your sidearm, for safety (and the children).

  13. “Do you have a gun on your flashlight?”

    I have a flashlight on my gun.
    Is this intentional?

    • Yes it’s intentional. I have flashlights and I have a light on my rifle. I don’t have a gun on my flashlight nor do I have a flashlight on my rifle. There is a distinction between all of those. I don’t consider the Surefire X300 Ultra mounted on my SAM7R a flashlight. It is a weapon light and I don’t use it as a flashlight.

      • What’s the difference between flashlight and light in this context. Both provide illumination, where you atrach it or how you use it is up to you.

      • The light on my handgun is mentally tagged as a “target illuminator”, the Redline in my pocket is my “flashlight”.

  14. Keep a tac light with a sharpened striking bezel on front and a magnet on back in the safe. That way,we can grab any choice of gun.

  15. It’s good to see a report on what is happening downunder.

    BTW Mulwex powder is VERY high quality and has good temperature resistance. It is imported into the US by Hogden and Vitha Vutori.

    And it can be bought in 4kg canisters for bulk supply. I haven’t used US powders for over 20 years because the Mulwex powder is that good.

  16. “…but the paper found that over the last nine years, there have been at least five shootings…”

    That is a pretty insignificant number if you think about it.

  17. Granted that a weapon mounted light is of sound tactical value, but how about enhancing your situation by leaving leaving enough ambient light in your home so that you can identify anyone and anything in it?

    I have excellent night vision, especially after 20 minutes or more of adaptation, and for me, a few strategically placed night lights make my home the equivalent of Yankee Stadium at night. That, combined with tritium night sights for aiming, is more than enough.

    I believe that anyone with normal visual acuity could do the same, without the potential pitfalls of weapon lights, few as they are. At least you won’t end up pointing your weapon at your wife or child just to identify who it is.

  18. During the training classes I’ve taken in no light/low light shooting, the instructors emphasize that if you are running lights attached to your weapons you turn them on and use the “corona” of the light to search for targets. In so doing, you keep the main beam of the light, attached to the weapon, pointed at the ground and use the “corona” from the main light to illuminate your room. In doing this, the muzzle is kept pointed at the ground all the time, unless/until you actually have to bring it up to engage a threat. The light is used very minimally and never kept on all the time, or used like a traditional off-weapon flashlight, to sweep in all directions.

    It is a matter of training, but it requires careful practice and training to avoid every using the weapon-mounted light as one would use a hand held light.

  19. flashlights on guns isn’t unsafe, his is the result of not enough gun safety training. Whatever happened to the simple and effective rule of keeping your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot?

    • Nothing happened to it. The problem is people are reaching for the activation switch with their trigger finger and missing and hitting the actual trigger instead.

      • The trigger finger is never used, or should never be used, to activate the light. You keep your shooting hand’s trigger finger indexed, as usual, on the weapon, either long gun or handgun, and use your support hand’s index finger to activate the toggle switch on the weapon light.

        Again, this is a matter of proper training.

        Anyone using their trigger finger to activate the light is simply doing it wrong and will not be prepared to take the shot well, or to place follow up shots well, while keeping his light on.

  20. On the question of lights on weapons…I put this longer comment up on the TTAG Facebook page:

    This is a matter of adequate training on how to use a light mounted on a weapon. I’ve taken several low light/no light classes where we train on using a light in enclosed spaces, in a typical home layout, etc. A few things I’ve been taught that I’ve found extremely helpful:

    (1) NEVER turn the light on simply to sweep around the room. If you have light mounted on your weapon you will muzzle sweep everyone and anyone in the room or house. You can never use your weapon light as you would a regular flash light.

    (2) A weapon mounted light can and should be used to look for and identify threats by turning the light on and pointing it and the muzzle toward the ground. Say to yourself, “Light down, eyes up” and use the “corona” of the light to illuminate the room. It will provide plenty of light for you to see. You will blind yourself if you hit your light and stare directly into the bright spot. Point muzzle down. Turn on light. Keep eyes up and away from bright spot, and use the “corona” given off by the main beam and use that to search for threats.

    (3) NEVER use your trigger finger to turn the light on. I suspect this is what causes ADs when using weapon mounted lights. Your trigger finger should be kept indexed and off the trigger, just as always, until you are on target and ready to shoot it. You turn the weapon light on with a finger on your support hand, either on long gun or handgun.

    (4) You never simply turn the light on and leave it on. It is always and only used for a short burst of light to identify a threat and then to illuminate the threat and engage it. Otherwise, you are simply telegraphing your position to whoever is “out there.”

    (5) A little tip one of our instructors passed along. When you hit the light, keep one eye closed, your non dominant eye, and keep it closed. When the light goes off, open up the eye and you will recover your night vision MUCH more quickly.

  21. Your weapon mounted light should not be your primary light. Weapon mounted lights are for one thing and one thing only, target identification in a use of force situation.

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