Pistol Light on Your Carry Gun? Read This First

Weapon mounted lights on carry guns

Photo Courtesy Dark Star Gear

Among the many internet gun debates that tend to clog up cyberspace is whether or not weapon-mounted lights should be on carry pistols. Discussions of weapon lights often devolve into a debate of weapon lights versus handheld lights.

That doesn’t make sense to me. The addition of a weapon-mounted light (WML) doesn’t require the user to discard his or her handheld or tactical flashlight. It’s not an either/or question if you’re doing it right.

Weapon-mounted lights are a supplement to – not a replacement of – the flashlight. With the number of models of WMLs offered by makers like Crimson Trace, Surefire and Streamlight and quality holsters on the market today, it’s not that difficult to find the proper equipment that will allow you to effectively deal with a little added bulk.

In fact, bulk and weight are the most common downsides to carrying a WML. However, there are many detractors out there who feel that adding a WML to a carry pistol means the user will suddenly start pointing a firearm at every noise they hear. Again, adding a WML to a pistol doesn’t require the carrier to discard their stand-alone flashlight.

Surefire X300’s and Streamlight TLR-1 HL and Streamlight TLR-2 are great choices for WMLs.

Rule #2 Still Stands

One argument that’s frequently heard against a handgun light is that whatever is illuminated by a the light is also covered by the muzzle. This point is dependent upon the assumption that the user will be using his or her pistol light in place of a flashlight when it isn’t appropriate to do so.

Hopefully, it’s obvious that firearms safety rule #2 always applies. Still, the reason we have any sort of white light at all is to gather information we don’t have; like who’s a threat and who isn’t. There is a lot of real estate between where a firearm is needed and where it’s entirely inappropriate. There is a technique which is likely to be appropriate in these situations.

The “spill” of a WML’s beam can be used to illuminate an area while keeping the firearm in a low ready or suppressed ready positions. That’s not perfect for every occasion, but I’ve found it viable during force-on-force training in low light conditions.

Other Potential Problems

Another concern about weapon lights is that the activation switch can be close to the trigger. A number of unintentional discharges have been indirectly attributed to WMLs. Folks who use their trigger finger to activate the light and haven’t properly trained are the most common perpetrators here.

It’s just not fair to assign a single digit two very different jobs without rigorous training. I know – or know of – several high-level tactical-type guys who activate the WML on the draw stroke with their trigger finger. They do it extremely well and they do it safely. Doing so allows them to operate strong-hand only if necessary.

Still, I recommend that most folks use the offside thumb to activate the ambidextrous switch on a WML unless they’re willing to put in some serious training time.     

Always test your pistol‘s functioning when adding weapon lights or any other aftermarket accessories.  

Stoppages

Weapon lights or almost any accessory can cause functioning problems with pistols, be they for carry, home defense or duty use. As always, test your pistol thoroughly with your chosen pistol light, carry magazines and defensive ammunition prior to trusting the combination in the field.

Most quality pistol manufacturers have addressed this concern very well over the last several years and it’s not as much of an issue these days. But you really don’t want to find out you have a problem when you really need your handgun.

Two Hands are Better Than One

The most common attribute of the rail-mounted light (GLOCK or Picatinny rail) is that the pistol light allows for a normal two-handed hold. Who isn’t faster and more accurate with both hands on their pistol? Opening a door or pulling back a curtain with both hands chock full of emergency equipment is nearly impossible.

As an experiment, try to open a door with a flashlight in one hand and an unloaded pistol in the other, then quickly assume your firing position with the hand-held light.

Whichever your choice of technique (FBI, Ayoob, Harries, etc.), it will likely be slower and more awkward than simply re-acquiring a two-handed grip. No disrespect is intended to those well-researched techniques, but basic physiology gives the nod to the weapon light in this regard. There is a reason that rail mount lights are all but mandatory law enforcement equipment these days.

The bottom line is this: If you want to add a weapon-mounted tactical light to your carry pistol, do it. Just know that it will require some additional thought, practice and financial investment. The opinions of chairborne rangers are irrelevant. What is relevant is proper preparation.

Choose your WML and holster carefully. Some combine either a red laser or green laser, which may work well for you depending on your intended use. Then test your chosen pistol and light combination honestly. Train thoughtfully and carry with confidence.

comments

  1. avatar Thinker1 says:

    At the point of shooting, does one positively ID the target or not? I say, yes.

    1. avatar Dirt Clod says:

      WMLs are essential when you have to throw your gun to someone else across a dark room or battle site. Have you ever tried to find a Glock in the dark…outdoors? But if you personal protection scenario is by the book, well then you don’t need any advantages.

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        Well said.

        Or simply being able to find ANYTHING in the dark while maintaining both hands on your weapon. He must carry NVG’s to avoid these issues tho…

  2. avatar Mitchell says:

    Depends on the carry gun light honestly. Some have the pressure switch I can place on the grip or next to the finger groove for the trigger. Theirs more options than the expensive ones they hand you on every website. Also if a cheap light breaks your not down 2-400 USD.

    1. avatar GDMF says:

      Oh… no. You don’t skimp on items you will be trusting your life to.

      There are TONS of cheap guns and lights and holsters… for people who want a feeling of security or are just getting their bearings with regard to self-defense… or (yes) because they are (admittedly) on an extremely limited budget.

      If you care about actually being able to use the tools when you need them, please, do not cut corners.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        You trust your life to objects every day that get skimped on, believe me. The car you drive, the bicycle helmet you wear, the bus you use, the escalator you ride… in the grand scheme of things, your weapon-mounted light is WAY down the list of objects you should be worried about unless you’re operating operationally in an are of operations.

        1. avatar B.D. says:

          Wrong. It is on the top of the list if you carry it every day. If you trust your life to a poorly maintained vehicle, that is your own fault. The other objects are OUT OF YOUR CONTROL – like an escalator, which I hope you are joking about, because they are OUT OF YOUR CONTROL. You control your EDC, you control your vehicle and it’s maintenance, you bought the damn things. Why would you skimp on a bicycle/motorcycle helmet? Are you thin? Or just cheap as fuck and truly think cheap things offer the same protection as their counterparts?

          You obviously cannot even operate quality control, so don’t try to give advice where to save a dollar.

  3. avatar The Dude Abides says:

    Lights belong on all self defense guns.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I do not own a self-defense gun that has a rail for mounting one. I don’t plan on starting any time soon, either.

      1. avatar GDMF says:

        OK….. thanks for that, then.

        :eyeroll:

      2. avatar PWinKY says:

        I’m not dangling a bunch of shit off my guns either. No lights here.

        1. avatar George from Alaska says:

          By golly, no way…. huh uh… ain’t gonna…
          First of all – nothing is dangling, a light is securely affixed to the firearm.
          Second – what do you mean “a bunch of shit”? .. do you think lights are multiple pieces of equipment?
          Third – “No lights for me” OK there, so in the dark – inside or outside the house when confronted with a situation and a person or persons in the dark will you just have your trusty 1911 and illuminate the scene with the radiance of your own skills? Maybe you have a flashlight, I don’t know. Tritium nite sights?
          I’m 64 and generally get annoyed at my kids, coworkers or anyone who won’t try or use a new idea or concept a few times to shake it out.
          I don’t have lights on my carry guns either but it’s only because I’m waiting for a couple of new holsters to try them out. I’ve shot with my guns with lights on quite a bit at the range in the dark up here in Alaska and I see positive benefits in not only lighting up my paper, steel and clay targets but I can see my sights clearly imposed on the target, not only from the direct light but the indirect light from the weapon light makes it easier to see my sights.
          Give it a try gramps, you may be surprised.

        2. avatar B.D. says:

          You won’t win that battle with these old fart 1911 OWB carriers. Let em stay in their bubbles.

    2. avatar raptor jesus says:

      Yes, because everyone in a self defense scenario should be aggressively moving forward, clearing rooms, and actively identifying things to shoot.

      I definitely want to walk around looking like Walter Sobchak with a weapon light, a pocket light, a leatherman, field notes, a tactical pen, while wearing 5.11 cargo pants and a “tactical concealment vest” to conceal all the crap hanging off of me and my guns. Might as well announce to the bad guys that you’re the guy they should shoot first.

      My cell phone has a light if I need one. Otherwise, no thank you sir.

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        This is the most ignorant comment on this entire thread.

        STFU.

        1. avatar raptor jesus says:

          no u

          can’t even string together a sentence to rebut my position?

  4. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Damn! A well thought out article that I have nothing to disagree with. My nightstand pistol has a WML.The night stand also has a handheld. When I heard a loud bump in the night once I rolled out. Chambered a round and grabbed the handheld. After checking my children’s bedrooms with the handheld I dropped it on the floor and took a covered position and waited. A long time. After nothing I cleared the house. Not the first time, but the first time it was mine. My son’s book bag had fallen off a bar stool in the kitchen after about ten hours. Hurricane Michael. Gunfight on my street. Live alone. Roll out only. No handheld. Good to have both options. Never carried WML. Even in uniform. Thinking about trying it though concealed. Tough in Florida in summer.

  5. avatar MB says:

    One advantage is most weapon lights extend past the muzzle, allowing a “contact shot” without concern of pushing slide, causing “out of battery” FTF. I have no other opinion, if you like or need a light fine, of not fine also.

    1. avatar YuGo HuGo says:

      I have a WML on a Glock 19 that is for home defense. I activate the switch with the middle finger of my right hand which allows me to keep the trigger finger stationary along the frame as always. Like so many things if a WML is good for your use, great. A WML certainly is not mandatory.

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        It’s not, for sure, but it’s stupid for all these idiots here to say things like “I never have, and don’t plan on hanging shit off my gun”. It is what it is… but I’d rather not need it and have it, than need it and not have it. Pretty straight forward in terms of a WML, especially for EDC, doubly so for a home defense gun.

  6. avatar Specialist38 says:

    So we have a post saying what most commentors (those of above average intelligemce) have been saying about weapon light posts over the last couple of months.

    Hmmmm.

    Maybe TTAG should stop writing content and post a single line topic where commentors will weigh in as they see fit.

    1. avatar GDMF says:

      Even the editors/posters can come around after hearing the truth often enough…

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Ha! Long is the struggle, hard to fight.

  7. avatar binder says:

    “The “spill” of a WML’s beam can be used to illuminate an area while keeping the firearm in a low ready or suppressed ready positions.”

    About that. I think without a lot of training, people are still going to point their pistols when it is inappropriate.

    Also seams that this is a problem.

    https://www.denverpost.com/2014/06/07/gun-mounted-flashlights-linked-to-accidental-shootings/
    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/sd-me-flashlight-gun0160922-story.html
    http://www.hendonpub.com/resources/article_archive/results/details?id=2295
    https://www.activeresponsetraining.net/weapon-mounted-lights-and-a-dirty-little-police-secret

    “With the increasing number of WMLs being fielded, the number of firearms with WMLs being pointed at non-threatening civilians, firefighters, paramedics, and other officers for purposes of illumination and signaling are too numerous to recount in this article.”

    1. avatar Ark says:

      “He pointed a firearm at me, which is a felony in this state.”

      “Nuh-uh! I didn’t point it at him, I just used the spill of the weapon light! Muh training!”

      I mean, if you wanna try your luck with that in the courtroom, be my guest, but I don’t wanna be your lawyer. Your gun should stay in your damn holster unless you are firing it.

      1. avatar Baldwin says:

        Room clearing my home with my pistol in the holster….hmmm. Nope.

  8. avatar Eighty says:

    Yea, good luck finding a holster to fit your chosen make and model of firearm matched with a rail mounted flashlight/laser/combo. It seems you need to choose a holster first, then buy the weapon and light that fit in it.

    1. avatar Joe Ballengee says:

      Raven Concealment, phlster and g-code to name a few have a number of options for your glock and surefire x300 which is what you should be carrying to begin with. These systems are tried and true reliable.

    2. avatar GDMF says:

      This STARTS with the light you choose – you would, of course, choose a duty-grade WML, right? – and, yes, if you are carrying a snowflake or collector’s gun then, of course, you may still have a problem finding an OFF THE SHELF holster. ;-p

      You DO know that there are a bazillion custom kydex holster makers that can fit the bill, though…. right?

      Dark Star Gear
      JM Custom Kydex
      etc, etc

      I’m just gonna say it – forget leather and hybrid holsters, WML or no WML. Time to enter the present, folks.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Like kydex shoes. Sorry, leather has worked and will continue to work for holsters.

        Kydex is dandy as is some of the hybrid stuff. Leather also works well if well constructed.

        I have a Kramer horsehide pocket holster as stiff the day I got it. I also sometimes carry in a 35 year old Bianchi pistol pocket with perfect retention.

        Time for you to join the present. There are many options other than kydex. If you dont like them, buy kydex. I think there is a support group for people who are afraid of dead animal products.

        1. avatar Dave says:

          that’s great, if you have a good holster that works, don’t muck about with it. but the leather holsters formed for a light tend to drag more, especially when new, making the draw stroke awkward. On the positive side, weapon grabs from a leather holster made for a light – good luck with that.

        2. avatar GDMF says:

          Right, so show me an IWB light-bearing leather holster that conceals as well as kydex… Go ahead, I’ll wait…

          I really should have added OWB to that list.

        3. avatar GDMF says:

          BTW, wasn’t trying to sound jerky… (I miss the edit feature!)

          It is very hard to find good light-bearing leather holsters. Even more so if you are looking for IWB.

          Leather is always more bulky and offers fewer options as far as mounting is concerned. Leather can sometimes be more comfortable but that is more a matter of what you are accustomed to… along with how well the holster is designed. 😉

          My point was really that, if you are choosing a holster NOW then it is really hard to beat the options you get with kydex. If you already have something else that works for you then… fine.

        4. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

          GDMF,

          “Edit” is still available…the caveat is that you have to check the first option: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.” EVERY time you comment. Checking the box initiates the countdown clock (giving you time to re-read your message for the inevitable ooops…or, in my case, ameliorating my chronic hoof-in-mouth disease).

      2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        I’ve had good results with Talon Retention Systems kydex holsters made in Kalispell, Montana. The owner will work with you to create a custom molding for whatever pistol / light combo you have…bear in mind that he already has molds on hand for just about all of the popular combinations LEO’s, Agencies and civilians can mash together.

        Have to respectfully disagree with your leather comment…well designed and constructed leather gear never goes out of style. I have both leather and kydex depending on the what / when / where/ how I’m carrying.

      3. avatar possum says:

        So a sock with a string tied around it is no good?

        1. avatar B.D. says:

          I put mine in a paper bag and just carry it around all day.

    3. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Seems like a lot of options for Viridian and Streamlight lights.

      That’s what I have. Dont know much about other lights. My son has an Alien Gear for some light he put on his G19.

      I choose light based on how well they keep the overall profile of the gun.

      YMMV

    4. avatar D Hoefner says:

      Check out http://www.kt-mech.com. They have a holster for every application I’ve needed.

  9. avatar Duane says:

    If you are going to use your weapon during low light situations.

    Weapon mounted lights are very nice to have.

    My day time carry guns do not have lights on them.

    1. avatar NM says:

      Some of us carry the same gun, day or night… on the job or off…

    2. avatar Steve B says:

      What if you are in a large retail store like a Home Depot or something and the power goes out during a mass shooting or armed robbery at 12 noon? You will have your daytime carry gun with no light or do you carry a handheld all the time?

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        What if, as the mass shooting and the power outage happens, there’s a shark attack?

      2. avatar john poe says:

        you do what everyone else is doing keep your head down and stay out the way. LEO will be the first to tell you not to do anything unless the threat is directed at you. lights on guns really?? stats show you are more likely to be hit by a bus then have to use your gun. if your in your home you know where the light switch is turn one on if there is not one on already. i dont need anymore bulk on my gun, its enough all by its self. as again you are more likely to be hit by a bus then have to use your gun.

  10. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Pistol Light on Your Carry Gun?”

    No thanks…

  11. avatar Steve Eisenberg says:

    I’ve read about a weapon-mounted video cam which is available to LEOs.

    I’m waiting for a unit which will contain a green laser, white light, video cam, thermal imaging, night vision, and GPS.

    Hey, it could happen.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      The municipalities that would like to put a camera on the end of a gun would love to put that other stuff on, and more, until it’s literally too heavy to lift. Then they’ll be happy.

  12. avatar Michael says:

    My Fobus paddle is made for the Glock 21 with WML & green laser. I use mine on a daily basis, it’s quiet enough, still tight as the day I started using it and I have never been called for printing. That being said, I always have my Strion with the rubber ring, a pocket clip and a lanyard. The lanyard goes around my thumb and across the back of my hand like an old fashioned police night stick. If I have to drop the light I know exactly where it is and can flip my wrist to bring it back on target. I don’t have to worry about it getting away from me and getting under my feet. If I’m practicing my sweeping I hold the Strion back to back in my left hand and press the tail cap three times. To turn it off all I have to do is release the button. The laser on the firearms is there for point of aim reference and the light hardly ever gets used. I like the way I can run the light, light and laser or the laser alone. It’s the same as anything else, research and practice can make any combination of good gear work. -30-

  13. avatar Ark says:

    Hot take: There is no reason for a civilian carrier to employ a WML on their carry weapon. A defensive shooting will happen too fast for a light to be relevant, it is not legal to brandish a gun in order to use the light, and almost none of the tasks that mil/LE need weapon lights for apply to civilian carriers. There is no legal context in which you will be clearing buildings or searching for targets using a WML. We laugh people out of the room for “slow” carry methods like ankle or shoulder holsters, but somehow accept that a lightning-fast AIWB draw will also include time to drop a handheld light and fumble a WML on to replace it.

    Civilian carriers want WMLs because they see mil/LE using them and think they’re cool. In reality if you’re using that WML without shooting, you are probably breaking the law, and if you are shooting, you probably didn’t have time to get your WML turned on.

    1. avatar rudukai13 says:

      That’s a lot of words to explain that you’re mentally handicapped.

      “Hot take.” More like hot steaming pile of FUDD/gun counter myth bullshit

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        The fact that you countered none of his points seems to indicate he isn’t the mentally handicapped one. Note that being a tactical mall ninja doesn’t make you smart.

        1. avatar B.D. says:

          How about the one building that your fucking family sleeps in… your house? How about that counter point?

          Also, I live in NW Montana, where street lights are not very common, and power outages happen often in bad weather, especially in winter. TONS of low light situations present themselves and when you add those to a defensive situation, there is your answer. It’s not about “What if”… we can all think of scenarios you don’t need them but the fact that scenarios exist that you DO need them, is why people carry them. Plain and simple. I had a bobcat getting into livestock (chickens) and guess what I used to find it in the woods behind my house? Followed the trail just as the sun was going down and used my WML to see it’s eyes. Chickens spared.

          If you don’t like it, fine. But being a douchebag all over this comment section because you refuse to own one even on your home defense gun, makes me question whether or not you are even capable of carrying at all.

    2. I have a Viridian light/laser combo that turns on when the weapon is drawn. No need to fumble with a switch. Draw and it is on. The light and laser can be set for several different options.

    3. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Profound dumbassery.

      I want a light so I can see my target if it is dark and I have to draw a gun. I carry a small flashlight if I need to see when there is no threat.

      My viridian light on my LCP comes on when I draw the pistol. The TLR on my 43 does not but the button is prominent for my support hand.

      If it’s dark and you need to defend yourself, it is a damned sight easier to draw a weapon with a light instead of drawing a light AND a weapon at the same time.

      But I guess you’re going to tell me you have ninja reflexes and will use the light app on your phone.

      Good luck with no light in a dark DGU.

      1. avatar john poe says:

        if you know its a threat then shoot it. next you are going to say i cant see it good enough that far away. guess what its not a threat if its that far away. most SD situations take place in 21ft or less you will be able to see them. if you use you gun light to try and see if it is a threat and its not you will be charger and no longer be able to carry guns. so the little pocket light you carry is you best option. and i live where there are hardly and street lights. well its a good chance everybody knows just about everybody else so you wont be in any danger and if you are you wont see it coming. over 75% of the gear a lot of people buy they will never use this is not the movies. i mean really how likely are you to be in a situation where you will need some of the stuff you have for SD??

    4. avatar Tom T says:

      I tend to agree with Ark. On a gun in your nightstand, maybe. On your EDC? Nope.

      I have seen TTAG use the line “To find bad guys in dark places” when discussing lights. Outside your home, if you have to find the bad guy that is not self defense. You are not in imminent danger. Inside the home, if it is too dark to see an intruder, then it is too dark to see you. A WML is just beacon to announce yourself. Besides, you already have the advantage of knowing the layout of your home and furniture.

      Obviously the WML fanboys don’t agree, but no reason to get huffy over someone with a different view.

    5. avatar Steve B says:

      Completely disagree. If you carry a gun as a civilian when realistically there is a minute chance that you will ever need one for self defense, but you would rather have one and not need it, than need one and not have it, why not employ the same logic to a WML?

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        How far should that logic go? Do you wear a kevlar vest everywhere? How many magazines do you carry? Extra gun? Two?

        Note that I think you should (legally) be able to do all of these things. But at some point, reasonable people will step back and realize that while it’s possible that it could save your life if you have a seizure or something, wearing a safety flotation vest in a bathtub is pretty ridiculous.

  14. avatar NM says:

    If you CAN comfortably carry and conceal with a WML, you should…

    /end

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      It really boils down to what you practice/train with to a point of being comfortable and proficient in (e.g. 9mm vs 45, iwb vs owb, OC vs concealed, pocket vs waistband carry, isoceles vs weaver). True story: one day I was practicing drawing and dry fire from 4:30 position, my right shoulder started to bother me (I workout regularly especially my rotator cuffs and rear delts), the discomfort wouldn’t go away, so I switcthed to AIWB carry. Shoulder is better now, but I learned what was comfortable for me. YMMV yeah?

      1. avatar NM says:

        AIWB is how one should carry 😉

  15. avatar former water walker says:

    Well I’m getting a WML for my home gun. Got a flashlight next to it now. No light for my carry gat. Thin and ez to conceal works…

  16. avatar Ton E says:

    No desire to carry a weapon mounted light on any gun I CC don’t see a point to adding the extra bulk and weight. I do use a handheld light in my EDC. WML’s are on all my home defense guns though. If WML’s work for you for CC cool.

  17. avatar Kenneth says:

    I think you missed a few things from the other side of the debate here:
    1. Having a WML ENCOURAGES people to NOT carry a separate hand held light.
    2. WMLs encourages using it to scan with inappropriately.
    3. Having to carry two lights doubles the weight you’re carrying.
    4. It adds weight and bulk to your weapon.
    5. It gives away your position.
    If you want one(or 12), go for it. But there are definite disadvantages. Do they outnumber the advantages? That all depends on the user and the situation. If I was on a room clearing squad, I’d have one on my PDW (or whatever weapon I was issued) and no where else.
    In my home in the middle of the night? No. Hand held only, and maybe not even that. On terrain I know extremely well, darkness is to my advantage. If I was carrying a light at all, I likely wouldn’t even turn it on until after shots had been fired.

    1. avatar D Hoefner says:

      “If I was carrying a light at all, I likely wouldn’t even turn it on until after shots had been fired.”

      Wow! Shoot to kill without even identifying the target as a threat?

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        Inside of my house I am perfectly capable of identifying targets with certainty in the dark. I know every square inch intimately. Anywhere else, not so much. Different situations. That was the entire point.
        If I did choose to hit the light in that situation, it would be a hand held light, held as far away from my torso as possible. If the target fires at my hand, I fire back at center mass. I’ll have the advantage. If I have a weapon that requires both hands, then I’ll either shoot in the dark, or hold it one handed while running the light away from my COM. Or, if I do have a rifle mounted light, I’ll take hard cover(cover, not concealment) and then use the light. I’ll figure he is a lot more exposed than me, so again, I’ll have the advantage.
        It’s all a game. It’s risk management. Attempt to arrange things as much to your advantage as possible. Inside of your own house, in the dark, where you know every inch and the enemy knows almost nothing, and the odds are heavily in your favor already.

        1. avatar Specialist38 says:

          Either you can see in the or it’s not dark. That would be the only way you could identify targets in the dark.

          You would literally be shooting blind. And without a light to temper your vision, muzzle flash will make you see white for seconds after a shot.

        2. avatar Kenneth says:

          Yeah, but the flash will light up everything like a single flash from a strobe and then, even looking through the bloom, one can still return fire from close range.
          I think maybe one of the things stopping understanding here is my location. I live in the center of a horseshoe shaped creek that goes completely around me. The entry road is only one car wide. My nearest neighbor is a hundred yards away across the creek. The only light comes from my yardlight outside. If anyone drives in, I know about it. If a stranger walks or wades in, my dog freaks. The yardlight provides just enough light to see inside after it’s filtered through the curtains. I’ve lived in this spot for thirty years now. I know everything about it, and what everything looks like, light or dark.
          As I said, other situations, not so much. Everything depends upon the situation and the skills of the user. This is why every time anybody says “this thing is the best for (fill in the blank), it’s always bullshit. There are things that are best for a certain situation, but no thing is the best for everything. The author doesn’t know his readers or their situation, so he cannot know what is best for them either. Only for himself and his situation.
          A .458 WIN makes a real shitty coyote gun, but a .223 is just as shitty as an elephant gun. .22 rimfire is the best… sometimes. Sometimes the best is a 120mm smoothbore with a DU discarding sabot. It all depends. That’s a great answer for any shooting question. “It all depends.”

        3. avatar Hannibal says:

          “Either you can see in the or it’s not dark.”

          That’s pretty facile. Okay, let’s call it ‘low-light’ because unless your house is underground and has no ambient light from windows, small electronics, etc, it’s not ‘dark’ by your standard. And most houses are not.

      2. avatar Kenneth says:

        I guess I could add: The reason those were the two scenarios I mentioned was because they were the closest to polar opposites that I could think of, off the top of my head. Clearing a structure that I know nothing about, versus defending my own house, that I know better than anyone else on planet Earth.
        This is the reason it takes a large and very well trained team to do the former job. The advantages are all on the side of the ones in the house, because they know it intimately, and the attackers do not. Whether the defenders are homeowners facing a break in, or terrorists in a safe house makes no difference in the tactical sense.

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      I carried a small light before I had a WML and still carry that light.

      You make the assumption that everyone will use their WML for general illumination, that is folly.

      A handheld light gives away your position just as a WML would.

      The Viridian or TLR light weigh less than of a loaded magazine. I will add that weight…..or carry less pocket change.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        I made no such assumption. I assumed nothing. What I said was: having a light on a weapon encourages it’s use. I didn’t say that YOU, or any other individual, would misuse it, only that the potential was there.
        Are you willing to say that every single person with a WML is going to carry a separate light and always use it for scanning, and never use the light that’s already on his weapon and already in his hand, thus much more convenient? You have to know what a steaming pile of dung that cock and bull story is. I said that WMLs ENCOURAGE misuse (by some, not all), and that’s obviously so. If everyone had WMLs some(NOT ALL!) would not carry a hand held light, and some (NOT ALL!) would just scan with the WML anyway, even if they have a hand held in their pocket, just because it’s easier. And probably quite a large percentage of all those “someones”.
        Any energy you use gives away your position in the dark, even IR. But if the enemy shoots at that energy, would you rather have it three feet over your head or off to the side, or would you rather draw his fire at your center of mass?
        Like I’ve said a hundred times before; everybody’s different. You do you. But for me, if I see a need to draw fire, I want it to NOT be at my COM.

  18. avatar jram01 says:

    Posted:
    “Still, the reason we have any sort of white light at all is to gather information we don’t have; like who’s a threat and who isn’t.”

    Personally, I would not use an attached light, especially in the home. Maybe not all agree but, like the above states, who may be a threat and who isn’t, gives the advantage to the “other guy”. That attached light gives a perpetrator a distinct advantage as to where you are. If you don’t know who the other person may be, having a voice code with family members whom you may then identify would help. Anyone, else shouldn’t be there in the first place.

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      Interesting. I always have both lights. For home defense senario, if the lights are off then maybe the homeowner is sleeping in their bedroom? Depending on the BG(s), they already have intel on the house and it’s occupants and their routines, yeah?
      My plan is to turn on the inside house lights, if someone breaks in (I’m giving them a chance to leave), in addition to having both my WML and handheld flashlight clipped on my left side. If the BG(s) stay they will be engaged. I ain’t John Wick and have not taken any force-on-force courses house clearing in low light. It sounds like there are a few here that have experience/training and have practiced in their own home.
      For outdoor lowlight I have trained and practiced the FBI flashlight hold, my favorite.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        I leave a low wattage light on in my living room which would backlight anything coming down my hallway.

        I can also turn on the outside lights from my bedroom so that there is more back backlight.

        Even then, you need a direct light source ID the target in a backlit situation. My Weapon lights are 100 lumens are do not blind me even when I just woke up.

  19. avatar Anner says:

    What malfunctions of the host firearm have happened due to a WML? Only thing I can think of is wiring catching in a moving firearm part. Maybe…maybe…an early Glock model with a relatively flimsy dust cover has a WML tightened down too much and it bends the dust cover up to introduce friction against the slide.

    Added weight under the muzzle that doesn’t interfere with the movement of a slide (or cylinder in the case of S&W’s railed abominations) shouldn’t have a single negative effect on proper functioning of the firearm. All things equal, it should actually aid in proper cycling of a slide by adding weight for the slide to function against. It’s similar to how some folks use tungsten guide rods and weights to dampen recoil, or in some way add mass to the frame for a more positive resistance to allow the slide to freely cycle up on top.

  20. avatar possum says:

    The quest for night vision, pathetic humans, they can’t even rotate their ears or smell a tuna fish sandwich 100 yards away.

  21. avatar strych9 says:

    “…it’s not that difficult to find the proper equipment that will allow you to effectively deal with a little added bulk.”

    I wouldn’t put this statement out without a few qualifiers attached to it. It being “not that difficult” to find the proper equipment depends on exactly what you have.

    If you started out with the idea that you wanted to run a WML this is probably a fairly true statement but if you just got a gun with a rail on it and then later snapped up a WML that was on sale you could run into issues. A G19 probably isn’t going to be a big problem unless your modification is exotic. However, a slightly more exotic gun with the “wrong” WML might be a significant PITA to find a carry holster for.

    I picked up an TLR-2 for my USP on a lark because the light was on a really, really good sale. What I didn’t realize at the time, because I had never considered it until I found said sale, was that first I was going to need a rail adapter because the USP’s rail isn’t a “normal” or “standard” rail but rather a generic one meant to use an adapter so a multitude of things can be attached to the gun and those things can require different styles of rail. So your add-on item determines which adapter you need.

    Then it came down to finding a holster that will run a full sized USP .45 with a rail adapter and that specific light. A bunch of companies make such a holster for the TLR-1 and a number of other lights by various companies but not a lot of them make one for the TLR-2 on that specific gun. Of those that do make such a holster most are OWB duty holsters. I ended up just taking one USP, leaving the light on it, turning that into a dedicated bedside gun and carrying another USP because even after I got a couple of these custom shops on the phone none of them could actually guarantee the fit for that particular rig. Later I found a local guy who does custom work and who would guarantee the work provided I brought him the rig fully set up so that he could use it to make the holster. By then I already had a second gun and was carrying it and so I no longer cared to spend the scratch on a fully custom holster.

    Can you find what you’re looking for?

    Yes, but in some cases you’re not going to find it at your local gun store and will end up having to order it semi or full custom. Doing so may take a lot more work than you actually want to put into finding a holster for your piece now that you have that nifty WML on it. Heck, finding an IWB holster for my wife’s FNS 9c, just the gun, wasn’t the easiest thing to do. Sure, BlackArch and a bunch of other companies make them but out of dozens of shops in the Front Range area not a SINGLE ONE had an IWB rig for that pistol that you could actually put mitts on and most had no idea how to get one. They didn’t even have a selection of OWB rigs. The best they could do was something like a Safariland 579. There was ONE store that had both the 579 and the 578.

    Pick the gun that fits your uses and preferences the best but do your research before you plunk down money on mods because you may find that you’ve created a really nice carry gun that you can’t easily get a holster for and therefore are not going to carry or are going to have to remove those nice mods from to carry until you can get a holster that will accommodate them. Keep in mind that production time varies and your perfect holster could be a couple months from arriving in your possession.

    1. avatar Anner says:

      Moral of the story: HK hates you.

      I’m glad they fixed the proprietary stuff with the P2000 and later models. They could have released a USP Gen2 with a standard rail, but that would have involved an admission that the pistol wasn’t perfect as-is.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        Yeah, but H & K hates everybody. Except for national standing armies, like Mexico’s. They do everything they can think of to drive civilian buyers away. But armies they love, even when it gets them in real hot water.
        https://www.npr.org/2019/02/21/696561255/heckler-koch-fined-4-2-million-over-assault-rifle-sales-in-mexico

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        The USP is a great gun but it’s like a one-size fits all sock in some regards.

        Universal Service Pistol (works great with additional parts!) functions well but is built to take pretty much any mod you could dream of and therefore needs adapters for them because the mods might have a different attachment type. That costs money and HK doesn’t care because you already bought their gun.

        Being a service pistol HK doesn’t care about people like you or me much at all. They care more about a police department, military or other government agency where the sky is the limit on acquiring the stuff they need with other people’s money. It’s a great gun and I love it but it does have drawbacks you won’t find with something like, say, a VP9 because that gun was actually meant, to a large degree, for the civilian market.

        You find the same thing with a lot of companies where their bread and butter is government contracts.

  22. avatar Jean-Claude says:

    A WML definitely has a place on an offensive firearm. Are you a police officer on an entry team? You should have a light on everything you carry—rifle, SMG, shotgun, handgun. There’s no downside to that.

    A nightstand gun? Sure, I guess. But your primary concern if an intruder enters your home at night should be gathering your loved ones in a central location and calling 911. Clearing your home at night is a very good way to get shot. Much better to hole up, say “I’ve called the police and I have a gun and will KILL you if you come in here.”. Walking around your home, not knowing how many strangers are in your home and how well they’re armed isn’t tactically sound, IMO.

    On a carry gun? WHY? Most DGUs are within 21 feet and will be over in a matter of seconds. A WML is pretty useless in most DGU situations.

    But they’re cool toys, and the industry is dependent on convincing gun owners they need the newest cool toy so they can defend themselves better. I laugh when I see posters who claim their EDC is a Glock 19 Roland Special with a light, RMR, and compensator. WTF are they expecting—a prolonged gun battle with the cartels?

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      I live south of Chicago. My neighborhood has had an uptick in crime(including a rape and beating of a woman in her 70’s).And burglaries. I expect the WORST…I prepare as best I can. YOUR advice sucks.

      1. avatar Jean-Claude says:

        Bullshit. A “Roland Special” will help you in your situation no better than a standard Glock 19. Or a Glock 43 for that matter.

        And a WML is just stupid on a carry gun. Are you going to clear rooms with your carry pistol in Chicagoland?

        No.

        Go away, Faux John Wick.

    2. avatar GDMF says:

      Averages are a slippery slope. Most doesn’t cover all and for me it is not the odds but the stakes.

      Personally it comes down to the fact that I am out and about more when it is dark and the most used item in my EDC kit is my flashlight. Should I need to go for my gun I still want to have the ability to see AND put both hands on the gun.

      THAT is what a WML is for… not for initial identification or searching.

      1. avatar Jean-Claude says:

        So you’re pointing your gun at everything you want to identify, and walking around with your gun out.

        That’s irresponsible.

        Flashlight or gun, or flashlight AND gun, but affixing the light to the gun is an unnecessary combination on a CCW.

  23. avatar Jr says:

    “whatever is illuminated by a the light is also covered by the muzzle”

    I cant help but think that anyone who says this has never used one. I have a TLR-1 and that’s not even the brightest light you can get, and at low ready position everything in front of you is still illuminated, especially indoors.

  24. avatar MIO says:

    It really shows who actually use weapons and who doesn’t here

    1. avatar GDMF says:

      OH! You have opened the can of worms now! 🙂

  25. avatar Mac says:

    The people who need this article the most will also gain the least from it: the fudds.

    1. avatar Jean-Claude says:

      This word you use, I do not think it means what you think it means.

      A “Fudd” is someone who doesn’t find there to be a reason for anything but sporting/hunting firearms to be available.

      True “Fudds” don’t even care about handguns.

      Now run away, Tactical Timmy.

  26. avatar merlin says:

    the real issue to me as a private citizen … no longer in the military .. is this.
    if you are drawing your concealed weapon … that means you can identify a threat.
    therefor it is light enough to see.
    once you draw your weapon … you should be withdrawing from the threat.
    not chasing the “bad guy” into a dark alley, etc.
    in that context a weapon light is not really needed.
    also having a light on a weapon makes it harder to conceal.

    1. avatar GDMF says:

      You are gaming this.

      Best case scenario, yes, you have enough light to not need a light. Seriously, though… that is NOT a valid argument against having a light 😉

      You should have a WML on your gun so you can put two hands on the gun when you shoot in low light – when there is NOT enough light to begin with – and still be able to see the threat… They aren’t just going to stand still for you. Note that that may mean dropping the handheld you were carrying to search with to start when you draw.

      These days a gun with a WML is not that hard to conceal, thanks to the Streamlight TLR-7 and similar products. Heck, I conceal a G19 with an X300 daily without issue – and have for years now. Concealment is more a matter of holster and belt than gun and light IMO.

  27. avatar Thom Ream says:

    You know, one of the best parts of reading the comment section is the chance to learn something new. Sometimes it’s how NOT to do something, and sometimes it’s “dude’s a dick, don’t waste brain cells arguing with a moron”. Most often, I spend time thinking how I can use or not use, some specific part of information.
    One of the worst parts of the comment section is reading a dedicated gunner taking a dump on another gunner. SAVE THAT SHIT FOR THE ENEMY – politicians of all stripes, and turds like them.
    I know some are going to disagree, and that’s the best part of the USA – you are free to disagree, call me names, etc. But really, we both lose. You do things differently, for more reasons than I can count. Same for me, you have not walked in my shoes (for which you should thank God!) and you’ve been lucky to not learn my knowledge the way I have… got the scars and medical bills thank you.
    Most everyone here I can learn from. I HOPE I might be able to teach someone a thing or two myself. But if we’re too busy lobbing turdburgers at each other, we don’t learn what we should. We both already know shit stinks…right?!
    Sometimes, I typo an error, and, gasp, sometimes I just FUCK UP. But don’t tell my ex… she already knows it all.
    If you want to help me understand why I’m wrong, well thank you – I really do appreciate it. But if I call you a dumbass, are you really going to listen to anything I say?
    We ALL need to learn. Every day. So tell me why, why you like this vs that, why you carry this way, what happened to cause you to do it that way. The life you save may be mine.
    I’ve got a dose of cancer, so I’m trying to cram more into what brain cells I have left, than some people. If you train well, I don’t care if you carry a light in your tutu – if it works for you, it works. For you. And maybe I can learn something from it. Maybe that you’re an idiot in a tutu… but if you shoot the shit out of targets downrange, God bless you brother.
    I want more debate, not more fights. There are too many gungrabbers to be sniping amongst ourselves.
    OK, resume the firefight… with the correct targets.
    Oh, and don’t get cancer, it sucks. If you don’t believe me, I’ve got some shoes you can walk in for a while.
    A Poor Sucker Living in Kali

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