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Gun owners and concealed carry permit holders know that being prepared is a key factor in successfully defending your own and our loved ones’ lives. A biometric safe next to your bed, frequent trips to the gun range, taking a self-defense firearms course….

But are you prepared to successfully confront a home intruder in the dead of night?

When USCCA invited me to take part in a no light/low light shoot at their Iola, Wisconsin location, I jumped at the chance to test my own training (extensive as it is) against this real-world situation I myself had never had the opportunity to train for.

Kevin Mikolowski and his team used metal piping and thick black tarp to create a course that simulated the different rooms and halls of our shoot house. The course would be run in no light and low light, three times each: once with no torch, once with a handheld and once with a weapon-mounted torch.

Thanks to Streamlight, I had a number of high-quality products to choose from: their weapon-mounted TLR-8 with laser, the incredibly sleek and powerful Protac® 2L-X flashlight with rechargeable battery (I KNOW, RIGHT?!?!) and a whole arsenal of equally illuminating toys of all strengths and sizes for us to train with. Which, incidentally, sparked the hashtag #AllTheLumens.

But first, I ran the course without any light at all which, as expected, yielded less-than-stellar results. Impressive but nothing in center mass. It also got me thinking about the points of entry in my own home and how illuminated they were.

Fortunately, I shot low light fairly well (thank you, Isotonix® Vision Formula!!) and since I still have little ones at home, my house is dimly lit by a series of nightlights. While I was fairly confident I would be able to take down an intruder from across my living room, I was still eager to run the course with a torch in my hand.

Next, I shot using a handheld flashlight; Streamlight’s Protac® HL-X featuring an impressive 1,000 lumens, rechargeable 18650 USB battery and TEN-TAP® Programming which allows for the selection of three different operating programs. In this scenario, I was also instructed to turn a corner into a room in which an “intruder” was holding my sister hostage.

Entering the room, I was able to quickly identify my target and fired four shots into the intruder; two in center mass, two just below to the left of center. Certainly much better than without any light but getting the hang of holding my gun while positioning the flashlight up and over my shooting hand did take a bit of practice.

Next was experiencing the shoot house with a weapon-mounted light. I love that the TLR-8, now housed on my own Walther CCP 9MM, has a light and a laser. After being put under some amount of pressure by the trainers, I still found it relatively easy to not only identify my target but get off good, clean shots at center mass with both hands firmly on my gun using the TLR-8.

Taking all I learned from this training, I now keep the Protac® HL-X on my nightstand next to my bed. While I appreciate the efficiency of a weapon-mounted light, it’s not smart to need to sweep your home with a loaded gun in order to light it up.

That being said, I also keep my CCP equipped with the TLR-8 staged in my Secret Compartment end table I pass when exiting my bedroom. I figure if the 1,000 lumens in my hand doesn’t effectively blind and stun an intruder, the additional 500 lumens attached to a loaded gun will most certainly tip the scales in my favor.

All the lumens.

If I do, however, need to pull the trigger to stop a threat, my family has also been trained that when I scream, “FREEZE, I’VE GOT A GUN!!”, they are to immediately hit the floor so they’re not in the line of fire. Running drills with your family is very important, especially if you have small children. When I began running home intruder drills, my youngest would just sit there and stare at me. Now, no matter where she is or what she’s doing, she hits the floor.

There, I just ran another one and she dropped her Xbox controller and rolled off her gaming chair, laying flat on the floor.

That’s progress.

Overall, I learned a lot from my time with Mikolowski and USCCA and left with not only some top-notch gear from Streamlight but the knowledge and experience to use it effectively.

I encourage all gun owners to shake up their training routine – some at the range, some in the field and some way out of the box, like a week-long Street Encounter Emersion Course. I also understand that I’m uniquely blessed to have the opportunity and means to take part in these types of training courses as part of my job, so I completely understand that not everyone is able to do these things.

That being said, I would suggest everyone talk with their local gun ranges to see what opportunities they have for you or work with them to create new programs.

In any event, go over your nighttime intrusion plan and run a few drills with your own family. Think about where the other bedrooms in the home are in relation to different points of entry. Review your equipment and see what really will work for you and your family at 2am when it really counts.

Be fully prepared to confront a bump in the night.

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  1. The problem with black walls are they don’t reflect the bright flashlight, like the much lighter walls in most homes . Shining my brightest light on a wall at night will just about blind me, so,I’ve leaned to use a much lower setting for that task .

  2. “Be fully prepared to confront a bump in the night.”

    Bump in the night? What, like waking up from a drunken sleep at 3am and catching your baby toe on the edge of the bed frame…

    • Ironicatbest would say: ” That’s how people get their toes shot off,,” OWWWW GDamn, son of a btch, fuk,,. KERPOW,, hurt now yah son of a btch!!!!!”

    • If I hit my toe on the bed in the middle of the night someone is getting tapped. It’s amazing how they never have any cash or other valuables on them.

  3. I’ve found out that the powder in some ammo is so smoky that you blind yourself with a high powered flashlight lighting up the cloud of smoke after you shoot. Worth a test of your carry ammo in low light to be sure. Indoors even a light colored wall can blind you if you are using 1000 lumens. I’ve since gone down in lumens for my weapon lights for inside. Outside is a different story of course. Usually the brighter the better. Another tip is a light with a hard (brighter) center dot then larger halo of light. You can use the hard center as you aim.

  4. Funny but a young man pounded on my door a few minutes ago WHILE I was loading my shotgun. No fellow no home improvement today. I guess I’m ready. Loaded guns, flashlight ready and a grumpy old owner. BREAKING: Mass murder in Annapolis. Not kidding😢

  5. I think you forgot to say “sponsored post” at the top. That read like a commercial for the light and I skipped through some of it.

    That said, I’m confident in my abilities. People with no training have successfully thwarted home invasions, so my biweekly trips to the range with tactical targets (not standing there just carefully aiming and squeezing) I think has me up to the task. Just last night while falling asleep I heard noises in my house. I quickly accessed my XD mod.2 9mm Tactical (5″ barrel) from my bedside quick access safe and my flashlight. I was 99% sure it was the cats and my alarm system was not going off, but better safe than sorry. I don’t like to come out of my room with a light on, as to not announce myself. Our house is decently lit with night lights and porch lights so I prefer to use my night vision to do my first sweep from the entry hall to my bedroom. I can see a lot of my house from that vantage point and could quickly step back into my room if need be. It’s light enough in my house with night vision intact that I could identity a threat without a flash light in the main areas. Once the initial threat assessment is complete I’ll then shine my flashlight toward further areas and darker corners (like into the office) and do a sweep. Then go back to sleep.

    • “I think you forgot to say “sponsored post” at the top. That read like a commercial for the light and I skipped through some of it.”

      Thank you, I thought I was the only one. Decent write-up but should end up in the Gear Reviews section.

    • It’s not a sponsored post, I informed readers of the products that were provided for me at the training.

      It’s also not a gear review, it’s an article stressing the importance of training in no light and low light situations.

    • Aint enough paper for something like that. Although that much target would be a practical target for 6.5 CM. Probably the only target that could POSSIBILY be reused when shot by 6.5 CM.

  6. A great way of getting wml performance out of a handheld is using a thyrm switchback. Its a retention ring that lets you press the light against the back of your knuckles, letting you get a good 2 handed grip on the gun. With streamlight, the tailcap can work against you and dig into your fingers, but it really does wonders when manipulating the light.

  7. “…when I scream, “FREEZE, I’VE GOT A GUN!!… “

    It’s not a rollercoaster. Don’t scream. Use a loud, commanding voice. The former conveys that you’re scared out of your mind, about to shit your pants and therefore you might not actually use the gun. The latter suggests you’re confident that you’ve got this and will shoot if need be.

    Also, invest in a silencer. You don’t want tinnitus. Trust me.

    • strych9,

      I still cannot bring myself to pay fedzilla $200 for a tax stamp and wait 9+ months to acquire a suppressor.

      For now I have electronic hearing protection at the ready (for immediate use) if I wake up to a bump in the night. Of course that assumes that I have time to don my electronic hearing protection in such a scenario, which is anything but guaranteed.

  8. Are You Prepared to Confront a Bump in the Night?

    Yes. Next question?

    In all seriousness, I have small LED night-lights that light up every room, hallway, and stairwell in my home. With light colored walls and eyes adapted to the dark, I can see just fine and would have zero trouble putting shots into center mass of a home-invader.

    And in case I want more light, I have two large LED flashlights (with “D” cells) that I would simply turn-on and lay in my “fatal funnels”.

  9. Are You Prepared to Confront a Bump in the Night?
    Let the dogs handle it. Heh, heh.

  10. Although at night my wife and I are within reach of our EDC guns, we pretty much leave the surveillance and guarding to our 6 year-old, 125 lb., straight-back, amber-eyed, protection-trained, Giant German Shepherd (

    If you think you’re protective, you should see that dog in action.

  11. The first thing you should do is turn on all the f#cking lights. You need to have a working lighting control system that would let you turn on all outside flood lights and a table lamp or overhead fixture in every room at the push of a single button. I installed a cheap DIY system that would do that 28 years ago.

  12. “While I appreciate the efficiency of a weapon-mounted light, it’s not smart to need to sweep your home with a loaded gun in order to light it up.”

    Exactly the conclusion I came to after experimenting with mounted mag-light minis decades ago. Wayyy before LEDs. I didn’t then, and still don’t, like the idea of sweeping everything with a hot firearm just to see what it is. I also don’t like the idea of giving a potential armed attacker a point on my center mass to shoot at. Nothing has changed with LEDs. More light is better, but it doesn’t effect the above disadvantages. I choose a hand held LED in my off hand. I’m cool with called shots one handed, at least at indoors ranges(<25 feet).
    One exception would be if I was part of an entry sweep team. If I have a whole, well trained, team as backup, the second point is almost moot, and the first can be handled if one knows how to keep one's finger out of the trigger guard until sure of the target(which almost no one does, not even entry teams).

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