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.
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.
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.