I recently bought a tactical flashlight. It looks like a chess piece. It couldn’t be any easier to operate: wax on, wax off. I mean, push on, push off. It’s got a perfectly placed ring around the middle that makes one-handed operation as easy as male fertility maintenance. It’s brighter than a month of sun days; fully capable of blinding a deer at 25 yards. So now I’m prepared for the BITN (Bump in the Night) scenario. Grab my Glock in my right hand, my Surefire P2ZX Fury in my left and proceed to daughter’s room. Light-up what needs lighting and shoot what needs shooting. Otherwise, proceed to safe room, ditch the pistol for a shotgun, assume a defensive position, call 911 and Bob’s your uncle. What could possibly go wrong? Lots . . .
For one thing, that’s two things: a light and a gun. That’s my hands done. What if I need to call 911 before I get to my daughter’s room or as I’m going to my daughter’s room? What if I need to open a door or grab a sleepy child? Although I’m a fair shot one-handed I prefer to shoot two-handed (I find it improves my accuracy no end).
Hence the reason The People of the Gun put a light on it. The gun, that is. Yeah, well, I’ve got problems with that.
I kinda don’t want to use my gun-hand’s fingers for anything other than holding the gun and pulling the trigger. As Paul Stanley might tell you, deciding when to switch a gun-mounted light on or off while trying to do other stuff with the other hand is a major violation of the KISS principle. Ever heard of sympathetic response? There’s that, too.
There’s also the issue of not lasering (i.e. shooting) good guys. Who’s there? Oops! Sorry mate. You should’ve said something. You could train to use your gun-mounted flashlight more cautiously by, say, bouncing the light off a wall or something. But then you have to “re-aim” your gun when you acquire your target. Are you that good? I’m not.
Besides, how dark is it really? My soon-to-be-ex-house’s interior is lit by nearby street lamps and outdoor lighting (shining onto exterior windows). I also put little automatic night lights in the corridors so I could see in my house at night without blinding myself with the night-into-day illumination of a Surefire P2ZX Fury. Well enough to identify my target and what’s behind it.
Ah, you say, if you can see them they can see you! True. But I don’t view protecting myself and my child at night as a real-life version of a David Baldacci gun battle. If the bad guys don’t run when the alarm trips, or if the alarm doesn’t trip, I’m in real trouble. The kind of trouble where I’m going to move fast. Period.
If you don’t have an alarm system and it’s night-time and you suspect that you’re in the midst of a home invasion and you’ve called 911 but you need to go somewhere to get someone or something don’t play hide and seek with a flashlight (gun-mounted or not). Listen.
If you’re defending, they’ve got to come to you. They’ve got to make noise to do it. Who doesn’t have creaking floors? Bad guys aren’t [usually] ninjas or Native American scouts. They rustle, clank, breathe hard, drop things, whisper, etc. If you pause and listen, you’ll hear the bad guy or bad guys and know where they are. You can then react appropriately.
Or not. As always, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry—especially when they’re experiencing the Mother of All Adrenalin Dumps. Still, your sense of hearing is your predominant sense in the dark. Don’t forget to use it.