Tactical light mounted on gun or in your hand?


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m_kirk2001
July 9, 2009, 12:33 AM
Should a tactical light be mounted on the rail of a home defense handgun or should you hold it in your hand?

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B yond
July 9, 2009, 12:49 AM
On the gun. You may need that other hand for something.

p.s. this should have been a poll.

taliv
July 9, 2009, 01:12 AM
light rails on pistols have become popular for a reason


nevertheless, the obvious downside is that you can't avoid breaking rule #2, which means you better be obeying the other three

kanewpadle
July 9, 2009, 01:35 AM
Both. One on the gun and a handheld.

chris in va
July 9, 2009, 02:39 AM
Instructors have pointed out to me you don't want to be aiming at little Sally up at 3am for a glass of water. Also gives the BG something to aim at.

I vote handheld.

Kind of Blued
July 9, 2009, 03:15 AM
the obvious downside is that you can't avoid breaking rule #2, which means you better be obeying the other three

Sure you can. It's a flashlight, not a laser. In no or very low light, a target can be identified so long as a good flashlight is pointed anywhere in the general direction of the target. In a HD situation in my house, I could identify an individual with a pistol-mounted light without pointing the pistol in a way which would fire a bullet within 20' of the individual. That's if I broke rule #3 of course.

Most homes nowdays have white or light-colored walls which will bounce light.

Some people don't want to take these things into account because it takes a lot of training, a lot of thought, or "the batteries could die", but I see no problem having tools in your bag even if you don't use them every time you work.

209
July 9, 2009, 04:19 AM
A tac light and a handheld light are not exclusive of one another. In a perfect world, you need both. There are things I can do with my tac light I can't do well with a handheld one... like light up a suspect at night and hold him/er at gun point while using the other hand to manipulate something else. There are things I can't (or shouldn't) do with a tac light... like point it at a flat tire at night so someone can see while changing it. :eek:

:p :D

MTMilitiaman
July 9, 2009, 04:35 AM
On the weapon. I have an Insight M3X on my SIG P220, and a Surefire on my AK. The AK, as with any longarm, requires the light be mounted to the weapon to use it, and the weapon, effectively. The .45 could be brought to bear with one hand, but I prefer the added accuracy and control of a good two-hand hold when I can get it, and I prefer to keep my options open by not automatically occupying both of my hands. With the light on the weapon, I have one hand free to open doors, handle a dog, a phone, or a child (though I have none). All of these things get more difficult when I have a gun in one hand and a light in the other.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. In the end, if you get nailed with 125 lumens of white light coming through a door, and it isn't followed by a pair of 230 gr Gold Dots to the chest, you should be more appreciative that I took the time to identify my target before firing than offended I pointed a weapon at you. It's not difficult to stay out of the way of either. If you find yourself exposed to the light, and consequently, the muzzle, you did something to deserve it enough to motivate me out of my slumber. So in short, if you did something that found you on the receiving end of the light, you probably deserved to have a gun pointed at you. Learn your lesson, and in the future, try to avoid exposure to either...

Regular Joe
July 9, 2009, 07:49 AM
You guyz are goofy. If a moron broke into my place and pointed a rail mounted light near me, I would know immediately that it was just that, and KILL HIM. The end. That's all. YOU ARE DEAD.

LiquidTension
July 9, 2009, 08:50 AM
Rail mounted, for sure. The first time I had to clear a camper - not a trailer mind you, but one of those tow behind campers - I realized that I didn't like having both of my hands full in such a tiny space. Immediately afterwards I appropriated a weapon light.

MrCleanOK
July 9, 2009, 09:09 AM
Both.

You guyz are goofy. If a moron broke into my place and pointed a rail mounted light near me, I would know immediately that it was just that, and KILL HIM. The end. That's all. YOU ARE DEAD.

Regular Joe, there are proper ways to use a weapon mounted light, and they won't get you killed. The wrong way might get you killed. You don't just run around with it on all the time, broadcasting your location to the world.

Ragnar Danneskjold
July 9, 2009, 09:13 AM
Both. Use the hand light at first to assess the situation. If you find a bad guy that needs to be covered, switch to the weapon light and then use your free hand to operate the phone.

The obvious advantage of using a hand light is not pointing the light at something you don't want to shoot and not creating a lighted target of yourself for the bad guy, as others pointed out. As for the weapon light, you are going to need a free hand. Only a weapon light gives you this. Try to call and talk to the police dispatcher with one hand on your weapon and one holding a light.

JoeSlomo
July 9, 2009, 09:41 AM
On the gun imho...

The typical shooter can fire faster and more accurately with a good two-hand hold on the gun. There are techniques that meld the light closely with the gun while held in the support hand, however, you lose some of that good grip you would get had the light simply been mounted on the gun.

Reducing stoppages and reloads are much more enjoyable when you don't have a light in the hand you need to take action with.

19 years of room clearing in training and in various nasty parts of the world has proved to me beyond a shadow of doubt that a good high lumen gun light mounted ON the gun is nothing but an advantage for me.

Hard to get a good sight picture with a face full of lumens, and by then, it's too late anyway...

BUT, this is my humble opinion alone, and opinions are like....you know.

Zach S
July 9, 2009, 10:21 AM
Both. One on the gun and a handheld.
Agreed. My M3 will never replace my G2.

It's a flashlight, not a laser. In no or very low light, a target can be identified so long as a good flashlight is pointed anywhere in the general direction of the target. Yep. At low-ready, the M3 on my G19 lights a room up pretty well.

DHJenkins
July 9, 2009, 10:21 AM
Neither. I don't keep my house that dark and I have tritium sights.

Of course, I don't clear rooms/houses - especially in a home defense situation.

texas bulldog
July 9, 2009, 10:39 AM
Neither. I don't keep my house that dark and I have tritium sights.

+1. i would like to get a good 150-300 lumen light to keep near my HD gun, but there is generally plenty of ambient light in my house to identify a potential target. i'm not a fan of gun-mounted lights, but to each their own.

as for the "you need both hands" issue...that's what wives are for. even if i was holding someone at gunpoint with plenty of light, i still wouldn't call the police with my weak hand. i would instruct my wife to do so. there's also this invention called a light switch. once you have the guy at gun point, you needn't continue to keep the lights off. just a thought.

jackstinson
July 9, 2009, 10:47 AM
One on the gun and a handheld.
And don't forget the acetylene miner's light mounted on a headband. :D

COMPNOR
July 9, 2009, 12:33 PM
as for the "you need both hands" issue...that's what wives are for


Not everyone is lucky enough to have a wife. And flipping a light switch is good as long as you got power. And actually have a light in said room. I've got two rooms that don't have a ceiling light, and require lamps which may not be able to be used.

Double Naught Spy
July 9, 2009, 03:13 PM
as for the "you need both hands" issue...that's what wives are for.

My wife runs the shotgun. So I need another wife is what you are saying? I noticed you used the plural form of the word. Generally speaking, multiple wives aren't allowed in Texas. I don't know about the rest of the country.

I have gun mounted lights. No problem not scanning the friendlies.

possum
July 9, 2009, 03:37 PM
personally for me in both home defense, and military applications i use a wepon mounted light, but always have a handheld light as a spare. when i carry i have a handheld light. it is all up to what works best for you and your needs/ wants. i do suggest that you figure out what YOU want to go about it, and you get training in low light.

mcdonl
July 9, 2009, 04:10 PM
I would say both, but if there is only one I would want it in my hand... first, they are cheap and easy and work with every gun... what happens if your weapon fails, is at the smiths, etc... I like having the choice.

Also, if you happen to have a GB in your sights, how do you clear and look around other parts of the room without taking the gun off the badguy?
What about when you find yourself in a dark place, have cleared all threats real or imagined... now you are in the dark, and you have to have your weapon out just to light the way.

I think that everyone should have a flashlight, and I think everyone should have a gun... sometimes you need them both, sometimes only one of them.

Geronimo45
July 9, 2009, 04:10 PM
After shooting a raccoon out of a tree on one mosquito-infested, moonless night, I believe that weapon-mounted lights are a great idea. Of course, that was with a shotgun, and the task was completed without too much trouble through the use of the mouth-mounted flashlight.

TexasRifleman
July 9, 2009, 04:27 PM
light rails on pistols have become popular for a reason


nevertheless, the obvious downside is that you can't avoid breaking rule #2, which means you better be obeying the other three

Very true. One of the very reasons the super bright lights have become popular is that they have quite a bit of side illumination.

It's very easy to light up a target well enough for identification without actually covering them with the muzzle.

And again of course that's why there are 4 rules. In a situation where you think someone hostile may be inside your home you may very well have to break one rule.

Be a shame to get killed in your own living room because you were afraid to point a gun with a light at an unknown target.

SupernovaNole
July 10, 2009, 12:16 AM
I have both but when I hear a bump in the night I grab my USP 9c with a surefire light mounted on it. I'm not clearing my house. I'm waiting in a defensive position with a phone in one hand and my gun in the other.

If the bad guy comes through my bedroom door (I don't have kids in another part of the house or anything) then they will get a face full of lumens and likely high flying projectiles...

SupernovaNole

Quilbilly
July 10, 2009, 01:32 AM
I vote handheld. I want to see what I am going to aim at before I do. I could see where having both might be good. Lights also do not fit in any holster I have and just add weight. When I am at home, I would reach for a 12g anyway.

inSight-NEO
July 10, 2009, 02:09 AM
Difficult question..

The obvious advantange of the weapon mounted light is a "hands free" implementation. But, since the light is now a part of the weapon, it may be more difficult to use the light "strategically" and could either "pinpoint" your location to a BG or allow for one to more easily fire at whatever they illuminate (possibly with disastrous results).

Now, a handheld light, unless perhaps when using a revolver, is certainly less "ideal" in terms of convenience. But, it does allow for greater "strategy" in that the light is no longer "tied" to the weapon and thus, is able to be held/located away from the body and/or placed at different locations.

Personally, I think a weapon mounted light is most practical when using a long gun for HD. Even still, I prefer tritium sights combined with "strategically" placed night lights. For the handgun, add a handheld flashlight to the mix.

Mags
July 10, 2009, 02:14 AM
Check out this link it leads to First Light's website I think the light in the link is not only tacticool but functional as well.
http://www.first-light-usa.com/tomahawkmain.php

heavyshooter
July 10, 2009, 06:53 AM
light rails on pistols have become popular for a reason


nevertheless, the obvious downside is that you can't avoid breaking rule #2, which means you better be obeying the other three.

I am able to appreciate the preference for the rail mounted light, but taliv touched on the very reason I do not use a mounted light for HD. I prefer to not point a gun at someone while trying to cast light on them (please note that this is a personal preference). I choose this becasue I may be pointing at my boy who is up getting a cookie. For this reason I have a hand held light.

I also chose to have the hand held because the bezel makes it a impact devise. After I blind the intruder the light won't make much difference. ;)

Heavy

kbellis3
July 10, 2009, 12:11 PM
Others have said it, BOTH. Something you may want to see, but don't need to shoot. Using a railmounted light as a light source is not as effective and it is dangerous.

TexasRifleman
July 10, 2009, 12:13 PM
Using a railmounted light as a light source is not as effective and it is dangerous.

Which is why most LE and military are using them, since they don't work and they are dangerous?

I don't understand why they are "dangerous".

CoRoMo
July 10, 2009, 12:36 PM
On the rail is preferred. It is not dangerous.

mcdonl
July 10, 2009, 05:23 PM
I don't understand why they are "dangerous".

In my opinion it is not that it is dangerous... if a situation dictates violating one of the safety rules then so be it... to me it is about convienence. Who only has one flashlight, and keeps in on thier tac rail?

I guess the only way it would be dangerous, as I said before... would be if you have a BG in your sights... but you need to search the room for other potential threats... if you ONLY have a weapon mounted light how do you do this and not take your weapon off the known threat?

These are all far fetched scenarios for most of us, but that is what we train for right?

expvideo
July 10, 2009, 05:31 PM
I'm in the handheld camp for a few reasons. Let me try to give some perspective.

So the obvious benefit of weapon mounted is that it keeps your hands free from having to hold the light, and it keeps the beam exactly where you want it... if you're shooting. Having been in a few near encounters over the years, I can say from my experience that when you need a light, you do not necessarily need a gun. And when you need a gun you do not necessarily need a light. A light on it's own will de-escalate a lot of situations. Also, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to identify a second possible assailant while you are holding the first at gunpoint. The last thing you want to do is take your gun off of the known threat, especially if it means pointing it at what could be an innocent person or even a cop coming to your aid. A weapon mounted light would be very bad in this situation. Keep in mind that this does not really apply in your home. To be fair, the topic is about home defense.

However, there are situations that are much better with a weapon mounted light. A home defense situation is definitely one of those situations. You really need your other hand to open doors, grab your kids, melee, hit the light switch or several other things, and you don't want to be temporarily blind while you try to do that with your flashlight hand. Also, when it comes to rifles, a handheld light is worlds more difficult to maneuver than a weapon mounted light. I'm also of the mind that a light is a required piece of equipment on any defensive rifle, along with a good sling.

Idealy, a weapon mounted light is only good for clearing structures, IMO. Since home defense qualifies as "clearing structures", I would say that it is one of the very few situations where I'd rather go weapon mounted.

inSight-NEO
July 10, 2009, 07:21 PM
I agree with most of what has been said here.

Just keep in mind, if you choose to use a weapon mounted white light system (handgun or long gun), stay away from developing the habit of shooting whatever is moving in front of you or is "caught in the light." Discretion and quick decision making should be par for the course (particularly when you are frightened). Otherwise, that light could prove to be far more of a liability than an asset.

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