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I have a problem with weapon mounted lights

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by knzn, Mar 20, 2005.

  1. knzn

    knzn Well-Known Member

    If this is one of those subjects that have been cussed and discussed here many times before, forgive me as I obviously missed it.

    Weapon mounted lights seem to be quite popular these days. Handguns, Rifles and Shotguns all have mounting systems for the hot new extra bright and durable flashlights now available.

    My confusion/question/concern is, what ever happend to firearm rule number two? The one that says "NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY."

    How can you get up in the middle of the night, (after hearing the potential boogy man) grab your choice of bedside weapon complete with it's extra bright tactical light, and go searching for the source of the mysterious sound in the night with out violating rule number two?

    In case anyone here (very few I am sure) are not familiar with the four rules of firearms saftety, they are as follows~






    There are no exceptions. Do not pretend that this is true. Some people and organizations take this rule and weaken it;e.g. "Treat all guns as if they were loaded." Unfortunately, the "as if" compromises the directness of the statement by implying that they are unloaded, but we will treat them as though they are loaded. No good! Safety rules must be worded forcefully so that they are never treated lightly or reduced to partial compliance.

    All guns are always loaded - period!

    This must be your mind-set. If someone hands you a firearm and says, "Don't worry, it's not loaded," you do not dare believe him. You need not be impolite, but check it yourself. Remember, there are no accidents, only negligent acts. Check it. Do not let yourself fall prey to a situation where you might feel compelled to squeal, "I didn't know it was loaded!"


    Conspicuously and continuously violated, especially with pistols, Rule II applies whether you are involved in range practice, daily carry, or examination. If the weapon is assembled and in someone's hands, it is capable of being discharged. A firearm holstered properly, lying on a table, or placed in a scabbard is of no danger to anyone. Only when handled is there a need for concern. This rule applies to fighting as well as to daily handling. If you are not willing to take a human life, do not cover a person with the muzzle. This rule also applies to your own person. Do not allow the muzzle to cover your extremities, e.g. using both hands to reholster the pistol. This practice is unsound, both procedurally and tactically. You may need a free hand for something important. Proper holster design should provide for one-handed holstering, so avoid holsters which collapse after withdrawing the pistol. (Note: It is dangerous to push the muzzle against the inside edge of the holster nearest the body to "open" it since this results in your pointing the pistol at your midsection.) Dry-practice in the home is a worthwhile habit and it will result in more deeply programmed reflexes. Most of the reflexes involved in the Modern Technique do not require that a shot be fired. Particular procedures for dry-firing in the home will be covered later. Let it suffice for now that you do not dry-fire using a "target" that you wish not to see destroyed. (Recall RULE I as well.)


    Rule III is violated most anytime the uneducated person handles a firearm. Whether on TV, in the theaters, or at the range, people seem fascinated with having their finger on the trigger. Never stand or walk around with your finger on the trigger. It is unprofessional, dangerous, and, perhaps most damaging to the psyche, it is klutzy looking. Never fire a shot unless the sights are superimposed on the target and you have made a conscious decision to fire. Firing an unaligned pistol in a fight gains nothing. If you believe that the defensive pistol is only an intimidation tool - not something to be used - carry blanks, or better yet, reevaluate having one around. If you are going to launch a projectile, it had best be directed purposely. Danger abounds if you allow your finger to dawdle inside the trigger guard. As soon as the sights leave the target, the trigger-finger leaves the trigger and straightens alongside the frame. Since the hand normally prefers to work as a unit - as in grasping - separating the function of the trigger-finger from the rest of the hand takes effort. The five-finger grasp is a deeply programmed reflex. Under sufficient stress, and with the finger already placed on the trigger, an unexpected movement, misstep or surprise could result in a negligent discharge. Speed cannot be gained from such a premature placement of the trigger-finger. Bringing the sights to bear on the target, whether from the holster or the Guard Position, takes more time than that required for moving the trigger finger an inch or so to the trigger.


    Know what it is, what is in line with it, and what is behind it. Never shoot at anything you have not positively identified. Be aware of your surroundings, whether on the range or in a fight. Do not assume anything. Know what you are doing.


    Make these rules a part of your character. Never compromise them. Improper gunhandling results from ignorance and improper role modeling, such as handling your gun like your favorite actor does. Education can cure this. You can make a difference by following these gunhandling rules and insisting that those around you do the same. Set the example. Who knows what tragedies you, or someone you influence, may prevent?

    Excerpted from: The Modern Technique of the Pistol, by Greg Morrison, Gunsite Press, Paulden, Arizona, ISBN 0-9621342-3-6, Library of Congress Number 91-72644, $40
  2. Ringer

    Ringer Well-Known Member

    I do believe this has been discussed quite a bit, but here is my 2 cents.

    So, rule #2 and rule #4 pose an interesting dilema if you are using a shotgun (or other long gun) for defense. You can't really carry a light as you need both hands to manipulate the weapon yet of course (#4) you have to identify your target. If you have a weapon mounted light, how do you deal with rule #2? This is where I would rely on rule #3. Not saying you should break the rules but they were designed so that if you slip on any single one, you are still OK. Also with 120+ lumens you don't have to point the muzzle directly at a target to ID it.

    Personally I use a hand held light with handgun as primary home defense gun. I have a shotgun with a light mounted on it should I need to resort to it, i.e. barracaded in safe room or parking myself at the end of the hall at the entrance to three bedrooms.
  3. mmike87

    mmike87 Well-Known Member

    Easy - the light it so bright that I don't HAVE to point it directly at the target to identify it. If I am at a "low ready" position with the gun more or less pointed to towards the floor, I can safely ID the target. In fact, the darn thing is SO bright that if it's on AT ALL and pointed in ANY direction there is sufficient light for a positive ID. If the target is indeed hostile, then I can take the next step.

    I understand the controversy involved with WML's - and yes there are issues. But every technique is nothing but a series of compromises. There is no perfect solution to the problem.
  4. nhhillbilly

    nhhillbilly Well-Known Member

    Unless you are LE or Military even then when you are searching you are in condition red. LE you are searching for a known bad guy when you are using the weapon mounted light. Normally you search with a handheld light and switch to a weapon mounted light only when there is a threat. Holding one of the Sure fire lights at low ready you can use it to illuminate a reasonable size room and there pointing a firearm at something you can afford to distroy. Handling a long arm with a hand held light is very difficult and almost impossable with a pump shotgun. Try it sometime at the range.
  5. TechBrute

    TechBrute Well-Known Member

    This has been done before, but let me ask you how you use your handheld flashlight with your pump-action shotgun.

    Also, more issues I've got with your post:
    Rule I: The gun is not always loaded. If it was always loaded, you couldn't clean it. You also couldn't inspect the barrel. I do, however, agree completely with
    Rule II: I am not willing to destroy my floor, ceiling, wall, or the top of my safe. However, the muzzle has to point somewhere.

    Rule III: Point shooting... enough said.

    Rule IV (or IIII if you are a clock): This is a good one.

    The "4 Rules" are a great starting point. However, COMMON SENSE would dictate that there is more than is what's on paper.

    Also, what is excerpted? If the whole thing is an excerpt, I'd hope you're not just advertising something...
  6. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Well-Known Member

    A few questions:

    1. Why are you searching or house clearing? That's a good way to get killed.

    2. Why do you need a light?

    Set up your house for defense, so the bad guy has to come to you, and leave a nightlight so that he's backlit.
  7. GRB

    GRB member

    The actual sentiment behind considering a gun as always loaded is that you should consider any gun you pick up, have handed to you, etc., to be loaded. This goes for the one you have been cleaning and put down even for a few moments, or the one you just have reassembled and then decide to check the barrel to see how pretty it looks, or the one you know you always keep unloaded in the closet, or the one you just took the magazine out of so you know for sure it is not loaded and so on. If you are handed a gun, or if you pick up a gun, or even if you were handling an unloaded gun and were distracted without putting it down you check it to see if it is loaded before you do another thing with it. Believe me or not as you choose, I know someone who was cleaning his gun, put it down for a few moments to answer a phone call, picked it up and started to dry fire. he put a .357 round into a metall door jamb. Had the bullet traveled all the way through it would have been exactly in line to hit another person, who was sitting about 15 feet away, right smack in his head - we measured. He did not see the other person and, he thought the gun wasn't loaded! You can never be too safe while handling a so called unloaded firearm.
  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Well-Known Member

    Go to the hunting forums and say you use your gun-mounted scope to search for and ID targets and you'll be roundly scolded.

    Go to the tactics forums and say you use your gun-mounted light to search for and ID targets and half the people will agree that it's a great idea.

    Apparently some gun safety rules can be ignored if the idea is "tactical" or cool enough.

    I've heard the argument: "I don't point the light at the target, I only use reflected light." Ok, but I'll bet that goes out the window double-quick as soon as you see movement. IMO, anyone who says they can put themselves in a dark room with a major adrenaline rush in progress and only a gun-mounted light for illumination and say they won't point it at a sudden movement or in the direction of a noise isn't being honest with themselves.

    I think they're a great idea for purely offensive situations but that's about it.
  9. GreenFurniture

    GreenFurniture Well-Known Member

    Why? To blind the subject when ID has been made.

    Really though? I think it's kind of silly unless you're a K9 officer and you need one hand for your lead and the other for a weapon.
  10. gbran

    gbran Well-Known Member

    Not sold on these

    I'm not sure I want to advertise my position to a potential perp.
  11. Dionysusigma

    Dionysusigma Well-Known Member

    Two ideas:

    1) Affix the flashlight to the back of your weak hand using a strap. This leaves the palm open to work the slide. Only works for a shotgun... or pump-rifles (but these don't get used much for HD).

    2) NVGs or IR. :evil:

    However, your Rule #3 is my Rule #1. As someone once succintly put it, KEEP YOUR :cuss: FINGER OFF THE :cuss: TRIGGER! Whether it's a gun, a hair dryer, bullhorn, cordless drill, even a vacuum cleaner... my index is always straight whether consciously or unconsciously. If I ever did use WMLs, it's almost a moot point since I never have my finger on the trigger 'til time to fire. Of course, I almost always have the safety on too... :uhoh: :rolleyes: :banghead:

    Note about house-clearing: unless it's a kidnapper (and you have kids), let them come to you--then take them out. It's not like they can "take it with them." :)
  12. Jenrick

    Jenrick Well-Known Member

    Part of the problem with using weapon mounted lights and not violating several of the main rules of firearms safety is the origin of weapon mounted lights. As far as I know, they originated in the military and LE communities. In both of these communities the usage of the light would have been in situations where pointing them at another human being is acceptable and expected.

    Both SRT and SF units searching, clearing, and securing and area will point a weapon at anyone other then their own unit/force and keep it there until they are rendered non-threatening (this could be by securing, evacuating, exchaning passwords to ID unit/force, etc.). Obviously this violates a rule or two. However it's part of the methodology and training that created the tool.

    The tool is now being used in situations in which the doctrine it was developed for is not being correctly applied. Going to investigate the bump in the night and finding it's your teenage daughter sneaking back in the house, is not a situation that weapon mounted lights were developed for. Obviously to "correctly/safely" use a weapon mounted light, either the situation or the rules need to be changed. I feel it's up to the owner to figure out which of the two they'd prefer to comprise.

  13. dcloudy777@aol.com

    dcloudy777@aol.com Well-Known Member

    If something unknown is rummaging around in my personal space in the dark, I AM willing to destroy it until the light on my gun tells me that it belongs there....

  14. SIGarmed

    SIGarmed Well-Known Member

    There's nothing wrong with a tac light. It's all in how you use it.

    Have you actually used a tac light to shoot a target at night? I have in training situations. Most tac lights that are fastened to a long arm are bright enough to easily light up a target out to 100 yards in total darkness. That is very bright. That means if you point it down to the ground while you're in a place like your home you should easily be able to identify who or what is in front of you should the need arise. Low ready if you will. That technique can also work with pistols.

    In other words you don't have to point it at anyone for most uses. Who's using a tac light to shoot long range? It's not a flash light. It's a tactical light and it should only be used as such. I'm talking the kind that are attached to the firearm of course. There's always the light swith on the kitchen wall too.

    It wouldn't be such a bad idea to have one in the home if you take your defense serious.
  15. 444

    444 Well-Known Member

    "If this is one of those subjects that have been cussed and discussed here many times before, forgive me as I obviously missed it. "
    You must have because this has been discussed in great detail several times at least.

    I have a couple problems with the stock answers to your question: first of all, if you never search your house...if every time you hear a noise or if everytime you wake up and wonder if you heard a noise....and you barracaide yourself into a corner and call 911; you are going to quickly become a PITA. Every sensible person has reason to investigate things that go on in their house. The statement that you NEVER search your house assumes that you KNOW that there is a bad guy in your house. This would be rare compared to all the other times you hear something, or have some reason to investigate something in your house, yard, garage.......
    Second: Many people assume that their answer it the ONLY possible right answer. Without arguing the main points to this argument, let me say that I live by myself. If ANYONE is in my house and I didn't know about it ahead of time, there is a problem. No one has a key to my house. No one has a garage door opener to my garage. When I moved in, I had the locks changed. If someone is in my house, they will certainly be illuminated with a weapons mounted light and be an instant away from a shotgun blast: in other words I am going to point the gun and the light right at them AND I am pretty serious about shooting them. This isn't a violation of any rule of gun handling.
    Before you make these absolute, carved in stone statements, consider briefly that everyone doesn't live your life and their situations might be different from yours.
  16. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

    A quick search should find several threads on this very subject.

    It's really quite simple; If a weapons mounted light doesn't meet your personal needs for one reason or another,don't use one.

    It's simply another tool. It's not perfect for every job. It was never meant to be. It does fill a need. You are the only person who can judge if you need one. I have one on my duty weapon. I also have a SureFire 6z on my duty belt. I don't have one mounted on my off duty weapon, but I carry a SureFire C2 Centurian. The weapon and light sit next to each other on the night table.

    There really isn't a right or wrong answer to this question. The key thing is to have a light and know how to use it and to remember that your weapon is not a flashlight if you do choose to mount a light on it.

  17. cgv69

    cgv69 Well-Known Member

    Well the idea behind a weapon mounted light in my opinion is to help avoid breaking rule #4. I agree that all 4 rules should be followed as much as humanly possible but if you are going to break\bend one of them, I would rather it be #2 then #4.

    Now if you use a handgun for HD, then a separate hand held flashlight can be used just as effectively and will allow you to identify your target without pointing your weapon at them but honestly that is not the way most people use them from what I've seen.

    Either way, a hand held flashlight is not much of an option if you use a shotgun or carbine for HD and I will say again that IMO, rule #4 is much more important then rule #2. Matter of fact, if you follow rule #3 the way I do, Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to fire, then I think ignoring rule #2 is an acceptable risk in this case.

    Edit to say instead, Has anybody been to a defensive shotgun or carbine course? If so, what was the instructors take on this?
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2005
  18. Ric

    Ric Well-Known Member

    The weapons light that I use has a very broad footprint. It lights up just about a third of my living room (largest room in the house) without being pointed at anything but the baseboard.
    If I keep the gun at a "low ready" type of position, I can identify any threat without covering anything I don't want to.

  19. Archangel

    Archangel Well-Known Member

    Yes, this topic has been covered before, and the question is always raised by someone who has obviously never used one of these lights. The are freakin' bright. You don't need to point it at something to illuminate it. Just turn it on, and have it at low ready (or just turn it on, period) and you will most likely be able to see everything in the room quite well.

    I also disagree with your wording of Rule 1, preferring "Always treat every gun as though it is loaded."

    You can unload a gun, check, double check, and triple check to make sure that it is not loaded. You know that it's not loaded. In that case, your wording of Rule on becomes false. All guns are not always loaded, because this one is not loaded. If I know that a gun is not loaded, then can I ignore the rules?

    No. "Always treat every gun as though it is loaded" always applies. The "as if" part of this rule does not, as you say, compromise the rule. It reinforces it. If it is loaded, I treat it as though it's loaded. If it's not loaded, I treat it as though it's loaded. If I don't know, I treat it as though it's loaded.

    In my opinion, saying simply that "all guns are alway loaded" compromises the rule, because it is a statement that is simply not true.

    But that's just my opinion. :cool:
  20. Frandy

    Frandy Well-Known Member

    As if and as though...

    Please forgive my 2 cents, but as a professional editor, I think I can clear up the wording.

    As has already been stated or implied, we should use either of the following two statements:

    1. Always treat every gun as if it is loaded.
    2. Always treat every gun as though it is loaded.

    The grammatical reasoning is that when the present tense is used with "as if" or "as though," the assumption is that the statement is true or likely to be true.

    Now, back to arguing about the tac light... :p

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