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Weapon mounted lights....

Discussion in 'Strategies, Tactics, and Training' started by mokin, May 20, 2020.

  1. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    The whole point of having a pocket flashlight (non WML) is to not point a weapon unnecessarily. The whole point of a weapon light is illuminate a target that has threat potential. Weapon lights aren't for you, got it. No reason to try to dissuade others who think differently.
     
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  2. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    For the benefit of others: "Threat potential" does not provide sufficient justification for the lawful presentation of a firearm in the outdoors.

    Not outdoors.
     
  3. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    That's a pretty absurd question, and it would appear you're going down the road of one of those 20th century precepts I mentioned above.

    WMLs are inferior because you're required to draw in order to illuminate something.

    Well of course it's true that one must draw the weapon to use the WML. However, this notion loses sight of the purpose of lights as tools. The handheld and the WML are not mutually exclusive; far from it, they serve different purposes. The handheld is an information gathering tool. Who's over there? What was that noise? Oh dang, the dog's toy went under the couch again. That person coming toward me while I'm walking my dog at night -- what's that object in his hand? The WML is a threat engagement tool. Someone is shooting up the movie theater, breaking down my door. Or, the same person is toward me at night with an unknown object in his hand, but now he's also saying he's about to kill me.
     
  4. Robbins290

    Robbins290 Member

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    For those that are worried about pointing a weapon at someone with the light attached, I am not worried about it. Having a weapon light works fine for me. Takes a little training but i can use the light splash if i had to, but most likely i will have not because:

    1) its just the wife and I in the house, if someone is in the house, Its a threat.

    2) I have land about 6 miles from my house in the middle of no where, No power or antyhing on the side of a mountain. I work the land at night and have had to use a weapon for 4 legged critters. when a tool, chainsaw, buckets, jugs of water are in your hands. the weapon light is perfect. It will be 4 legged creatures, and the slight chances that its not 4 legged. They will have to have a good excuse of why they are tresspassing.
     
  5. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    That would be an off topic discussion, right? Regardless, a person standing 4 feet away has threat potential even if they have nothing in their hands. A person aggressively waving a knife 21 feet away has threat potential. I did not go into what threat potential is as it would be off topic to the discussion at hand.
     
  6. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    One need not point a firearm to commit aggravated assault, or to give another person justification to shoot in lawful self defense. One needs only to produce it.

    Never produce a gun upon encountering a trespasser unless you have an objective basis for a reasonable belief that he constitutes an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm

    It has a lot to do with whether or how to employ a WML.

    One can say that anyone coming from behind or from the other way on a sidewalk at night has "threat potential", but it would take a lot more than that to justify the lawful production of a weapon.
     
  7. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    If you say so.
     
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  8. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    Andrew Branca and Massad Ayoob will tell you the same thing.
     
  9. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I have met Massad Ayoob. Trained with Rob Pincus as well. Great guy to have drinks with. Both did have recommendations on legalities of lethal force encounters. Professional disagreements on WMLs, choice of firearm etc. Once again, WMLs aren't for you. Got it. We disagree on using a light.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  10. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    What did you take away from them on that?
     
  11. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think anyone here is advocating that a WML is the only light one carries. Most LE agencies I am aware of require a handheld light in addition to a WML. You simply train to use them both to complement each other. I've been doing this since the days of a Maglight or Streamlight and a couple of hose clamps were the best you could do for a WML and a light on a handgun was a fantasy.

    It's not hard to use a handheld light in conjunction with a WML. All it takes is a little training. I worked in a rural area and backup was usually at least 20minutes away if it was available at all. This means I often had to investigate open doors found after a burglar alarm and other incidents alone. I had a Surefire X200 on my duty pistol and I carried a Surefire 6Z on my duty belt. Procedure was pistol in strong hand with the light off. 6Z in weak hand with the lanyard around my wrist. I searched with the light in my weak hand and if I needed to open a door, key the mic on my portable or bring my weapon to the ready I simply dropped the 6Z and let it hang from my wrist.

    There is no reason this wouldn't work for a private citizen. It's easy to have your weapon in hand but not displayed. You can carry down at your side and hidden behind your thigh. I walked up on many drivers that way on vehicle stops when something didn't feel right. The driver never knew I had my weapon in hand.

    Light is a force multiplier and there are several manufacturers making compact, reliable and very powerful lights. We are ceding an advantage by not using them. The key is to not just have a light, but to train with it. Your gun is not a flashlight. If you have a WML you need a handheld light. And you need to train with both of them, they complement each other.
     
  12. mokin

    mokin Member

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    I am in agreement with the idea of having two lights. The closest I ever came to using lights in a tactical sense was as a search and rescue diver. We always had three lights and maybe one on a helmet.

    I had not thought of causing assault pointing a WML at someone. That's kind of why I started this thread.
     
  13. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    If I understand correctly that you would use a weapon-mounted light to illuminate a "target" that has "threat potential", we certainly do disagree on that aspect of the subject. That's a good way to get locked up for a decade or two, or to get shot in justified self defense.

    I do understand that a WML can be very helpful in the event that a use of force incident actually occurs. I certainly would not use it as a flashlight.

    If we did not always have some level of uninterruptible light throughout the house during the night, I would undoubtedly view a weapon-mounted light differently.

    If we went out during the night with any frequency at all, I might or might not. I simply haven't put a lot of thought into it.

    I would avail myself of some good training, were I to acquire a WML
     
  14. shafter

    shafter Member

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    This is spot on. A handheld light is used for all purposes up to the point one needs to draw their firearm. Once the firearm is drawn one transitions from the handheld to WML. Having a WML shouldn't change a thing as far as when you can and can't draw your firearm. If the threat level isn't there, keep using the handheld.
     
  15. MCFLYFYTER

    MCFLYFYTER Member

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    I'm getting some mixed signals here. You dont own a wml, you haven't put much thought into using one, yet you sure have a strong opinion. Strange
     
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  16. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    I do not own one because I do not need one.

    I have not put much thought into whether I would choose to CCW one if I went out at night much, because I do not--there are other alternatives, and pros and cons.

    I certainly know enough about use of force law to know better than to try to use one to illuminate and identify a "potential threat" in the out-of-doors at night.

    Clear now?
     
  17. MCFLYFYTER

    MCFLYFYTER Member

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    No. You haven't thought about it much, but just enough to conclude you don't need one? Is there a certain percentage of thought you put into something? How do you calculate that percentage if you haven't thought it through 100% You have either thought it through completely, or you haven't. How on earth can you evaluate pros and cons without thinking about it? Your own words can be nit picked apart too. So what?
     
  18. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    If Kleanbore has decided that a WML doesn’t fit his needs, because he has ambient light sources in his home and he doesn’t go out at night why would it matter if he thought about it or not?

    That certainly doesn’t invalidate his point about not using your WML as a flashlight, after all, you are pointing a loaded firearm when you illuminate someone with a WML.

    You have to understand that this is an open forum and anyone can surf in and read what’s posted here. So if one of the staff makes a point that seems obvious to the members who frequent the forum, it most likely aimed at the lurker or the person who surfed in here and may not have the same background as the members who regularly post here. We do this so that no one can say they read that something was ok here at THR after they get in trouble.
     
  19. mokin

    mokin Member

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    I think we have about reached the point of diminishing returns....

    First of all, I like the distinction made between search tool and engagement tool in post 39. Secondly, I am going to stir the pot a little and inquire about lights on carbines and/or shotguns. Realistically, in my case, it would be much easier to mount a light on a long arm rather than any of the handguns I own. Furthermore, way back when I was young and impressionable, a nice man in a khaki shirt convinced me that if I am going to get into a shooting match, I should have "My Rifle".

    To better guide this conversation, I live by myself most of the time in a relatively urban setting. There is quite a bit of ambient light. The situation that got me thinking about getting a light happened while I was at a friend's place in the country. It was an anomaly - but those are the times we train for. So to go back to the distinction between search and engagement tools, does the question about lights come down more to looking for trouble versus hunkering in place?

    Let's keep this professional - no personal attacks. We're here to learn and exchange ideas.

    ETA: A small Streamlight is part of my daily carry.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
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  20. MCFLYFYTER

    MCFLYFYTER Member

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    Sorry, I had no idea "I read it on a forum" was a legitimate legal argument. If he is just posting to relieve the owner of this forum of liability, I completely understand his posts.
     
  21. rabid wombat

    rabid wombat Member

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    The thread has been “enlightening”....

    How does the illuminated person know if it is a flashlight or weapon light and respond? Does any light presented prompt a response? I am not advocating pointing a weapon at an unknown entity (the four rules....). Not having another light (shame), and splashing....

    Agreement, bad things after midnight, quadrupeds, stay on the right side of the tracks....
     
  22. MCFLYFYTER

    MCFLYFYTER Member

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    I dont conceal a weapon light. Someone could grab my child and run into a dark building. I always have a flashlight on me, so I would just have to make due.

    If I am out in the middle of my 192 acre farm at night and hear footsteps running towards me, I would have zero issue drawing and lighting someone up with a wml. Walking downtown I absolutely wouldn't draw, but I would have a grip for sure.

    Making broad statements is pretty useless without context. If a leo draws his weapon, is that not aggravated assault? Could be, could not, the circumstance would dictate. So yeah, the blanket statements are the real problem that I see, but if the forum is legally responsible the blanket statements must remain.

    My house has way too many nightlights in it, and I could absolutely identify someone without a flashlight as being immediate family or not. Do I just shoot the shadowy figure, or should I verify it is a threat first? Do I ask "hey, are you a threat to my family tonight, or are you a dementia patient that is really lost?" I personally fear shooting someone that doesn't deserve it more than shooting a bad guy. Shooting shadows scares me to no end, but maybe i should just "man up" and squeeze one off.
     
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  23. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    I have lights on two of my ARs including the one that lives in my bedroom. While there are instructors who say they can teach a way to use a hand held light with a long gun, I’ve never found a method that worked for me.

    You can easily use the two light (handheld and WML) with your long gun if you have a sling. Every long gun used for defensive purposes needs a sling. You wouldn’t have a pistol without a holster.

    Or you can use the “splash” of the WML to illuminate a potential threat without pointing the weapon at it. Again, my method of using a small hand held light with a lanyard around my wrist works for me with my ARs. A tactical operation would be a different story but that’s not applicable here.

    Remember you aren’t going use the light except in bursts and you’re going to move after each burst of light. A tactical team might advance behind a wall of light but again that’s not applicable to our discussion.

    You have to learn to “see” what’s there in the split second you light the area up. This is harder then it sounds because in the absence of input our brains tell us what it expects to see. It’s not unusual in training for someone to miss seeing the threat in the split second especially if they are searching an area they know. KIM (keep in mind games) are one way to work on this skill.
     
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  24. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    I’ve shot in the dark before, I didn’t hit much.

    IMO, if you lose or win a gun fight it likely had nothing to do with your light.
     
  25. Ed Ames

    Ed Ames Member

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    I’ve had two WMLs, both mounted to the designated easily accessed home defense guns (wife’s AR and my Glock), each sitting in quick access lock boxes next to good flashlights. For me, they are a good feature to have for that application. Those guns were strictly for “inside my own house, family and pets are all accounted for“ scenarios and if it comes to that, the remote chance of an assault charge is a laughable thing to worry about. It shouldn’t even be on the radar compared to all the other far more likely bad outcomes.

    I personally have zero interest in WMLs (or rails) on concealed carry guns. And I’m not a cop so whatever benefits they may have for an open carry sidearm are largely academic for me. But if you have the ability (room on your belt, etc) to carry a gun with a WML, you have the ability to carry a flashlight too, and flashlights are far more likely to be useful to the average person, so it really makes sense to carry both. And if you can only have one, choose the stand-alone flashlight.

    Just keep in mind: Shining a flashlight (disregarding the whole “weapon mounted” part) directly at someone is an unfriendly and provocative act and not something anyone should risk casually. There are times when it’s necessary, but as a general rule anyone who cares at all about de-escalation and safety avoids shining bright lights directly at a person, because it just raises your personal risk. That only goes out the window when you have absolute certainty that you are in a confrontation and need to take the risk to give yourself an edge. The only people who routinely shine flashlights directly at people without provocation are people trying to cause an incident. Don’t be that person.
     
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