Light attachment or flashlight? Pros and Cons

This is a discussion on Light attachment or flashlight? Pros and Cons within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have looked at both the Surefire X300 light attachment for my sigs and I have also looked at some of the tactical handheld LED ...

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Thread: Light attachment or flashlight? Pros and Cons

  1. #1
    Member Array mattdillon's Avatar
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    Question Light attachment or flashlight? Pros and Cons

    I have looked at both the Surefire X300 light attachment for my sigs and I have also looked at some of the tactical handheld LED flashlights on the market. For a home defense situation what method would you prefer, if any? In my home the downstairs area will be the most vunerable and I would like to carry a light of some means so I don't trip walking down the stairs or turn on the lights to eliminate my cover. Both lights have their pros and cons from what I have read. Both have the ability to flash on momentarily or stay on. So, is it just a matter of preference or is there strong feelings for one over the other?
    Mitch Rapp is my hero (reference to the Vince Flynn novels)

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    Member Array wilbmeister's Avatar
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    I am glad you asked this question. I was thinking about the same thing yesterday. It would be nice to have the light wherever I point the gun but there are drawbacks to that too. A separate light would allow me to look around a corner without exposing my gun or too much of me. Also, I could use the light when I don't need my gun out. I am looking forward to the answers from folks who use these items.

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    For a home situation I'd prefer a handheld flashlight for the simple reason so you don't point a loaded gun at a loved one - that is before you knew they were where which is why you needed the light.

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    I can't say this enough as it is an often forgotten or unknown rule; A weapon mounted light is not a flashlight. They are similar, but two different tools for different tasks.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array mattdillon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    I can't say this enough as it is an often forgotten or unknown rule; A weapon mounted light is not a flashlight. They are similar, but two different tools for different tasks.
    I don't believe I called the firearm mounted light a flashlight. So, which one would you have for home defense? Would a firearm mounted light be something you would use for home defense or would you carry a tactical flashlight?
    Last edited by mattdillon; August 31st, 2010 at 02:38 PM.
    Mitch Rapp is my hero (reference to the Vince Flynn novels)

    RIP Vince! Going to miss your novels! :(

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    VIP Member Array oakchas's Avatar
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    In a real home defense situation... in the dark (where you would need a flashlight). There is (or should be) no reason to give up the high ground and go downstairs to begin with... If all your bedrooms are upstairs. If you feel the need to protect your "stuff" which is downstairs with your life, you need a better homeowners policy.

    Now, if one member of your family is being held hostage and forced to enter the house at gunpoint so that the badguys can get stuff you have... then you need a security detail, or everyone in the family needs training. But a light won't do any good there, the bad guys would announce intent.

    You have phones upstairs, AND you have a weapon upstairs to protect yourself and your loved ones. If any other wepons you own are unsecured away from where you are, you are foolish. You can call the cops and you can verbally notify anyone in the house that you are armed, and that you have called the police.. and that they had better get out while the getting is good.

    If some PCP enraged, gun toting BG is the one in your house... and he decides to bring the fight to you, you have the advantage upstairs, not down...
    and, if he decides to shoot randomly though the floor to get you and yours, he's going to run out of ammo alot sooner than you are...

    Get whatever flashlight you want, looks coolest to you, and WORKS.
    Have a land line and a charged cel phone in your room.
    Have in your room your HD weapon of considered choice.
    Have a plan to get the family members in with you, under your protection, without anyone going downstairs...
    Unless all members of the home team are "combat trained" and ready... don't send out the only one armed as a "scout."
    Rats!
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattdillon View Post
    I don't believe I called the firearm mounted light a flashlight. So, which one would you have for home defense? Would a firemarm mounted light be something you would use for home defense or would you carry a tactical flashlight?
    I never said you did, and I have both. If I had to choose one over the other for strictly a defensive situation, I'd take the WML.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    VIP Member Array shockwave's Avatar
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    Both lights have their pros and cons from what I have read.
    Right. So if you've done your research, then you know that how those pros stack up against those cons is a matter of:

    1. Your weapon(s)
    2. Your home layout
    3. The type of threat encountered
    4. Your combat style
    5. Mechanical particulars of the lights in question

    And probably some other considerations. So how 1-5 works for one person might not be optimal for you.

    Given those factors, I've opted to have several flashlights located in the major areas of the house, with the best hand-carry model on my nightstand. The really serious tactical light is mounted to the Mossberg 500. Recently, I had a suspicious event occur around 3:00am and got to test out the setup in a real-life situation.

    Rolled out of bed, grabbed the light and pulled a .357. Without using the light, I approached the doorway of the bedroom and surveyed the front of the house from a non-exposed position, then investigated the front from several side windows. At any time, if I wanted the light it was in the weak hand, and the beam is strong enough to blind whoever I shine it at. Pros here include the option to illuminate something without sweeping it, and more options for carrying and pointing and operating it. In addition, it has a low-power blue LED secondary to preserve night vision if wanted.

    The shotgun needs a light because it's a two-handed weapon and the light is in the high 200-lumen range, serving both as a weapon and a targeting system. A very quick test with it in the dark confirms that a person cannot look at this light directly.

    I can't see any advantage to a to a pistol-mounted light in my circumstances, although I suppose there's some situation where it'd be nice to have. They feel just a bit on the "tacti-cool" end of things.
    "It may seem difficult at first, but everything is difficult at first."

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    Member Array mattdillon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oakchas View Post
    In a real home defense situation... in the dark (where you would need a flashlight). There is (or should be) no reason to give up the high ground and go downstairs to begin with... If all your bedrooms are upstairs. If you feel the need to protect your "stuff" which is downstairs with your life, you need a better homeowners policy.

    Now, if one member of your family is being held hostage and forced to enter the house at gunpoint so that the badguys can get stuff you have... then you need a security detail, or everyone in the family needs training. But a light won't do any good there, the bad guys would announce intent.

    You have phones upstairs, AND you have a weapon upstairs to protect yourself and your loved ones. If any other wepons you own are unsecured away from where you are, you are foolish. You can call the cops and you can verbally notify anyone in the house that you are armed, and that you have called the police.. and that they had better get out while the getting is good.

    If some PCP enraged, gun toting BG is the one in your house... and he decides to bring the fight to you, you have the advantage upstairs, not down...
    and, if he decides to shoot randomly though the floor to get you and yours, he's going to run out of ammo alot sooner than you are...

    Get whatever flashlight you want, looks coolest to you, and WORKS.
    Have a land line and a charged cel phone in your room.
    Have in your room your HD weapon of considered choice.
    Have a plan to get the family members in with you, under your protection, without anyone going downstairs...
    Unless all members of the home team are "combat trained" and ready... don't send out the only one armed as a "scout."
    1) Thanks for the lecture. 2) My homeowner's policy is just fine thank you. 3) However, points well taken.
    Mitch Rapp is my hero (reference to the Vince Flynn novels)

    RIP Vince! Going to miss your novels! :(

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    Senior Member Array WoodLark's Avatar
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    Back in the'60's, I was taught by the Wisconsin State Patrol to always hold your flashlight away from your body so that if the BG shoots at the light, he may miss you. Since my gun is normally held in front of my body, this answers the question of weapon mounted lights for me (YMMV).
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    Distinguished Member Array Diddle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodLark View Post
    Back in the'60's, I was taught by the Wisconsin State Patrol to always hold your flashlight away from your body so that if the BG shoots at the light, he may miss you. Since my gun is normally held in front of my body, this answers the question of weapon mounted lights for me (YMMV).
    Good advice too. If I shine a light ina room is is from a low angle away from my body. In my perticular situation and house arangement, (a 3AM Oh, S! thing) I have to use my weak hand for the frearm as my right hand is is on the side of my body that gives me the best view of the next 3 rooms.

    I don't know how many people do this but we keep several lights on at night which gives me a bit of an edge - due to home layout. The most obvious place to break-in here is from the deck. And that is a location I can see from two different directions without leaving the bed.

    The one luxery for us is that we have no children and few visitors. This enables us to have firearms ready to go as well as flashlights and knives in verious places through the house.

    Only people here are me and my wife. We work odd hours so knowing one another's schedules is extremely important. Either one of us may enter the house at 1,2 or 3 AM. And under those circumstances there is absolutely zero room for error.

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    Member Array J0eyg86's Avatar
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    This is something I’ve been thinking about too. personally i think i want to try and get both for the simple reason of if I’m checking the little bump in the dark i don’t want to have a gun at a family member who’s just getting a glass of water (as was already said) but at the same time i want the light on the gun so if i do raise it i can make 100% sure what on the other end. Something a ex-officer told me a while back was no matter how you have it set up if you have a gun in your house you have to have a light of some sort with it. The far and few between stories of someone shooting a loved one because it was dark and they just saw a silowet down the hall way after being woken in the night that scares me to even think of being that person.

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    Senior Member Array CowboyColby's Avatar
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    Personally I'm not a weapon mounted light fan unless its on a shotgun just because thats your only option. I like a flashlight for the fact that I can shine it and not be exposing my body or my firearm and not be pointing a loaded gun at a friend or loved one.

    I also keep the far end of my homes hallway light on can see anything coming my way with out being seen. I will not turn on the flashlight until I have to because I do not wish to give away my position. Also with a flashlight if you have a funnel in your home you can set the light down ahead of you a ways and get behind it as to light up in front but not allow others to see where you are for sure.

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    VIP Member Array SpencerB's Avatar
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    I would like to get a weapon mounted light for my G19, but I would never get it to replace my regular flash light. They both serve a purpose. If something goes bump in the night I would rather have a WML b/c that would free up one hand to either call 911 or just us it as my support hand.

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    Member Array dgreen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattdillon View Post
    I have looked at both the Surefire X300 light attachment for my sigs and I have also looked at some of the tactical handheld LED flashlights on the market. For a home defense situation what method would you prefer, if any? In my home the downstairs area will be the most vunerable and I would like to carry a light of some means so I don't trip walking down the stairs or turn on the lights to eliminate my cover. Both lights have their pros and cons from what I have read. Both have the ability to flash on momentarily or stay on. So, is it just a matter of preference or is there strong feelings for one over the other?
    i think having both is the best option. if you feel a need for a light mounted on your home defense firearm then go for it. i use a 2 cell mag light around the house and yard at night when checking on strange sounds or just checking the area. it lights up plenty, easily fits in a pocket, and isnt expensive. i also have some 3 and 4 cell mag lights for power failures and such. my current hd is also my edc and it doesnt have a rail for mounting a light, but my next firearm will. you will get alot of different opinions about tactics and using a light on a firearm. read them all and take the best input and then decide what you will be most comfortabe reaching for when something goes bump in the night. when you do decided, please let us know what you chose and how it is working for you.

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