Pros and Cons of Weapon Mounted Lights

This is a discussion on Pros and Cons of Weapon Mounted Lights within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm about to get a tac light for my XD 45. I've always worried, however, that the light on the end of your weapon give ...

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Thread: Pros and Cons of Weapon Mounted Lights

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    Senior Member Array mojust's Avatar
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    Pros and Cons of Weapon Mounted Lights

    I'm about to get a tac light for my XD 45. I've always worried, however, that the light on the end of your weapon give the BG a target. The other problem is, of course, shooting your dog, etc., because you can't see. Interested in some philosophical conclusions about this.

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    There are a lot of pro's and con's for both; main issue that worrys me is that to put your light on anything requires that your muzze also be pointed at it. If you put a light on your gun, I think you should only use that particular light when you believe there may be a threat and you've made the decision to draw and present your weapon. If you want to investigate a sound but aren't willing to point a loaded weapon, then you need to have a light to use that's not on the weapon.

    I like the idea of a weapon light for home defense. In such a situation I would also keep a seperate flashlight by that gun so I'd have both when I went looking.

    For carry out of the home I don't like them. Out of the home I always carry a surefire as part of my EDC gear.

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    Member Array Jason Rogers's Avatar
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    Two lights, two guns

    Quote Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
    There are a lot of pro's and con's for both; main issue that worrys me is that to put your light on anything requires that your muzze also be pointed at it. If you put a light on your gun, I think you should only use that particular light when you believe there may be a threat and you've made the decision to draw and present your weapon. If you want to investigate a sound but aren't willing to point a loaded weapon, then you need to have a light to use that's not on the weapon.

    I like the idea of a weapon light for home defense. In such a situation I would also keep a seperate flashlight by that gun so I'd have both when I went looking.

    For carry out of the home I don't like them. Out of the home I always carry a surefire as part of my EDC gear.
    +1. I have a Sig P229 R that lives on my headboard and is mounted with a Surefire X-200. I have a Sig P229 SAS that is my EDC. Regardless I always have my Surefire e2 in my pocket or on my headboard.-Jay

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    +2 now to the original response.

    The primary reason I do not have a weapon mounted light on my EDC is my belief that (among other things) - you should never point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy (Kill). If you don't know what you're looking at until the light hits it, then you could end up with your gun pointed at something (or someone) you do not want to destroy (or kill).
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    Member Array gotammo's Avatar
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    you can't hit what you can't see, why have another piece of equipment? Any flash lite can make you a target why not have one that is always pointed where its needed. All pros no cons as far as I can tell.

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Have to say gotammo does make a point, any light does make you visible but you have to see to shoot and defend...still pointing a muzzle....

    I just put a new thread under scenarios asking a related question about how best to respond to a "bump" in the night considering I have 6 children in 4 different bedrooms throughout the house. I don't think I can hole up and wait for the BG, I have to go investigate and check on them so If I have a weapon light and I'm "looking", then I could end up sweeping my little girl, on the other hand, how else can you check? If I use a handheld light and point my weapon to the ground and then I sweep a bad guy with a gun pointed at me, I'm at a definite disadvantage, right?

    I guess we've had it beat into our heads for so long NOT to ever point a gun as something that we don't intend to shoot that it's hard to imagine "looking" around by pointing your gun at everything you want to look at. Tough Call!

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    JD
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    It all boils down to risk vs. reward on each persons needs.

    For a pistol dedicated for home defense, I would prefer a gun mounted light, so I could have my off hand free to use a phone, negotiate obstacles etc. etc.

    As I do not have a dedicated handgun for home defense (actually, only one of our guns has a rail, and that's Lima's M&P9c), my 870 does have a light mounted to the forearm.

    Yes the muzzle will be pointing at the object in the light, but I have the uttter confidence that my finger will not be on the trigger unless I NEED TO SHOOT.

    If you don't have that confidnce, I would suggest NOT having a firearm mounted light.

    We've all seen and read the stories of fathers shooting their kids in the dark. That won't be me.

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    That's why they make the tactical lights easy to mount, and easy to remove. I love my M-3 and M-6 Streamlights. The EDC pistols can all get them snapped on at nighttime. I operate mine with my trigger finger in either 'flash' mode, or constant on mode. It's as much a tool as the weapon itself, and with my pistol at the ready---I see no need to concern myself with other objects in the 'off hand'. As far as regular daily carry---I see no need in the attachment of the light/laser. Besides---holsters for the combination are few and far between.

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    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    It all boils down to risk vs. reward on each persons needs.

    For a pistol dedicated to home defense, I would prefer a gun mounted light, so I could have my off hand free to use a phone, negotiate obstacles etc. etc.

    As I do not have a dedicated handgun for home defense (actually, only one of our guns has a rail, and that's Lima's M&P9c), my 870 does have a light mounted to the forearm.

    Yes the muzzle will be pointing at the object in the light, but I have the uttter confidence that my finger will not be on the trigger unless I NEED TO SHOOT.

    If you don't have that confidnce, I would suggest NOT having a firearm mounted light.

    We've all seen and read the stories of fathers shooting their kids in the dark. That won't be me.
    These are valid arguments... while I don't like weapon mounted lights in general, I do have one on my shotgun, because I want both hands on the gun. You do need the light... but if I can choose between on gun and off gun, I'll take off gun for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that all of my formal training is off-gun.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    im for carrying a flashlight. i dont like the idea of the light mounted on the gun.
    not only does it tell someone exactly where to shoot if they have a gun, but you are also limited because you can only shoot where the light is / only have light where the gun is pointed.
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    To each their own, I use weapon mounted lights. Carried at low ready , the light spill from a bright light will light up your target enough to ID a family member form a stranger.
    No one will see my light till I am hearing someone making noise. If you train with a weapon light , I think you can have an advantage over handheld lights.
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    OK... we are doing this again, and here comes my rant;

    Every argument I have ever seen here or elsewhere against a mounted light comes from not knowing how to use a flashlight in a tactical sense. The principles are very much the same no matter if you are using a hand held or a mounted light.

    Using a mounted light correctly will not give your position away any more than a hand held unit. Light it up and move. You are not playing Scooby Doo searching for ghosts. There is no need to leave it on more than a split second. If you are searching a building in a standard shooting position, you need some updated training. Something a little more up to date than watching reruns of Cagny and Lacy or Miami Vice.

    You will not be pointing the weapon at anything you would be already pointing it at.... You do not need to aim a flashlight to illumininate an object!

    Sorty for the rant... carry on.
    Last edited by SIXTO; January 22nd, 2008 at 08:28 AM.
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    Ron
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    Quote Originally Posted by friesepferd View Post
    im for carrying a flashlight. i dont like the idea of the light mounted on the gun.
    not only does it tell someone exactly where to shoot if they have a gun, but you are also limited because you can only shoot where the light is / only have light where the gun is pointed.
    I agree. And I also think that if you are going to have a gun available at night, it is critical that you also have a light. You must be able to identify your target if you are going to shoot, and hard to do that without a light. Have heard too many stories about people shooting their kids or other family mambers because they shot without first identifying the target.

    Ron
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    I agree with SIXTO about WMLs per se. However, there are several schools of thought about how to use light, be it handheld or weapon mounted. One is leave the light on, another is flash and go, another is move the light around to confuse.

    But regardless of the method, I know of no schools that teach you to fight in the dark without using some kind of light. Granted there could be exceptions where you know without a doubt that the only persons around are you and the BG; you know without a doubt that the background will stop a bullet; there is some light present to navigate by and to see the threat, and there are no dark corners where you can't see the threat, but he can see you. That's a lot of ifs.

    I'm a strong believer in WMLs. They let you shoot with two hands, they let you hold onto a child or dog with one hand, they let you open doors with one hand without trying to hold on to a handheld. Not that you'd ever need to, but they let you do malfunction drills, and speed reloads without dealing with a light. Even if you have your handheld on a breakaway lanyard it can still be problematic if you have to release the flashlight to do something else.

    But here's the real advantage of a WML, you can have it on your weapon, and carry a handheld too. That way you don't have to point your WML at a possible friendly, which really won't happen if you're using the WML properly anyway, but you can use the handheld for searching and the WML for more critical situations, like when a hand is needed or you need to make a shot.
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    VIP Member Array NCHornet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotammo View Post
    you can't hit what you can't see, why have another piece of equipment? Any flash lite can make you a target why not have one that is always pointed where its needed. All pros no cons as far as I can tell.
    Not altogether true. By having your light source in your weak hand you can position the light around corners and away from your COM. With a light mounted weapon you are holding the gun out in front of what ? Answer = Your Chest = COM, stupid tactical decision if you ask me. All the training I have had always taught light source to be in seperate hand and it simply makes sense to me, and that is what I do. If you feel comfortable with this, that's fine with me, I'm not the one that needs to live through a COM round. I think to many times people fall into "Man that gun looks cool with that light" instead of actually thinking how this said combination works in a real world SD situation. Do as you feel comfortable but I will never own a firearm with a light mounted weapon, except for coon huntin.

    You will not be pointing the weapon at anything you would be already pointing it at.... You do not need to aim a flashlight to illumininate an object!
    Again, not the way I was taught, with a seperate light source you don't necissarily have them both pointed in the same direction, again this is why I prefer a seperate light source. The average gun owner never receives any proper training after their purchase, they are lucky to get to a range once a year. A weapon mounted light can be a very bad idea in situations like this, heck a gun in their hands can also be a bad idea. If you have been trained to use a WML fine, I have no problem with that. I myself haven't and see no need to, as I still feel it is a bad idea. We all have our opinions.
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