Why have a light on your Shotgun?

Why have a light on your Shotgun?

This is a discussion on Why have a light on your Shotgun? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; First off, I plead complete ignorance here - which is why I'm asking my questions. One of the things that has surprised me as I've ...

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Thread: Why have a light on your Shotgun?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Jemsaal's Avatar
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    Why have a light on your Shotgun?

    First off, I plead complete ignorance here - which is why I'm asking my questions.

    One of the things that has surprised me as I've descended into the world of HD shotguns is the idea of having a flashlight at the end of a shotgun. For the life of me I can't figure out the reasoning. As I see it, a flashlight is like radar/sonar. It tells others a whole lot more than it will ever tell you - unless you purposefully want to broadcast your position.

    Wouldn't it be a whole lot better for the first flash of light in a HD situation to be the blast delivering .00 buckshot at 12-1400 FPS? If I'm going to tell a BG where I'm standing, I'd rather do it that way. No?

    What am I missing here? Obviously there are people on this forum with tons more experience than me that use flashlights on HD shotguns. So could you tell me what I'm missing?

    BTW - the only people that have keys to my house is my wife and myself. We have no children nor the kind of friends that would sneak in to play a prank, so anyone that surprises us inside our house-especially at night, is a BG. Maybe that changes the scenario for using a light? Or is this just one of those tacti-cool things? The third option is that I'm just that dense that I don't see the reasons. Personally, I'm going with option three for now


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    Here's how it works: You use a relatively high lumen light, with long throw and little/narrow spillage, that has momentary activation and strobe effect.
    The idea is that the light is operated from a pressure switch on the pump/foregrip, so you can turn it on briefly to clear rooms as you advance to your saferoom, family members, a safe exit or what have you. If you have to pass a window of any area of backlighting that will give away your position anyway, or expose you by silhouetting you, you can use the light as well to blind or disorient your opponent. The light also silhouettes your sights when you light up a target, while simultaneously blinding them. This is particularly true with strobe mode. The fact is, if someone breaks in at 4am, I'd rather light them up and be able to see where I'm going, than be blindsided by someone when I try to clear a doorway or corner during my egress.

    This holds for a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.
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  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Der Alte's Avatar
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    It would be nice to be able to see in the dark but most of us can't do that. Since we can't you need a flashlight so you don't end up shooting a family member who is wandering around in the dark.
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    It's hard to hit what you can't see and you need to know that your target isn't something that you really don't want to shoot.

    With no kids etc., the second choice is still a valid one; would you really want to shoot your neighbor's kid when they drunkenly decide to climb in the window of the wrong house. I'm not saying it's ever going to happen, but identifying your target is important.

    Also, most lights use a pressure pad so you shouldn't be using it to trapse through the house, announcing your presence along the way.
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  5. #5
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    Depends what you plan on doing with the shotgun.

    If you are going to use it to clear your home (it's a bad idea to clear a home by yourself, but it is sometimes necessary) then a light is a good idea.

    If you are just going to use it to cover the door to your safe room once your family is safely inside, then I do not think you need a light. Anyone coming through that locked door is not there for any good purpose. And chances are there will be plenty of ambient light with which to see enough to ID the target.

    I have a light on my home defense pistol (which is what I would use if I had to move through the house), but not on my shotgun or carbine. Their only purpose is to cover the locked door.
    Last edited by 10thmtn; January 13th, 2013 at 02:18 PM.
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    Senior Member Array Jemsaal's Avatar
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    See - this is exactly why I asked. I had no idea that they strobe - or the high lumens they put out. Using them to temporarily freeze your target by a quick touch on a pressure switch makes a ton of sense.

    Oh, and TX expat - yeah, I agree. I've preached that to my wife since the moment we started thinking about home defense. Never shoot what you haven't identified. I was just thinking in that case, it'd be easier to throw on a room light that doesn't highlight me. Of course, if the BG was smart enough, he'd find a way to cut power first.

    Thanks so far - and please, keep on with the answers. I'm learning quite a bit.

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I live in the country, Ive never had to clear a house or even a room, But I have had to clear a barn, chicken coop, and yard of predators. I want to know for sure what I'm shooting at! DR
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    A light on the shot gun helps you to find the 'pieces' after the shot.

    With 'night eyes' in my own home, I don't really need a light on the shot gun, but the above statement is true for a double barrel coach gun with 12 ga. 00 buck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    I live in the country, Ive never had to clear a house or even a room, But I have had to clear a barn, chicken coop, and yard of predators. I want to know for sure what I'm shooting at! DR
    Ditto!
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    Member Array linuss's Avatar
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    SWAT teams mount lights on their guns and don't have too many issues about it. The military does both lights and NVGs/infrared depending.


    Going without a way to identify your target is breaking a major rule in firearms: Knowing what you're shooting at. NVGs are too expensive and can't transition from bright to dark quick enough without impairing you.
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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    So you can shine it on stuff.

    A shotgun is a two handed deal - so it's not like you can carry a flashlight around and have your shotgun ready. If you have a sling, you may still want to be able to light your target up for ID/disorientation before shooting.

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    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    I should clarify that when I said clear a room, I meant if you have to move across the house to secure other family members, not clearing the entire house.. you want to make sure you don't just run across the house and inadvertantly run face first into the BG, so you want to clear corners as you advance, doors, and so forth.. In my case, the other occupant of my home lives on the exact opposite corner of the house. I'm downstairs on one end in master BR one, and she is in master BR two, upstairs, over the garage, so I'd have to literally cross the entire house to reach that room and secure her and myself if I was awakened in the night. You do not want to clear an entire house by yourself if you can at all avoid it. Let a team of SWAT do that. It's their job.

    You just need to get you and your family to safety.
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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    I live in the country, Ive never had to clear a house or even a room, But I have had to clear a barn, chicken coop, and yard of predators. I want to know for sure what I'm shooting at! DR
    Glad someone brought that up, I was about to . In my case..... power can also be "out" due to storms, etc. Here, it's typicall coyotes that want to kill calves, chickens, your dog, etc. .
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    All of the above having been said - members SHOULD practice moving about their home in darkness. It CAN give you a powerful advantage to know your home intimately in the dark ~ especially when any intruder will be completely alien to your home and his surroundings.
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    VIP Member Array Ghost1958's Avatar
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    I dont want a light hooked to any firearm im using for HD. Its dark and I have the advantage as long as it is. My wife and I here and nobody that remotely knows me would enter my house at night unannounced so Im not worried about identifying the intruder.
    Im not advocating anyone else clear their own house but personally Id rather take my chances with a intruder or four than a swat team barging in. Jmo
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