Thoughts on lights, and placement, on carbines

This is a discussion on Thoughts on lights, and placement, on carbines within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; It's a common question for beginners and I was discussing this with a few people the other night before heading out. Typically 6 o'clock is ...

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Thread: Thoughts on lights, and placement, on carbines

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    Senior Member Array munch520's Avatar
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    Thoughts on lights, and placement, on carbines

    It's a common question for beginners and I was discussing this with a few people the other night before heading out. Typically 6 o'clock is the only NOGO and from there experienced users seem to run the gamut in terms of location and preference. So here's some pictures I snapped the other night, I thought the comparisons were interesting.

    Lights:
    Surefire x300 ultra, 500 lumens
    Surefire Fury, 500 lumens
    *A note on these, the lumen debate has gotten almost as heated as the caliber debate (9, 40, 45) in the handgun world. Many think that anything above a couple hundred lumens is a flamethrower - which isn't true. The higher lumen count does increase the brightness of the 'hot spot' a bit but it's main difference and benefit is offering brighter, wider spill. Which helps to light up an entire room, increase situational awareness in low light, and enables the user to ID targets without pointing the gun at them.

    First I just was curious to see the difference on outpout, throw, etc. from these two guns (14.5" and 11.5" SBR).


    14.5, Surefire Fury

    11.5, Surefire x300U


    OK so x300 has noticeably better spill and no barrel shadowing. Wonder how it would look on the 14.5...

    Fury

    x300U


    To some, barrel shadow from the Fury at 11 o'clock would be a non issue. But IMO, that bit of shadow could potentially obscure a doorway or obstacle when using that 14.5" in a structure. Mount a suppressor to the weapon and that small shadow increases exponentially. Sure a light at 12 o'clock still casts a shadow but it's at my feet. The aforementioned observations could make a case for lights mounted at 12 o'clock and for long hand guards/rails + lights mounted as close to the muzzle as possible to eliminate shadow.

    Some have expressed concerns with running a pistol light on a carbine, and up until the Ultra was released, the x300 was designated for pistol only. But I haven't heard of or experienced any issues. The Ultra ships with a picatinny (labeled P) cross bolt adapter, which offers a secure mount for rails, and with a fixed front sight behind it for support, I feel very comfortable with the setup. Fun fact, the Daniel Defense fixed front sight was actually designed/contoured for use with the x300 and TLR weapon lights.



    This is not some new discovery, guys have been doing it for years. Just some random thoughts with pics to illustrate my findings. If you have any good pictures of your light setup/output throw em up! It would be very helpful for members to see various light outputs and hear observations.
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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Explanations coming

    This image below and the last are my preferred setups, though Now I won't use the mini scout and stick to 500 lumen lights. So I'd use the Fury or Scout Ultra for this setup. Everything else is a compromise for one reason or another.

    During the time I was most using the mini scout, the highest output lights were standard scouts at 200 lumens and the difference wasn't that great. So it made sense. Today, that sits on my 4 year old's airsoft rifle.

















    Last edited by jonconsiglio; March 3rd, 2014 at 01:44 PM.
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    The tactical considerations of lights (exposure/length of use, +/- of brightness, appropriate use) and the mechanics (location of mounting, ability to manipulate, durability of mount location) are all subject to opinions, preference of use and of course, the tactical situation. Opinions on this are as varied as the operator, level of experience and situation/location of use.

    What is clear: one size does not fit all and lights help brighten the obscure corners in a dark world if you have no NVDs.

    My personal preference is 1000-1100 mount (Viking Tactical or the new Magpul, in the right hand version and mounted on top and laid over at 1100 on the left), as far forward as I can get it to minimize shadows and as bright as I can get it.

    That is a generic, come what may, use it where ever mounting that I have found useful in various scenarios/situations. But then again, I am not kicking down doors, in aggressive room to room clearing, super tactical situations, just the old generic, home defense or get home use.

    EDIT: I know the above sounds like "post padding" but the reality of the situation is unless you have a specific tactical situation you are planning on using the weapon for, a generic approach, sufficient for all, not the worse nor best for each is the right approach. This is a come what may attitude. At that point, personal preference, the training you have with it and your budget are what matters. You can almost spend as much for a high end ninja light as you would for a decent optic!
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    My setup of a Streamlight polytac HP on my 16" barreled carbine . Pics and edit to follow shortly.
    First two pics are a m6 streamlight rated at 90 lumens mounted on my pistol. 15 and 25 yards to target.

    Three next are Streamlight poly tac HP rated at 275 lumens distances of 15, 25 and 50 yards. Mounted on my 16" barrel AR. Note the shadow is fairly evident. I mount my lights opposite some others due to being left handed.





    The AR has a simple v tac light mount and the M&P pistol just snaps into the rail. Obviously a shorter barrel would produce less shadow , but it still works ok. The polytac really throws the beam a distance, I can see nearly 100 yards , yet has good spill of your area not directly in the main beam.
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    One reason that I like my mock dissipator build, is that it allows my to put my surefire right out at the end of a rifle length handguard, with a carbine length barrel. Barrel shadow is minimal with this set up.
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    Do you need a light to illuminate at 100 yards? Room clearing can be accomplished with a much smaller light. A green or red light will help preserve night vision. As for mounting, I prefer a light on offset to the left side of the receiver so that it can be thumb operated. You might want to look at a focusable beam laser designator.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    For me, I absolutely prefer a 500 lumen Surefire with a well lit corona like a fury or x300u. Pat Rogers convinced me of the capabilities of 500 lumens inside structures when I was previously opposed to anything more than 200.

    it fills in shadow areas that normally can't be seen yet does not affect our vision anymore than a 200 lumen scout or G2X (for spill comparison).

    I prefer mine at 11 with a click on/off tailcap but when using a short handguard, I prefer the light at 1 or 3 o'clock and a tape switch like the sr07 at 12 o'clock, like my 9" blackout pictured above.

    Many guys are beginning to see the usefulness of the 500 lights for close quarters indoor use. Many of those same guys, like me, thought it was a terrible idea a couple years ago. It took time inside my home and then in a shoot house to sell me on it, but now, no matter the rifle's use, I will not go below 500 lumens (though anything down to 200 is still useable).
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    Jon - I'd there an argument to be made for not destroying one's night vision? Is IR the only other option? A flashlight with good spill and a small diameter hot spot as an aiming guide?

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spalt View Post
    Jon - I'd there an argument to be made for not destroying one's night vision? Is IR the only other option? A flashlight with good spill and a small diameter hot spot as an aiming guide?
    I used to think that same thing but found there were significant benefits with a 500 lumen light that had the spill of the fury or x300u. I'll explain more when I get home in about 45.
    Last edited by jonconsiglio; March 4th, 2014 at 10:57 PM.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spalt View Post
    Do you need a light to illuminate at 100 yards? Room clearing can be accomplished with a much smaller light. A green or red light will help preserve night vision. As for mounting, I prefer a light on offset to the left side of the receiver so that it can be thumb operated. You might want to look at a focusable beam laser designator.
    I may need to use a light outside depending on the situation. The rifle is more than just a home defense tool.
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    Member Array Spalt's Avatar
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    I guess I would worry about giving away my position in any SD situation outside. A green designator like the ones used for hog hunting might be better overall. Pigs do not shoot back whether they see you or not.

    I would make an argument that the least amount of light you need to navigate the room is the best. However, house clearing is not exactly an activity to be undertaken by the faint of heart, so maybe the lumens is the least of your worries.

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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spalt View Post
    I guess I would worry about giving away my position in any SD situation outside. A green designator like the ones used for hog hunting might be better overall. Pigs do not shoot back whether they see you or not.

    I would make an argument that the least amount of light you need to navigate the room is the best. However, house clearing is not exactly an activity to be undertaken by the faint of heart, so maybe the lumens is the least of your worries.
    I've done it under NODs a handful of times and I can guarantee you that your position is given away no matter what you're using.

    There are many disadvantages to NODs inside of structures and really only work for teams on very specific missions. The only way to truly see is with high output light with a lot of spill. With lower output white light, you'll miss too much. With NODs, you're field of view is extremely limited and your depth of field is lost.

    Your position ion is given away the moment you move. There's almost always enough ambient light to see movement.

    Have you run into problems in a shoot house or during force on force with higher output lights? Most instructors teaching in shoot houses are moving to higher output lights. It allows you to see more. Your position is never truly concealed and tactics will be far more important that trying to use less light.
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    Member Array Spalt's Avatar
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    I defer to your experience Jon, but I only need enough light to navigate my own home, and then only because I need to secure the upstairs if I am smart and the downstairs if I am foolhardy. I don't want to go all Walter Mitty with my flashlight and carbine because I am a one man team and no issue body armor!

    What has been your experience with red and green light?
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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spalt View Post
    I defer to your experience Jon, but I only need enough light to navigate my own home, and then only because I need to secure the upstairs if I am smart and the downstairs if I am foolhardy. I don't want to go all Walter Mitty with my flashlight and carbine because I am a one man team and no issue body armor!

    What has been your experience with red and green light?
    Haha! I understand what you're saying. We definitely have an advantage in our own home. There's always enough light on in my house that I could manage with a weapon mounted light. But even then, I want to fully illuminate the threat.

    When you you say the red and green lights, are you referring to lasers or the color of the flashlight?
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Why is six o'clock a NOGO?
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