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I carry a light, but I don't want one on my gun.

2758 Views 25 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  1911Ron
I think that as a prepared person, whether you CCW or not, you should carry a good "tactical" light of your preference. I actually prefer the term "personal" light.

Now to be clear, a light on a long gun makes a lot of sense to me. You are better off being able to see the target. It's true a light gives you away, but this cannot be helped. The fact is you can't use a shotgun or a rifle and a light at the same time unless they're integrated.

But on a handgun? For me, nope.

The main issue for me is that I carry my light a lot more places and times than I carry my pistol due to laws. And to be honest I actually have to use a light to assist myself fairly often, much more often than I have to shoot a goblin. Far, far more often.

The fact is I want a "personal" light to be a light, not something I bought primarily because it mounts on a Pitcanny rail. The fact is, if you will let it be, a good personal light is a self defense tool in a myriad of ways. And it's a tool I can take to work with me, it's a tool I can take on an airplane, it's a tool I can take anywhere. Thus when I invest money in a personal light, I want it to be a good light that can function well by itself and with a handgun.

The other thing is, I'm not an LEO. I have no legal protection from pointing a muzzle at a target. If I see something moving in corner of the parking garage and my good light is on my gun, I'm forced to point a muzzle at an unidentified target to illuminate it. Let's ignore the fact that such is patently unsafe, and that's a pretty big thing to ignore. But can we say lawsuit? Not to mention, imagine you're in a dark parking lot and you see someone with a gun with a light on it pointing it at you. How would you react?

Another thing, and one that tends to be forgotten, is that in the darkness, an armed goblin is going to shoot at the light. If your light is on your gun he's shooting at you. If it's in your extended arm, odds are pretty decent he's shooting air or at least an extremity and not your vitals.

There are ways to coordinate light and gun. It's really not that entirely difficult. It actually comes very naturally. When I practice shooting my carry pistol, I will grab my light in one hand and my gun in the other and practice that way. Try going when it's dark too so you can actually use your light and see what it would be like to really try that. You can also practice readying your light and gun at the same time. It becomes a reflex pretty quick.

A consideration you shouldn't dismiss is that if your gun goes into a courtroom with a light on it... well were you planning on shooting someone that night? Obviously you were or you wouldn't have that evil looking M3 on it. :rolleyes:

Finally, and this is just me, a gun is something that I really just want to be a gun if at all possible. I want to look at my gun and say "That is a tool for shooting things. That is its sole purpose." I don't want a light, a laser, an expresso machine, and a video game built into my pistol when it doesn't have to be there. I want no ambiguity in my mind at all as to the purpose of that device. Now in the case of the long gun, the light on the gun is necessary because we need both hands to handle the weapon. I can accept that as a necessary evil you could say.

And I'm not saying there's no use for a light mounted on a handgun. For a cop I think it's a fantastic idea. For the gun that lives in your bedroom it's a good idea, although I personally just sleep with the lights on and get far better illumination that way. I can conceive of how for some people, it would probably work better to have the gun and light all in one package. I can see how that could be an asset to someone if their needs were different than mine.

But for me, I'm avoiding it. I might get an illuminator that mounts on a rail someday, but for right now the Surefire Centurion foots the bill.
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Euc, you'd probably like the E2D "Defender" from SureFire as it can double as an impact weapon in a pinch with that neat bevelled tip. I sure do want a SureFire X200 I could instant ON or OFF a gun rail. For home mostly. I think the Harries technique is fine but I'd feel better with a more traditional two handed grip in the face of potential hostilities. Remember you are the ONLY real safety. IF you've trained correctly your finger will always reside outside the trigger guard until you've identified a target as hostile and are ready to engage. Then you verify with the light and MOVE one or two giant steps to either side, and fire. The SureFire has the capability to momentarily stun an unwary attacker with the power of it's beam so you could probably reilluminate; resight and squeeze. When I get my H&K USP 45 I intend to get the X200 which has an easy on & off adaptor so I can use it at home or not. It wouldn't be a permanent fixture on the gun, just when I think I need it. I'll still carry my conventional SureFire Nitrolon or E2D. Also I don't think the light will qualify you as automatically having an evil intent to kill. In fact, it could be counted as a SAFETY MEASURE and a "good shoot" is a good shoot regardless.
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I don't agree with you. Then again, I don't disagree with you. When I start to carry (after I get out of this grrrrr state!!!) I plan on having a light attached to my gun, or if not attached all the time, at least on my person where it can be attached. That is, an underbarrel tact light of some kind (IE, Surefire X200) on my belt that can be mounted on the pistol without a huge fuss. I'll also carry a second light of some kind weak side for utility use and for identifying targets.

My thought pattern goes something along these lines. 1) two lights is better then one. 2) if I end up in an unavoidable confrontation in dark / dusk, i'd perfer to be shooting two handed as opposed to one, but would still like to be able to see my attacker 3) i realize that i'm not going to want to destroy everything that I have to light up to see better, but there may come a time when I need to do so.

Just a thought, it's another tool, and one that I may be unlikely to use, but if I need it, I'm probably not going to have time to 1) go looking for it or 2) kick myself for not having it.

just my 0.02

Jim :)
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Unless you are sweeping houses, etc. there is no reason to carry a weapon mounted light for your CCW. As a Deputy I found them to be the cat's meow, but the odds that you will know ahead of time you're going to need it as a CHL holder are very very slim. Weapon mounted lights are better for shooting, but unless you intend to carry your CCW with the light mounted all the time, it really makes little sense.
For home defense, yes I want to mount a light. I need to be able to clear rooms in my house due to the lay out of the bedrooms. For day to day carry I see em as too bulky, as well as many of the above mentioned reasons not to have em mounted. A hint( strobe your light rather than keep it on continuous to confuse your oponent as to your exact location. )
WML (Weapon Mounted Light) for handguns can be a big plus on a home defense gun and I have had an experience or two to back that up.

But they are also very beneficial on a carry gun if you can tolerate the problems of carrying the larger package. If you can get by with it, carrying a WML on the gun AND carrying a separate handheld may be the optimal set up. If you are not justified in presenting your gun for lighting, then you can use your handheld. If you need to shoot you can use either light or both. If you have a WML on the gun and a handheld, you have a backup if one fails. You even have the option of removing the WML and using it as a handheld.

There are some significant tactical advantages of the WML. One is, as previously mentioned, a two-hand hold for shooting. Another is you can hold the gun with the WML on the threat or threat area with your shooting hand and have a free hand to call 911, open doors, etc. as the situation dictates.

The potential of using the two lights together is intriguing. With the two lights you could make it appear that there are two of you, or the two lights could be used to confuse and disorient the threat. You could hold the gun (and WML) on the threat or threat area and use the other light to signal, direct, check a different area, check for a safe place to step, etc. or use the two to blind two BGs.

I just haven’t warmed up to carrying the bulk of the gun and WML and being limited in holster selection that the mounted WML creates.
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Holster selection, bulk, additional controls in a tense situation, these are the reasons I do not have a WML on my house weapon. I use a Surefire Aviator as my "bump in the night" light. I also practice firing with my light in my off hand.

There are some advantages to having a mounted light but for me I prefer not to use WML or lasers either. I'd rather not have anything leading right back to me.
I do have to confess that if I were to "bite" and get a light that would mount on a handgun, I'd get the XML that Springfield Armory markets under their own name. I forget who actually makes it, and it's not the brightest or best light, but it's so small.
Greymoor said:
... I use a Surefire Aviator as my "bump in the night" light. I also practice firing with my light in my off hand.
Just a heads up about the Aviator. My Projects Class tested 20 tactical lights and one way we tested them was a run down test. Of all the lights we tested, two failed miserably, Surefire L2 and "my" Aviator.

The failure mode is overheating after about 20 - 30 minutes into the test. The lights begin blinking (i.e. shutting off and on) and are so hot you can hardly hold them.

I talked to Surefire and they basically question the phenomenon but will take care of the problem if I will send the lights to them. When I mentioned this on another forum, somebody else said they experienced the problem on the L2 they tested.

So if you plan to use the A2 for its full 60 minutes, you may want to run it down once and see if it overheats like mine does.
Position Giveaway?

Greymoor said:
I'd rather not have anything leading right back to me.
Believe it or not, the actual BEAM is invisible. They photoshop a red line into the ads for the visual effect. I understand it doesn't even particularly show up with mist or fog in the air. But I have no solid info on THAT. Lasers have their place like everything else.
One point I might make from observing deps at the range with lights on subcompact and compact guns. The addition of the light changes the physics of the pistol in recoil and can/does effect its reliability. Doesnt seem to be a huge deal on the full size guns, but the smaller versions do seem to be effected.
As to a light mounted on a ccw handgun. The point was made that you will point a light at a hell of a lot more things than you will need to point your muzzle at. This makes the case for a weapon mounted light carried off-gun till needed (but, if you knew you needed it, you' d just not be at the fight). And, a second light, such as a Surefire 6 or 9p, to be used primarily as a 'looky' light, but can be used in conjuction with the handgun as a system. Whatever you decide, just apply 2 rules: 1) always have a light, period.
2) practice.

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I have always been tempted to add a light - the 226 has a rail already. Biggest downside is the holster issue, plus indeed, even that small added mass will change POI enough to perhaps matter. If I chose to have a separate house gun I would certainly fit one but everyday carry - nah - not very likely.

I have become fairly adept at left hand use of E1e while still taking a two hand gun hold. If no time to get light in hand tho then with night sights, CT's and basic instinct I think I'll still stand a chance.
jdsumner said:
One point I might make from observing deps at the range with lights on subcompact and compact guns. The addition of the light changes the physics of the pistol in recoil and can/does effect its reliability. Doesnt seem to be a huge deal on the full size guns, but the smaller versions do seem to be effected.
I've never had reliability problems with my aluminum-framed P-01 or 40-P (which are considered compacts) when the M-3 is mounted on it, and I've shot more than a few rounds out of them with a light attached.

For me, I don't worry about having the light on the gun, because the only other person in my house is my wife. If there's a in the house, and she's beside me in bed, I know it's someone who shouldn't be there. I'm not gonna worry about pointing a weapon light at him. When we have children, Lord willing, then I'll probably go with an off-weapon light.
I have a Surefire X200 on my dedicated home defense handgun, a Beretta 92G Vertec 9mm which came equipped with night sights. When I come home from work, I take it out of the safe (every day) and load it with a 20 round Mec Gar magazine which is fitted with a Pearce +2 floorplate. A spare 20 round Mec Gar magazine, similarly equipped, stands vigil next to the Vertec....both magazines are filled with Speer 124 grain standard pressure Gold Dot JHPs.

By the way, when I'm off to work, the gun and mags get secured in my safe and my Sig P229 comes out of hiding.

The X200 is perfect in the target ID role, but as others have said, it fits that specific role and is not meant to serve as the sole (or primary) means of illumination if things "go bump in the night." ......for that, my Surefire 6P sits on my night stand well within reach.....

I'll take a photo of my set up later and post it for all to see.
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I have the same 92G Vertec, X200, Mecgar 20 round mag setup you do. It is a good set up. The same mags also fit my Beretta Storm. If it weren't for that slide mounted decocker. I've broken the skin more than once on that thing racking the slide in a hurry.

Right now, I'm carrying a USPf 9mm, so unless I buy an adapter, I can't use my X200 with the USP. I may have to start doing what you do - 92G Vertec with 20 rounds as an over night weapon and the USP by day.
Tangle - I have never run my Aviator that long. However I can believe that the xenon bulb would get very hot. I will have to do an experiment on heat as it would take me about 10-15 min to clear my house carefully.

ExSoldier762 - I have seen and used friend’s lasers. Usually I can only see the beam in dusty or foggy situations. However if the perp were aware that you are awake he would see what looks like someone with a red LED waving it around if it is pointed in the general direction of the BG. If you hold off lighting the laser until you have a clear target then most likely you will have illuminated them with a flashlight or there is enough residual light that the BG already knows where you are.

Lasers are more of an intimidation factor in events that have a delayed flashpoint. If the BG is ready to shoot on sight it will not really matter. He who sees the other first gets first shot and if you are shot at you may be hit, if hit you may be killed. I know my house, and in my house darkness is my friend. The only time I want a BG to know where I am located is when he is staring down the barrel of fate . . . :D

In all fairness I should pick up a WML for my XD tactical to see how it would affect my usage of the weapon. Small buttons are something to be avoided in adrenalin situations. Can anyone comment on the operations of these lights?
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Unfortunately, or should that be fortunately, no other Xenon lamp based flashlight shut down or even got more than slightly warm.

What this leads me to believe, since the Aviator must use some electronics to drive the LEDs, that somehow it's the electronics that's causing the heat problem rather than the Xenon bulb.
somehow it's the electronics that's causing the heat problem rather than the Xenon bulb.
That crossed my mind Ron - not just hot bulb but maybe too a poorly heat-sinked SCR or power tran'.
Hmmm, I wonder if Surefire have a fix for this. I would have to run my light to see if it overheats.
Greymoor said:
Hmmm, I wonder if Surefire have a fix for this. I would have to run my light to see if it overheats.
I'd sure like to know what it does. If it helps, you can buy Sanyo batteries from Botach for $1.00 apiece. So it would only cost about two bucks to find out.

You probably want to know before you really depend on it. If yours doesn't overheat then it's not a factor anymore. If it does...

I wonder if Surefire has a fix for it too. It could be a design problem that is not easily fixed, but if they can't fix it, I bet they would offer you a different light that's comparable or better.

If you don't mind running down two batteries, I'd really like to know if it overheats.
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