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  #1  
Old 02-23-2012, 01:26 PM
CDB842 CDB842 is offline
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Rail mounted light or handheld??




I was in my LGS the other day and this topic came up once again.....

What's your opinion on having a light attached to your home defence pistol vs. holding the light in your free hand?

The guys at the shop are of the opinion that an intruder will shoot for the light and if that light is attached to your firearm....you can see where they are coming from. Their opinion is the light needs to be held out away from the body or somewhere that is not center mass.

Thoughts please......
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  #2  
Old 02-23-2012, 02:43 PM
MPJMP MPJMP is offline
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I am of the belief that it's best to have two hands on the gun whenever possible. Holding the light away from your body precludes you from having both hands on the gun. As for attracting gunfire, you wouldn't typically keep the light on constantly, but rather engage if for a brief second or two to scan for a bad guy... and then turn it off and move. For this, any of the established two-handed flashlight techniques work well: Harries, Rogers, etc. I use Surefires, so the Rogers is my preference. A light attached to the weapon theoretically allows you to maintain a better, less compromised two-handed grip, but if you are well-practiced with the Harries or Rogers technique I don't see how you are at any significant disadvantage over a handgun-mounted light. [EDIT: Other than the fact that in the heat of the moment you won't have to ask yourself "Now where did I put that Surefire again?"]

One possible advantage to having a separate light is that you are free to illuminate something without pointing your gun at it, assuming it's not appropriate to do so given the circumstances.

Last edited by MPJMP; 02-23-2012 at 02:46 PM.
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2012, 03:01 PM
osageshooter osageshooter is offline
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This is of interest to me as well. I am not an expert, but I have taken several tactical pistol courses. The instructors I have had refer to the rail mounted lights as "bullet magnets" and teach hand held techniques. I think it is for flexibility as much as anything, because some techniques have the light held close to the gun. With a rail, you have to point your gun at whatever you point the light at. (Never point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy)

Also, there is the dead robot phenomenon. At one course, a firing excercise in the dark had a radio controlled "robot" bad guy come at you. The robot was a radio controlled car kind of set up with a vertical pole and the bad guy was a scarecrow on this pole. Of interest was a small light on the little motorized car. This little light was on the car and about 2 inches off the floor. I guess the poor little car has been killed a few times because the shooter instinctively shot the light, and very effectively. These are trainining environoments, but good ones can create stress. This one did for me. I did not shoot the light, but it certainly caught my eye.

There is a difference between a civilian in a self defense situation and a LE team member in a tactical operation. The rail may serve well in some settings. For now, I practice with the hand held light.
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:42 PM
T Cro T Cro is offline
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If you really think that a flashlight is a "bullet magnet" then go looking for the bump in the night in the dark and see how that works. Given the confines of doing a search within the home (doorway/hallway) where else are you going to hold the light that does not put you to danger? Remember that you always have the option of carrying both a hand held or weapon mounted light just as you have the option of not turning either one on too.
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  #5  
Old 02-23-2012, 04:00 PM
1toughdog 1toughdog is offline
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This is not an endorsement: try to get a hold of the "Thunder Ranch Illumination System DVD" it contains a lot of information about light(s) and hand gun (1911 style and wheel gun) use in the dark, specifically two handed, cross handed use of both as one unit. Also covered reloading, etc. and I'm equally certain: stream light, sure fire and other top, bright, light manufacturers also have videos (free) either on the "net" or for (free) ordering directly from them that's how I received the above DVD. My Streamlight (TL-2 LED) with green light cover is always above the hatch that holds my HDW (when traveling they are both with me) in case the lights go out, it's the first thing I grab.

Last edited by 1toughdog; 02-23-2012 at 04:11 PM.
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  #6  
Old 02-23-2012, 09:48 PM
mark2734 mark2734 is offline
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Bottom line, its NOT one or the other but BOTH.

Both lights have their place, and given the situation one may be better/more efficient then the other. To say ALWAYS use one or the other is stupid.
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  #7  
Old 03-17-2012, 03:00 PM
darthkevin darthkevin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2734 View Post
Bottom line, its NOT one or the other but BOTH.

Both lights have their place, and given the situation one may be better/more efficient then the other. To say ALWAYS use one or the other is stupid.
I agree full heartily, but what I have been taught by the Military, is shooting is 90 percent comfort. If you aren't comfortable, your gonna miss. For me, a light or laser on the front of the weapon makes it too front heavy, thus I use a SureFire Ultra U2 set on high in my off hand. A quick beam with it and they are blind and disoriented leaving them wide open for the 230 JHP round coming for them. This is just my two cents.
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  #8  
Old 03-17-2012, 10:12 PM
Redhat Redhat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darthkevin View Post
I agree full heartily, but what I have been taught by the Military, is shooting is 90 percent comfort. If you aren't comfortable, your gonna miss. For me, a light or laser on the front of the weapon makes it too front heavy, thus I use a SureFire Ultra U2 set on high in my off hand. A quick beam with it and they are blind and disoriented leaving them wide open for the 230 JHP round coming for them. This is just my two cents.
Where did you hear this?
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  #9  
Old 02-23-2012, 10:49 PM
CavCop CavCop is offline
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Every situation can be different, but most who use guns in MODERN Law Enforcement and Military want the light mounted to the weapon.

If you are clearing your house, why have your eyes, flash light, and gun going in three directions? How do you open a door with a gun in one hand and flash light in the other and hope to clear the next room?

Turn your lights off in your house. Shine your flash light in your face. Now pick a target and tell me how wel/fast/quickl you could see and aim at a traget.

IMHO old school line of thinking was with a weak flashlight that did nothing more than make a room yellow. Today flashlights, light up the whole room. A 4D flashlight has nothing on an LED compact CR123.

Sure if you have a rusted revolver and a Maglight it would be best to hold that light out to the side as someone might shoot at that dim light.

With a weapon mounted light both the light and weapon work with you as one. Your grip is good and normal. Your balance is normal. Your weapon and light will clear and enter infront of you. They will pick up a threat and be set on the threat. If you really must have both hands full, try a nice knife in the other hand, it looks better.
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  #10  
Old 02-23-2012, 11:06 PM
YVK YVK is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDB842 View Post

What's your opinion on having a light attached to your home defence pistol vs. holding the light in your free hand?
Both if you can, with handheld secured by a lanyard. This is really the most versatile way. Choosing one option only, weapon-mounted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDB842 View Post

The guys at the shop are of the opinion that an intruder will shoot for the light and if that light is attached to your firearm....you can see where they are coming from. Their opinion is the light needs to be held out away from the body or somewhere that is not center mass.
There is too much to speculate about here. Current crop of lights has enough candlepower to spill over and illuminate whoever holds the light at least partially, so holding it to the side might not trick the opponent. Rather than speculating what may or may not happen, the best thing is learn a few low-light techniques, pick one that makes most sense to you and run with it.
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  #11  
Old 02-24-2012, 12:31 AM
Mach3+ Mach3+ is offline
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I use both but the primary is the handheld. If I have to illuminate someone, I would rather not point my gun at them. My gun light is for back up only.
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  #12  
Old 02-24-2012, 11:46 AM
johnbrowning1911 johnbrowning1911 is offline
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Quote:
Bottom line, its NOT one or the other but BOTH.
+1

Dont know about your house, but mine is never completely dark. Various night lights/security lights on throughout the house, so the gun mounted light will not be the only illumination.
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  #13  
Old 02-24-2012, 12:59 PM
Nac4788 Nac4788 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnbrowning1911 View Post
+1

Dont know about your house, but mine is never completely dark. Various night lights/security lights on throughout the house, so the gun mounted light will not be the only illumination.
This is the same for me, but a few weeks ago we had a tornado come through and the power was cut for 3-4 hours, and thats when I realized just how dark it gets without the night lights on. I took my TLR-1 off my Glock and put in the tub and left it on and gave everyone a hand held. No weapons involved here but I would have deffinatly needed a light in this situation and if there was a BG crawling around in all black I wouldn't see him unless I had my light constant on and I could see the perks of him shooting wildly at the light, and If I had a light railed gun I'm sure that would be bad for me.

Because of childern in the house I search for bumps in the night with my 1911 pointing at the ceiling and my flashlight pointing where I want to look just using bursts of light in corners to see if anyone is there.

I just thought of something, I very often make the assumption when I'm half asleep that if both the front door and the back door are both locked with the deadbolt locked as well then nobody is in my house... I still look in corners since I can see with living room night lights on if anything is there or changed but thats about as far as I go unless something really makes me think otherwise.

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  #14  
Old 02-24-2012, 01:18 PM
johnbrowning1911 johnbrowning1911 is offline
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Quote:
we had a tornado come through and the power was cut for 3-4 hours, and thats when I realized just how dark it gets without the night lights on
We are in a semi rural area in a third world US state where commercial power goes out frequently. Our record so far is 8 days without commercial power. Some years ago we installed an automatic standby generator to deal with the inconvenience of this, and it provides a bonus in terms of keeping the security lights on. Standby generators have come way down in price in recent years, and some can be had for less than the price of a custom 1911.

If a generator doesnt work for you, you can use night lights that have a built in battery and operate automatically in the event of a power failure. After trying several different kinds, I found one sold at Lowes under the Sylvania brand name that works quite well. These go for less than $10 each and plug in to a standard 110VAC outlet. The internal battery is charged by the commercial power, and when the power fails, the light comes on, or, using a switch on the unit, the light can be controlled by a photo cell so that is is on when the room is otherwise dark, and stays on in the event of a power failure. The internal battery doesnt last forever - maybe 12-24 hours run time and 3 year service life, but its effective and cheap. Here is a link: http://www.lowes.com/pd_284361-3-725...ght&facetInfo= Other models also available.



Quote:
I very often make the assumption when I'm half asleep that if both the front door and the back door are both locked with the deadbolt locked as well then nobody is in my house...
Not sure I'd rely heavily on this assumption. Will depend on your house. In mine, much easier to come through a window than a door.

Last edited by johnbrowning1911; 02-24-2012 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:15 PM
NonHyphenAmerican NonHyphenAmerican is offline
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I've never tried a rail mounted light.

I might try it, especially if I could do so without spending the money first.

As for houses being dark.

Everready makes some nifty flashlights that I have scattered around the house in various places. They are a nightlight when plugged in and getting a charge, but when the power goes off, the flashlight part lights up. If you unplug them, same result. There's a switch you can use to shut the light off.

These make for really effective nightlights, but also emergency lights.

In my basement for example, dark is DARK even in daytime. If I were down there at night and there's a power failure, or waiting out a storm and the power goes, the Everready lights immediately function.
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Old 02-25-2012, 02:13 AM
Rustin Rustin is offline
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I agree it is best to have both. If you were to only have one then I would suggest the hand held light. Rail mounted lights are nifty but I feel that they serve a better role for swat officers and soldiers. I would assume that more people live with families or roomates than alone. Identifying your target is the number one priority in low light, therefore you need a light that you can point towards a family member/roomate that isn't attatched directly to a lethal, projectile flinging weapon.
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Old 02-25-2012, 08:47 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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Why is the assumption being made that with a rail-mounted light you must point the gun at what you wish to illuminate? Lights are not laser beams, most illuminate a fairly wide cone. You can see something or someone easily without having the weapon pointed directly at them.
I also believe that your eyes should generaly be looking the same direction that the weapon is pointed. Depending on technique, handheld lights may support a lack of muzzle awareness.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:52 AM
Sledzep01 Sledzep01 is offline
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I believe that having a light on the rail is the way to go if you are a LEO. They are generally in a place to clear it not just "check".
When I need to go look for a bump in the night I do not want that. I will never have enough training in that type of scenario to feel as confident as I do already about not covering my kids with my weapon.

With training, having both might be best.
For me right now, I have a separate light. I WOULD like a laser on my weapon though. Maybe this year.


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  #19  
Old 02-25-2012, 01:59 PM
4idsoldier 4idsoldier is offline
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On my long guns I carry a light attached for obvious reasons. With handguns I carry handheld for the simple fact that I don't have to point a loaded firearm at whatever I need to shine a light at. A cross hold method gives you plenty enough control with most calibers.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:13 PM
master gunner master gunner is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CDB842 View Post
I was in my LGS the other day and this topic came up once again.....

What's your opinion on having a light attached to your home defence pistol vs. holding the light in your free hand?

The guys at the shop are of the opinion that an intruder will shoot for the light and if that light is attached to your firearm....you can see where they are coming from. Their opinion is the light needs to be held out away from the body or somewhere that is not center mass.

Thoughts please......
What about dogs.

They work pretty good at finding the bad guy.

And while he is busy hurting them I am killing him.

With or without a rail or hand held light; by the way I use both.

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Old 03-01-2012, 06:52 PM
misterb327 misterb327 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by master gunner View Post

With or without a rail or hand held light; by the way I use both.

LEOs love rails, wish I had one when I was on duty. Most guys I worked with tethered a small surefire to their wrist or stuck it between the mags when they opened door, then using the rail light. You'd be surprised how often one hand is on the gun clearing someone elses house...
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  #22  
Old 02-26-2012, 12:43 AM
Croesius Croesius is offline
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My nightstand gun has a TLR-3 on it, but I also have a SureFire G2X flashlight on the table as well. With that being said, the advice I have gleaned in almost every instance this issue has come up, is to TRAIN. Be it a hand-held light offset from the body, crossed hand under the pistol, or attached, if you haven't actively shot using a particular tactic you need to.
I'll be honest, I had my TLR-3 on my XDm for months before I actually used it in the dark, and it was a very humbling experience. I thought that having the light was all I needed, but knowing how to use it was something completely different. Regardless of the method you prefer, above all, practice with it and become accustomed to it.
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Old 02-27-2012, 04:20 PM
jailer252 jailer252 is offline
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My nightstand gun has a TLR-3 on it, but I also have a SureFire G2X flashlight on the table as well. With that being said, the advice I have gleaned in almost every instance this issue has come up, is to TRAIN. Be it a hand-held light offset from the body, crossed hand under the pistol, or attached, if you haven't actively shot using a particular tactic you need to.
100% correct. On a nightstand gun yes. On a gun carried for CCW no. I am never without a small light in my pocket or a surefire Z2 on my belt.
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Old 02-28-2012, 06:58 AM
richpetrone richpetrone is offline
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Search with a light

I had a rail mounted light as a LEO, but now do not use one as a civilian.

I do not have children, so I do not need to search my house at night, and would prefer to stay put and let the bad guy come to me with all the lights off. Being ambushed in my own house is not a good option, and house clearing is best done with two or more people or a good dog.

If I did have children and their rooms were away from the Master bedroom, I would seriously consider emergency lights for every room that could be controlled by one switch in the Master bedroom. It could be wired to come off the main power feed into the house with a separate breaker box inside the master bedroom, in case the main breaker is shut off to the house by a bad guy (may have to check local electrical codes!) Flooding the house all at once with light may discourage an intruder and cause them to flee. It would be easier to search a well lit house with two hands on a gun!
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  #25  
Old 02-28-2012, 06:52 PM
WalterGC WalterGC is offline
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I only recently installed a Streamlight tlr-1s to my G17, which I now use as my nightstand gun. I don't give much credence to the babbling of the ignorant proletariat whom one might observe behind a retail counter.
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