I just shelled out $200 for a new Surefire X300. Like all Surefires, it’s a reeeaaaalllyy nice piece of kit, but I’ve been on the fence about buying one for a long time. I’ve always believed that iron sights and knowing where my friendlies are would get me through in a low-light threat scenario. That and I hate spending money I guess.

I changed my mind though after attending a Victory First Defensive Handgun Level 1 course. No, I didn’t have an earth-shaking, ah-ha moment or anything. But listening to someone like Matt Jacques, the owner of Victory First, talk about weapon lights gave me the nudge I needed.

I realize weapon lights are nothing new and have become an extremely useful tool on infantry weapons on the battlefield. But I’m not a door kicker, so what do I need a blinding, 170-lumen light for, I thought.

Before taking the Victory First course, I was pretty ignorant of the legal pitfalls that can come up if you have to use deadly force while carrying concealed.

To Jacques, an instructor with an extensive law-enforcement background, having a light mounted on the pistol you carry isn’t just a

Matt Jacques, owner of Victory First, discusses weapon lights in his first Defensive Handgun Level 1 course. Photo by Jerry Sarkody of Rat Mountain Design.

nice-to-have — it’s vital kit, as important as your sights.

“You’ve got to identify your target; you’ve got to identify your threat,” Jacques told our small class, driving home a point about the importance of being able to defend your use of deadly force when the police show up.

 

I guess it’s a lot easier to convince an investigating officer that you saw a gun or knife on an assailant when you lit him up with your Surefire or Streamlight in that dark parking lot.

Jacques also said that a light mounted on the end of a Glock or an M&P will help prevent a malfunction if you have to jam your pistol up against an attacker and fire to get him off of you.

“A light like an X300 provides good standoff if you are close in to a threat. It can prevent battery interruption,” he said.

I haven’t had the chance to do any serious training with my new X300, but it feels extremely natural to activate it with my non-firing hand thumb. It does, however, make my full-size M&P considerably longer, making concealment more of a challenge. But then again, I love a good gear challenge.

{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Sol November 15, 2012 at 5:37 am

a FLASHLIGHT is important for every day carry but a WEAPON LIGHT is not. if you're using the light on your weapon to identify targets and you're not in combat or in your home then you're already wrong. the two should be separate for civilians. if you point a loaded weapon at an individual, you have committed assault. if you pull the trigger and cause minor injuries you've committed assault and battery…and with seriousness of injuries it goes up.

if you're simply identifying targets then you need a simple pocket flashlight. once its fighting time then you pull your easily concealed handgun out and fight with it. this is another case of military tactics spilling over to police and then the civilian market without thought.

on a sidenote. i've got to bang on surefire. all the gun guys seem to really like them but they're so weak! i have a preon that's less than half the size of your weapon light…uses two AA batteries and puts out more lumens. surefire is ancient tech compared to others out there.

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Jeff the Baptist November 15, 2012 at 6:39 am

This. A weapon light is attached to a weapon. Which means you cannot take it out and shine it at someone unless you can justify drawing your weapon on them. Which means using it to identify whether someone had a knife or gun is not permissable. You need to know that before you pointed the gun at them.

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Bman November 15, 2012 at 7:03 am

I agree with you mostly Sol but I dont think the military started the weapon light trend. Cops have been carrying weapon mounted lights since the early or mid-80s long before they were wide spread in the military. In the military in the 80s, weapon mounted lights seemed to only be common with CQB units like delta where they spray painted flat black on maglights and hose clamped them to their shot guns and sub-guns. Cops mainly duck taped them to shotguns. How they found a secure and reliable way to do it without messing up the function of the shotgun, dont ask me. On pistols, it is more like police trends spilling over into the military. Just think of the 1911s, P226's, and M9s that did not have a rail on them for years when Glocks and Smiths had rails on them in the 90s. Another example would be LAPD SWAT and NYPD ESU having light mounted ARs long before the military was issuing rail systems to special operations units not to mention conventional units.

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Sol November 15, 2012 at 7:19 am

well i have to disagree. the rail system was first invented to make use of infared laser devices utilized with NVG's. it didn't hit hard until after Gulf War 1 when the US military realized that we operated better at night than anyone else due to our tech lead. the weapons light craze started with the SAS and then spread through Delta to the other hostage rescue teams. rails on pistols didn't get hot till SOCOM spec'ed it out for their pistol. then everyone else climbed on the bandwagon. think about the issue M9. think about the issue M10 (i think that's the designation of the P226)..none of those weapons had rails till late 90's early 2000's. again it was originally for lasers then switched to lights.

i'm looking at the weapon light craze now and to be honest i see people trying to make money. i remember when all the gun guys were trying to push air soft as a training aid and i glanced at it and saw fake guns costing almost half of what a real one would. same with laser lights. and not to start a flame war but i wouldn't be surprised if this isn't a push being sponsored by SureFire. the foreign and small flashlight makers are eating those guys lunch in every aspect of flashlight tech with the exception of weapons lights. SureFire can see the writing on the wall so if they can't cement in brand loyalty then they're sunk. last thing they want want is to see 4Sevens come out with a weapons light that's half the price, 1/3rd the weight and puts out 3 times the light. i still say follow the money cause the tactics on this are pretty damn fishy.

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FormerSFMedic November 15, 2012 at 7:12 am

I hear this all the time from shooters that are worried about having a weapons mounted light. The problem is that this theory is a myth when utilizing the right equipment and employing sound decisions. Furthermore, training is key to understanding the concept of low light use of a weapon.

You mention that if you point gun at someone that isn't a threat that you have committed an assault. This is true but my question to you is, why was your gun out in the first place? What warranted the drawing of the pistol? Also, I don't have to point the weapon mounted light at something to identify it. The whole idea of "you have to point a gun at everything you want to see" is misconception and misunderstanding. Solid training and practice with high quality equipment makes this concern a moot point.

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David Reeder November 15, 2012 at 8:41 am

I think this is a very limiting and myopic statement. Of COURSE a weapon light is good for every day carry, as well as in a house. There are any number of scenarios where a weapon light would be a Good Thing. I also think you should carry a small flashlight and a knife, the former for SOME of the reasons you mentioned before. Positive target identification is a must. To assume that you will already have a complete and thorough visual of something you might be covering with the muzzle of your weapon is foolish. Keep in mind also that if you are carrying concealed, you're more than likely going to need to drop a handheld to clear your cover garment. There are a number of scenarios a weapon light is EXACTLY what is needed, in a home AND out of it. It's hard to imagine that anyone barring superheroes and guys who routinely wear NVGs to bed would be able to search a home (or a poorly lit convenience store) without some sort of light implement. I'll ask Matt to weigh in.

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JCS November 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

Sol, you are completely wrong – in your advice, in my opinion. I am a prosecutor with 4 decades experience. I am also a firearms instructor as a hobby. I have enjoyed shooting since 1960.
Using a gun-light takes a lot of practice. Using a flashlight separate from your gun is not very workable, especially when the adrenaline dump hits and your hands shake. You need to id your possible threat, see what’s behind and around same, and then fire if necessary.

Pointing a gun at what you perceive as a threat takes away the assault element.
Shooting a threat is not battery. Shooting an innocent party is battery, and more.

Surefire is very proud of their … prices. Viridian green lasers (the brightest visible light to the human eye) with incorporated, ie., not attached, lights are the best thing going.
Unless you have a few thousand bucks to spend on Gen 2 or above night vision.

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JCS November 16, 2012 at 11:06 am

Sol, you are completely wrong – in your advice, in my opinion. I am a prosecutor with 4 decades experience. I am also a firearms instructor as a hobby. I have enjoyed shooting since 1960.
Using a gun-light takes a lot of practice. Using a flashlight separate from your gun is not very workable, especially when the adrenaline dump hits and your hands shake. You need to id your possible threat, see what’s behind and around same, and then fire if necessary.

Pointing a gun at what you perceive as a threat takes away the assault element.
Shooting a threat is not battery. Shooting an innocent party is battery, and more.

Surefire is very proud of their … prices. Viridian green lasers (the brightest visible light to the human eye) with incorporated, ie., not attached, lights are the best thing going.
Unless you have a few thousand bucks to spend on Gen 2 or above night vision.

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mos2111 November 15, 2012 at 6:23 am

Re read the first paragraph in bold and look at Sonny P as the example of why a weapon light in needed. I have one on my chw simply because bad things happen at night and in the dark more often than not. A simple look at pros/cons, its foolish not to have on.

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Sol November 15, 2012 at 6:38 am

re-read my statement. Sonny P was in a shoot house. additionally i said that for home defense a weapon light makes sense. what i'm also saying though is that you shouldn't use a weapons light to identify targets if you're in public in a potential shoot situation.

never point your weapon at something you don't want to destroy.

if you're using your weapons light to identify targets then what are you doing if what you're lighting up isn't a target? in the civilian world you can get in trouble for pointing a weapon at an individual. even if you don't pull the trigger you can be up on charges. think about that before you get flippant.

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FormerSFMedic November 15, 2012 at 8:36 am

You don't have to point the light at something you want to see. That's the problem with your theory.

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Sol November 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

what the **** are you talking about? you're in a stress situation and you're not going to point an illumination device at something you're trying to see? i'd like to know where you learned tactics from. you're talking out of your nether regions. i'm not calling what you're saying BS, but you're full of something.

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David Reeder November 15, 2012 at 8:55 am

How about we keep things civil and maintain an academic discourse. Also, FormerSFMedic's background and tactics are solid I assure you. Let's stay on point.

FormerSFMedic November 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

Sol, I was trying to get some good discussion going. That's why I was being so vague in my comment. But honestly, I can't respond to your comment. I'm not even sure where that came from? I appreciate your comments and opinions but I'm not the guy that's going to respond to those kinds of comments. Sorry brother.

Travis November 15, 2012 at 6:24 am

A weapon light is not a substitute for a flashlight for the reasons Sol mentioned, but I still find it vital to also have one on the pistol, even in a CCW situation. Besides consistency in your weapon system at all times, and thus muscle memory, a white light provides an aiming point much like Hollywood expects from red dot lasers. This is beneficial even during a daylight shoot at close ranges. It's not a substitute for sights, but at 100mph with your hair on fire, you do what you gotta.

Using a flashlight in the dark to see what's going on is not the same as identifying targets.

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Larry November 15, 2012 at 6:45 am

mos2111, what paragraph in bold are you talking about, and who is Sonny P?

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Sol November 15, 2012 at 7:07 am

Sonny P is a former (or claims to be … some are claiming he never was) Spetznaz Commando turned trainer in the US. a little while ago he was involved in a shooting near Dallas in a shoot house. it was during low light conditions and he was walking the final student through the scenario and didn't realize that another instructor hadn't cleared the training area. Sonny came around the corner and hit the instructor with 3 shots one in the hand and two in the abdomen. former Special Ops Medics were supposedly taking the class and started working on the guy. they say he''s gonna make a recovery (gut shots are dangerous though…recovery is subjective with them)…but the point is civilian shooters are not police or military and the blurring of the tactics is gonna get some people in serious trouble. just sayin.

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David Reeder November 15, 2012 at 8:53 am

Again, very myopic viewpoint here. I've seen any number of civilian shooters who are significantly more tactically proficient (and better marksmen) than some military/LEOs. I mean no disrespect, but I have heard this argument at many levels of extremity. Not too long ago it was that day shift officers don't need a weapon mounted light, because they work during the daylight…which is silly, since they frequently go into dark places. You need to be able to positively ID who you're going to engage, and why, and to do that you need to see him. The shooting in TX IS an example of how thing could go wrong. In fact, it's a PERFECT example of how things can go wrong, and it argues FOR a weapon mounted light, at home AND EDC. I see where you're coming from, I do, but I don't think you're thinking it through. The only reason I can see to not carry a weapon light with your CCW would be if it prevents you from concealing it or if your weapon doesn't allow for it. Otherwise you're unnecessarily limiting yourself.

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Sol November 15, 2012 at 9:25 am

where i'm coming from is that a CCW holder has to be EVEN MORE responsible than law enforcement or the military when it comes to shoot/no shoot situations. First Victory is stating that his example was for home defense. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH A WEAPON LIGHT IN THAT SITUATION. to me that makes perfect sense. but if you're on the streets going about your life and the only illumination device you have is on your weapon then i see trouble. if you draw your weapon to utilize your light, even if you're not pointing your weapon you still have "BRANDISHED A FIREARM IN PUBLIC" so FormerSFMedics tactics of using a weapon borne light still doesn't get a civilian CCW user out of trouble.

there is a huge gulf between law enforcement/military and civilian CCW. the military and law enforcement has MANY more protections when it comes to how they can employ their weapons. that's what i mean by tactics drifting between the communities as being dangerous. the best example that i can think of illustrating that danger is the "stack". in a force on force against a well trained opponent i've always thought that the standard SWAT stack is going to get Marines killed in combat. its good against civilians but against other infantry is just begging for trouble. my opinion but this cross pollinating when it comes to tactics is troublesome.

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Victory First November 15, 2012 at 8:18 am

Gents, the PURPOSE I described in the class is you perceive a threat and you believe that deadly force is authorized. There is the escalation of force as well as de-escalation. Even if you ID an perceived threat in the dark with a handheld light, once the decision is made to utilize deadly force, you may decide to drop the handheld to ensure proper clearing of the cover garment and then you can follow up with the weapon mounted light to ENSURE nothing has changed in the scenario. Two hands on the gun is still a better shooting platform in a stressful situation. I never suggested you use the light for anything other than ensuring you are SEEING what you believe is a threat in a deadly force scenario.
Home defense is the specific point I drive home with white light and Target ID. Too many household family members are shot because the shooter didn't SEE what they shot at.

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David Reeder November 15, 2012 at 8:48 am

It could be argued that I should have noticed this response when I wrote mine above.

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E. Ronc November 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

I see they could be useful in the house. Cousin stops by to flop on couch after argument with his girl. I would rather light him up, than "Light" him up. Not worried about him charging me with assault, or anyone that comes into my house, good guy or bad. As for carry. I'm not going down back allies like a cop chasing someone. I stay observant of my surroundings. So to add a light to my draw, even the best of them add weight and bulk which go against how well you can carry concealed. Some too the length which adds to the draw. To "prevent battery interruption" "if you have to jam your pistol up against an attacker and fire to get him off of you". I would already say you failed if you need a contact shot. FormerSFMedic point that if you draw a weapon, there was already a treat is valid. Doesn't make Sol's not true also, that once in the light what you thought might be a knife is something else. FormerSFMedic you approach this as a man with a lot of experience. To be honest I don't. As an NRA instructor and someone who goes to your average gun ranges I can tell you most don't. You work with operators with lots of training, the kind that use shoot houses. That level of proficiency is hard to acquire and hard to maintain. Most could not afford to get there on their own. To use what little splash from my streamlight or a surefire and not point at the target, in an adrenalin filled situation, not happening. Besides it would be mute, the other party will state he pointed a gun at me, he will not notice the difference.

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Mike R November 15, 2012 at 10:07 am

Just my two cents, but whether the pointing of a weapon at someone is assault has absolutely NOTHING to do with whether or not a light is attached to that weapon. By that, I mean that if you are pointing your weapon light at someone to DETERMINE if they are a threat, then yes, that could be an assault. But if you drew your weapon in the same instance and shined a light with your free hand, it's no different. I don't think anyone is advocating the use of a weapon light as a means to determine whether someone is a threat. (i.e. "Hey, I wonder if that guy walking towards me is carrying a gun. Let me shine my weapon light on him and see.) BUT, I think the point here is that if you determine someone is a threat and you draw your weapon and use it in lawful self defense, making the case that it WAS in fact lawful self defense will be easier if you can say "I was clearly able to see that he still had a gun/knife/etc. in his hand when I engaged him because I had my attached weapon light shining right at him before I engaged." etc. etc. etc.

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Lance November 15, 2012 at 10:46 am

Depends on how you live if you do everything outside in the day time you wont need one. If your a cop who loves graveyard shifts its needed. Buy whats comfortable to you. And not all pistols are flashlight compatible.

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Victory First November 15, 2012 at 11:12 am

Mike, that is the point that I clarified in my original post, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I tell folks in the class that I want them to Think About the abilities of a weapon mounted light. I also suggest the EDC flashlight as well.
When you are sitting in a patrol car or courtroom, you need to be able to answer the question "it was dark, how did you SEE the item that made you think you were in eminent danger"?

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Mike R November 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

I couldn't agree more. It's a shame that we have to think this way, but that's the reality of the world we live in. Keep up the good work though!

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Victory First November 15, 2012 at 11:23 am

Lance, Have you ever been anywhere and had the power go out? Matinee movies are dark as well. Plenty of dark places, even during the day.

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Lance November 15, 2012 at 1:08 pm

Well it take more than a surefire to save your good kills in low light training make up for this. This idea of a 1913 rail and high price flashlight doesn't help. Also if your in a theater when the power is out your attack will be blind as well. A flashlight would give him your position.

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David Reeder November 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Lance…seriously. Did you really just write that? Either you didn't explain your point well enough (happens to me a lot, particularly if my typing can't keep up with my brain), you're trolling (I hope not) or you are very sadly mistaken (which can be corrected with proper education).

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Victory First November 15, 2012 at 11:35 am

Sol, to clear the air…. I am not sponsored by Surefire, I have no relationship with surefire at all, neither paid or by gear placement. I actually had more Streamlight products on the table than Surefire. I had an extra holster that would accommodate the X300 so that is what I lent to a shooter so he could try it.
I actually carry a Streamlight protac in my pocket daily. It is lighter, thinner and brighter than my previous carry of a Surefire executive defender.
Again, I talk about options in the class. It is a way, not the way.

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FormerSFMedic November 15, 2012 at 11:42 am

Here's my mindset on weapon lights and handhelds. Whether it's EDC, LE (reserve), or military environments I'm working in, I'm always carrying 2 lights (at least). Handhelds are amazing defensive tools. In fact, a handheld should be part of your force continuum as a less than lethal tool/weapon. There is a good chance your handheld is going to stop the fight before it goes to a lethal confrontation, at least on the civilian and LE side of the equation. I think handhelds present many options to the armed citizen and the professional in a self defense situation.

With all that said, if a firearm is the solution to the problem you're in, having a weapon mounted light is a huge advantage. Obviously there is always the fear of pointing a gun at everything you want to see. This is where training and equipment come into play. With a high intensity light (120 lumens +) I don't have to point the light (or the gun) at every area I want to see. If your light has enough output and the company has incorporated enough "spill" into the beam, you can simply get the light close to an area or bounce the light off of walls and other objects. I have dry ran my house hundreds of times and found that even in the largest room of the house just turning my 236 lumen light on illuminates nearly the entire room. You can bounce light off the ceiling and pretty much see everything. I like to keep the light low with the gun in a muzzle depressed position and use the baseboard as a reference. Even if you cleared an area with a handheld you would still bounce the light off of objects in order to keep yourself concealed and avoid "blinding" friendlies.

Both weapons mounted lights and handheld lights are critical tools for the defensive minded and professional alike. As a tool, you use the one that best suits your situation. I like to have a weapon mounted light with me anytime I can even for EDC. Handhelds can give you or a friendly an advantage in more ways than one but when it comes time to shoot, a weapon mounted light is the best option. In the end it comes down to training. You're not going to get the most out of either without good training and good high quality gear.

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E. Ronc November 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

So is it safe to assume your choice would be along the lines of a Surefire Defender with crenellated Strike Bezel and scalloped tailcap.

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FormerSFMedic November 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

Interesting, I carried an E2D Led Defender for years. I don't anymore. I found the crenellated bezel to tear up things that I didn't want torn up like my pants and the seat in my car. Also, I came to the realization that the bezel would more than likely cut a threat if I hit him/her in the face. The last thing I want is blood all over the place making things slick and possibly giving me a disease of some sort. The tail cap option the E2DL is also somewhat limiting. Press for high output, press again for low just doesn't work for my methodology. I carry an LX2 Lumamax now. The tail cap switch is much more to my liking, it doesn't have a strike bezel that can cut someone, and it has a substantially better pocket clip for carry up or down. It's also about the same size as the E2DL.I think I'll probably switch to the new EB1 when it comes out. It's a new single cell that puts out 200 lumens. It should be an even better option.

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E. Ronc November 16, 2012 at 11:57 am

Thanks for the insight, I never considered the crenellated bezel tearing up the inside of my pants. I was considering replacing my old streamlight with something. The blood thing didn't bother me as much till now. I still don't think I would draw enough to get things slick, though I did not take into account the possibility of disease. I did think you would be able to get DNA match.

Was leaning towards the new P2X Fury Defender. Not sure about tail cap on the LX2 Lumamax, need to feel one. The EB1 Backup maybe worth the wait. I take it you like the tactical switch over the old style?

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Matthew Cox November 15, 2012 at 11:52 am

Thanks Mike. That was the point I was trying to make exactly. I guess I need to be more clear. Anyway, I am not going to sweat being charged with assault for drawing down on someone who I am 99 percent sure is a threat to me or my two young boys. I think a weapon light is a good tool, not a silver bullet. And just to be completely clear, I believe that employing a firearm in self defense should always be the absolute last resort.

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Mike R November 15, 2012 at 11:59 am

Absolutely agree, and it was a great post (evidenced by all the great discussion in the comments!).

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NotSoSeriousToday November 15, 2012 at 6:55 pm

The author got himself just slightly ripped off. For the same price he could have gotten himself a X300 Ultra which puts out 500 Lumens on a single CR123 an is about $200-220 right now which Sol buddy is not ancient tech…..I love 4Sevens stuff but as far as ive seen theres no other light in that size that puts out the same power for the that you can mount on a weapon for the same weight

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40MikeMike November 15, 2012 at 8:15 pm

If you might need a weapon mounted light, and can justify the expense, I'd get one. Then TRAIN WITH IT, preferably at night…when you'd most likely need it. If you need one, you'll REALLY need one, and won't have to find two items at 0300 when the window breaks. A relatively inexperienced person just might forget to pick up that flashlight too when the adrenaline hits. Two different training/shooting methods, both hands on the weapon or one on a flashlight and one on the weapon needlessly complicates things. One grip, one muscle memory that needs to work when the lights are on or off. You don't need a weapon most of the time…until you do. Then its needed right freaking now. You don't need a light most of the time…until you do.

If you're a trained professional, you know what you need. Which is likely a light that you can effectively use in conjunction with accurately engaging a target. If you can't hit it, you might as well not shoot.

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Ed November 15, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I'd love to hear how some of you carry with the light. To be completely honest, I haven't found a practical daily carry method on my 5'9", 165lb body, I don't wear loose clothing and I'm standing in close proximity to others all day long where bending over with a heater on my hip would be a bad thing. No matter where I try to carry it prints unless I've got an LCP in my pocket, but I've already got too many other items in my pocket. I can't carry IWB without it printing. I like my TLR2 on my xdm9 (except for the time I forgot to tighten it on the rail and it went flying off at the indoor range) but haven't found a good OWB holster for it. I think raven makes one. Furthermore, I cannot get seated, belted in my vehicle with any iron in or on my waistline. Adding a light to this is only going to make it worse. I do keep plenty of flashlights handy in home, vehicle and tlr2 in my gun case along with ear pro, mags, holsters. How do you guys carry with lights, which holsters work for your set up? Thanks.

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defensor fortissimo November 16, 2012 at 12:31 am

To change the subject slightly, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you get my squadron looking at the whole notion of mounting lights on M4s purely within the realm of the mall ninja. We actually had an nco during training for active shooter scenarios tell us to hold our issue flashlights in a modified harries position, which might have been fine-though I imagine recoil would be a bi tch-if they were issuing us decent lights such as, (sorry sol) surefires. The lucky ones are issued sidewinders, myself, i got a vietnam era elbow. I'm one of the few who has a light mounted on his weapon, a Inforce WML, and it came out of my own pocket. It's a great light for room clearing, bright but low profile, ergonomical, easy to install, and reasonably priced. For a duty light, I carry a Fenix pd30, a versatile little light which can light up an area like a boss, and can be modified for various tasks such as traffic control. Also Streamlight has an interesting little handcuff key, flashlight combo that works out great for the small every day tasks.

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Sol November 16, 2012 at 12:40 am

wait. on duty weapons. law enforcement or military. lights make perfect sense. for the civilian. home defense. yes. for situations like the New Yorkers find themselves in without rule of law or **** hit the fan. yes. but for the average joe carrying concealed to protect himself and his family around town? no. but others disagree. i'm gonna try one more time on this. i appendix carry a glock 26. why? because even a glock 19 got left in the truck or at home for certain activities. many times my weapon was left behind because it was a pain to carry even a compact glock. add a light to it and you're compounding the problem. but that's not even the biggest issue. is no one paying attention to whats going on in society? the nanny state is alive and well. in certain locations if you print or even accidently flash a weapon the best outcome will be that you have an understanding cop that meets ya. worst case you have a Nazi with a badge thats going to find a reason to get your permit revoked. but hey. i'm talking reality. i'm sure if me and the guy from Victory First actually hashed it out over a beer we'd agree more times than not on probably 95% of the issues and the rest is just personal preferences. either way, you only have one *** to risk…be careful with it.

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mos2111 November 16, 2012 at 5:03 am

You might have issues if you cant carry a g19 at appendix. Stop spouting your opinions as a TTP unless you are willing to throw up some credentials. To use your own bland logic – I actually carry a G19 with TRL 1 everywhere. Raven makes a holster that allows for this to be done comfortably. I even backpack with this set up IWB. You might live in a nanny state, but I am beginning to doubt you have ever had an occurrence to draw your weapon or interact with LEO post incident. Your self formed expertise in this area might benefit greatly from some time with the folks over at shivworks. http://shivworks.com/ Actually, everyone would benefit from time with shivworks, its an eye opener.

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Sol November 16, 2012 at 5:09 am

i've been there and done that. but you can spout all you want and you'll run up against some sad truths. where was i wrong. stating that you shouldn't use a weapon light to illuminate a target that you're not prepared to fire on? by stating that a weapon needs to be carried or it does no good? if you're one of those guys that states that he's able to conceal even a glock 19 and have it everywhere he goes then i'm calling bunk on you. there is a reason why there is a market for ultra compact handguns. you can name all the "popular" gear but a raven doesn't work in alot of cases. you can talk about your range, but the issue is really one of liability. you point your weapon at someone and then state to law enforcement that you were just trying to identify if they were a threat or not and your sorry *** will be underneath a jail.

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defensor fortissimo November 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm

for clarification the point of my original post was to highlight the opposite extreme of the spectrum where you have a unit that automatically dismisses all aspects of weapon mounted lights as mere gadgetry. As I'm currently working out of a country that doesn't allow concealed carry period, so my opinions and interest in concealed carry is purely academic. I tried to clarify that by throwing the disclaimer "to change the subject, slightly", my apologies for any confusion.

mos2111 November 16, 2012 at 4:48 am

Oh, I am more than aware of Sonny, as that's my range…
Sol, I was agreeing with your first post, but this one is for the birds. "In trouble for pointing a weapon." "Not using a weapon light for ID" I live in a free state. If my weapon comes out, its due to threat or fear of life. If its dark and I have reason to draw, Im going to illuminate before I fire, to be sure of the target. If I light it up and its not a threat, DON'T SHOOT IT. I carry two other lights as well, by your logic, I should wait to draw and identify a threat with a tertiary light system, then draw? Read more post less.

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mos2111 November 16, 2012 at 5:06 am

And for anyone interested, I am much more prone to incorporate the lessons from an instructor with this background
"
SouthNarc has been a full-time police officer since 1990 and has held line assignments in corrections, patrol, narcotics, investigations, and for the past seven years has been a narcotics group supervisor. He was also the primary defensive tactics instructor at the Southern Regional Public Safety Institute from 1992-1999 and has personally trained over five thousand police officers at the academy level. SouthNarc has extensive operational experience in an undercover capacity which is reflected heavily in the Extreme Close Quarter Concepts coursework. SouthNarc has a thirty year background in Philippine, Indonesian, Brazilian and Japanese martial arts and is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He has been conducting training in the private sector in the U.S. and abroad for the past 5 years."
If you haven't heard of South Narc, here is some of his course work on Managing Unknown Contacts – which happens to be relevant to this discussion. http://www.safeism.com/pdfs/SNContacts.pdf

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Sol November 16, 2012 at 5:11 am

who is South Narc and how is he relevant to this conversation?

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Sol November 16, 2012 at 5:14 am

oh and its liability. you're talking alot but have you ever had to testify? have you ever had to fill out the paperwork involved after using force on a suspect? have you ever stood in front of IAD and had to explain yourself? i could care less about South Narc. i want to know about you. your type of talk is great in the bar, but it sounds alot different when you're in front of a jury.

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David Reeder November 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Sol, please consider your wording. First, when you sound adversarial you detract from the strength of whatever argument you're making (whether you're correct or not). Second, you betray your ignorance. Southnarc is incredibly relevant to the conversation, particularly in the context of how MOS2111 introduced him to the conversation. Let's keep it academic and friendly – you'll convince more people you're explaining a valid point that way.

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E. Ronc November 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Sorry Dave while your correct about Sol's tone, your wrong on SouthNarc. Mos introduced us to nothing but a instructors impressive resume. That is not relevant to this conversation. I have no idea how he feels about using weapons lights, which is the topic. The link Mos gave I did like, but had nothing to do with this topic- using a weapon light.

David Reeder November 17, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Sorry E. Ronc. I did a piss-poor job of my agreement there. Bring up SouthNarc doesn't apply directly to this conversation. I meant in the context that I think (and hope) MOS2111 meant it, which is to say comparing relatively backgrounds when it came to the earlier argument. I'll try write more clearly next time…I'll probably show less of my *** that way.

leftoftheboom November 16, 2012 at 6:27 am

$.02, I have a maglight with a led adapter and push button cap. I have lights all over my house including one 4 dcell with a strobe feature(for whatever reason). I have a child, a wife, and numerous pets. While not a stable a shooting platform, light in the off hand and braced wrists allows you to use the light alone, then come to battery as necessary without dropping or changing anything but firearm position. If I point a gun at my wife or child…………don't ever want to go there. Besides my wife would cap me in my sleep.

The one, admittedly only one, fact I know about the expense of weapon lights is they have to handle the recoil. Cheap maglight with adapters work fine and cost less than twenty.

I would say, in my humble opinion only, that while a powerful light is nice, I don't need something mounted. I prefer to have an off hand light just so that I can shine without harm. Otherwise all this tactical planning and multiple lights, in a court of law, makes it look like you were rambo out looking for a fight so you could show off your skills. It is one thing to be ready for a court of law, it is another to be so ready that the jury can be convinced you are gaming the system picking on poor wayward youths who are misunderstood and cut down in the prime of their life by a monster that forgot the war was over. You forget how liberals think and most lawyers are liberal.

I know that some if not all of you are fantastic operators. I know you have to be prepared for when all else fails. I will tell you that the average punk is not looking for trouble with someone who walks, observes, scans, and is a living weapons platform that exists to service "targets". Hyenas know what lions look like, even in the dark. You can defuse a potential situation just by shining a light on the roaches.

Thanks for listening.

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E. Ronc November 16, 2012 at 6:44 am

Once again I see something's that are not going to add up for everyone. Mos what works for you (I actually carry a G19 with TRL 1 everywhere) that's great more power to you. Though that is not gonna work for everyone or at all times. I am a Big man some might even say a little fat even. No way I could carry that rig comfortably. In the winter I could carry a tank under my coat, no one would notice. Now summer gets a lot harder for me to carry. My Santa physique means anything I carry seems to want stick out. I don't think you need to be TTP to state what works for you. I wear a light weight commander horizontally under my left breast. Grip is just to my left of center line. The addition of a light is more than I need. But once again not everyone situation is the same. I don't go out much at night and when I do it's not to a back alley poker game, it is to see family. Plus in my quiet dead end neighborhood, I have a city street light ten feet from the end of my two car length driveway going to a lit garage. Like I said I do like a light on my "nightstand" gun but I'm not trying to conceal that. High priced classes from your tactical instructors with a wealth of knowledge and experience are great. But I have never heard a good instructor say it has to be done just like this. You tend to think most are like you, in decent shape, ex-military, or LE back ground. As an NRA instructor I will tell you are not the average gun owner. I had a 70 year old lady take the course after some break-in in her area. After a class I usually bring a few pistols for students to try. She could not rack a slide on anything. You must try and realize not everyone situation is the same. My friend would get a smack down from his wife if he spent $200 "on a little flash light". Bottom line question was- Weapon Lights: Vital Kit or Flashy Toys? I would say vital kit for most especially Military, LE, and I add for a home gun, unless your hermit with no relatives or friends then you're just shooting anything that comes in. For EDC I would say depends on the individual circumstance. My aunt is never out after dark, can't see to drive. I would never think of it as a flashy toy

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FormerSFMedic November 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

I think some of the guys here got a little outside of the initial discussion but your comments are mostly spot on nonetheless. I would add to that. I understand that everyone's situation is not the same but there are some important aspects to understand. First of all, I carry a G19 w/M3 light mounted anytime I KNOW I'm going to be out after dark. Emphasis on "know". I always have my handheld day or night. I carry my G19 w/M3 in a Raven Concealment holster OWB strong side. How do I do that? I wear clothing that allows me to. It is important for armed citizens to understand that once you make the decision to carry a gun you need to make it a lifestyle. That means dressing around the gun. It may not be your style but you either take it seriously or you don't. That's it. I wear the G19 w/M3 during the summer with shorts and a T-shirt as well as during the winter with jeans and a coat. I don't know hardly anyone that can't do the same as me.

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Sol November 16, 2012 at 10:31 am

great discussion. heated. TTP's discussed. situation unresolved.

ITS AS IT SHOULD BE. WHAT WORKS FOR ME MIGHT NOT FOR YOU. WE ALL OPERATE IN OR OWN AREAS OF EXPERIENCE.

having said that. why is everyone so geeked up about SureFire flashlights? i don't get it. i admit that i didn't know they finally came out with a high output weapon light but their other lights don't seem to match up with what others are putting out.

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E. Ronc November 16, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Sol, I am by no means brand loyal to surefire. Ask yourself a couple questions though. When someone blows their nose, they might ask for a Kleenex, not a tissue. They are the Kleenex of flashlights for a reason. When JetBeam or others compares their stuff, it is too surefire products, why? They are known for their ruggedness and reliability. They came out with most of the leading edge technologies which others have exploited. They are made here. So yes when I was younger and poorer I did buy the JetBeam. Do I think it was a horrible decision, no. It kind of surprised me like Hyundai vs. a Toyota. But now that I am older, a little better off I can afford something made here. Not just assembled here as a lot of others are. I believe we should maintain are manufacturing ability and will pay extra for that, especially when it come to military items. So the JetBeam gets passed down to nephew with wife and two little ones and I get something new. Hyundai doesn't make a truck.

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Sol November 16, 2012 at 12:57 pm

ok. built here so i'm supporting US workers. that makes sense. i can get behind that. they need to push that more. i didn't know that part of the story.

David Reeder November 16, 2012 at 2:09 pm

I've had mixed luck with SureFires myself. The most lasting, durable light I've ever had was a good old Streamlight M3 (I'll explain further in a future post). I haven't had much experience with the InForce, though I did just push one to a reviewer for our future edification. Pelicans have help up surprisingly well too, though they aren't as "sexy" as the big name lights.

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E. Ronc November 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm

My nephew dislike Pelican, said all his broke in a year. He the outdoor type. From what I gather Streamlight is assembled here, not positive if made here, please let me know if wrong. Would like to see something on FOURSEVENS. They tell you designed here but are they made here?

Sol November 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm

foursevens is designed here and built over seas. but then again so is the iPad, Boeing aircraft and other popular stuff. four sevens is my brand. they kick serious lumens, are reliably rugged and are priced right.

JCS November 16, 2012 at 7:06 am

Sol, you are completely wrong – in your advice, in my opinion. I am a prosecutor with 4 decades experience. I am also a firearms instructor as a hobby. I have enjoyed shooting since 1960.
Using a gun-light takes a lot of practice. Using a flashlight separate from your gun is not very workable, especially when the adrenaline dump hits and your hands shake. You need to id your possible threat, see what's behind and around same, and then fire if necessary.

Pointing a gun at what you perceive as a threat takes away the assault element.
Shooting a threat is not battery. Shooting an innocent party is battery, and more.

Surefire is very proud of their … prices. Viridian green lasers (the brightest visible light to the human eye) with incorporated, ie., not attached, lights are the best thing going.
Unless you have a few thousand bucks to spend on Gen 2 or above night vision.

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Sol November 16, 2012 at 7:09 am

JCS. if that's the case then you're one of the good ones. talking about prosecutor. but you hit an important IF and you kept going without dealing with the ramifications. not only do you have to think that the person is a threat but it must also meet the standards of a reasonable person. if you are wrong or if its doubtful then you're in a storm. manipulating a handgun and a light has been standard fare for a LONG time. if its a problem then you shouldn't handle a firearm in the first place. you've been doing this stuff for 40 years. how can you so easily discount the risk involved in using a flashlight attached to your weapon in a civilian capacity to determiine whether you're facing a threat? and one more thing. to justify the threat in court you're going to have to be in close proximity. no 40 foot stand off distance against an unknown will stand the test unless you're being fired at. during a chance encounter it will have to be much closer unless you want to lose your freedom, your house and the rest of your stuff.

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Loving Mom November 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Read helpful and informative toy reviews at http://www.parentsreviewproducts.com

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Victory First November 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Sol,

The writer posted his cliff notes and thoughts on the class. I am sure he would be more than happy to expound on all the contents and discussions of the class, however, that would be an extremely long post.
Within the class I spoke in depth on choices, choices, choices. Each person has to decide what, how and why they choose to carry. I offer all types and sorts of choices in handguns, lights (mounted and handheld) holsters (IWB, OWB, ankle, appendix, leather, kydex….to allow the student to explore options in a classroom setting with a wide bank of choices.
I have been involved with, reported, interviewed, worked and testified on several cases involving all of what I cover in the class. I have been the responding officer on the "I just shot somebody" call as well as had to testify in court involving shootings. I want students to ask questions I can hopefully answer without getting into the "legal advice" aspect, I can't do that, I am not a lawyer. BUT, I can talk about working in the dark, as a Police officer, and on a few times where I have had to encounter guys after I retired….so as a civilian. I do suggest the carrying of a handheld and weapon mounted light. Even in LOW light, you still need to be convinced that the suspect is a threat, it isn't always high noon or pitch black midnight. I think you misunderstood the original intent of the authors coverage and interpretation of some of the class.
I do carry a G19 with a mounted light daily, and conceal it without issues on my strong side OWB. Anyone who attends the class will get 2 days of experienced instruction to assist in carry and garment assistance to help in education in the realm as well…. the position carry and cover garments make it possible. It is relatively easy, if you WANT to successfully carry concealed, and prep properly.

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David Reeder November 17, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Following up here, I can say as a small guy (5'9", 185) I can and do carry a G19 with weapon-mounted light during the colder months when I have heavier clothes. When I'm in shorts and a t-shirt I carry G26 – and I'd put a light on that if I could. I could change my cover garments to accommodate a 19 in warm weather and may do so…I haven't decided yet (I've got a few months to do so). To say it can't be done is ridiculous.

I should also say, as someone who was in the class, this entire discussion initially began (in the class I mean) as something that should be considered; just as cover garments should be considered, what to say after a shooting should be considered, the mental preparation prior to pulling the trigger should be considered…

I don't agree with much that SOL says here, and I certainly don't agree with his tone in several cases, but at least we have the conversation going. That's the whole point. In the end, if you really want to see what works and what doesn't work, take this course (or one like it) and follow it up with some lengthy time on the range after dark AND some time in a shoothouse after dark AND some time doing force-on-force in a cluttered structure after dark. It will quickly demonstrate that you really don't know how much you don't know. I discovered my own level of ignorance, much to my chagrin, during my first and my second and my third week-long low-light operations courses taught by guys I believer are among the best in the business.

Don't endorse something or denigrate it without some hard evidence and some hands-on experience; you'll likely be sorry you did. Anyone who believes you should rely just on a weapon light has probably never had their hands chewed up by Sim rounds and the bezel shot off said light in a force on force exercise. Anyone that thinks you can perform just as well with a handheld light in lieu of weapon light has probably never spent a lot of time working the two together and in exclusion, on the range and in training, nor studied actual AARs where the it was possible to accurately and academically evaluate what occurred.

As long as we're all cordial and open-minded, discussions like this are outstanding regardless of where you stand on the issue.

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Sol November 17, 2012 at 6:36 pm

ya know i was gonna leave this alone until you hit the tone thing again. REEDER i recommend you go back through this entire thread and then decide who pushed first. if someone comes at me then i'll hit back at least as hard. so take your talk about tone and check yourself. if i wanted to be feminine then i could say that the way came at LANCE was out of bounds. also. you don't know the ground i've walked cowboy. so don't question my experience level and i wont' question yours.

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David Reeder November 17, 2012 at 6:53 pm

Did you even read what I posted there? I'm not questioning your experience level, I have no idea of knowing if you're salty or a mall ninja. I frequently make my own limitations clear and try to have an open mind. My point is to have the discussion regardless of which side you came down on. Don't get butt-hurt, if you can't disagree in an academic fashion about a point maybe you shouldn't be arguing it. As for tone – I think you were wrong, particularly with regards to your approach to FormerSFMedic. I think you're wrong about the flashlight thing. I am happy, however, to have this entire debate going because it makes all of us think and therefore hopefully brings up some points we haven't considered before. You'll note I didn't delete your comments or anything ridiculous like that, I simply expressed my disagreement. You might consider a tougher skin when discussing tactics. My disagreement with your opinion isn't personal, nor should it be taken as an insult. It's a disagreement. I'm also not the one tossing around the word "cowboy" and acting like he's engaged in a big **** contest. As far as 'pushing', again, this isn't supposed to be some kind of adversarial contest. It's a discussion. Try to keep it in that context and you perhaps you won't feel some sort of insult or slight where none was intended.

Reread this entire quote, and remember it is directed at everyone on this thread (many thousands who've read it, and counted) not just you. Note also it was preceded by me discussing my own shortsightedness. The most important part is the very last line.

"Don’t endorse something or denigrate it without some hard evidence and some hands-on experience; you’ll likely be sorry you did. Anyone who believes you should rely just on a weapon light has probably never had their hands chewed up by Sim rounds and the bezel shot off said light in a force on force exercise. Anyone that thinks you can perform just as well with a handheld light in lieu of weapon light has probably never spent a lot of time working the two together and in exclusion, on the range and in training, nor studied actual AARs where the it was possible to accurately and academically evaluate what occurred.

As long as we’re all cordial and open-minded, discussions like this are outstanding regardless of where you stand on the issue."

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E. Ronc November 17, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Sol you do need to work on a little thicker skin. Dave wasn't hitting you on tone again just stating it works better without it. I agree he may of hit Lance a little on his response. But to be fair he was right in that Lance didn't articulate his position well. Also Lance is known to troll a little. I like the low level light training, could run into at a parking garage say. The power outage thing is just a little out there. If in a theater, what are the odds you're going to have much situational awareness really. Guy twenty rows back pulls out glock and starts shooting, even with weapons light you're not at a big advantage. People in way, ducking, yelling and noise of shots. And he is right in that all of a sudden someone shines 200 lumens at him, he might start shooting at the light which is where I think Lance was going. He doesn't have to hit the light either, just the guy holding it to knock it off him. All in all this is about a flow of idea's. To gain some insight. I would of never thought about crenellated bezel tearing up the inside of my pants if FormerSFMedic didn't mention it. If you go back and look I would say we all agree on maybe the top 85%. Weapons light useful for military, LE and home defense gun. The rest is where it gets interesting.

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E. Ronc November 17, 2012 at 7:56 pm

PS to all you little skinny guys. In the winter I could hide a Mossberg 500 with pistol grip, 18" barrel and one of those old big 6 volt battery lanterns duck taped to it and you wouldn't notice. Come summer however the big man (think 6', 400+) SWEATS. Look kind of funny sweating while wearing extra clothes. Usually wear long sleeve dungaree shirt and tell everyone I burn easily. Now my Santa shape is at a big disadvantage. I am in a word ROUND. You put a pistol on a beach ball you start to understand part of the problem. It is going to stick out somewhere. Could never wear the Raven ACR holster any time of the year, especially if I had to sit. I have never transitioned to those new fangled plastic striker fired guns. I am an old cocked and locked condition one kinda guy. Thus my choice in pistol and rig (commander in horizontal shoulder rig). So my friends any other good thoughts on how I can carry in the summer. Sorry off topic but all you little people make it sound so easy.

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