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.

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