Lights and Lasers for your HD Gun

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Caleb Giddings gives some advice on adding a weapon mounted light and laser on your home defense gun.

1. “You’ll give away your position!”
Who is breaking into your house, Spetznaz? Are you laying at the top of the stairs in ambush? Seriously, unless you’re creeping from room to room trying to do a solo clear of your house at 2am why do you care about giving away your position? I don’t know about you, but my position is going to be pretty clearly given away by me shouting “I HAVE A GUN AND I’M CALLING THE COPS DON’T COME UP HERE I’M AFRAID FOR MY LIFE” on the line with the 911 operator.

2. “If it’s so dark you can’t see the target, you shouldn’t be shooting.”
You’re an idiot if you believe this. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF HAVING LIGHTS, to make it less dark. Also because 200 lumens in the eyes of Johnny Scumbag might actually make him reconsider some life choices, and maybe you won’t have to drill him. Later we can have the discussion about weapon mounted lights for searching vs hand-held lights and the various advantages/disadvantages, but seriously, white lights make it a lot easier to hit the thing you’re aiming at because you can see it.

3. “You can just turn a light on”
Okay. So you turn the light on in whatever room you’re in, but Mr. Home Invader is a room with the lights off. Have you ever tried looking into a dark room from a well lit one? You can’t see diddly. Point 200 lumens of justice into that room, and you can see plenty.

The truth is that most of the objections to lights and lasers on HD guns come from two kinds of people: 1) people with mall ninja fantasies about single person house clearing or ambushing a home invader at the top of the stairs and 2) people who’ve never fired a gun in low/no light situations. The first group are just idiots and can generally be ignored, but the second group, well, that can be fixed.

Read the rest of his post here.

Back when I was living in NY, I challenged my shooting club to shoot in the dark during our indoor pistol action matches. It helped open some of the members minds to how difficult it is to shoot with a flashlight, and at the same time, how helpful it was to shoot with one.

During the annual Zombie Match in Pittsburgh, PA it is a dark shoot. You have to use a laser, light, or NODs to engage the targets. Having a laser and light helps tremendously. As Caleb suggests, try it if you can. I am fortunate that my new club allows us to shoot up until 11pm and I have opportunities to shoot in the dark frequently.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Justin Low

    I wholeheartedly agree, with one caveat. I recommend separate lights from your pistol. The tactical flexibility and additional search options more than make up for it using your off hand.

    • TV-PressPass

      Why not both? I had more than a half a dozen lights being shared around at the Midnight 3 Gun. There are times where its good to point a light without pointing a gun. But when I point the gun: I want to know the light and laser and going to be there.

      • Justin Low

        Sorry, my bad. I haven’t finished my coffee yet so my clarity isn’t 100%. If you choose to have one on your sidearm, you should also have a separate light. Sometimes you don’t want to be muzzling the object of curiosity. I’m not arguing against having a mounted light, recommending some additional flexibility, JIC.

        • TV-PressPass

          Oh definitely. Even more so when you add a carbine to the mix. No one wants to be pointing a gun to provide illumination. Here’s the extent of what I had the Crimson Trace match on my head, guns, and in pockets.

          • Justin Low

            Very nice! I mainly run fenix lights, because of the price point. My wife would end me if I came home with just some of my objects of desire (and that’s just the lights!) I wouldn’t mind upgrading to some of the surefire goodies… one of these days.

        • Cymond

          I also support having a supplemental handheld light, but I want to play Devil’s Advocate for a moment.
          .
          Some flash lights have an extremely wide beam, and light reflects off indoor walls. Depending on the details, it may be possible to use a weapon-mounted light to see a target without pointing the weapon directly at the target.
          .
          I can’t really phrase it well, but maybe these 2 short clips will help (they should start at 9:50 and 1:40, respectively).

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAbGKr0EZDU&t=100

    • ClintTorres

      Yeah, I’d get one of the Surefire wrist light for each hand as well as a pistol light. Wait, they’re $300…forget it.

  • iksnilol

    What about a small flashlight mounted to your glasses (for us that wear them)?

    I saw a really small single cell flashlight the other day. 130 lumens is enough to ID someone in your garden.

    • TV-PressPass

      Light on your head means your now illuminating your hands, sights, optics etc. Suddenly your foreground is taking precedence over your actual target.

    • ozzallos .

      Or the headband flashlights. Or even those cheesy clip-on hat LED flashlights.
      The only problem i can see with either is they aren’t exactly “200 lumens of justice” 🙂

      • Cymond

        I’ve seen a lot of discussion and intro/training videos that recommend a light with a momentary switch for searching. The idea is to be able to flash it on, look at an area, release the switch, move, repeat. If there is a threat hiding in the area, it would be bad for them to have a constant beacon to help them attack or evade you.

        • ozzallos .

          “…it would be bad for them to have a constant beacon to help them attack or evade you.”

          Which I believe is the entire focus of this story. See Point #1: “You’ll give away your position!”

          • Cymond

            Yeah, I read that, too. I’m not claiming to be a ninja or anything, but I also think a constant-on light may not be a good idea for some people.
            I don’t doubt that someone would have my general position, but there’s a big difference between hearing me walking through the house vs clearly seeing exactly where I am at all times.

            This may also be less of a concern for a defender hiding at the top of the stairs or in a back bedroom, but I often have to search the house to investigate weird sounds late at night. They have always been benign and I expect they always will be. (It’s usually just the rabbits getting in to trouble.) But moving though the house is still a more risky thing to do, and if there were intruders, it would be more likely that they would see my light coming down the hall long before I found them.

            In short, I guess I believe in using the light when I need it and not when I don’t.

  • Joe

    Nice article and this is certainly an interesting way to look at mounted flashlights. I find that this is interesting considering a few years ago everybody was all aboard utilizing as much as your gun has to offer (rail-estate as well). Stripping your firearm of a system you have already become accustom to seems counter intuitive to me.

  • Richard Allen

    He is lucky that his club allows night shooting. Very hard to find for non-LE.

    • hami

      Find a local range that shoots IDPA and ask f they occasionally shoot low light matches. My local range (CSA in Richmond, VA) seems to do one a couple times a year if not more often.

  • Alex

    PVS-15 + LA-5 is in my HD setup.

    lol jk

  • samvegas

    “200 Lumens of Justice” made my day!

  • derfelcadarn

    Having the light on the gun may be convenient and effective but it does violate the first rule of firearms. Unintended fire can result in severe and unintended consequences.