Weapon Lights

by Studentofthegun

Due to the fact that I’ve got some of my friends looking for info related to weapon lights, I’ll take a short break from posting about suppressors.

Weapon lights are an incredibly important piece of equipment, especially for home defense purposes.  It is absolutely critical to be able to identify your target.  If you can’t see, you can’t adequately do that in a dark house.  There have been tragic stories of people who shot loved ones up for a midnight snack, thinking they were intruders.

Weapon lights also may be intense enough such that they provide an advantage to the home defender.  The light may severely affect the intruder’s night vision and may also be intense enough to disorient them.  When hit with something like 125 lumens right in the eyes, it actually hurts.  The reaction is to close one’s eyes.  That might buy you precious time to assess the intruder and decide whether or not they may present a threat to you.  You may be able to discern whether or not they are armed.

Handheld Weapon Lights

Some weapon lights are simple.  They may have a tailcap button that allows momentary on/off switch.  The first light I ever bought was the Surefire 6P.  It sat on the nightstand right next to a Smith and Wesson Model 15 revolver.  Talk about old school.  But it was effective.  If you consider using a weapon light in this configuration, it has some positives.  For one thing, you can point the light at something/someone without covering it with the muzzle.  This is something that isn’t the case when it comes to weapon mounted lights.  But more on weapon mounted lights later.

Here’s the Surefire 6P:

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Source of photo and link to Surefire website: http://www.surefire.com/6p-original.html

They also make an LED version of this light, which I think is superior in most ways.  The only real drawback to LED lights is that they don’t allow you to really see colors accurately.  Incandescent lights don’t cast the bluish hue that LED lights do.  However, the tradeoff is that LED lights last a lot longer.  I happen to believe it is worth it for the longer battery life.  The CR 123 batteries are not inexpensive, but you can find deals on them on the web.

There are also a number of other manufacturers that make weapon lights similar to the Surefire.  There are also a plethora of Surefire lights available in all sorts of sizes and configuration.  Here’s a list of other popular manufacturers:

Elzetta (http://www.elzetta.com) makes a wonderful light as well.

Fenix lights (http://www.fenixlight.com/) are also very nice.

Inforce makes good stuff (http://inforce-mil.com/)

Insight does too (http://www.insighttechnology.com/)

Streamlight makes excellent products (http://www.streamlight.com/en-us)

Pelican, the makers of excellent gun cases, have also gotten into the act (http://www.pelican.com/lights_category.php)

There are a number of ways to hold the light and the weapon.  Here’s a website that shows some of the basic holds:

http://www.iwillnotbeavictim.com/flashlight_hold-page.html

While the formatting of the page is off a bit, it does a good job of showing how the grips are achieved.  There are other methods two, but I find myself using my own variation of the Chapman hold or the Harries.  There are many schools of thought, but if you’re going to go with a light that is not connected to your gun, it is a very good idea to practice it.  If possible, practice it at night on a range so that you can see which hold works best for you.

Weapon Mounted Lights

While I have used handheld lights, I have transitioned primarily to weapon mounted lights.  The reason for this is because it allows me keep both hands on my weapon, providing better control.  This is a largely a personal preference, but I like the idea of being able to hold my weapon, with a light shining on a threat, while being able to free up one hand to do things like open a door, restrain a dog, or dial 911.

There are a number of weapon mounted lights available.  Once again, Surefire has excellent options available, such as the X300:

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This light attaches to the light/equipment rail that is common on many pistols and rifles:

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Source of photos and website for the X300: http://www.surefire.com/x300-ultra-led-weaponlight.html

Here we can see the light attached to a Glock.  This allows the user to actuate the toggle switch at the back of the light with either hand, or even the trigger finger.  This light features a momentary on/off feature as well as a constant “on” feature.  This model may also include the option to add a pressure switch on the grip of the weapon.

Though I like the Surefire, from a cost/benefit perspective I am a devotee of the Streamlight TLR-1.  There are three models.  One is the traditional TLR-1, which is a light with a constant “on” and a momentary “on/off” feature.  Another has a strobe light feature.  The theory is that the strobe serves to disorient the intruder and make it difficult for them to be able to accurately determine where the home defender is standing.  There’s also a high output model that has recently been released.

I find the Streamlight TLR series to be the best I’ve used for the price.  I’ve found them on sale from Primary Arms for less that $100 shipped during special holiday sales.  The best way to get those alerts is to join subscribe to their emails.  (https://www.primaryarms.com/Weapon-Lights-s/328.htm)

There are a number of great options available from Primary Arms.  They also happen to have great customer service.

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Source for the photo and link to the Streamlight website: http://www.streamlight.com/en-us/product/product.html?pid=80

The photo above shows the TLR-1 mounted on a Glock.  The TLR also comes with adapters that allow it to mount to many different types of equipment rails, whether you have a Glock, Smith and Wesson, Walther, Sig Sauer, H&K, etc.

Another reason I really like the TLR-1 is because it also fits a picatinny rail.  Here’s a picture from a good article written by Dave Morelli.  It shows how the TLR-1 is able to mount to an AR-15.

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Source of photo and link to article: http://wichitaobserver.com/two-critical-accessories-in-building-a-defensive-ar-15.html

The nice thing about this is that I have simply purchased a few Streamlight TLR-1s and use them interchangeably on my pistols and rifles.  Whatever weapon I’ve selected for home defense gets a TLR-1 stuck on it and it is ready for duty.

There are a number of weapon mounted lights available, and some people choose to have configuration that allow pressure switches on their home defense carbines.  For me, having lights that I can quickly take on and off and place on different weapons is more convenient.  The main thing is to make sure that you have a light on your home defense weapon.

For much of my gun-related shopping, I rely on Midway USA.  They have always done well for me, and I appreciate their selection.  Others may prefer different retailers.  I’m providing a link here to Midway’s website that shows all sorts of weapon mounted options.  As always, it pays to shop around.  I think Primary Arms will have the best deals on Streamlight TLR-1s, but this link to Midway is a good way to see what else is available in weapon mounted lights.

http://www.midwayusa.com/find?dimensionids=13733

Wishing you safety, security, and happy recreational shooting…

SOTG

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