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Do I Need A Weapon Light On My Pistol?

Do I Need A Weapon Light On My Pistol?

Newcomer John H. is a recent convert to the gun culture, having previously only played video games and dabbled in paintball. Now that he is a new gun owner, he has been astonished by how expensive rifle accessories may be. Do I Need A Weapon Light On My Pistol?

He had this query while talking with him in a local gun store…

What’s the deal with these (gun) lights being so expensive? I get them for the cops, but what exactly am I getting? Isn’t it better to carry a pistol and a flashlight? What if there was something in the dark that I needed to see with my pistol, and it was not something I wanted a gun pointed at?

That’s an excellent question, and there are several schools of thought on the subject.

The Expense of Weapon Lights

My own weapons have some nice quality lights from Surefire and Streamlight, as you can see in the photographs. You get what you paid for, as I feel like I often say in my posts, and weapon lights are no exception.

Fortunately, we live in a capitalist society (at least for the time being), and there are many different types of pricey items. I know guys who drink Natty Lite and others who will spend $20 on a bottle of a limited-edition IPA.

When it comes to weapon lights, it all boils down to how much these things are worth to you, and the value you place on them is determined by how reliable, brilliant, and durable your light of choice must be.

The Expense of Weapon Lights

Sure, the ones I have here aren’t cheap, but they’re what I like for the most demanding applications. There are many gun collectors out there, but I am not one of them. The stuff I make for my articles and in the field gets thrown around a lot. That’s why a Trijicon RMR and a Surefire X300U-B may be found on my custom 1911.

That gun is a multi-purpose weapon that can be used for carry, hunting, and target shooting without breaking a sweat. The gun gets the most use while hunting, and I’ve had good results with it.

For deep undergrowth, fast-moving deer, and fading light at dusk, I need the best optics, ammo, and light. I could have added some less expensive things, but I didn’t want to.

Police Use Of Lights

Police officers, like John H., have a clear need for lights on their duty firearms. The firearms of police personnel should be equipped with lights. They should have body and vehicle cameras as well. Those factors, among others, must be in place in order for the public to have faith in the officers (and for their own protection).

It’s critical for cops to be able to recognize suspects with weapons and defend themselves and others in any lighting circumstances.

Police Use Of Lights

Civilian Light Use

Our novice raises an interesting issue regarding using your pistol-mounted lights to spotlight a suspected danger area, such as one where a bad man might be hiding. In general, I would not do this, and I always carry a separate handheld flashlight. What do I mean I don’t do this in general?

The truth is that I spend a lot of time in poorly populated, really rural locations. I’m occasionally alone in locations where bears, cougars, and crackheads are present. When the doorknob starts to rattle in a dingy roadside motel, I know it’s time to leave. Smokey isn’t likely to be out late looking for a light.

Civilian Light Use

‘Hey stupid, don’t go to such locations,’ I know you’re thinking. That’s all right. However, the truth of life is that you are not always in control of this, and you may find yourself in situations where you are only passing through.

When you’re unsure about a source of potential threat, having a gun-mounted light comes in handy. Even inside a room, pointing a light in any direction can instantly reveal your location. It’s pleasant to know that you can enlighten and surprise any unwanted visitor.

In inhabited areas, however, I would not employ this strategy unless I was in extreme danger and needed to blind an attacker in order to flee without firing. 

Many times when I am in populated regions, I carry a variety of light and gun alternatives and setups. I almost always have a portable flashlight on my person. This is a general tool that I use on a daily basis (mine is a rechargeable Surefire).

In warm weather, I usually carry either a P365 or a Glock 19 Gen5. My P365 has no light and I usually carry it IWB. Of course, my G19 is bigger, and I normally wear it OWB in a BlackPoint Tactical light-bearing holster.

For easy removal, I use a Surefire X300U-A light on this rifle. I have another BlackPoint holster for the gun that doesn’t have a light attached.

In the winter and while hunting, I carry an M17 or a 1911, both of which will have lights on them. The lights don’t add much weight, so they’re useful if you already have a larger pistol.

If you have the ability, having a light on your rifle as well as a spare light in your pocket is quite useful. In a subsequent piece, I’ll discuss custom holsters and other accessories for lights, which should shed some insight on the current condition of the industry for light-bearing holsters and weapons.

If you have the ability to attach a light to your carry handgun, I strongly advise you to do so. Shooting at a threat in the dark isn’t ideal, so knowing what lurks beyond your immediate senses is essential. This may necessitate ordering a custom holster for your specific light and gun combination, which can take a long time.

The more angles you can cover, the less liability you will have in your daily life. You will never, ever be completely in control of what is going on around you, no matter how hard you try or how you see the world. However, you can do your best to prepare yourself at any time of day or night, pray to God, and hope for the best.

In some circumstances, having a light on your gun could be the difference between life and death, and I believe the price you pay for that extra bit of assurance is worth it in the long run.

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