Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Own the Light, Own the Fight

One thing that is common about defensive firearms use is that many encounters occur after the sun goes down.  In low light or no light situations, it may be impossible to identify friend from foe without the assistance of a suitable weapon light. 

I have been involved in the debate over different theories regarding use of lights in self defense situations.  Two schools of thought emerge.  The first is that the light should be mounted on the firearm in order to aid keeping both hands on the weapon and so that the light will point wherever you aim the weapon.  The second school of thought says that the light should not be mounted on the weapon, but should be freed up so that you can point it at someone without actually pointing your weapon at the person.  Proponents of both theories make valid statements, and I'm personally on both sides. 

I have a small white light that I can use inside the house or anywhere.  It is convenient because I don't necessarily need to have the gun out to use it.  I can scan the rooms in my darkened house without the risk of injury to another person.  It also works well for concealed carry because a weapon-mounted light does not conceal very well. 

However, I've also been in the market for a dedicated weapon-mounted light for my dedicated fighting pistol.  This gun is not a concealed carry piece and is used for home defense.  This pistol also has an accessory rail that accommodates a mounted light or laser, or combination of both.  I chose to purchase a light for this gun for the purpose of having a light with the gun at all times, and that can be easily actuated in the event of an emergency or if something should go bump in the night. 

Once in a while, I will hear a crash, bang, or other noise in the house that doesn't seem normal.  On these occasions, I've either started falling asleep, or have been awakened.  In each case, I've calmly reached over, tapped the code on the GunVault, retrieved a pistol, and went out to check to make sure all is well.  Most of the time, the unfamiliar sound was from a cat being a dumbass and knocking something over.  I have been in situations, in the past, where it was not a cat and was a person either rapping on the front door or someone outside doing God knows what.  My truck was also broken into a year ago, probably at night.  So what am I getting at with all this?

The fact of the matter is that sometimes, I remember to put a flashlight on the nightstand and sometimes I don't.  Sometimes I'll have a light with me as I check the rooms and doors with a pistol, and other times I'm in the dark.  Additionally, when I use a light and have a gun, both hands are busy holding something.  It makes it somewhat of a chore to check doors and make sure windows are tight.  Mounting a weapon on a gun allows one hand the freedom to do whatever it is I'm doing while still maintaining a state of readiness and a light without putting anything down.

Should the call for alarm actually be a real intruder, they will be at an immediate disadvantage.  If the person has been skulking around in the dark, they most likely won't be ready for 160 lumens of light pointed at them.  If the person decides to confront me after that, my weapon light has an easy to activate strobe option which gives even me a headache after a few seconds of looking at it.  The strobe really is to overload the person's sensory parts of the brain and make them not function, giving more advantage to me.  Plus, being on the right side of the bright light makes it so the person cannot see me, but I can see them.  As the saying goes, "Own the light, own the fight."

But wait a second.  I have a friend who once said, "Just shoot at the light."  Okay, that's a valid statement.  But remember that this light shoots back.  If you, the attacker, is confronted by a light and command in someones house, do you really think they are just going to stand there and let you draw on them?  Nope.  As soon as I, the defender, see a weapon, it's lights out for you (pun very much intended). 

-James

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