Ammo For Sale

« « Well, that would explain my drop in traffic | Home | Gun Porn » »

On lights on guns

In this post (with a throw away line base on an old internet trope), Other Steve makes a damn fine and valid point:

You know. Some day If you actually take some low light training, you might stop being so damn obtuse about things.

If you ever happen to get to take low light force on force, and see how many times your flash light hand is hit, because people shoot at lights, you might get that you are entirely wrong about what you think is clever mocking.

I agree with that 100%. But that’s likely not to ever be something I’ll have to worry about. Some people do have to train and prepare for that stuff. Some military units, SWAT teams, security details, and countless others. And they all have many things in common. One of those things is that they are not me.

We put lights on all manner of things to make them more convenient or to give them better utility. Here’s my Bosch drill giving away my position to my daughter:


The light is there to make it easier to screw things when the lighting is poor. The light on my gun is there for pretty much the same thing.

Unlike the guys mentioned above who train for that sort of thing, it’s very unlikely that I’ll ever be in a gun fight. And, if I’m in 100 gun fights, it’s unlikely that in any one of them I’d be worried about giving away my position. The aforementioned military units, SWAT teams, security details, and countless others, however, are more likely to have a need to prevent their position from being known. Me, not so much. I’m just a regular Joe. So I’m quite content putting lights and lasers on my carry gun. They’re not going to give away my position. The place where the shooting sounds are coming from will. Also, the place where the cussing, screaming, and maybe the smell of poop because I just shit my pants, having realized I’m in a gun fight will give away my position too.

19 Responses to “On lights on guns”

  1. Adam Lawson Says:

    I don’t ever plan on needing my gun for self defense, in the home or otherwise… just like I don’t plan on using my home owner’s to cover fire damage…

    However, if I do, and my light is enough to give away my position, the hope is that by the time they train their gun onto it and adjust to the sudden light and fire, I’ve already gotten off enough shots to render the point moot.

  2. Heath J Says:

    Good post.

    You can’t hit what you can’t see. And if you’re robbed be SEALFORCEMARSOC, it won’t matter anyway.

  3. FiftycalTX Says:

    Is that an operators tactical drill?

  4. Matthew Carberry Says:

    I figure they won’t be able to pinpoint me by smell, as I’ll be moving and leaving a scent trail over a wide area.

    Track me? Sure, by scent, sight and touch. Pinpoint? No way.

  5. Other Steve Says:

    I feel like now I have to clarify….

    I do have lights on some of my guns. And I do carry and train with a handheld over a weapon mounted light. Yes, you need to see what you are shooting but…. If you have a light and it’s just ON while you are walking around searching, assessing, surveying, you are doing it wrong.

    Trust me. In fights, lights get shot.

    As to “just turning lights on in your house”. I do not recommend. You need to game every advantage you can get. You know your house. You can walk it in the dark. You know who can’t? Anyone else. Selective use of a handgun or weaponlight is very handy.

    Just adding a light to your gun without training…. No go. I do recommend a handheld though.

  6. Nolan Says:

    I use to airsoft. A lot. It’s not quite the same as real guns, I know this, but I can tell you this much: in low light my friends where SURE they hit me because they aimed at my light. They didn’t.

  7. Linoge Says:

    I need to know what I’m shooting more than I need to worry about ubertactical ninjas knowing where my position is.

  8. Gerry Says:

    In a gunfight both sides know about each other. In an ambush one side has the element of surprise.

  9. Wyowanderer Says:

    Is that an operators tactical drill?

    No, no picatinny rail, duh…

  10. mikee Says:

    If your light can’t strobe the target into epilepsy and isn’t bright enough to cause brain damage at 100 yards, would adding a laser to the rig be the next step?

  11. Adam Says:

    My bedside handgun (FN FNP-9, 16+1, Winchester Defenders, WAY BETTER THEN A 45 /sarc) has a light that alternates between strobe and steady state. I keep it on strobe… tactical dog is a 92 pound chesapeake bay retriever that does not like strangers AND I can feel around my house in the darkness. I figure between the two I can reasonably locate a goblin and the strobe is just that much more in my favor.

  12. lucusloc Says:

    Another point these guys miss: I will not be assaulting a defended position, I will be defending it. That means the BGs will likely already know my location, and I will not know theirs. In this case a light is necessary to level the playing field.

    We played “storm the castle” at night a lot. The defenders needed lights to even the game out, because the attackers could be anywhere. Meanwhile the attackers knew exactly where the defenders would be, it was just a matter of saturating the right areas while someone else moved in. The lights made it significantly harder to move into for a kill unopposed. Granted paintball is not a direct analog for a real firefight, but it does provide a lot of education. (just don’t confuse cover in paintball for cover in a real fight)

  13. MJM Says:

    Hilarious! And, point well-made.

  14. SayUncle Says:

    What Other Steve said

  15. Patrick Says:

    I defensively carry and use a gun to kill things a lot more often than most. Of course, it’s part of the job in livestock protection. Yes, I side-line as a “Farmer who Operates Operationally”. Instead of an MRAP I ride in real style – an ancient Massey tractor/backhoe. The only armor I need is the one at the sharp edge of my blade. Bucket blade, that is.

    Serious for second: I won’t put a light on the guns for a simple reason – if you need to light something up then you will end up pointing the gun at it. I like my hogs, my geese, my ducks and even that electric fence charger a sortie of enemy Berkshire pigs somehow broke (WTF – how did they do that?). So I don’t light them up with a bang stick (Rule 1234).

    Just 15 minutes ago I chased off yet another Fox stalking a critically endangered breed of goose that I raise. It’s daylight, so I could do a tuck-drop-n-roll without the light this time.

    So from a Farmer who Operates Operationally (face it: I have at least as much “practical tactical experience” as most Tommy Tactical gun instructors out there – which should scare the hell out of the paying public), just say no to lights on guns.

  16. AJ187 Says:

    Patrick dropped the next old internet adage, that suddenly having an on board weapon mounted flashlight means I have no means to have a handheld one. Or that my flashlight acts like a laser and doesn’t have this wonderful flood of light that I don’t necessarily have to point the muzzle at anyone just to make out what is ahead of me. And other steve, the propensity for an assailant to shoot at whatever you are holding does not stop at lights, it extends to your actual firearm. Should we stop carrying those because they might get us shot in the hand? I don’t think so…

  17. Tam Says:

    I envy people who can find their targets by echolocation.

  18. Matthew Carberry Says:

    Man-Bat, Daredevil, and, um, the Dolphins from Hitchhiker’s Guide appreciate your support.

  19. .22lr Says:

    The light on my bedside gun is there to prevent me from shooting that which should not be shot.

    I have kids, i have known folks with Alzheimer’s, and sometimes life gets complicated.

    The light beside the gun is for searching. The light on the gun is for the rather critical threat verification.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

Uncle Pays the Bills

Find Local
Gun Shops & Shooting Ranges