You Can’t Hit What You Can’t See.
Mr. Jeff asked me to write about lights, so here goes. This is the quick and dirty of my 30 years of work. Have a seat, belt up, and hang on.
Lights are a good idea so you don’t shoot the wrong thing. Much of conflict takes place in low light or altered light environments. I use the light to find the light switch on the wall and to turn it on so I can see what I’m shooting at. Turning the light on is dangerous because you can get killed, but I would rather see what I was shooting at—making sure it wasn’t a family member—so I can get killed, but I would rather get killed than kill my kids or my partner.
Use the light so you can see, if it is dark turn it on, if you don’t need it turn it off. The light may “blind” your opponent but it won’t do a darn thing to their trigger finger so they can, will and, in the past, have shot back. Strobe lights are stupid because they jack your eyes up. Yeah, maybe the threat’s eyes also, but we covered the “lights in the eyes” and I don’t want to outsmart myself. Many people have.
The light is actually two, the spot of light in the center and the big circle of light. Make sure you start looking/scanning with your eyes into all of the circle as well as the spot. You’re getting lots of info if you’re smart enough to use it. Use the spot of light like a clock face 3-6-9-12 and cut the corner with the edge of the light so the spot shines into the area you are searching. Try to make sure the light doesn’t bounce off the wall back into your eyes. A point of interest when this all happens: You will be shooting the threat with the sights on your pistol—not the light.
As for lasers, they only show you where the muzzle is before you hank the crap out of the trigger. “It intimidates” the threat. Yes, but so will a sucking chest wound! I’m not trying to scare you. If you want to scare people, get an ugly Halloween mask. When applying gunfire, my goal is to stop people from doing what I started shooting them for in the first place.
When using a revolver, do not put your fingers forward of the cylinder while shooting with the light as you will set those suckers on fire or sheer them off. If you mount the light in the rail of the S&W 325, check if the cylinder opens and closes so the light mounted doesn’t block the cylinder from opening. The rail is designed wrong. It should be a single-slot rail forward. Ask me how I know….
Sort Of Final Words
Get a good light not one from the 7-11 made in China. Streamlight, SureFire, Insight, AE. Don’t be a fool. A light that costs $6 will get you killed. Good gun, good ammo, good holster, good light, good knife. Your life will depend on it.
Yep, now the flashlight lights your sights, but for me with glasses, I get a wicked back blast of light off my glasses. The light near your head may draw gunfire? Not anymore than any other position. It is a truly a 1-handed shooting gig, though.
Hundreds of cops will use it tonight on traffic stops, it works to manipulate the light into areas you need to see in, and it is one handed and it is a viable option used at the right time, right place by the right person.
Nothing handheld beats weapons mounted. Weapon-mounted lights allow for all techniques, loading, malfunctions, et cetera, to remain the same for the gun handler. Just be darn sure your light doesn’t fall off the gun while firing. Polymer frames are the worst with the Glock .40 S&W being the one gun model I have seen lights fall off the most during shooting. Easily solved. Shoot your handgun a lot in practice with the light on to find out if it’s going to work. I pull no punches here: The SureFire X300 and the Streamlight TL series are best. On the weird poop-o-meter scale, the SureFire slides off and on—and it will, The Streamlight screws down… if you screw the darn thing down. Caution on all weapon-mounted lights while mounting or dismounting the light do not cover your hand with the muzzle.
4 Basic Handheld Techniques
The back of the wrist to the back of the wrist, this is also called the Harries. Key points are to blade the body more with left elbow forward and down. I always think I have $50 between the wrists and I hold it tight enough to not drop the money.
It’s OK if you use Uncrossed because it is a quick way to switch the light to the other side of the gun for threat access. Make sure your thumbs stay touching because if the light hand is back too far, the slide can bark your knuckles and maybe foul the gun.
Think of a syringe, it works best if your light body has a groove so you can apply backward pressure to activate the rear-mounted switch. Keep the thumbs together again for the same reason as mentioned in uncrossed.
Probably the best if your hand size allows for it. The support hand works the light and the strong hand controls the gun while the three lower fingers of the support hand wrap around the shooting hand.
All hand held stuff is basically 1-hand shooting with the exception of the Syringe Supported hence why I like it.
By Clint Smith
Photos By Heidi Smith
This is the crossed wrist technique also called “Harries.” Good except for hard right corners
When using the uncrossed technique, it is harder to control the spot of the light.
The syringe method is solid technique for handheld lights.
Syringe supported is probably the best handheld method if the shooter’s hands allow for it.
In this case a weapon-mounted light is deployed and the handheld held light is in reserve.
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