Top 10 tactical flashlight tips

Every home defense firearm should have a weapon-mounted white light. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

Every home defense firearm should have a weapon-mounted white light. Staff photo/ Lee Williams

I like light — lots of light.

I have weapon-mounted white lights on three pistols, a carbine and a shotgun — my entire home defense arsenal. I also keep a handheld Surefire 6P handy as backup.

I’ve searched hundreds of homes and businesses and learned one thing: The more lumens — the brighter the light — the better.

I’d like to clarify what’s become, in my opinion, a popular misconception. There are some who say they won’t use a white light at night because they don’t want the bad guys to “know their position.”

While there might be a small amount of validity to this if we were on a modern battlefield, for most armed citizens protecting their home, the premise is invalid and far outweighed by the benefits of sufficient illumination, (i.e. you realize the ‘threat’ is actually your spouse, your dog or your cat).

A good, powerful light of at least 120 lumens or more has other benefits. It can temporarily blind and disorient your assailant. They will see stars, not the home owner.

A quality tactical light is not cheap. Nor is it something you should skimp on. I strongly recommend you buy a quality light from a major manufacturer: Surefire, Insight or Streamlight.

Here are my tactical flashlight tips:

1. Be judicious: Use quick bursts of light, rather than leaving the light switched on.

2. Move between bursts.

3. Don’t back-light family or friendlies.

4. A burst of light aimed at a white ceiling will illuminate a room enough to distinguish threats (a technique for handheld lights only, not weapon-mounted lights.)

5. Ask yourself if you really need light. No one knows the layout of your home better than you. Also, c0nsider when it’s more tactically prudent to flip on a light switch.

6. Manipulate the light’s toggle switch with your non-shooting thumb — never your trigger finger.

7. Practice shooting with a light. The first time you fire your pistol with a light should not be when there’s a bad guy in your home.

8. Check your batteries weekly. Have plenty of spares.

9. If you have a laser/light combo, know the setting. It should be left on light-only or light and laser, never laser-only.

10. Keep the lens clean. Shooting with a weapon-mounted light will deposit burned powder and gunk on the lens, significantly decreasing its output.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you have a tactical lighting tip, please let me know or add it to the comments section.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


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  3. Very Helpful Tips….

    These tips are certainly very good and civilians should be aware.

    Army officials and security officers are already aware of the usage of weapons. But a person who is moving on the street needs to follow the rules and regulations.

    Increasing crime rate is making things worse, every day after another. It is wise to be loaded with a self defense item, but it should be used to defend yourself, not to take law in your own hands.

    Thank You For This Great Share…….

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