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Preview – Flash Then Bang

Flashlight Techniques With a Handgun

Your pistol’s loaded with hollow points, ready to go at the slightest sign of intrusion on your home or threat to your family. Aside from the gun, you probably have a mobile phone and maybe even a knife within arm’s reach. But, you might be forgetting another piece of gear that’s as or more important than those items: a flashlight. It is probably the most overlooked accessory in one’s defensive arsenal.

Think about why you carry a pistol, or why you have one in your house. It isn’t just to go out to the range and punch paper; it is there to defend your life and the lives of others. When was the last time you took a flashlight along with you, and used it while you were out practicing? Without the ability to see a threat and correctly identify targets, even the best-laid defense plans can go awry.

Every rookie in the academy who dreams of wearing a badge is going to get taught different ways to hold a flashlight and to memorize the various names that go along with them. The graduates who make it on the street quickly forget the names and learn to use the basic light techniques that allow them to search buildings safely. This writer has taught the classes, and it’s not uncommon for him to search a few buildings per shift.

Technique #1

This is the one you see used in all the movies, and it is one of the most common ways to use a light with your pistol. This method involves holding your weapon in your strong hand and the light in your off hand. Your off hand comes underneath your shooting hand and you bend your wrist to press the backs of both hands together. This works very well for tail-cap flashlights, which have the push button on the rear of the light.

Preview   Flash Then Bang photoPreview   Flash Then Bang photo

Pros: Having the backs of both hands and wrists pressing against each other makes this one of the most stable flashlight shooting positions. You can also vary the lighting easily, turning it on and off as you move if you feel the need. It is pretty easy to keep the light on target or where you want it with just a little practice.

Cons: Injured wrists or less flexible people might find this one uncomfortable. Careless people tend to put the arm holding the flashlight in front of the pistol. Obviously, the light always needs to move under the firing hand, never in front — lest you shoot yourself. Last, but most certainly not least, is that bad guys tend to fire at a light when they can’t see a target. If you have the light in front of you all the time — well, you can see the issue with this technique.

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