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Preview – Right Light – Handheld or Mounted?

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Photography by Hye Chong Doss

We Pull Weapon-Light Tactics Out of the Shadows

When that supersized nuclear furnace disappears beyond the horizon every evening, the masses either go to sleep or try their best to navigate through the darkness with the help of modern technology. But there are those who use the cover of night to launch vicious attacks or further their proscribed illegal activities, creating the unfortunate, yet painfully obvious need for the rest of us to have the right tools and skills to defend ourselves.

As Churchill said, “There are few things more exciting than being shot at without result.” However, when those doing the shooting can see you, but you can’t see them — well, things go from excitement to frightening in short order. I say this from a position of authority, having found myself in full-on sphincter lockup more than once in my almost three decades of military and law enforcement experience — yes, I’m that old and have been that scared. To add insult to injury, I have watched an abject procession of fumbling self-proclaimed experts craft a broad, often distorted, opinion of diminished-light tactics. Students should have run away. Unfortunately, the general population — made up largely of well-intentioned but knowledge-starved enthusiasts — was all ears.


What a lot of people don’t realize is that solving low-light tactical problems does not start with buying the latest and greatest piece of kit endorsed by some über-cool tattooed bro-bumping tough guy with a spec-ops beard and the latest camo pattern. But it does start with these priorities: mindset, functional tactics, skills, and appropriate equipment. Due to space constraints, we’re going to focus on the topic of equipment and its application. No doubt I am going to step on a couple toes and aggravate some sensitive egos, particularly when discussing tools and tactics. We all have our opinions on the toys we play with and how we play with them. Sometimes those opinions are based on real-world experience or quality skill-building training, and sometimes they’re based on the mysterious ramblings of a celebrated tactical guru with no more knowledge than the material he gleaned from someone else. (Yeah, I just went there again). I base my opinions on the first two.

Cover of Darkness
While the first rule of gun fighting is to have a gun, the first rule of being in diminished light should be to have a torch. More importantly, it should be the right light (or two), and you must know how to use them. After all, effective use of a flashlight in a dark environment involves so much more than simply turning the switch on and off while firing a weapon. We need to be prepared for that scenario in which your sexy piece of gleaming aircraft-grade aluminum might not work, whether it’s due to dead batteries or a faulty LED. While shooting first and asking questions later might work well in movies and video games, doing so in the real world could lead you to an unwanted stay at the gray-bar hotel.

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