Low light, no light thoughts

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While I have a number of high quality gun courses under my belt I have no formal training with low/no light shooting. In my courses the point that most defensive scenarios occur in less than optimal lighting is emphasized. In addition, the difficulty and potentially dangerous aspects of clearing rooms was also drilled into my noggin'. However, there is always the potential that I might have to clear my own home at night time.

With this in mind, what are your thoughts about a gun mounted light be it a pistol or AR/AK type gun? Do you keep it always on or do you manually do quick on/off's? Strobe it???

Thanks

PS Eventually I will get some training under my belt but until then I will appreciate your thoughts or links to shooting guru's thoughts.
 

darkminstrel

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I have zone lights in my house, a little softer than a night light in lumen output. Those allow me to see any movement around corners before I come around one. Helps that my wood floors are creaky as **** too. No way you can move anywhere but the kitchen silently.

Edit; to answer your question I have a tac-light with a momentary switch. Doesn't strobe but does soft off with a light press. Always keep one eye closed if I'm going to light up so that my night-vision isn't totally borked.
 
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There are just the two of us at home so I wouldn't clear the house and can't help you much. I would wait until the BG came to me, if he did. Whatever he stole is insured and I really don't want the aftermath (police, questions, possible lawsuit) of a shooting unless forced. I also don't want to leave my wife alone.

I do have zone lights with motion sensors. Any time anyone enters any of my rooms or hallways, the lights come on for ten minutes, except in the master bedroom. That way, if a BG is coming down the hall toward our bedroom, he is bathed in light but we are in the dark.

I also have outside motion lights and an alarm to wake me up. We also have dogs in the house and they would go nuts barking. They are not in our room.

There's only so much you can do, and everyone's house and occupants and occupant location is different.
 
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There are just the two of us at home so I wouldn't clear the house and can't help you much. I would wait until the BG came to me, if he did. Whatever he stole is insured and I really don't want the aftermath (police, questions, possible lawsuit) of a shooting unless forced. I also don't want to leave my wife alone.

I do have zone lights with motion sensors. Any time anyone enters any of my rooms or hallways, the lights come on for ten minutes, except in the master bedroom. That way, if a BG is coming down the hall toward our bedroom, he is bathed in light but we are in the dark.

I also have outside motion lights and an alarm to wake me up. We also have dogs in the house and they would go nuts barking. They are not in our room.

There's only so much you can do, and everyone's house and occupants and occupant location is different.
Thanks. There are only two of us in our home as well and my 3 dogs serve as my home alarm system. My question isn't so much about should I clear the house or not but how a light should be used specifically. Obviously, I can see the bad guy if I get light on him but he can also tell where I am at as well. Does using a light necessitate faster pieing of corners and generally quicker movement when clearing a room/s?
 
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I am sure you know your house inside-out. I can walk around my house in dark without hitting anything.

And yes, light is very important. Don't use your weapon light as searching or walking light. Use only to identify your target / threat.

Strobe function is useless in dark area. Because you gets the almost same effect as your target / threat.
 
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Thanks. There are only two of us in our home as well and my 3 dogs serve as my home alarm system. My question isn't so much about should I clear the house or not but how a light should be used specifically. Obviously, I can see the bad guy if I get light on him but he can also tell where I am at as well. Does using a light necessitate faster pieing of corners and generally quicker movement when clearing a room/s?
IMHO using a light on your person or gun just gives away your position, but others here will without doubt disagree for good reason with me. As for how to use the light if you choose one, I'll leave those opinions to others.

I don't see a scenario where I would go outside at night to hunt a BG either, so I have no other opinion on that. Now, if the SHTF and I was away from my home, everything changes, but I would try to hide and still make them come to me if I could. I'm no expert on that.
 
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IMHO using a light on your person or gun just gives away your position, but others here will without doubt disagree for good reason with me. As for how to use the light if you choose one, I'll leave those opinions to others.

I don't see a scenario where I would go outside at night to hunt a BG either, so I have no other opinion on that. Now, if the SHTF and I was away from my home, everything changes, but I would try to hide and still make them come to me if I could. I'm no expert on that.
:s0155: Even if you are being stalked by ninjas, my thoughts are let them come to me. It gives me the option to engage or not, depending on range and lighting, or to just let them stumble around. A double thumbs up about going outside....kinda hard to hold a self-defense case when you go out hunting.
 
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Kevatc,

Good questions to bring up. Not a lot of people really wrap their head around the concept of low light/no light scenarios and the importance that they play. A word of caution, many of the flashlight techniques take a lot of practice and training to get the basics down. So before I go into the different types of flashlights and carry techniques, you have to know the basics of room clearing.

First of all, there are your typical "fatal funnels". These are your doorways, hallways and windows...the basic strategy is to spend as little time as possible in them because (as the name implies) the threats are usually focused in these areas. Then you have your "danger areas" like your stairways and pass-throughs. Typically you should avoid the fatal funnels and danger areas as much as possible...or take advantage of them (i.e. wait upstairs with a shotgun instead of traverse downstairs). If you had to go upstairs, you should do so backwards/sideways (depending on the upstairs construction) and you should traverse down them as low as possible (crawl if needed).

As mentioned earlier, if at all possible you should never do a search by yourself. Nevertheless, you may be presented with a situation where you are forced to conduct one by yourself (i.e. you hear a window break and your kids are in a room down the hall or downstairs) so it should be practiced.

So, let's talk about searching with flashlights. Tactically, it sucks. If the bag guy is waiting in the dark and you walk out of a well lit room into his/her domain, not only are you "back lit" (i.e. creating a silhouette of yourself), your natural night vision will need several seconds to adjust. Then on top of that, if you do have a flashlight the bad guy will simply shoot at the light. Knowing this, you should reverse the lighting situation (i.e. wait in a dark bedroom and turn on the hallway light) and use the flashlight as MINIMUL AS POSSIBLE. This means you will have to do short scans with the light...turning it on momentarily with a quick burst of light, shutting it back off, moving to the cleared area or another cover position and repeat the process until a threat is found.

Now...the pros and cons of having a weapon mounted light versus a light you carry in your support hand.

Weapon Mounted:
Pros- Can keep support hand free to open doors and clear malfunctions. You can also shoot more stable with this method and keep most of your trained two handed carry techniques the same. The other pro is that it forces you to aim where you look.
Cons- the light is generally aligned with you; if the bad guy shoots at the light, the likelihood of him/her hitting you is high. Also, when you point the flashlight at something, you are also pointing the firearm at them (not a recommended if you have other "friendlies" in the area and/or just need to check on someone).

Non Weapon Mounted:
Pros- by keeping the light away from your centerline (i.e. to the side or up high) you can limit the risk of being hit if the light is shot at. Also, if you do not have night sights on your gun, you can illuminate them and the target with certain flashlight techniques.
Cons- the obvious con is having your support hand tied up with a light in it, forcing you to modify shooting, clearing malfunctions and reloading. Not practicing these techniques can have dire consequences...mainly if you leave your flashlight on while trying to clear a "double feed" showing the world where you are and that you have a problem with your gun.

So, what do I recommend? Well, it depends...if you can sport one, I'd suggest a weapon mounted light...one that you can switch on and off easily and one you can take off quickly. Strobe lights are another option to consider, but as disorienting it is to the subject, it has the same effect on the user....so you need to practice shooting with it. A lot.

Hopefully this gets you started! If you want any flashlight recommendations, let me know.
 
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Kevatc,

Good questions to bring up. Not a lot of people really wrap their head around the concept of low light/no light scenarios and the importance that they play. A word of caution, many of the flashlight techniques take a lot of practice and training to get the basics down. So before I go into the different types of flashlights and carry techniques, you have to know the basics of room clearing.

First of all, there are your typical "fatal funnels". These are your doorways, hallways and windows...the basic strategy is to spend as little time as possible in them because (as the name implies) the threats are usually focused in these areas. Then you have your "danger areas" like your stairways and pass-throughs. Typically you should avoid the fatal funnels and danger areas as much as possible...or take advantage of them (i.e. wait upstairs with a shotgun instead of traverse downstairs). If you had to go upstairs, you should do so backwards/sideways (depending on the upstairs construction) and you should traverse down them as low as possible (crawl if needed).

As mentioned earlier, if at all possible you should never do a search by yourself. Nevertheless, you may be presented with a situation where you are forced to conduct one by yourself (i.e. you hear a window break and your kids are in a room down the hall or downstairs) so it should be practiced.

So, let's talk about searching with flashlights. Tactically, it sucks. If the bag guy is waiting in the dark and you walk out of a well lit room into his/her domain, not only are you "back lit" (i.e. creating a silhouette of yourself), your natural night vision will need several seconds to adjust. Then on top of that, if you do have a flashlight the bad guy will simply shoot at the light. Knowing this, you should reverse the lighting situation (i.e. wait in a dark bedroom and turn on the hallway light) and use the flashlight as MINIMUL AS POSSIBLE. This means you will have to do short scans with the light...turning it on momentarily with a quick burst of light, shutting it back off, moving to the cleared area or another cover position and repeat the process until a threat is found.

Now...the pros and cons of having a weapon mounted light versus a light you carry in your support hand.

Weapon Mounted:
Pros- Can keep support hand free to open doors and clear malfunctions. You can also shoot more stable with this method and keep most of your trained two handed carry techniques the same. The other pro is that it forces you to aim where you look.
Cons- the light is generally aligned with you; if the bad guy shoots at the light, the likelihood of him/her hitting you is high. Also, when you point the flashlight at something, you are also pointing the firearm at them (not a recommended if you have other "friendlies" in the area and/or just need to check on someone).

Non Weapon Mounted:
Pros- by keeping the light away from your centerline (i.e. to the side or up high) you can limit the risk of being hit if the light is shot at. Also, if you do not have night sights on your gun, you can illuminate them and the target with certain flashlight techniques.
Cons- the obvious con is having your support hand tied up with a light in it, forcing you to modify shooting, clearing malfunctions and reloading. Not practicing these techniques can have dire consequences...mainly if you leave your flashlight on while trying to clear a "double feed" showing the world where you are and that you have a problem with your gun.

So, what do I recommend? Well, it depends...if you can sport one, I'd suggest a weapon mounted light...one that you can switch on and off easily and one you can take off quickly. Strobe lights are another option to consider, but as disorienting it is to the subject, it has the same effect on the user....so you need to practice shooting with it. A lot.

Hopefully this gets you started! If you want any flashlight recommendations, let me know.
Thanks for the info. I have a number of high quality flashlights and one quality weapon mounted light. Having read the pros and cons of weapon mounted lights I've decided that I will only use that when camping. At home I will use a flashlight in the support hand. In my particular case, in a home invasion scenario at night I would wait for the BG to come to me.
 
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Kevatac, have you seen this course offering by the OFA folks?
<broken link removed>

I took their basic and advanced low light/night fire class (twice, I think) and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
That course is definitely in my future! Just have to find the time and money.
 

Aero Denezol

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Very interesting.. Because of where I live, I wouldn't use a rifle to defend myself. I'm also in the 'BG comes to me' camp, & none of my guns have a light. I also figure my things are insured and I'm not gonna risk going to jail over any of them unless my life's in danger.
 

Aero Denezol

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Why is that? A properly loaded 5.56 rifle has less of a chance of over-penetration than most pistol or shotgun rounds.
http://www.northwestfirearms.com/ammunition-reloading/40715-5-56-duty-ammo-selection-part-1-a.html
That was also a very interesting article, thanks for that. I never considered using an AR for home defense. I always assumed rifle cartridges were infinitely more powerful than handgun cartridges, so much in fact they'd go through several walls... Apparently not? My place is small enough (and any defensive shot would be close enough) I stick to the 1911..
 
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That was also a very interesting article, thanks for that. I never considered using an AR for home defense. I always assumed rifle cartridges were infinitely more powerful than handgun cartridges, so much in fact they'd go through several walls... Apparently not? My place is small enough (and any defensive shot would be close enough) I stick to the 1911..
Like anything, you have options with bullets...if all you have is a .44 Mag, you can still get some fragment rounds that won't go through the next room. But if you start sporting FMJ +P rounds, you're going to have some over-penetration (unless you are shooting at bears). If you sport an AR (or similar) just don't sport 62gr, green tip penetrators and you should be fine.
 
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I think we're making too much of over penetration and I don't know where it came from. What do police including swat teams use to clear a house or apartment? .40 SW hollow points at full power, AR-15's and shotguns with 00 buck.

I still don't like lights on a gun in my own house, to show the BG where I am. Since I'm going to hunker down in the dark of my BR and make him come to me, I have the lights on motion switches and he lights himself up as he moves to each room and hallway. As he comes down the hallway toward me, I'm in the dark and he is in the light, and I have the advantage.
 
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I like Gunner3456's layout using motion sensors. All lights in my house come on, except the bedroom. I have indoor security cameras that allow me to scan the house from the laptop in the bedroom. As far as going out to clear the house and using a gun mounted light. I do not use that tool, nor will I go out iin search of any bad guy. If he shows up on any camera I relay the information to local LEOs. If BG(s) get away with any property I turn the images over to my insurance company. If the lights and dog don't clear the house maybe the BG is after me. In which case sitting still and waiting strikes me as best course of action. But then it is just me and the dog in the house most of the time.
 

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