Editor’s Note: This is the tenth part of our 12-part Armed & Ready series from Richard Nance and Handguns magazine. The series covers a range of personal defense and CCW topics. See links below for the other entries:
- CCW Mistake That’ll Get You Killed
- Do You Carry Enough Gun?
- Carry Guns in Gun-Free Zones
- Bad Breath-Distance Gunfighting
- When You Can’t Pull the Trigger
- Don’t Aim In A Gunfight
- Why Does the 2nd Amendment Matter?
- Don’t Make a Cop Shoot You
- Hammer vs. Striker: Which Do You Need?
- Family Held Hostage: Do You Shoot?
- Why You Need an AR for Home Defense
We all know that having a firearm is an important part of a self-defense system, but what about the accessories you need? Sure, you’ve probably figured out you need a holster and some spare magazines, but what about a light source?
If you’re looking for a way to have an illumination tool integrated into your firearm (and your pistol has an accessory rail that can accept one), a weaponlight is your best option. If you select a quality one, they will be light, powerful, and robust. Quality is important here — don’t cheap out on this.
What features should it have? A “constant on” feature is obviously necessary, but so is a momentary feature that will allow you to turn the light on and off with pressure from your finger or thumb. Being able to precisely control the amount of light you are using is an absolute must.
You might ask, “Why not just turn the light on and use it the whole time?” The problem is that while a light can help you see your target, it can also allow a threat to see you coming toward them. If you walk through a doorway in a darkened house with your weaponlight on, you will be telling anyone waiting for you exactly when and where you’ll be. This will turn your advantage into a liability and possibly get you killed.
While the weaponlight is great defensive tool, it does have some limitations. If it’s on your gun, you gun is pointing at whatever you are illuminating. That’s fine if it’s a threat, but what if it is not?
As always, keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot. In addition, you should probably pick up a handheld light to give you the option of lighting a potential target without putting your gun’s muzzle on it.
With a good handgun and well-made weaponlight, you’ll have the tools necessary to defend yourself in a low-light situation — but make sure that you use those tools properly and wisely.