I've been a nerdy flashlight collector since I was a little kid. I came to the US in the mid-80s, and that's actually where my "collection" starts. This love of things that glowed in the dark eventually took me down my first serious look at engineering, with a prize from the SAE at my regional high-school science fair. I know, big-time nerd, right? 🤓
When I started down the path of armed self/home defense, the two hobbies seemed to align.😁 It also doesn't help that I like gear....😅
I've never had the budget for night-vision, so I've played in the white-light part of the pool for quite some time, now - actually going back to the late 90s, where my flashlight hobby intersected with my then interest in airsoft (coming off of years of paintball in college, due to the "sporting" atmosphere of paintball changing during that time). WMLs on both handguns and long-guns (or rather, the replicas of both) were definitely something that I'd been interested in, and even though I was not able to attend formal training at the time, I hoarded printed knowledge, like Ken Good's Strategies of Low Light Engagements
and routinely found myself in discussions in places like CandlePowerForums.
I started attending formal low-light/white-light almost as soon as I started firearms classes, with maybe a month's lapse between my first handgun class and the first low-light handgun class? At the time, the Insight Technologies M3X/M6X was considered to be sufficient...but I really only had it staged for home-defense. With my EDC, my 9mm XDm 3.8 Compact ( https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/xdm-3-8-compact.105/#post-2758
), you can see in that thread that when I started carrying it, it was not equipped with a WML, but when Surefire's XC-1 came out, I thought that it's form-factor could potentially make it viable for my desired depth-of-concealment, so I purchased one to try out.
I've had one on each my EDC and its training/range beater copy since early 2016, and have attended multiple low-light classes with it. It's certainly not without its limitations in terms of both throw and absolute power (as seen in that steel-target photo in the thread referenced in the previous paragraph), but I did feel that for what little compromise it demanded in terms of expense and carry weight/bulk, it added a level of utility to my setup that I deemed valuable.
Even though I have, as an adult, always carried (at least...remember, I am a flashaholic nerd!🤪 - what do I carry? https://www.thearmorylife.com/forum/threads/carry-flashlights.222/
- since then, I've switched to a Surefire Stiletto Pro for workdays, with weekend/dark carry being a Modlite 18650 handheld, with the 5K-color-temperature PLH head) a [one] high-powered, long(er)-throw flashlight on me, given that my preferred handgun sights is a simple, narrow F/O front in a black notch rear, having a reasonable-capability white-light to silhouette these irons as well as to PID threats *without the need to use my non-weapon hand* was important for me. And even though the XC-1's capabilities are honestly somewhat lackluster when judged in the light (no pun intended) of in-particular larger handgun WMLs, I still believe my trade-off to be a valid one. For me, the WML I have on my EDC is simply value-added: it demands virtually no concessions, yet offers increased capability.
Why not, then, step up to a larger-format handgun-WML that is more capable, for EDC? Actually, it's not for lack of trying: I've tried everything from custom leather to high-end Kydex (RCS Phantom LB) to modern two-piece buckets (PHLster Floodlight) to minimalist (RCS Vanguard 3)... I love the capabilities that the Surefire X300U offers me (and it's the one that I have on my 4.5-inch XDm9s - ( https://www.xdtalk.com/threads/sure-fire-x300-ultra-is-loose-on-my-xdm-3-8.450768/#post-7917000
), but no matter what I tried in terms of clocking and holster setup - and even with a different belt - I just couldn't get to the depth of concealment that I desire.
The XC-1's lack of reach (throw) and absolute raw power is also the reason why I supplement it with my chosen EDC flashlights. While the ModLite is a much better pairing, the Stiletto Pro is my concession towards everyday usability, as the lowest level of its illumination is perfect for what I used my flashlight for in my job.
With long-guns, I've always had WMLs attached. In low-light carbine classes, I've also shot with a handheld. It's just nowhere near as convenient, and m performance suffered noticeably. With the manipulations requires of my 870, this deficit becomes even more evident.