Rob Pincus

Gun Lights: Handheld vs. Gun-Mounted

Rob Pincus
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Duration:   3  mins

Rob Pincus considers the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to have a handheld light as your primary illumination device as opposed to a light mounted on your defensive firearm.

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8 Responses to “Gun Lights: Handheld vs. Gun-Mounted”

  1. Daniel

    Great video, and that's a great point about turning a gun into a flashlight, and a flashlight into a gun! How bright of a light, both on the gun and handheld would you recommend? What's the lowest lumens count you would allow?

  2. Greg

    Helpful video Rob. Thanks. And Jaimie, dude ... get some medication.



  4. Jaime Cancio

    I will tell you another little trick so the homeowner remains in control of the situation to his advantage. I used to be an archer and made many of my own tools and equipment. Here is a way to beat the use of a flashlight or laser that can give your position away in a dark home. I purposefully made a smaller quiver that could hold up to nine or so Caylume lights sticks, I do suggest Mil Spec Quality - five year life and high intensity yellow as yellow light is the easiest for the human eye to focus. I used this once with great success. I kept nine Caylume sticks in that black dense nylon pouch, dense so no light could spill out when the sticks were activated, I kept it ready at all time. I had a belt clip found on many holster to attach it to my belt. At my place of business answered a silent alarm, several locations tripped, and just so happens I was in the building and had fallen asleep at my desk when the alarms were activated. I was to tired to drive and I had turned off the lights in my room. I awoke to the sounds of 'area' alarms that designated different locations and decided I was in the wrong location to wait for someone to arrive at my location. My office had only one way in and out, no windows, and the entire building around me would funnel any intruder directly in my direction. In this situation is was better I vacated the area and make an attempt to get outside of the building. Making ready to go I snapped all the Caylume sticks within the quiver hidden under a flap. I should also point out I am a professional photographer accustomed to working in darkrooms where there is no light to see by. As I exited my location going up a hallway I had to get pass several small rooms. I would reach back behind me and acquire a light stick and then throw it into each room. Any movement or attempt to get to the light stick I would hear and react to. I finally reached a main room where merchandise and cash registers where located as well as two above ground safes. I heard movement but there was only pitch blackness. I reached back and grabbed three or four light sticks and threw them into the room. The entire room was lit up; I was in total darkness...the best part of the story the burglar got so scared he put down his weapon and surrendered. He had not seen where the lights had come from and he realized what threatened him could not be seen. He was terrified he was going to die; he was just another illegal immigrant in America continuing in his criminal lifestyle he had done in Mexico. Before the police took him away; I made him clean up the floor where he dirtied himself; the brown stain on the back of his pants. the wet spot on the front of his pants and the smell the police had to deal with.

  5. Jaime Cancio

    As a seasoned firearms user, a brief history in security; viewing this video, I am not impressed with the mindset of using any type of light in a home defense possible critical scenario. My combative style of defensive firearms training involved engaging immediately any sound or light at its source of usage. This video promotes devices that profits the sellers of the merchandise demonstrated and carries little or no actual benefit to the person using such devices. All I see is in this video is Hollywood style bs with a capital B and S. Tactics sure to get you killed if you employ them. That said, they do have a purpose that in some situation validates their employment – the scenarios will determine when to use and when not to use such devices. First to my skills level, with multiple firearms, I used to carry a Walther PPKs in 380 auto on a CCW and had it on me 24/7 this a partner to a Colt Series 80 Combat modified .45 Cal also on the same CCW; and additionally, had the Walter’s twin in 22LR. I practiced with these firearms almost daily and I also practice multiple possible combative scenarios. I could place with any of these weapons, using eye hand coordination only and from the waist, all the rounds into circle smaller than a door knob from across the room 20 to 30 feet across. Using that .45 I once put 17 high power defensive hollow point rounds into a target 30 meters away in 1.7 seconds that included one magazine change. Nine of those rounds were within the heart region and many of the rounds therein were touching each other. I was not using the sights of the firearm, I am legally blind and cannot see but one segment of the sight picture and I concentrate on what my eyes tell me as I was again….shooting into a focused point in space. Mag-n-Porting helps a lot to the control of that firearm. I am discussing here full power hollow point ammunition. I am fully skilled with double or triple tapping as well as unloading the entire magazine, upon ejection of a spent magazine to have into my weapon a spare magazine before the magazine that had been in the firearm hit the ground. I would focus into a spot in space and shoot the spot. There is a dead rabid all black tom cat who surprised me in the dark trying to get to me that would testify to those skills level - hit eight times from about ten feet away [in the dark]. Well he can’t any longer just as he is no longer a threat and danger to children. Let’s set the scenarios; inside my home and I have heard something that alerts me to danger; first thing I would do is arm myself and then check on my family if there is time to determine their location and security, indeed to get them to safety. In my bedroom I had built a home defense system that could be immediately activated that controlled the lights in every room of my home. The system I made cost me about $100 to make using my electrical skills and knowledge. At the hint of something amiss I had the capability of shutting off all the electricity in my home that would mean every electrical device that can generate light. I had built into this system a means to turn on only the lights I want to turn on and could control the light in any room I wanted. Since my master and children’s bedroom where located at the end of a hallway; incorporated into the living room area I had two 2,500 watt quartz halogen lights. Those halogens were very small lights, easily hidden, not expensive and very powerful. I point out when a bright light is turned on it is normal human reaction to turn and look into the light – instant total loss of any or all night vision capability and your probably effectively blinded for about three minutes or more. Advantage mine – it would be up to me if you survive those next three minutes. Imagine now the bad guys disadvantage if the lights are turned off. Complete blindness and now at the mercy of the home owner. Careful here; I trained to shoot at anything that created sound; the bad guy blindly, panicky, terrified, it is possible he could hear you and shoot at your sound. This was done to overwhelm the eyes of anyone in that area of the home; all other rooms and hall ways dark…bad guy is all lit up. Incorporated into the wall between the master and our children’s room was a highly polished stainless steel panel ever as effective as a mirror; everyone who saw it thought was part of a wall decoration – anyone lit up by lights in the front room already near blinded looking up the hallway would have the reflected light coming down the hallway directed into their eyes. Guess what?...the bad guy is still next to blind. Bonus thought, if they had been in the living room and the lights were off and their eyes were fully dilated – when the lights came up instant pain, possibly the eye lid in the back of the eye shuts down and the bad guy is blind until the lid relaxes, but overtly they are effectively blind. Here is what bothers me with these so called defensive light devices/toys of distraction. I will start by saying this – in my home and in the dark, I am alerted to something wrong you turn on your flashlight or laser - before you finger leaves the activation switch every round in my firearm is coming at you, I trained also in ‘shotgun patterning’ with a pistol, until the light goes off or you go down - I will not stop shooting – that is how I have trained. Oh-by-the-way, this was done and your finger is off or near the trigger. Works for me – another point of advantage. Let’s also look at the mindset of anyone using a laser or defensive light; in a real critical incident situation where a hundredth part of a second can mean the difference between life and death – you don’t want you mind occupied with finding and playing with the activation switch. It is a time to remain focused on the job at hand. What we actually see all too often a person whose home is being invaded leaves an area of security in an attempt to put a stop to the home invaders – the invaders hear the home owner coming they stop whatever they are doing and make ready to ambush the homeowner. The homeowner using a laser or flashlight by activating the light tells the home invaders exactly where the home owner is and the direction he is coming. Far more effective to remain where you are and make no sound or action to alert the home invaders where you are. Don’t be impatient to get killed – once the home invaders have knowledge you know they are within your home – with lights up – if they have any brains they flee. No I will not champion any device that takes away from the control or my firearm – even a fraction of a second inattention to ones firearm can get you killed. No device to alleviate our childhood fear of the dark is worth your life. I mounted for a friend both a 5 mW 532nm green laser and a combat flashlight 1,000 lumens; both with momentary switches and taught him how to employee them in the dark. This is a lesson worth learning, practicing and putting into use. This one atop a Ruger 10/22 set up for night work that incorporated .92 inch target barrel also a scope atop the receiver that was 3x9 power 50mm. A set trigger and trigger stop is employed. Taught him to remain patient and calm; sort of let the bad guys come to you. First in the dark used the scope to locate the target and made best possible night sight adjustment/alignment on target. Next using the momentary switch turned on the major flashlight for one short full burst of light to make crosshair sight correction to intended point of aim; next the laser activated to insure rifle as targeted is accurately aimed. Fire! With practice this whole procedure can be done in a fraction of a second all lights off before the target can react or acquire your location. This can all be done and if done correctly the human target will be stunned by the light and turn towards it and before they even have a chance of responding; the shooter could would pounding the target with multiple rounds. Anyone leaving a flashlight or visible laser continuously on is asking to be shot. No I don’t support using combat flashlights or laser in the middle of possible critical incident situation. The time wasted on them may come at the cost of your life.

  6. Dave Hegi

    I have a crimson trace hand grip on my Kimber .45 and a long handled flashlight as my choice of defense and I also have two large breed dogs as my alarm. I like the advantages you pointed out of a gun mounted light however my gun does not have a rail mount. If I make any other purchases in the future it will include the features you demonstrated. Thanks for the great tip.

  7. John Lincoln

    Good video, but for those of us that do not have any children or other homosapiens in the house, at 3 AM the TLR on my 45 ACP is the way I will go on search, backed up by my wife with an illuminated 870 and a 226. At 3 AM we're the only residents allowed in out house. Anyone else has come through a locked door or window and is up to no good. JD

  8. Corey

    Great video as always, Rob. Another advantage I'd like to point out about (specific) gun mounted lights is that it can act as a barrier against the slide going out of battery if you need to make a contact shot. Now I mentioned specific because, as evidenced by the video, not all lights are suited for this. I personally have chosen to go with an older generation light (but still high lumen output, of course) because it sticks out beyond the barrel significantly. This setup has allowed me to lower the possibility of having my handgun rendered useless, were a supposed Bad Guy literally on top of me and my gun would otherwise be at a greater risk of being pressed against the Bad Guy's body, taking the slide out of battery. Thanks for the great videos, I recommend my students to your site in every class.

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