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I took a 4.5 hour low light training class last night, Line Of Defense by Len Halascsak at Linden Conservation Club just north of Linden, Indiana.

I learned there is self defense ammo made for short barreled pistols. I had 115gr, 124gr, and 147gr JHP Fiocchi. With my S & W M&P9 Shield 2.0 (3.1" barrel) the 124gr gave me an apparent flash of bright white light about 3' in diameter! I suspect it is for guns with a longer barrel. The 147gr rounds gave me an orange flash slightly larger than my fist. Hornandy Critical Defense was slightly smaller. My Federal FMJ pratice ammo was similar to the Fiocchi 147gr and Hornandy. What ammo have you shot in your ~3" barrel pistol at night and how was the flash?

I learned the 'tactical' flashlight I have sucks, I cannot turn it off/on with the butt switch with my thumb, switch is recessed too much. When I do get it on, it randomly turns on to full intensity, flashing, strobe, or dim. It has a lanyard at the switch end. It was a joke watching me fool with the light for 5-10 seconds before I could turn it on and point it.

My 'car light' has the switch just behind the bulb (sword style?), does not have a hot spot and would illuminate the the entire 25 yard range from 25 yards, got it at Ace for $30.

Len had a dozen flashlights, the best one for me had a non recessed butt switch and a switch on the side near the front. Not as bright at my 'car light' but a bit smaller and easier to handle.

Shot holding a flashlight from 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 different positions, Len had names for most of them, I'm a lefty, the most comfortable for me was holding the light directly under the butt of the pistol. It felt safer too as I never crossed my arms with the potential of moving my hand in front of the muzzle. I know, training and practice should eliminate bad behavior...

Having a light mounted on the pistol made everything much easier, not as bright, but now had a two handed grip and it was easier for me to turn the light on and off as needed. Reloads were easy without having to turn off the flashlight and find a place to stick it (back pocket-turns on when I don't want it to, under the left arm-decreased gun hand range, or finding a coat pocket).

I'm now researching to find out what light comes from S & W on the Shield so I can get one and then order a holster that will handle the light.

What works for you during low light shooting?

This was a good course, a lot of info in the time, shot about 100 rounds, could have shot more as I tried different positions, lights, and such. If you carry and/or have for home defense be sure to practice in low/no light.
 

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What works for you during low light shooting?


All tactics and disciplines are highly controversial, so you try to pick what works best for you and makes sense to you for the situation/application you have, or are preparing for.

I don’t want a light on my handgun; I want it in my off hand. That’s how I was trained 40 years ago, and it’s worked for me since.

I also train “Point Instinct” for defensive shooting (No sights). That’s also how I was trained, and I’m alive because of that. I use sights for target shooting.
 

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I carry an old Surefire 6PX Tactical hand held and added a RCS pocket clip to it. It is a metal pocket clip with a rubber O ring that allows you to clip the light to your pocket and when ready slide middle finger into o ring and yank the light into your grip. When reloading etc, just let it dangle from your finger or clip it to your pocket.
https://rcsgear.com/surefire-p-and-g-series-pocket-clip/

They only made them for the P series of surefires so I still carry that light and have a few spares just because I like it so well. The light is 600 lumens and has the surefire clicky tailcap, push easy for momentary push until click for constant.

I use a WML also because a two handed grip on the gun gives me better results.

I suggest people have both a handheld and WML, because options are good. My training is to use the WML the last few years but a handheld still has its place as well.
 

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My opinion on this is: I don't mount lights to any of my handguns. I'm old school and will use a mag light in my off hand up and a couple of feet from my body.
625 Lumens is plenty.
I can shoot well enough one handed and to me a WML just gives somebody a dead give away where my center mass is.
Sometimes people overthink what tactical really is. Just as your lighting the guy up with your WML, he puts a few into you center mass.
 

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Ahhh, you quickly learn what works and what does not when you actually use it. You learn even quicker when you shoot a low level light match!

A WML will be easier for nearly every shooter I have shot with over a handheld. In fact we break apart divisions based upon WML or handheld. For SD, good to know how to use both.

I have a TLR6 on my Shield and have the laser turned off. You can get off the shelf holsters with this combo.

All of my tac lights have the multimode disabled (you learned why!). I like Streamlights as they are a decent value lights. Recently I tried O-lights and I like them as well.

A WML is not a substitute for a handheld. I daily carry a USB Microstream in my pocket. Bigger lights have an O ring on them. Just makes gun manipulation easier with a ring for me.

You are going to find there is whole culture of flashlight nerds!
 

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Ahhh, you quickly learn what works and what does not when you actually use it. You learn even quicker when you shoot a low level light match!

A WML will be easier for nearly every shooter I have shot with over a handheld. In fact we break apart divisions based upon WML or handheld. For SD, good to know how to use both.

I have a TLR6 on my Shield and have the laser turned off. You can get off the shelf holsters with this combo.

All of my tac lights have the multimode disabled (you learned why!). I like Streamlights as they are a decent value lights. Recently I tried O-lights and I like them as well.

A WML is not a substitute for a handheld. I daily carry a USB Microstream in my pocket. Bigger lights have an O ring on them. Just makes gun manipulation easier with a ring for me.

You are going to find there is whole culture of flashlight nerds!
Whatever works best for you has always been what I say.
The problem with comparing matches to actually SD situations is that in matches they don't shoot back. The only thing I ever lit up with my mag light was a family of raccoons and a skunk.
No shots were fired, I walked away and back into the house. Actually backwards from the skunk. Just because the dog is barking doesn't mean the Latin Kings are in your yard.
 

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All tactics and disciplines are highly controversial, so you try to pick what works best for you and makes sense to you for the situation/application you have, or are preparing for.

I don’t want a light on my handgun; I want it in my off hand. That’s how I was trained 40 years ago, and it’s worked for me since.

I also train “Point Instinct” for defensive shooting (No sights). That’s also how I was trained, and I’m alive because of that. I use sights for target shooting.
This!

“Threat focused” is what I’ve trained extensively in. Probably very similar to yours. Proprioception?

Flashlight in the off hand is no problem, as over 90% of the threat focused training is strong hand only.
 

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My experience of the flashlight in the off hand comes from being a teenager in the suburbs of Chicago. The local PD always had a very bright maglite in their off hand. They had a .357 magnum in the other, they never knew what they were walking into. Even though the town I spent my teenage years in was pretty much crime free, the cops weren't taking any chances.

Say a bunch of us were were hanging out in an alley. Back then the alleys were grass and in the summers usually overgrown by peoples bushes on the back of their property lines. While you were pretty much blinded by the maglite you didn't even notice that a .357 revolver was pointed at you and was then holstered. The maglite was always in the other hand in a out stretched arm higher then the cops head and about two to three feet from the body. You never even noticed the gun until it was being holstered.

Now everybody tacticool seems to have flashlight mounted to their handgun. The problem with that is unless you can point shoot from a very awkward position that light gives away where your center mass to head is. You are sweeping with the WML and just as you are about to hit someone with the light you take 3 or 4 shots to the chest or face. The police wear vests and they protect them from any center mass shot, you as a civilian usually do not. If any of the shots hit you or the cop in the face it's game over. 3 or 4 shots take about a second to get off with decent accuracy and the light is now the bullseye. If the person shooting at you has night sights they aren't point shooting, they are aiming.

If it works for you then go with it but IMO it puts you at severe disadvantage unless there are say two people with WMLs like the police. You can sweep in complete darkness a lot faster with two then one. To me it's literally like having a bright LED high on your chest but opinions vary. Very few of the local graveyard shift LEOs have lights on their handguns, that's a big tell for me. Actually some towns don't even allow them just like they cant use their maglites to beat the **** out of you. As for the strobe tactical ones I find them more annoying then disorienting. I have one in my trunk and would use the strobe function if I broke down as a warning. It may work on dogs and drunks but most people are going to just find it annoying and that one is 500 Lumens. If I had to change a flat in the dark I would have that one at the back of the car on strobe and use one of my maglites to change the tire.
 

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There are situations where a flashlight is beneficial but aiming the gun at someone is not. Say walking through a parking lot to get to your car at night as one example. And that is a key difference between WML and not; the ability to use the light when you need it without having to draw the weapon.

This doesn't mean *you* should not have a WML, it's all got to do with scenario and life style. But for me, I like the ability of a good tactical light to be at my disposal all the time.
 

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I don’t want a light on my handgun; I want it in my off hand. That’s how I was trained 40 years ago, and it’s worked for me since.
I also train “Point Instinct” for defensive shooting (No sights). That’s also how I was trained, and I’m alive because of that. I use sights for target shooting.
Amen!
 

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My opinion on this is: I don't mount lights to any of my handguns. I'm old school and will use a mag light in my off hand up and a couple of feet from my body.
625 Lumens is plenty.
I can shoot well enough one handed and to me a WML just gives somebody a dead give away where my center mass is.
Sometimes people overthink what tactical really is. Just as your lighting the guy up with your WML, he puts a few into you center mass.
Exactly.

I’ll never use a WML (had exactly one in the past on a “house gun”), and only use a hand held light briefly from a position well away from my body for reasons noted above.

It’s handy not needing to see the sights.
 

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Exactly.

I’ll never use a WML (had exactly one in the past on a “house gun”), and only use a hand held light briefly from a position well away from my body for reasons noted above.

It’s handy not needing to see the sights.
This is why I wrote "Sometimes people overthink what tactical really is.".

For instance: How many people practice "point shooting"? How many people can shoot well one handed or even better how many people can shoot at all one handed with their non dominant hand? These are all accomplished by practicing and training. Learn these three things and now you have some tactical skills. You can spend a couple of hundred on a really cool WML flashlight and yet you don't even have a basic skill set. Your aren't tactical until you can do the basics and no piece of equipment is going to make up for that. You aren't always going to be able to have two hands on your pistol and be able to look down your sights and draw a bead on someone. In certain situations that second or two or inability to do could cost you your life.
Learn these things when shooting or your "cool" flashlight might get buried with you.
 
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