There seems to be some mixed info out there in regard to weapon lights and how to utilize them. One argument I’ve heard is that if your light is too bright you’re going to blind yourself out. Maybe this works for some, but if the room is pitch black, any amount of momentary light is going to mess with your self-adjusted night vision. I’ll also say this, I’ve never once heard an assaulter say, “Man, I sure wish I had a light that was less bright.” The white light on a gun serves as a tool to process information; mainly threats, room depth, obstacles, ‘red space’… the list goes on and on. In addition, many of you already know that the light also serves role in blinding out whoever is on the opposing end. The 3 main principles of CQB haven’t really changed since its inception. Speed, Surprise, and Violence of action. What’s more surprising to your target? A keychain light, or a 1200 lumen beam that’s so bright they are pretty much forced to close their eyes or look away?
My advice: Get the brightest light you can realistically put on your weapon, and one from a reputable brand that is within your budget. My rule of thumb is that I want my white light to at least be able to illuminate an entire average sized room within my home. It’s an older Streamlight HL handheld, (500 lumens I think.) It works well and didn’t cost an arm and a leg. The second I pass the threshold (at this point I’m done pie-ing off the room and need to push in,) and turn on the light, I am in control of that room, and I’m also able to process everything within that room very quickly. With a lower lumen light, I might only be able to process ¼ of the information within a room. Just my thoughts on the bright vs less bright weapon light debate.
Second thing: There seems to be some confusion on splash techniques (or strobing techniques, there’s like 20 different names out there now.) Momentary on and then off just to identify the next place you want to go makes sense. Moving through hallways, down stairs, whatever path you need to take to get to the area that the threat is in. Here is where I see people screwing this up, like constantly… People tend to enter rooms that the target is in and splash their way through the room. It’s tunnel vision. Guys will enter a room that the target is in, turn on the light and if the threat isn’t directly where they are aiming at that moment they’ll turn off the white light, and then move to another location just to have to re-illuminate and acquire the target. You have peripheral vision, (so use it,) and if your light is bright enough, you should be able to identify more than just a narrow field directly in front of you. I get it, the white light is a two-way street, but if you are already committed to a room, (meaning in the room,) it’s a lot faster just to leave the light on and turn to engage the target than it is to splash, move, re-illuminate, acquire and engage the target.
Just some food for thought, take it or leave it. Either way, if you don’t have a lot of experience with utilizing weapon lights or fighting in low light conditions, I’d advise that you train quite a bit on it.
Author – Tim M. is an Army Ranger who has served in Afghanistan and is currently a K9 handler for ARSOF. In his free time, he enjoys shooting, working out and hitting the trails with the dog.