It’s one thing to have a tactical light for your firearms. It’s another thing to use that tactical light correctly so that it actually measurably benefits your accuracy. Used incorrectly, tactical lights can actually benefit your attacker by making you inaccurate or making it difficult to see a threat.
Let’s go over what you need to know if you ever need to use a tactical light.
A Quick Guide into Tactical Lights
On the Weapon or Handheld?
Tactical lights can be mounted on your pistol or rifle or can sometimes be handheld as so-called “tactical flashlights.” Both types of lights have their advantages.
Tactical lights that you mount on your weapon allow you to grip the firearm with both hands, affording you greater stability and accuracy.
On the other hand, tactical flashlights you hold with your offhand can let you sweep an area without swiveling your firearm around.
This could be good for safety if you’re checking your home for intruders, for example.
Consider both approaches based on your current situation. We’d recommend keeping the weapon mounted on your gun if you’re expecting to get into a gunfight soon.
Detach the flashlight if you’re doing more investigative work and need to, for instance, peer into a cracked door with the light from around the corner.
Turn It Off When Not in Use
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Keeping a tactical flashlight on the entire time when you are in a darkened room or when you’re outside at night is a bad idea.
Having a bright source of illumination right in front of your eyes can make you blind to dark shapes at the periphery of your vision.
It’s always a good idea to keep your tactical light off whenever you aren't immediately using it to check an area.
This serves another purpose besides preserving your eyes’ adjustment to the darkness – it prevents your opponents from potentially seeing your location, thanks to the brightness of the tactical light.
Thankfully, even tactical lights that you mount on the bottom of your firearm usually have easy access switches that will let you turn them off at your discretion.
As an example, it is wise to turn the flashlight on when sweeping your living room if you hear a bump in the night, then turn it off when you are certain that the area is secure.
Keep your own position secret in case there is someone looking for you or hiding.
Have a Secondary Light
Another good tip is to always have a primary tactical flashlight in addition to a tactical light on your firearm.
You can use the tactical flashlight in your offhand for general sweeping, then switch to your tactical light on your firearm only when you make the decision to fully engage with your target.
This being said, be sure to have your other flashlight secured quickly and easily instead of dangling from your wrist.
This can turn into a hazard if it snags on a piece of your environment or distracts you.
Only Use Strobe Lights Occasionally
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Strobe lights are gimmicky functions present on many tactical lights these days, but they aren’t something you should engage all the time.
They have a tendency to distract or blind you just as much as they can your target.
Still, using them sparingly can be a wise choice. If you need to cross dark terrain, a strobe light can make it difficult for someone looking at you to figure out how fast you're moving or where you're going.
It can also be used to blind an opponent in close quarters situations.
Ultimately, practicing with your tactical light is the best way to maximize its potential benefits. Figure out the carrying style that works best for you and your weapon and you’ll get the most use from these versatile and helpful tools.
Do you already use tactical lights? What do you use? We'd love to hear from you in the comments section!