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  1. #1
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    Weapons Mounted Light vs Hand held light

    I am always in search of knowledge and this topic popped into my head. Previously on a thread a long time ago someone pointed out that with a flashlight you can illuminate without drawing your weapon, which is obviously a good thing in non threatening situations.

    I also know that people 'can' use a flashlight to do room clearing or whatever other tactical thing you can think up.

    I am however wondering what the advantages are of a dedicated weapons mounted light (specifically on a handgun) vs just carrying a flashlight along with your weapon and foregoing a WML.

    Pros of the two piece theory are way more flexibility in non threatening situations, but on the other hand what are the pros for a dedicated weapons light specifically in the context of every day carry?

    I would think that a WML is obviously faster. Also the risk of dropping it or losing control of your weapon is a much bigger deal than just a flashlight. Basically you got one thing to keep track of and that's it.

    I will probably wind up carrying both but I'm curious if anyone else has thoughts on this?

  2. #2
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    WML & handheld > handheld only > WML only.

    WMLs for EDC is vastly overrated IMO; I say this as someone who conceal carried SureFire X400-series lights ever since they got their CHL. IIRC, Tom Givens has kept a tally of the shootings his students have gotten into (low three digits, IIRC), and none of them were in a situation where WMLs would have made a difference. After all, a criminal would probably need lighting, too, to try to rob you.

    Keep in mind, the utility of the EDC WML is very different from duty use or home defense. There are very few scenarios I can think of where a WML would provide much benefit for a conceal carry piece, since realistically you should be disengaging and not go hunting when threatened, outside of some black swan events.

    With the power output of WMLs, some are powerful enough that they can be used to illuminate rooms and the like without pointing a gun at someone, by splashing the light off the ceiling or walls, but it's still nowhere as versatile as a handheld. The advantage of having a two handed shooting grip compared to the much more difficulty skill of shooting with a handheld is significant in raw performance, but then again, raw performance is generally overrated compared to tactics, mindset, initiative, etc.

  3. #3
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    Both. WMLs are so small these days, there is no reason not to have one. I keep a flashlight in my left pocket, and a Streamlight TLR-6? on my G43. The flashlight gets a lot of use. The WML not so much but I'm glad it's there.

  4. #4
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    Before I joined this forum I never carried a flashlight...but now I have two that are always with me. I have found a regular old flashlight to be super handy. In hindsight I am honestly quite surprised about how much I really do use them. Everything from scanning a parking lot at night to checking for pest animals in the back yard. SUPER handy for sure.

    Now though I am STILL waiting on Surefire to get their stuff in stock for the WML that I want and for the holster manufacturers to make compatible holsters. From what I understand they are having a hard time getting the molds for the light even so they can apply it to their holster designs. It's getting irritating.

    That said in my mind I ran through a lot of scenarios and basically if a bad guy tries to car jack me in a parking lot I am not going to be looking around for "my light" in an emergency like that. Same with a road rage incident or anything else that is 'fast moving' or 'fast developing'.

    For a LEO if you get a call to a house and show up at midnight with no lights on you have the option to prepare to go in, even if it's a split second more time to think it through. But when the action is coming the other direction there isn't that much time.

    Even for me sometimes I will see pest animals (pigs) in a yard or whatever and since I don't roll around with NV a white light on the target while I have both hands on the gun seems quite useful, but only in a situation where a firearm is called for. We have a state prison near my area and every once in a while people manage to get out. If I recall correctly several years ago they found one of them hiding in someone's barn. In a situation like that a WML I would think is far more important because I would personally want both hands available in that scenario. Basically if I am patrolling my own property at 2am if I point a muzzle at someone that's their fault not mine. At least that's my thought (on the basis that you cannot 'accidentally' get into my yard way out here in the country). Plus if I run out there in my shorts and sandals in the middle of the night I just have to grab ONE THING.

    I've never had to draw my weapon on someone but I have had about two instances in maybe a ten year time frame when I got spooked enough to be 'right there' if needed. When that adrenaline kicks in having the coordination to make two hands do two different things becomes really complicated. In an emergency having one hand reach for the light and the other for a weapon seems like it would be a recipe for a big f-up.

    I guess I will eventually have a 'batman' setup pretty soon (j/k) with all this stuff hanging from my belt. I bought a little holster for my handheld light so we will see how that goes. Just clipping it to my pocket works but it's not secure at all.

    My soon to be three EDC lights are a Titan Plus which is no big deal because it fits on my keychain (probably my most used light), a EDCL1-T (a close second in use), and eventually if Surefire ever hurries up with the release of the Surefire XSC I will have that. I basically I am going from having no lights to having three lights.

    I might be wrong in my assumptions above so feel free to give alternative viewpoints. That's exactly why I posted this thread (to see if I am thinking about this all wrong or not)...while I wait. It feels like I am waiting for a suppressor to get out of jail waiting for that damn light (and eventually holster).

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Default.mp3 View Post
    WML & handheld > handheld only > WML only.

    WMLs for EDC is vastly overrated IMO; I say this as someone who conceal carried SureFire X400-series lights ever since they got their CHL. IIRC, Tom Givens has kept a tally of the shootings his students have gotten into (low three digits, IIRC), and none of them were in a situation where WMLs would have made a difference. After all, a criminal would probably need lighting, too, to try to rob you.

    Keep in mind, the utility of the EDC WML is very different from duty use or home defense. There are very few scenarios I can think of where a WML would provide much benefit for a conceal carry piece, since realistically you should be disengaging and not go hunting when threatened, outside of some black swan events.

    With the power output of WMLs, some are powerful enough that they can be used to illuminate rooms and the like without pointing a gun at someone, by splashing the light off the ceiling or walls, but it's still nowhere as versatile as a handheld. The advantage of having a two handed shooting grip compared to the much more difficulty skill of shooting with a handheld is significant in raw performance, but then again, raw performance is generally overrated compared to tactics, mindset, initiative, etc.
    I agree with this 100%. My EDC Glock 19 has no weapon light. You have to make compromises when you EDC, and I want the most compact package that's practical. I'm not willing to add a light to it.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by UWone77 View Post
    I agree with this 100%. My EDC Glock 19 has no weapon light. You have to make compromises when you EDC, and I want the most compact package that's practical. I'm not willing to add a light to it.
    I've kind of gone the other way. Here in the winter in the PNW it gets dark early and it's cool enough that I can wear a G19 w/ Surefire 300 in an OWB set up and easily conceal it with an untucked shirt and/or jacket so I'm doing that much more often than an IWB. When it gets warm and light again I'm sure I'll go back to IWB w/o a light.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerUp View Post
    I've kind of gone the other way. Here in the winter in the PNW it gets dark early and it's cool enough that I can wear a G19 w/ Surefire 300 in an OWB set up and easily conceal it with an untucked shirt and/or jacket so I'm doing that much more often than an IWB. When it gets warm and light again I'm sure I'll go back to IWB w/o a light.
    If I go out at night, I'll grab my G43X or G43 with a TLR6. However, I've learned over the years I can't plan for all contingencies and have to be more reasonable. I figure a G19 with no light will likely get me out of 95% of situations I might encounter with provide me a good mix of concealment/comfort.

    However, with the winter, I will say more clothing, bigger jackets does afford you more of an opportunity of carrying a handgun with more tools. This is exactly how I got so many Glocks, it all started with the same gun setup with different lights/RMR's ect. Next thing you know I have 70 Glocks.

  8. #8
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    Interesting conversation so far. Definitely. In my case he light I want weighs 1.7oz. That's roughly the same as 3 loaded 9mm rounds.

    We are not talking about some insane weight gain or crazy bulk. It's very negligible at best.

    It also won't change the overall footprint of my holster. If so it will be so small you won't notice.

    In short I'm big on comfort but I don't think my setup (or future setup) will be a deal breaker.

    I've never carried with a weapons light. It's always been straight bread and butter until just recently. That said I'm digging the new optic and I think a weapons light will be a good addition.

    Even just being out in the country where we don't have street lights makes it seem useful. Whether it's a bad guy up to no good or a 4 legged something also up to no good it seems like it is worth a try.

    If I was carrying something huge and heavy that would be a different story. Now I have the 365XL in a tier 1 concealment holster. Two 12 round mags plus 1 in the pipe and a holosun optic. When I get home I'm going to weigh the whole thing and see what it is.

    But for EDC with basically a micro gun I don't think it would be compromised in the comfort/weight department. At least not for that.

    It's definitely worth a shot.

  9. #9
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    90% of the time I'm wearing shorts and sandals with a T shirt. Even in winter I can still wear shorts half of the time. My rig now conceals better than anything else I've ever used.

    What I am starting to think about though is where/how to most efficiently carry all the stuff I need or rather want to carry. Real estate on the belt and in the pockets is starting to become more valuable.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by alamo5000 View Post
    90% of the time I'm wearing shorts and sandals with a T shirt. Even in winter I can still wear shorts half of the time. My rig now conceals better than anything else I've ever used.

    What I am starting to think about though is where/how to most efficiently carry all the stuff I need or rather want to carry. Real estate on the belt and in the pockets is starting to become more valuable.
    Here you go: https://www.spiritussystems.com/fanny-sack-pouch-mk3/

  11. #11
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    Jesus Alamo..your friggin stories of a post. I didnít read anything other then the header..

    I carry a light in my pocket and nothing on the 19
    Just preference as Iím not knocking doors in every night or Iíd probably have a wml on it

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mustangfreek View Post
    Jesus Alamo..your friggin stories of a post. I didnít read anything other then the header..
    Thanks for contributing something useful to the thread. It always help you know.

  13. #13
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    When the XC1 first came on seen, a lot of people poo-poo'd it because of its low output compared to the X300U. I told those people they were fucking idiots, because the XC1 wasn't designed to compete with the X300U, but with a bare dust cover. A WML is always an enabler when it comes to performance. The problem is, it's not a free action. Sure, the new smaller WMLs have significant output, far more than the "blinding" 60 lumens that the X200s put out, but with a WML, you now have to deal with maintaining a fresh battery, different holsters, additional bulk (no matter how slight), and additional cost simply to purchase the light. There is additional complexity with switchology and techniques, along with learning to coordinate with your handheld, not to mention issues with your red dot being washed out by the WML at close ranges while potentially blooming too much for anything further if your light lacks throw.

    Again, let me stress, I conceal carry a full-size gun with a slide mounted optic, carry comp, magwell, 140mm magazine, and laser/light combo, in all situations that I do conceal carry, despite being only 5'8", 140 lb. But that's my choice, and I fully recognize that my gun is way overkill for any realistic threat assessment of my life. For most folks, the WML will never get used, because living in an urban environment, you're almost always going to be in a relatively well-lit area, enough that you can get good shots off without needing a WML; bulk may be a far bigger issue in such a situation, considering the demographics of urban environments and the potential consequences of being made. If you live in a rural area, that calculus changes, so a WML may have more utility there... but most of the situations you listed (e.g., finding a prison escapee in your barn) is far closer to home defense than EDC.

    So yeah, I'm always down when people add a WML. I just don't think it's a big deal when people don't have a WML.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by alamo5000 View Post
    Thanks for contributing something useful to the thread. It always help you know.
    I did.
    Whiner

    Quote Originally Posted by mustangfreek View Post
    I carry a light in my pocket and nothing on the 19
    Just preference as I’m not knocking doors in every night or I’d probably have a wml on it

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