Tac-lights and house guns

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by delta13soultaker, Mar 16, 2005.

  1. I noticed that all of a sudden that all the shooting mags have multiple ads for new pistol models with tac-light rails. Seems that pretty soon we'll be able to mount a headlight on all our new autos and some revolvers. (Light sold seperately of course.) So basically, from my interpretation of the ads, the gun manufacters are telling citizens that we are better off by adopting this tactical gear for our homes.

    I've used tac-lights on rifles and carbines, but not for the application you use in your own home for sure. And I played around on a range with a couple M9's and a USP that had the lights with integrated lasers. They were handy. And bright; surprisingly bright, like a motorcycle headlight if not more from than tiny bulb.

    So anyway I got to thinking about the tac-lights (or Tac-Lite being most popular brand) on a house gun. The good and the bad. Here is what I came up with.

    1. I have five mag-lights (in the house and both vehicles), and total price is about equal to what some tac-lights cost.
    2. Most people never master the handgun itself, now add another button/switch. (Keep it simple...)
    3. Few people get training on their gun, after spending so much on the light I bet they don't bother signing up for that additional training either.
    4. For those very familiar with their weapon, the balance change seems big on some combinations; may not have the same feel (natural hand-point) that made the gun get chosen.
    5. In total darkness, an aggressor may believe your gun/light is sans gun....just a bright light. (Are ya gonna turn it so he can see if he don't believe you?)
    6. You have to point the gun at whatever you are illuminating. There is no "muzzle down carry" or even "low ready" and muzzle-awareness is out the window. This could go very wrong. Middle of the night, heart thumping, head fuzzy, in a rush, loud sound behind you...better have finger off the trigger. See #2 and #3 for mastering weapon and training.

    1. If for some ungodly reason I have to discard my flashlight, or if the flashlight becomes inop, and the power is out, I have a backup light. (It is fully possible to scoop up a child in your non-firing arm without tossing a flashlight, or even drag an adult 20 feet by the collar if the flashlight is not oversized, and still have your firing arm free to aquire an emerging threat.)

    *Note: I didn't say car or travel gun for a reason. Being able to illuminate/cover a threat while having a free hand to get in/out, start/operate vehicle, etc might not be a bad idea simply because anything that keeps you stationary when you can drive away or hinders a swift flight from danger is a no-go. (It's better to avoid than stay and fight....) But that is a whole different world than in your house.

    Just my thoughts on tac-lights and houseguns. I'm interested to hear what anyone else thinks.
  2. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

    Feb 17, 2005
    South Carolina
    Back in highschool, I took some police training in the Explorers program (decided police didn't get paid enough; so I'm an EE instead, hehe). Cops would show us the proper way to enter a house in a SWAT fashion, etc... how to conduct routine, and non-routine traffic stops. One of the things I won't forget is this; you were NEVER supposed to hold the gun in line with the flash light. They always instructed us to hold the gun in your hand of choice with one hand. Cross your flashlight-holding arm over the gun-carrying arm, and hold it as far to the opposite side of your body as possible. Applying some light pressure to the gun carrying arm with the flashlight holding arm gave some added stability for shooting as well. This way, if someone fires at your light, they don't hit you because the light is off to your side. Having a light in line with your gun, and therefore in line with your head if you're aiming, seems like a VERY STUPID thing to do... This is why I've never understood the concept of a tac-light that is mounted to the weapon... Then again, maybe there's something I'm missing.

    The Explorer's program is run by the Boy Scouts of America and isn't exclusive to law enforcement; it includes all emergency/law enforcement agencies that want to participate from what I understood. Just in case you're wondering what I'm talking about...

    Last edited: Mar 16, 2005

  3. That is a very good point. A person walking through their house in the dark (for whatever reason) is pretty easy to jump. If they are waving that tac-light around, it gives an aggressor a perfect target and also makes the weapon very vulnerable to be snatched. However, if a flashlight is held in front and the weapon close at low ready, well you have a better chance of not getting disarmed/shot through the body. That being said, stalking through your house alone in the dark looking for intruders is a bad idea almost every time.

    The tac-lighs we use on our rifles and carbines are mostly for after the shooting is over. Sounds odd maybe but up until the casualty searching and demo begins there are much safer ways of seeing at night. The only time we use them during dynamic entry/mout stuff is against each other in training. (Blind each others NODs, make them overload on magnified light, then pop 'em before they can see again. Cheating no doubt. But the only fair fight is the one you win...) But yeah, that is a very good point you bring up.
  4. llama.45

    llama.45 New Member

    Jan 21, 2005
    i think ill just keep it simple
  5. Tac-lights are great features to have. If it wasn't, it wouldn't have been adopted in some of our law enforcement and military agencies. Tac-lights are not cheap, but there are those that will sacrifce the money for safety. And I totally agree, training with the equipment you are going to use is key.

    There are a lot of variables to this situation and the courses of action will depend on what the individual can afford.

    The make up of the house will be a great factor. My house if built where all of the bedrooms are upstairs and the only way to get upstairs is through the one stairwell. If I have time to gather my family and get them into one room, my next thing will be to wait for someone to try and sneak up the stairs, while my wife calls 911. As soon as they are about 2-3 steps from the top, i'm already zeroed in on them then on goes the blinding light. The only way to get out is to continue up the stairs or go back down and unfortunately they will not survive, or give up. Walls are on both sides of the stairwell, so the idea of over penetration and hitting innocents are not a factor in my kill zone. But if I don't have time to gather them up, I have a plan for that also. A house with the rooms on opposite side of the house will definetely change this scenario.

    I have been contemplating with the idea of putting some night sights on my pistols that I have in the nightstand. But I think using my SA XD 9mm and my MX6 Tac-light will be the best choice for me. Walking around or waiting with the light on is not a good thing to do. It will give your position away and now your eyes need time to adjust. Time you might be able to afford. Who knows, maybe using just the red dot on their forehead or chest will be itimidating eough.

    But again, train with what you are going to use, and be proficient at it.

    Sorry so long winded...
  6. Not saying tac-lights are worthless. The first one I was issued in the Balkans I wore the remote switch out in 4 months. They do have a place. What got me thinking was how they are advertised for commercial sale to the public. I mean, every time I'm at the counter at the gun shop there's a couple buying their first gun and someone telling them "yeah this .40 will blow a guy through the wall" and they know no better. Zero experience. An absence of training too. That is the same market, the ones who have to look down to tell the mag release from the slide release, that's going to be snapping lights on a weapon and stalking through a dark house just like the tool is advertised. A tool designed for professionals is on the market for people who shoot once a year. The people selling the tool only care how many of them get bought.

    Having said that, what people buy and do in their own home is their business, it's a free country. I'm just thinking out loud and interested in thoughts on the merits of the tac-light for common household protection. I figure if the tac-lights sell, eventually manufacturers will be making every auto model with the rails as standard, so some thought is warranted. (Someone 50 years ago was probably once thinking this about rifle scopes, now every rifle comes with rings or already drilled.)

    Keola, you have a plan that multiplies your survivability. You have matched courses of action with your situation and equipment. Key here IMO is that you are using the combo weapon system completely defensively; as opposed to offensively as it will tempt the novice to do. You have a pre-determined rally point, sounds like tasks have been deligated (call 911 etc), identified a choke point, can cover the only avenue of approach, and have the potential for surprise; if you act with speed and violence, surprise will become shock. I bet my money that if you gather the flock in time to get in position (everyone is slower at 3 am) you will hold out until police arrive. When you have a simple common sense plan, equipment becomes secondary. With the right timing you can pull that defensive plan off with a hunting bow and coleman lantern. But that is the point right? SWAT gear does not come with a plan included. So in your situation, are you more effective with the tac-light as opposed to other methods?

    Off subject a bit from tac-lights. You have a similar house layout to what I have; 1 staircase leading up to where the bedrooms line down a hallway. The only other way out is to open a window and get on the roof. Where I'm going with this is the over-penetration thing. My plan started out like this: the master bedroom has a 10 x 10 walk in closet to the interior side that leads directly into the second upstairs bath. Seemed like a great safe room; lots of depth, behind two doors, etc. I added a phoneline to that bathroom and made a place for my mossberg and ammo in a concealed out of reach spot in the closet. Our Great Dane has slept at the top of the stairs since he was a pup, so that allows more time to move kids into the safe room. After all that, I noticed that that bathroom is directly dead-center above the staircase. There is a phrase that was drilled into my head from way back: Bullets go both ways. I can fire safely down the stairs into the floor, but anyone shooting back that fired too far upwards would ridle the saferoom from below. Obviously a bad thing. So I decided on just using the master bedroom corner diagnal from the entrance. (20+ ft over makes a lot more heavy material to penetrate from below, still have parallel depth and anyone who gets past me in the hall will encounter my wife already set in a point of domination ie narrow field of fire.) My point being that over-penetration in a 2 story home has to be reviewed in 3 dimensions. If the worst happens where will the other guy's bullets go(both return fire and covering a retreat)? Can someone downstairs hear people above moving in a hurry(noise draws fire)? You probably have, but I'm just pointing it out.

    PS. I can't call anybody else long winded :)

    LIKTOSHOOT Advanced Senior Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Movies and cop shows are great for tac-lights......heck! they even find fibers in the daylight with them....LOL

    The use of a tac-light, spot ID and back-up......not blazing the night into unknown area`s.

  8. llama.45

    llama.45 New Member

    Jan 21, 2005
    i think ill just keep it simple.my night sights are good enough
  9. Delta,

    to answer your question:

    So in your situation, are you more effective with the tac-light as opposed to other methods?

    Not exactly sure. I say that because I haven't been in that situation where I had to execute (no pun intended). I do have a few other weapons that I could use as well (12 Ga or .45 acp), but I guess, the tac-light option will at least give me a split second to identify the target, ensure that i'm 100% zeroed in and possibly give them the opportunity to give up. Although, if you are in my house uninvited at some ungodly hour, I have debated the fact if I should give you the opportunity to give up..... then the humanity thought process starts to kick in. Guess i'll decide when the time comes.

    Back to the original topic....

    It has its advantages and disadvantages. Bottom line, know what you are doing with what you have. It all goes back to choices, just like the threads that are discussed on this site, "What is the best self defense round", "the best home defense weapon", etc. I if remember right, you were very favorable of the shotgun for home defense and others were not.

    Unfortunately, the guy behind the counter who sells products that they may have no idea about are just trying to make a buck. It is a shame that they are not educated enough (the ones that you were referring to) to help the novices, they speak only what they know, so it seems as if they know what they are talking about.

    Maybe look at that portion this way, at least he/she has a job and not on welfare.

    Choices my brother in arms, thats what we fight for.............
  10. Night sights are a good thing, but some are not any better than regular sights. Some are cheap and have to be recharged like a kids toy. The ones with the mini fiber optics work well if there's a little light to be gathered, but they might be a bit fragile for knock-around stuff. Then there are the radium or whatever ones that glow the same for decades, which are probably worth the extra price. I like the ones with the green dots in back and red triangle in front or somthing similar; harder for me to screw up than three tiny green dots. I have the regular novak sights on my 1911, they are simple and bold and have a good sight profile in different lighting.

    But night sights don't illuminate and a target must be identified.

    Cop show weapons, they have two close combat optics, two types of lasers, a garage door opener and a pacemaker, all on one weapon just to look cool, and when the good guy gets real serious he pulls a crome desert eagle from the trunk. Nuff said.
  11. llama.45

    llama.45 New Member

    Jan 21, 2005
    my night sights glow all of the time, they dont have to be charged
  12. llama, simplicity can't be argued with, so the last word on sights is yours. :)

    Keola, you are right on man. As far as shoot-or-don't-shoot, the only question is, will the next few minutes of the intruder's life be harmful to what you cherish?
  13. 45Smashemflat

    45Smashemflat Active Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    You guys have touched on all the good and bad points thus far, so not much to add. I use a 1911 with tritium sights. They are not for precision so much as just locating the sights - or in some cases, the gun. (Gun resides on top of night stand, sights oriented towards bed, makes it easy to find it in the dark.)

    I do not have a light attached to the gun - but do have a large mag light available as well. I think the overall idea is to be able to ID what you intend to shoot at - either will work. The attached light adds some pluses and minuses. I do like the idea of grab on thing and you have both...

    Note - this is for travel. A pistol for home defense is "lightweight" in my opinion. A 12ga pump is easy to use and has increadible intimidation power as well as a lack of over penetration issues. Trimmed short enough to be handy inside a house - along with a attached light, its tough to beat. Keep it loaded with #8-9 heavy field loads and you will certainly ruin any intruders day as well as minimize the issue with over penetration.
  14. Yeah I think precision sights on a fighting handgun don't really give any advantage anyway; if someone is taking time to aim that way, at handgun fighting range, then they are going way too slow. To the best of my knowledge, the tritium sights are top quality gun sights.

    I go with the mag-light as well. For one, I can illuminate something without puting it in mortal danger. Two, it is a good impact weapon; in a bad situation it is better than your hand to force distance between yourself and someone whose lower brain has not excepted that they are dead yet.

    When I lived in the country and downtown, and now on a gov installation, I always have both handgun and shotgun in quick access. It's a habit I'll probably never lose. A light on a shotgun, if that is the weapon to grab after there is no turning back, like not for a bump-in-the-night but for no-crap-hostilities-are-starting, well I could see that. A pump gun especially, because you really need two hands.
  15. I think i'll re-phrase the question this way:

    Will the next few minutes of the intruders life be valued and cherished, or reckless and short lived.
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