I note from fellow blogger Carteach that Streamlight weapon lights and flashlights are currently on sale at Amazon. They're good products, and I own several myself; but this also seems like a good time to broach a subject that many don't think about in the proper light (you should pardon the expression).
I'm not going to go into the advantages and disadvantages of lights on weapons. This has been discussed before in many forums, and an Internet search will reveal a great deal of information. (Here are four articles to get you started.) Bear in mind, however, the two biggest disadvantages of weapon-mounted lights:
- Rule 2 of the Four Rules of Firearms Safety states: "Never let the muzzle of a firearm point at anything you are not willing to destroy". However, if you have a light mounted on your weapon, pointing the light at something automatically points the weapon at it as well. If the noise you're investigating at 2 a.m. turns out to be your young child getting a glass of water, pointing a gun-mounted light at them is unlikely to promote harmonious domestic relationships - particularly where your spouse is concerned.
- The use of any light during a gunfight has been described as "an invitation to the bad guys to shoot me first". An opponent who knows what he's doing will see your light and use it as his point of aim. If that light is on your gun, which is held in line with your face . . . see the problem?
This is not to deny that weapon-mounted lights are, indeed, handy tools. I own several, and use them, but I've been trained in how best to do so, both as a law enforcement officer and as a civilian. I highly recommend getting some good training in that area, or at the very least reading as much material as you can on the subject. There's a lot to learn.
I'd like to address one issue that's becoming more common nowadays, with the advent of very powerful LED flashlights and weapon lights. These are wonderfully useful in their place . . . but that place might not be the interior of your home in the small hours of the morning. Let's put it like this. You wake up from a sound sleep with your spouse tugging at you, saying, "I heard something moving in the corridor!" You blink the sleep from your bleary eyes, pick up your powerful flashlight and pistol (or weapon with mounted light), and switch on the light to check things out. All of a sudden, there are several hundred lumens of light reflecting back at you from light-colored walls, bathroom or hallway mirrors, the interior surface of windows, and so on. Not only are your eyes not yet accustomed to normal light, but some flashlights and weapon-mounted lights are specifically designed to blind and dazzle a suspect by throwing a very powerful beam right into their eyes. Congratulations. Its reflection is now being thrown into your eyes. Seeing much yet?
For this reason, I respectfully differ from Carteach in his recommendation of the Streamlight TLR-1 weapon light. It's an excellent unit, and for outdoor use over long ranges (e.g. on a rifle or shotgun) I think it will be very useful. I own similar units for that purpose. However, I regard it as simply too powerful for use in confined indoor spaces. Its 630 lumen output may indeed blind a felon, but its reflected light is more than likely to blind you too!
For indoor use, I suggest instead a lower-powered (and lower-cost) unit such as Streamlight's TLR-3 or equivalent. The TLR-3's 110 lumen output is more than bright enough to light up a room or search a house, but it's a lot less blinding than the almost six times greater light output of the TLR-1. I find it much more comfortable even with eyes that are 'awake', never mind eyes that are still gummed shut with sleep! I have three of these smaller units, and like them very much.
Note that fitting a light to a weapon (particularly a handgun) may affect its reliability, and/or change its point of impact relative to its point of aim. (Certain early-production models of third-generation Glock pistols, the first of that brand to have integral light rails, were particularly susceptible to both problems.) I suggest testing your pistol thoroughly at the range, with the weapon light mounted, to see whether such problems affect it. (I prefer to dedicate a weapon and light to home defense duty on a permanent basis. The light stays on the weapon, and the combination is reserved for bedside use at night. I know it's reliable with the light mounted, and I know how its point of aim relates to its point of impact. I don't have to worry about whether that's changed with the light mounted or dismounted.)
That's my $0.02 worth. Others will doubtless have different opinions. YMMV.