Weapon mounted light or one in the hand?

Just west of Portland, Maine sits a rural town called Buxton.

Around 3 a.m. one morning Eric B., and his wife Missy, heard a noise inside their Buxton home.

The couple, who are both tour guides and avid hunters knew exactly what to do.

Missy dialed 911 as Eric grabbed his gun and flashlight. He moved toward the noise and down the stairs of the home.

When Eric encountered the intruder, he momentarily blinded him with his flashlight.

Then, Eric forced the intruder into the bathroom at gunpoint and held him there until police arrived.

Joseph H. was arrested on multiple charges. He was charged with burglary, criminal mischief, theft, and resisting arrest.

This is a perfect example of how critical a flashlight is to your home defense plan.

But which is better – a weapon-mounted light, or a flashlight in your hand?

Here are a few factors to keep in mind:

Free Hand:

If you are carrying a gun and a flashlight, this means both of your hands are full.

You won’t have a free hand to open doors, call the police, or even reload your gun.

Plus, if you do have to fire your weapon you will be doing so one-handed.

A weapon-mounted light eliminates these issues.


One of the best things about a weapon-mounted light is that you can decide when to use it and when not to.

You control the flashlight with a button.

If it is a situation where you need things to be dark, you can turn it off.


When you hear a noise in the middle of the night you need to react immediately.

If you have to fumble around grabbing your flashlight, and then your gun, this can waste precious seconds in a lethal encounter.


One rule of gun safety is that you never point your gun at anything that you do not intend to destroy.

But, if you use a weapon-mounted light as a flashlight, there is a potential for deadly consequences.

There have been cases where people used their weapon-mounted light as a flashlight and pulled the trigger when startled.

So, be very careful where you are pointing the light and always identify the threat before firing and keep your finger off the trigger.

Make yourself a target:

The biggest drawback to a weapon-mounted flashlight is if you can see the intruder with your flashlight, then they can see you.

This can make you vulnerable.

In the military, soldiers are trained to use their weapon-mounted light carefully.

One flash of light can give away your position with deadly consequences.

Limited Holsters:

Unless you want to wear a police-style holster, it’s difficult to find holsters for weapon-mounted lights.

Your best option is to have a holster custom made so it’s exactly the way you want it.

If you carry a concealed weapon with a mounted-light it will make the pistol harder to conceal.

Weapon-mounted lights can be a great option, so if you think you might want to try one, here are two you may wish to check out.

Olight PL-Mini 2:

The PL-Mini 2 is a very compact light. It weighs only 2.5 ounces and is about 2 inches long.

It has a quality 2,500-candela bulb that produces 600 lumens and a distance of 100 meters.

Plus, the light is IPX6, which means it can withstand small amounts of water.

The only drawback to the light is that it only lasts about 90 minutes.

The Olight PL-Mini 2 sells for about $90.

Inforce APLC:

The APLC weighs only 1.87 ounces and features a 200-lumen bulb.

The 200-lumen bulb should be plenty of light for indoor use, but not as much help outdoors.

The light provides up to 1.5 hours of runtime.

It has a water-resistant, glass-reinforced polymer body that is plenty durable.

Plus, it has ambidextrous on/off switches for activation with either hand.

The Inforce APLC sells for about $100 new.

Installing pistol-mounted lights can provide advantages in a home defense situation.

You can save time when you hear a strange noise in the night.

But you should never become too dependent on pistol accessories.

Train to shoot with and without the light, so you know what to do if it fails.

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