Tactical Hand-Held Lights

It occurred to me this past week that out of that entire collection of lights, there are a precious few that I still have and depend on. Realizing that, I thought it would be beneficial to the community to go over the lights that are still performing and...

That brings me down to weapon-mounted lights. The two that I specifically want to mention I have tested extensively and found to be comfortably functional. Both are made by SureFire. That's not to say that other weapon mounted systems aren't good. I put a Pentagon Weapon Light on one of my AR rifles; the other got a SureFire vertical grip light system. I'd mount a Gladius on a carbine in a heartbeat.

The first weapon mounted light system that I'd like to discuss is the SureFire 918FA, which is on my Remington 870. The light is integrated into the fore end and has switching options that allow for touch pressure activation or for turning the light on/off via a hard switch. The touch pressure is achieved via a pressure pad under your fingers (for right handed shooters) with the hard switch under your thumb. Obviously the fore end replaces the stock fore end that comes on a shotgun. I have two comments which are not criticisms, but are definitely considerations the operator has to take into account when deciding on a light system for his shotgun:

  1. The incandescent light assembly is fairly fragile. The bulb might break upon firing the first round, or it might not ever break. I went through two inside of about 50 rounds and have now had the third one in my 918FA for several hundred rounds.
  2. The battery is a replaceable stick that is the equivalent of three 3V lithium batteries. It's not as cheap to replace the battery stick as it would be to put in three new 3V lithium batteries.

I am a huge fan of having a light on the shotgun. When you add the power of controllable light to such a close-quarters combat effective weapon--not to mention the psychological impact attached to the sound of the action being pumped--you get a weapon that offers an appreciated increase in combat effectiveness.

The other mounted light system, and the last light system in today's overview, is the SureFire M500ab. SureFire makes an M500a and an M500b. The difference is the size of the bezel/lamp assembly and the inclusion of LED navigational lamps on the front end of the system. On my first AR style rifle I put an M500ab. I liked the system because it integrates the light housing directly into the fore end halves of the rifle. I find this more comfortable than having a set of Picatinny rails with a light attached. That said, if you need to attach another accessory, light, optic, etc. then the Picatinny rails are probably the better way to go.

Obviously this is not a comprehensive list of lighting options, tactical hand-helds or weapon mounted lights, but remember, just like the statement, "in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king," this statement "in the land of darkness, the man with the flashlight is king" is also true. If you don't own one, get TWO. When you need it most, one will break, the batteries will die, etc; or, sometimes even worse, your backup will forget to bring his flashlight and you have to hand one off to him. TAKE TWO. Two is one; one is none. It's only your life. What's it worth?

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