The Weaponlight Boogey Man

By this time you’ve probably heard about the Force Science News report on weapon-mounted lights by Dr. Bill Lewinski. Specifically examined were the pistol-mounted lights with pressure-activated switches manufactured by SureFire.


When specifically discussing weapon-mounted lights and training this becomes even more difficult of an issue. Cops rarely train at night or in darkness and few L.E. trainers are prepared to instruct troops with these lights. “It’s just a flashlight.” They say “I think I know how to use a flashlight.” Of course, we aren’t talking about using a light to find your car keys. We’re talking about using one in deadly force situation.

Parting Shots

Whenever cops fail, and shooting an unarmed “suspect” falls into this category, there is a rush to assign blame and more often than not “blame” is assigned to inanimate objects. Consider the 1986 FBI Miami Shoot-Out. After a lengthy post-incident investigation the 9mm Winchester Silver-Tipped Hollow-Point was assigned the majority of the blame for not performing as it should have.

In the current case we have a report that says an inanimate object, tactical light, was to blame for a negligent shooting. Not the agency’s failure to train or the officer’s inability to operate the equipment properly. We could strip away every weapon mounted light from every cop gun in the nation and by next week some officer somewhere would have a negligent discharge.

Training, education, and practice are not luxuries for surgeons, heavy-equipment operators, or airline pilots. But for some reason far too many law enforcement agencies still view training as a luxury or a simple line item to be cut from a tight budget. Sadly I don’t see this changing any time soon. It’s easy to blame inanimate objects for failures, they can’t defend themselves.

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Mr. Markel  is a former United States Marine, Police Officer, and has worked as a professional bodyguard both in the U.S. and overseas. A Subject Matter Expert on Small Arms and Tactics, Markel has provided instruction to law enforcement and U.S. Military troops.

As a recognized author and writer, Paul has penned several hundred articles published in numerous professional journals and trade periodicals. Topics include firearms training, use of force, marksmanship, less-than-lethal force options, product reviews and evaluations, emergency medical care, and much more. Sought after as a public speaker, Mr. Markel is at home in front of an audience large or small.

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