WML (Weapon Mounted Light) or handheld or both? It’s a common topic of discussion among those who go heeled. A couple of days ago Aaron Haskins of Twin Cities-based Acuto Training Concepts addressing this very thing.
There’s an ongoing debate in the defensive firearms community about whether one should carry a handheld flashlight, just use a weapon-mounted light (WML), or maybe even both. I want to take a look at this question from a risk management perspective.
In risk management analysis, one of the key questions in assessing the value of a given strategy is “What problem does this help me solve?” In the world of applied violence, there are three different problem sets in which one may want a flashlight.
The first is by far the most common: it’s dark and you need a flashlight to do some mundane task, no gun required. It doesn’t make sense to draw your gun to use the WML in this case — for obvious reasons, a handheld makes the most sense here.
The second is the least common: it’s dark and you’re hunting known bad guys. This is a common situation for law enforcement, military, armed security, and anyone else whose job tasks them with confronting known threats in low light environments. Here, it makes perfect sense to have a WML, as you’re expecting to engage a known threat and the light serves primarily to illuminate the target; a handheld flashlight in the weak hand reduces your ability to engage the threat accurately by forcing you to…[b]ut this is a near-zero probability event for a civilian self-defense problem…
The third…can be considered the “potential threat” environment: it’s dark and you may or may not have to apply violence to protect yourself, but there is no certain threat. In this case, you need a light to search for and positively identify those potential threats versus non-threats.
If in public, the gun should always remain in the holster until you’re certain it’s needed. If in your own home, it should remain at a low ready position until you positively identify a threat and make the conscious decision to engage. It is critical to identify friend or foe before aiming the gun at the target…
Read Handheld or Weapon-Mounted Lights? That is the Question on the Acuto Training Concepts website.
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