Weapon Mounted Light For Home Defense On Your Rifle

The Inforce WMLx Gen 2 mounted to an AR-pattern rifle.

You got that black rifleyou wanted. There’s probably some sort of rail attachment system on it. You really want to put something there. Anything. My advice? Get yourself a weapon-mounted light.

Know Your Target And What Is Beyond It

One of the fundamental four rules of real gun safety is to be sure of your target and what is beyond it. Easy enough in your favorite indoor or outdoor range with the sun shining or all the lights on. Paper target, backstop. Bang. Not so much during the witching hour in your home. Is it Grandpa clumping around for a glass of water? Is it Junior using the bathroom? Or did someone get past your initial defenses (you do have a home alarm system, right?) and they are currently an unwelcome guest in your living room?

You aren’t going to know that unless you have keen detection skills, or some sort of light.

Some suggest having a flashlight and doing some sort of awkward hold-your-gun-and-a-flashlight-grip, but as a regular guy, I find that sort of technique to be cumbersome, and nigh-impossible with a modern black rifle such as your favorite AR-15.

Again, there’s plenty of mounting-points on that black rifle of yours. Put a light on it.

The Inforce WMLx Gen 2 mounted to an AR-pattern rifle.

Defend Your Life With Regular Guy Guns And Brownells

What Weapon-Mounted Light Is Best?

Truth be told, any weapon-mounted light from a major manufacturer will work. If you aren’t familiar with the “scene” of lights, the major manufacturers, all of which have US military contracts, are

As for which is best, it really depends on you, your use case, and your personal preferences.

For many years, the accepted weapon-mounted light configuration was to have a Surefire light clamped to your rail, with a remote pressure switch mounted elsewhere to suit your style. It’s just how things were done.

A Surefire weapon-mounted light with a remote pressure switch.

It worked, but there’s that wire. That’s a huge point of failure. Sure, in the comfortable confines of the range, it’s not going to be an issue. However, when you really need to deploy your rifle, and shine a light to see what’s going on, it’s not ideal. You could be running around and that cable gets snagged on something, and breaks. Or it broke when you jammed your rifle into it’s case last. One little copper filament isn’t making contact, and that’s all.

Yes, I’m aware that umpteen operatiors-operating-operationally types have sworn by these lights, and it’s awesome. However they’ve got the skills to not bump into crap, and they also take pains to run the cable to minimize the risk. You could do that too, I suppose. The cable as a point of failure just troubles me, to be honest. But you do you. If the pressure switch setup suits you - go for it.

My personal recommendation is to pick a light with a more traditional direct switch, and mount it ergonomically. The Inforce WMLx Gen 2 is my personal favorite. The slanted switch can be easily manipulated without changing your grip, and it’s got the usual assortment of modes - momentary, where you just press the switch and hold to turn it on, and release to turn it off, normal, like any other flashlight, and strobe, which does what it says - strobes. There’s a nifty safety so you dont inadvertantly trigger the light if you’re in that sort of situatuon.

And yes, both Surefire, and Streamlight offer all-in-one tailcap switch options.

Where To Mount Your Weapon-Mounted Light?

OK, you got your light. You can now rain untold billions of photons upon your adversary, or a random piece of paper at the range. Hopefully the latter in each and every time you flick the switch on the light. You’re going to have to mount it somewhere.

When mounting your light, there’s a few hard and fast rules basically.

  • Mount it as far forward as possible to minimize muzzle and barrel shadow. Of course if you’re shooting suppressed this isn’t possible, but do what you can.

  • Mount it so you can engage the switch without having to un-grip your rifle. Every split second counts.

Using Your Weapon-Mounted Light

In an emergency situation, your weapon-mounted light should be thought of as a supplemental light for positive target identification. You shouldn’t be using the light to search for your keys or dig in your bag for a spare magazine. You’ll want a normal flashlight as well.

In the home, barring a complete power outage, or something worse, your premises should have some form of lighting on at all times. Nightlights are your friends. That way, you aren’t using your WML to see where you are going, and potentially giving away your position. The idea is to get into the area where you think the threat is, quickly engage your WML for target identification, and make the decision to fire. Your light is for identification, not search, per se.

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