Big Reasons You Might Not Realize
Is there a reason to have a weapon mounted light (WML) on your handgun? Absolutely, but there are more reasons you don’t need a WML than you might think.
Needs Vs. Wants
The good news is technology has advanced far since I was first issued a weapon mounted light on my pistol in the Navy. We had them for a while and were waiting for suitable holsters to use them operationally. The logistical train will always play a game of catch up compared to new product development. They made doing our jobs a lot easier, with a high sex appeal to boot. Today, you can literally mount just about anything to the utility rails common on most handguns. This doesn’t mean you should. There is a big difference between a “need” and a “want”. Most people want one, but they don’t need one. And that is totally okay.
Totally Dark Locations
When do you need a WML? When you can no longer positively identity the target with the available lighting condition. When you cannot see enough to make the decision to employ deadly force. Here is a great bit of trivia to digest. When the lighting conditions diminish enough you can no longer see in color, you are legally blind. It is in these conditions you need additional lightening to be sure of your target. Hours of diminished lighting typically go from the beginning of nautical twilight in the evening to just past nautical twilight in the morning. The problem, most of us live in areas with lighting all day long. It is very hard to find a good reason you would be in a totally dark location in the first place.
Enough Ambient Light
Even in those places, there will more than likely be some form of ambient light. There has to be some form of light for the criminal element to perpetuate their crime. They don’t need enough light to identify their target, they just need to know you are there. Even then, how much light do you need when you are the victim of a violent crime. It is very rare you would be able to draw your handgun to use it in advance of an attack in public. When most violent crimes happen at contact range, how necessary is your WML to positively identity the target.
Change the scenario somewhat to low light conditions in your home and things are a little different. If you must investigate a disturbance late at night or diminished light, having a WML is a good idea. As you move from reaction mode, to action mode it will help to have the light attached to your handgun. Being able to work doors, move people or even fight with an intruder make the WML an advantage.
Violating Personal Rights
Would you be forced to use your weak hand to defend while you grip the handgun with your strong hand. Absolutely. However, by the time this part of the situation has developed you are well passed positive target identification. Should you need to carry someone or move people would have a WML be helpful. Possibility, but it is not necessary. You can manage people while holding a handheld light the same as if you had a WML. Another issue to remember is deadly force justification must have been meet for you to draw your handgun. So, if you wanted to use your light because you are not sure about someone or some place, should you be wrong you just violated that persons rights. Reasons you don’t need a WML are pretty varied, but the point is they exist.
Considering Long Term Sustainability
Even if you have a weapon mounted light, you still should have a handheld light. The utility of a good handheld light outweighs the times you might need a handgun. It is much easier to deploy a handheld light by mistake than a weapon mounted light. The added advantage of having both is something to consider as well. If your body style, wardrobe and environment allow for the added bulk and weight you are set. Reasons you don’t need a WML might also have to do with sustainability. The question you have to ask yourself is how sustainable is that load out. Can you do that everyday? Maybe, maybe you can. Just remember, if you are involved in a deadly force encounter you are a statistical anomaly. Add hours of dismissed lighting where a light would be necessary to positively identity your target and that statistic shrinks significantly.
There is a big difference between a need and a want. Make sure you know the difference and can support the load out for the long term.