At the Range: A Non-Tactical Guy Goes Tactical, Part 3

Rapid Light System on SR-556

Phase 3: How a Predator Hunt Became a Home Defense Evaluation

This is the third installment in a four-part (part 1, part 2) series of my transformation from MSR-neophyte to “functional expert,” hunter, shooter, and advocate.

Due to scheduling conflicts this year, I did enjoy a great deal of predator hunting time. The three times I was able to get out were all at night, and all relatively close to my home. I wanted to use my new Ruger SR-556 but needed a way to quickly illuminate a coyote or fox at shooting distance. I mounted an RLS (Rapid Light System) from Safariland on the picatinny rail upper. This unique system allows the light to be swiveled to either side and is specifically designed to be used on a duty handgun to position the light such that the “on” button is conveniently located in front of the thumb when in a two-handed aiming stance. After reading some blogs and forum posts, I found out that it also worked very well on my MSR, positioning the “on” switch to be easily reached with my thumb in a shooting position.

Rapid Light System
With the Safariland Rapid Light System (RLS), you can clip it onto your belt, hold it in your hand, or quickly mount it to your gun for an instant tactical advantage.

The problem with having to earn a living near a metro area is that some of the game species get pressured fairly hard. That proved to be the case with predators as the ones that did come to the call were light-shy, not allowing even a quickly aimed shot before turning tail. After doubling my distance from the call, all I was able to muster were two rushed shots that were clean misses…Alas, no predator kills yet! The good news, however, was that I did get a chance to evaluate the RLS tactical light from Safariland.

Today’s modern tactical lights are simply amazing. This light is approximately 3 inches long, is meant to be taken on and off your chosen weapon quickly and easily, yet clearly illuminates a predator-sized target at 100 yards. Therefore, it doubles as a super predator-illuminator! This also means an intruder or suspect across the average-sized home or room is most likely going to be dazzled blind.

The question then bears asking, “Why not use it for home defense on your AR?”

Rapid Light System on SR-556
Once the author realized the versatility of Safariland’s RLS, he mounted it to his Ruger 556 for predator hunting and home defense.

Why not, indeed? With the right loads (such as Glasers or frangible/varmint bullets), it could also be a great weapon for home defense. I am of the belief that just as in a hunting rifle for dangerous game or even shotgun in the duck blind, the best weapon for home defense is one with which you are intimately familiar. You need to be able to grab it in the dark, confidently point and shoot it, and have the confidence to eliminate a threat without harming your family members or, in the case of a high-powered rifle bullet, even your neighbor! That’s the even better news, because it means that I have even MORE reason to shoot my new gun! I know the performance of the .223 round on coyotes, and I have no concerns with bullet performance out of this gun. This season already has hunts scheduled on the calendar. My home state of Wisconsin also allows .22 caliber centerfire rifles to be used for deer. After seeing how well my kids shoot this gun, and with premium, monolithic bullets, we plan to test that theory as well.

I know that as I hunt and shoot with it more I will instinctively treat it more like an extension of my body. If I do my part, the results should come together beautifully!

Do you have a favorite tactical light? Tell us about it in the comment section.


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