Safety and Training

Videos: Choosing and Using Flashlights

Flashlight head and light beam

Learn how to survive a low-light lethal force encounter by using a firearm in conjunction with a flashlight. In these 1-minute Law Shield videos, shooters can get tips on the most important aspects of choosing a carry flashlight, and then see three ways to deploy a light in tandem with a handgun.

The presenter is Trent Lozano, chief of operations at Saddle River Range in Conroe, Texas. Previously, he has worked as a personal protection agent and private investigator and is a former major crimes detective and SWAT team member. He teaches the Texas Concealed Handgun License course and has certifications as an NRA Pistol Instructor and Chief Range Safety Officer and as a Glock Armorer and M&P Armorer.

In the first video, Lozano explains three things he wants in a carry light: illumination up to 25 yards; being comfortable in his hand, and having a pocket clip.

In the second video, Lozano describes and illustrates three light-presentation methods: Harries technique, FBI Stance, and Neck Index.

What light do you like? And how have you trained to present it? Let us hear your choices and techniques in the comments section below.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (18)

  1. There is no reason not to have a gun mounted light on your sidearm, especially if it’s your home defense weapon.
    I personally recommend the “Stream Light TLR 2-G” 200 lumen light with a highly visible 522-542 nm green laser. (Green is far better for daylight shooting) Finger tip control, mounts right in front of trigger guard. Light only, laser only or light and laser. Constant on lock or toggle on-off. I’ve tried others but I only own Stream Light!

  2. He left out BOTH of the techniques I prefer when using a light to clear a room. Laying the light down and indexing the flashlight in off hand along side the slide pulling the momentary switch back into the palm.
    In fact those are the two techniques sure fire designed their flashlights for with the combat light and the six sided bezel to prevent rolling away.

  3. The ONLY reason I choose Sure-Fire, and not Anything Else is. Back in the late 80’s to early 2000’s, I was a Bonded Courier. That Mostly Operated at night where there wasn’t a lot of Traffic to Contend With. And at the time Sure-Fire Fit the Bill. Don’t get me Wrong, MagLights are also Great Flashlights. But a BIT on the BULKY SIDE, and the MiniMag’s just weren’t Bright Enough. If you Have a Personal Favorite, Stick with it. If not Look Around or ask a Professional. Like Police Officers, Fireman, Couriers, Independent Tow Truck Drivers or Truck Drivers.

    Gun Mounts, are also a Learning Process. What you think you Might Like, Actually May Not Work for You. AND Simply, Your Adding Weight to the Weapon. To much weight in the Wrong Place will Affect Your Aim and Your Proficiency with that Weapon. A GOOD Training Aid/Tool “DUCT TAPE”…

  4. A decent basic article about the various methods of using a handheld light, but for me, I completely disagree with the “Neck-Index Technique.”

    Using a light always has pros and cons, but with the other methods you either have the light out to the side so the bad guy is likely to aim at it while you are ready to respond by shooting at his muzzle flash, or your light is on-line with your muzzle for quick target acquisition and response. In Neck-Index Technique you are holding a light up for the bad guy to use as an aiming point to hit you right in the neck, while holding your own weapon down in a position that is going to take some time to transition to a shooting status.

  5. I own several Sure-Fire Flashlights, dating back to the Early 1990’s. And there GREAT Flashlights, and Virtually Impossible to Destroy. I also have Two M-II Flascams by Northland Security Products, Bright LED Beams of Light, an Infrared Illuminator, and a Night/Day Video Camera, too. As Bis as a 6-“D” Cell MagLight and slightly heavier. The Infrared Video Camera is quite handy during Total Darkness. A GREAT Survival Tool As Well…

  6. I’m surprised Trent didn’t mention any of the weapon mounted lights, with or without laser, for those handguns or rifles equipped with a picatinny rail.

    A weapon mounted light keeps your off hand available for additional weapon support, opening doors, etc. and is almost imperative with a carbine or shotgun that requires two hands. Light can be equipped with an easily accessible momentary switch to maintain the option of leaving the light off until needed – – with any light, this could be advantageous if you don’t want the bad guy to be forewarned of your approach.

    When I was a LEO (some 35 years ago) we were taught the FBI approach, holding the light out to the side, ostensibly to lure the bad guy into shooting at the light rather than center of mass. Not sure how effective that is.

    Streamlight makes some nice rail mount lights, including some models with laser. For flashlights, Fenix makes great ones! There tactical models work for both EDC (every day carry) and can also be mounted on long guns. You could mount them on a pistol too, but it would not be nearly so compact and convenient as the Streamlight versions.

    My ideal home defense gun would be equipped with a weapon mounted light, laser, and suppressor, either pistol or AR. Except during bear season, when a furry burglar may be encountered – then it’s a Marlin lever gun in 45-70.

    1. He said he likes a light that illuminates at least 25 yards. I would like a flash light that illuminates to at least 35 to 50 yards eather weapon mounted or small enough to carry in a shirt pocket without breaking the bank. It anyone knows of something like that please reply.

    2. @Bumper

      Agreed. We have multiple guns without mounted lights, but next to our bed every night is my Saiga 12 gauge with a mounted light, my Glock 21 and my wife’s PPX with a mounted lights. Her pump shotgun also has a mounted light.

      We both have pistols without lights and handheld flashlights handy, but it is difficult in the extreme to handle a long gun and effectively use a handheld light.

  7. What the hell, after I watched the first video about flashlights i went back to this story and more videos poped up and the first one I clicked on was some dude going to a massage joint picking out a “therapist” and getting a “massage”. The movie ended when she was working him up to a happy ending. I was looking for a good light but got to see a happy ending. Haha

  8. I use high gloss safety red paint on my front sites of my Springfield 1911A1 45APC and high gloss white on the rear site for contrast. This has been working for me for many years when a flashlight is not available..SureFire 6PX Tactical Lights is the light I use for lamination when I require additional lighting over the advantage of my painted sites..

  9. Just a note on flashlight choice. I personally use a Coast P7 200 lumin. Why I prefer this light in one word….batteries. I do understand the benefits of the battery Surefire uses but see no need at all in my normal use. Don’t do much training due to handicap that does no allow me to move very much….

    1. @Paul

      Coast makes an excellent series of flashlights. I always have a Coast mini-light in one of the pockets of my mag carrier. Excellent value for the price, and you can walk into Lowe’s and buy one.

    2. The best part of the Coast flashlite is the batteries it uses: AAA, easy to find and inexpensive. The only reason I don’t like the Surefire flashlights.

    3. They are also reliable. I have never had a Coast fail when i needed it, which is more than i can say for some of the fancy “tactical” lights.

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