Last month the Denver Police had two officers negligently discharge their firearms. Whether they were attempting to operate the light is difficult to say, but the bottom line is that firearm went off because the finger was on the trigger and sufficient force was applied to discharge.
It doesn’t get any simpler than that, those were duty settings that involved contact with suspects and pursuits. One can expect a high level of stress involved while pursuing suspects so the difficulty of operating a firearm is compounded.
Now, some will argue that it is a training issue, maybe they are right. Maybe the officers lacked sufficient training to properly employ their light mounted firearms. So, how does this apply to concealed carry. I have seen a trend of folks who want to carry a weapon mounted light concealed. Before folks jump onto this bandwagon I think you need to consider a few things first.
What is the mission of a weapon mounted wight light? Most of the time it is for searching and identifying a threat. But the thing most folks don’t recognize is you are proactive, you are in the hunt mode. Now, in an everyday concealed carry mode is that reasonable to expect someone to switch into hunt mode? Maybe, I can think of a few instances where it might be necessary, but is that the norm or am I stretching.
I think it is far more likely that someone who carries everyday will more than likely be in a reactionary mode, think of countering to an ambush. Do you still need to have positive identification, absolutely. But, most of these encounters will be what we call danger close. Will the white light be necessary to achieve positive identification?
Some will comment the white light is a distraction and I totally agree, but… If you are using it as a distraction then the muzzle is covering what the light is illuminating. You might think or rationalize that it is ok, I have heard only a few good arguments for this idea and I encourage you avoid this practice. I still can remember watching some folks using their weapon mounted lights on their pistols to search for some lost keys on the range. Obviously you don’t want to be that guy, but my point is someone or another the emphasis on muzzle discipline was not enforced or was overlooked.
The other point to consider is can you realistically conceal a pistol with a light attached. I will admit more holsters that can accommodate such configurations have hit the surface and that is a great thing, but concealing it in your waistband calls for a lot of surface area. Something I just don’t have, kind
of short on the real-estate around the waistline.
The aspect to concealing a compact pistol with a weapon light is one that needs careful consideration. Can you “really” conceal the whole package? Some will argue that the light is hidden within the waistband and a non-issue, but when I see folks concealing these configurations they are more of an issue than they think.
Lastly, does carrying a weapon mounted light negate the need to carry a handheld light. Absolutely NOT! For a everyday carry situation I place a much higher premium on a handheld light over a weapon mounted one.
Hopefully, you can pick up on target indicators early, deploy your handheld light right away and possible alter the events in your favor without drawing your pistol. I mean is there anything wrong or illegal with that?