Simply because the INFORCE WML series of flashlights is advertised for rifles does not mean they cannot be mounted on shotguns. In fact, thanks to a shotgun’s unique ballistics, they offer some advantages that are not as apparent when mounted to rifles.
As you should know, unlike a rifle, a shotgun fires its ammunition in a cone shape instead of launching a single projectile. In the same way, a flashlight beam extends in a cone unlike the single pinpoint dot of a laser. Naturally, this makes a flashlight the perfect targeting aid for a scattergun in the same way a laser is adequate for a pistol or rifle.
The INFORCE WML and WMLx are powerful high-candela picatinny-mountable flashlights with a proven track record boasting superb economics and power. With non-slip switch controls contoured to fit the natural position of a human thumb, activating these lights feels natural on the forend of any long gun, whether rifle or shotgun.
Mounting solutions vary depending on your budget and what kind of weapon you have. For those with MLOK rails on their shotgun pumps, you can do no better than a $20 aluminum rail from Magpul. For those who want a steady point of aim rather than one that shifts with every pump of the weapon, it’s easy to find a barrel-mounted picatinny adapter on Amazon for a very affordable price. For those who insist on going full jungle-fighter, the TFx’s knurled polymer surface allows it to keep secure on the barrel of a firearm kept in place by either tactical tape or plain electric tape. Of course, other mounting options are more secure and ultimately superior, but if you have a lever action shotgun and don’t want to ruin its aesthetic with modern picatinny rails, then that is your prerogative.
One advantage a high-powered LED flashlight has over a laser is its ability to be seen over longer distances. A red laser may travel for about 85 yards, but past a certain point, the red dot becomes so miniscule it becomes impossible to see. The wide beam of a powerful flashlight like the WMLX is so large, however, that it can be detected from much further away, especially at night. In fact, the WML White has a range of 138 yards, more than double the effective range of a shotgun.
On the matter of range, a shotgun’s choke determines its pattern. A shotgun with a cylinder choke, ergo, one without any constriction in the barrel, will have the widest spread and the shortest range, with the average being 25 yards. On a full choked gun, the spread decreases, but the weapon would be effective up to 45-50 yards at maximum, still well within the range of the WML’s beam.
Just as you pattern your shotgun for turkey hunting, it’s important to do the same with your flashlight. Do not expect your shot to land dead center on your flashlight’s beam, since its pattern will land depending on where you mounted your light. A light mounted on the left hand side of the weapon will have a pattern landing slightly to the right, just as a light mounted on the right hand side will have a pattern landing slightly to the left and so on. Doing this can be done even in an indoor range, since the WML is so powerful it can mark a target even in a well-lit room.
In a home defense situation, being aware of your surroundings is crucial to ensure your safety and the safety of others. By using a flashlight as your aiming reference, you can maintain better situational awareness. Aiming from the hip rather than from your shoulder allows you to keep your shotgun at the ready while also illuminating your immediate area. This technique permits you to focus on the light's beam, providing visual cues about potential threats and obstacles without being overly fixated on aligning the shotgun's iron sights.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where you believe there is a chance you might encounter non-hostile targets, utilize the high ready position both for your safety and that of others. The high ready position is a fundamental weapon handling technique that, in this case, complements the use of a flashlight. To execute this technique effectively, hold the shotgun with the barrel elevated at eye level while the buttstock rests in the crook of your arm. By maintaining this position while moving through confined spaces like hallways or rooms, you can avoid "flagging" (pointing the barrel at) unintended targets while keeping your shotgun ready to engage a potential threat. The beam, pointed upwards, reflects off the ceiling to illuminate your surroundings without drawing attention to your exact location. When encountering a threat, you can quickly bring the shotgun to shoulder or hip level to engage the target without excessive movements or adjustments.
When faced with a potential threat, shining a flashlight directly at the assailant's face serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it helps you quickly determine whether the person is armed or poses a threat. The bright light can also momentarily disorient the assailant, creating a temporary advantage for you to assess the situation and respond appropriately. This technique is often referred to as the "flash and assess" method, allowing you to make informed decisions regarding the use of force.
It is essential to practice and train regularly to become proficient with the high ready technique and effectively use a flashlight as an aiming device. Familiarity with these skills will not only increase your speed and accuracy in target engagement but also enhance your overall safety during home defense scenarios. Remember that the use of force should always be a last resort, and the goal is to protect yourself and others while minimizing potential harm to everyone involved.