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        INFORCE Blog

        How to Aim Your Shotgun with a Flashlight

        How to Aim Your Shotgun with a Flashlight

        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.

        Kubotan vs. Tactical Light: How to Use Your Flashlight for Self Defense

        Kubotan vs. Tactical Light: How to Use Your Flashlight for Self Defense

        The modern tactical flashlight, a five-inch-long tube of rubber and glass-reinforced nylon, is very similar to the kubotan, an unassuming stick of similar length made of wood or aluminum built for self-defense. However, if you had to choose between the flashlight and the kubotan, the flashlight is the infinitely more useful option. 

        Not only is using a kubotan difficult but using it without training could also get you into legal trouble. In a court of law, you may have to prove that you have been trained in the weapon you used to defend yourself to justify its use. A self-defense case in court will swing in your assailant’s favor if it can be proved that you used excessive force. 

        Despite its size, the kubotan should not be treated as a gimmick weapon. In 2018, an Air China flight was hijacked by a man who threatened a flight attendant with a fountain pen. This lone terrorist was able to force the plane to land simply by pressing the fountain pen to the flight attendant’s jugular, and 90 Chinese paramilitary troops had to be dispatched to capture him. 

        This is one man with a pen: a short stick with a pointy end, just like a kubotan. 

        A well trained kubotan user can perform takedowns or even use the little stick as a restraint. This, however, requires years of training and constant practice, time that many average citizens do not have.

        Grappling with a kubotan


        A flashlight is a far simpler self-defense tool. If a threat is approaching you with malicious intent, shining a high-powered flashlight directly in your assailant’s eyes sometimes works just as well as pepper spray. 

        Pepper spray may be more intense than a flashlight, but it has shorter range and can still potentially blind your assailant long enough for you to escape. You need a 300-lumen light in broad daylight to cause temporary flash blindness, while only 100 is needed at night. At full power, an INFORCE TFx boasts 700 lumens of power. 

        To use it effectively against an aggressive opponent, simply shine a steady beam of light at your opponent’s face from a distance as he’s coming towards you and “step off the X,” moving either left or right out of your opponent’s way. It doesn’t matter if he shields his eyes or if he still keeps coming at you. He’ll be charging blindly in a straight line. Any horizontal movement you make gets you far enough out of his reach for you to make a getaway. 

        In police academies, 21 feet is known as the danger zone. If an assailant with a knife can get within 21 feet of an officer with a holstered firearm, it’s generally assumed that the man with a knife will be able to stab the officer before his firearm can be drawn, aimed, and fired. The same rule should be applied to a flashlight. If your tactical flashlight of choice is normally either tucked away in your pant pocket or stashed in a purse, you may want to consider keeping it drawn and ready whenever you enter an area like a dark parking lot or when you walk your dog at night. 

        If you remember nothing else, remember this: your objective is to get away from your assailant, not to destroy him. The flashlight can be used as a weapon but should only be done so as a last resort, and only with the appropriate training. 

        Springfield Operator 1911s - Light Ready and So Much More

        Springfield Operator 1911s - Light Ready and So Much More

        Title image by Michael Bordon, After Action AZ Photography via an article by Michael Mills.


        The M1911 is a timeless piece of American ingenuity and engineering. The design of this semi-automatic pistol, which predates even the iconic M1 Garand by a couple of decades, has been proven to be reliable, accurate, and ergonomic. The same pistol wielded by the US Marines during the Iraq War would be completely familiar to the blue-shirted American troops in the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century.

        The functional, efficient design of the classic M1911 has remained unchanged until now. Springfield Armory, itself immersed in American tradition, has added a few bells and whistles to the M1911 to bring this beloved handgun into the modern era.

        The Operator™ 1911 maintains the classic functionality of its World War-era predecessor with the same dependable single-action firing mechanism while featuring several practical and ergonomic add-ons that enhance how the Operator™ feels and shoots.

        G10 grips from the renowned manufacturer VZ give the Operator™ an aggressive, stippled surface as well as a groove that conforms to the natural placement of the thumb which helps shooters lock their hands to the gun. These grips are made of an extremely durable composite of glass cloth and epoxy resin, highly resistant to wear and tear and built for rugged environments.

        Springfield did far more than upgrade the M1911’s aesthetics. The Operator™ now features an ambidextrous safety, a feature left-handed shooters have been clamoring about for decades. It also features a stainless-steel forged match-grade 5” barrel and a 4.5lb trigger ensuring the smooth, responsive trigger break 1911s are known for as well as shots with pinpoint accuracy.

        Image: Michael Bordon, After Action AZ Photography

        What truly sets this apart from other 1911s though is the addition of an accessory rail. Previously, the 1911 platform was infamous for being difficult to accessorize. While the Recover Tactical Rail was a fine stop-gap solution, the Operator™ and its integrated rail gives shooters the ability to mount lasers and tactical lights without sacrificing the 1911’s weight or sleek profile with a larger grip.

        Pistol-mounted lights such as the INFORCE WILD1 and WILD2 fit like gloves on the Operator’s™ accessory rail. With its powerful 25,000 candela beam and 1,000 Lumen output, the WILD2 functions as a powerful flashlight or as a low-light aiming device. Perfect for low-light shooting in the dark rooms and ideal for home defense, the Operator™ and INFORCE WILD series of lights are a match made in heaven.

        With options for those who favor either accuracy or power, the Operator™ is available in both 9mm and .45 ACP and comes with a pair of 9+1 or 8+1 magazines respectively.

        With its sleek style, performance-grade parts and modularity, the Operator™ is the 1911 of the future. Combined with the INFORCE WILD series for unparalleled illumination, this pistol-light combo is a must for any discerning home defense or tactical shooter who favors the ease of use and smooth trigger action of the 1911 platform.

        A Beginner’s Guide to Tactical Lights

        A Beginner’s Guide to Tactical Lights

        Here at INFORCE, we have talked extensively about the advantages of tactical flashlights. They’re great for quick target acquisition, low-light visibility, and for distracting opponents. However, there are some nuances to consider when buying and using tactical lights for the first time.

        While weapon-mounted flashlights like the INFORCE WML are excellent for fighting with shotguns and rifles, they do not always provide a perfectly round beam like one would expect with a handheld light or a pistol-mounted light.

        This is because pistol-mounted lights and handhelds almost always have the head of a flashlight either clear or flush with the muzzle of the weapon. This is rarely the case with a rifle-mounted light. If you’ve never used one before, you should be aware of the silhouette caused by mounting a light on your rifle’s picatinny rail. Depending on the length of your barrel and where your flashlight is mounted, your beam will have some kind of distortion. The more “gun” there is forward of your beam, the more shadow you will have. Knowing this, it’s best to mount your flashlight as close to the tip of your weapon as possible.

        This shadow of your barrel can be used as a reference point for your point of impact. It’s good to train on a low light range to determine where exactly that point would be. If you memorize that sweet spot, you can fire from the hip at short ranges with your light instead of a red dot, which would be especially useful since low light fights indoors are fought at close range anyway.

        It’s also great to train in the darkness since it could lead to potential setbacks or advantages unique to your own weapon light setup. For example, in my own setup, I mounted my weapon light on the right side of my rifle, illuminating the iron sights for a close-range kill. Some first-time users might realize that using a tactical flashlight as a grip might not be a good idea since they tend to heat up rather quickly.

        In addition to your light, there may be other attachments on your rifle like optics, bipods, slings, canted mounts and lasers. Of these attachments, the sling might be the most problematic. Picture this: You heard something in the dark and you grab your rifle from its rack. You know that if you turn on your light prematurely, you might reveal your own position. You know the layout of your own home, so you creep out into the hallway where you heard the sound, and then you turn on your rifle and see nothing but a faint white ring where your flashlight head should be.

        You realize that in your haste to arm yourself and respond to a potential threat, your sling has wrapped around your flashlight. Not only are you still blind but whoever is in the room can see the ring illuminating you.

        The solution to this problem is simple: use a one-point sling. This modern design is unobstructive and allows for quick transitions between your rifle and sidearm, especially valuable for competition shooters and law enforcement professionals.

        Firing your weapon from behind cover with a flashlight might prove to be another challenge. A well-trained shooter will know that the less exposed you are, the less chance the enemy will have of hitting you. This is common sense. Knowing this, shooters who engage from behind cover only expose the muzzles of their rifles and not much else. When most of this training is done in the daylight, there is a tendency to forget the flashlight. If only the muzzle of a rifle is exposed from behind cover, then the flashlight’s beam is still hitting your cover and shining right back at you. This is especially problematic when taking cover behind cylindrical objects such as columns one sees in parking lots. When using a rifle-mounted light, it’s best to extend your barrel further than normal to accommodate your attachment. Also, it would be good to remember that right-mounted lights are at a disadvantage when leaning out of cover on the left, while the opposite is true for lights mounted on the left.

        When using a pistol with a handheld light, the FBI technique is best used for shooting from behind cover. Not only does it direct threats to a point of light far away from your own body, but the light will be clear of any obstructions and shadows, giving you a clear line of sight.

        For more information on tactical flashlights, consider reading about the practical uses of flashlights for self-defense.

        The Operation Nimrod MP5 and the first Weapon Mounted Light

        The Operation Nimrod MP5 and the first Weapon Mounted Light

        On April 30, 1980, at 11:25am, six Arab-Iranian terrorists broke into the Iranian Embassy at 16 Princes Gate in London and took 26 Iranian Embassy employees hostage. The terrorists demanded the release of 91 prisoners being held by Iran in their home region of Khuzestan. If their demands were not met by the afternoon of May 1st, they threatened to blow up the embassy and everyone inside it.

        Not many governments at the time had a dedicated counter-terrorist force, but the British government was an exception, and they responded by sending in the venerable Special Air Service. The pride of the British Army, this black op unit specializes in covert reconnaissance, hostage rescue, and unconventional warfare.

        SAS operators were divided into two teams: Red and Blue. While Blue Team breached the ground floor of the building, Red Team would abseil from the roof, and it was important that both teams would enter the building at the same time so the terrorists wouldn’t have time to respond. Speed and aggression were essential components of SAS doctrine. One of the unit’s founders, Lt. Col. Paddy Mayne, said “When you enter a room full of armed men, shoot the first person who makes a move, hostile or otherwise. He has started to think and is therefore dangerous.”

        While this sort of “guns blazing” approach to room clearing is no longer considered popular (or sane) in modern tactical shooting, it might help explain SAS’s interesting choice of gear. In the 1980s, weapon modifications such as red dot optics and weapon mounted flashlights were barely considered by conventional armies. SAS was, for the most part, trained to fight in enclosed spaces in the dark, and their weapons highlighted their mission.

        Unlike the rest of the British Army, which at the time was using the L1A1 SLR service rifle, SAS utilized the MP5 submachine gun for its size and accuracy. Specifically modified for low light operations, SAS modified its MP5s to include a top-mounted flashlight, which conveniently doubled as an aiming device.

        SAS Operator with weapon mounted light

        Notice how the flashlight sits in place of an optic on the submachine gun’s mount. This might seem counterintuitive at first, but there is, in fact, a method behind the madness. SAS operators were mostly trained to shoot with gas masks, and utilizing the iron sights on any weapon while wearing a mask is far from optimal. Since there were no truly convenient red dots or reflex scopes at the time, SAS commandos would use the variable beam focus on their lights to double as both a light source as well as an aiming reference point. On these old “Laser Products” flashlights, the adjustable bezel could adjust the throw on the beam, making it suitable for either a wide area or a small, focused spot depending on the situation. This made it easier for SAS operators to shoot with reasonable accuracy from the hip while also maintaining spatial awareness, which was already difficult due to their gas masks.

        The tactics and equipment used by the Special Air Service remain relevant in a modern home defense scenario. In a situation such as a home invasion, a homeowner will most likely be forced to engage threats in the dark and will have to maintain situational awareness while using his flashlight. With an Inforce WML and its 10,000 Candelas of beam intensity, a shooter is guaranteed to get a bright, solid illuminated area that can be used as a point of aim. In close quarters combat, pinpoint accuracy is not as important as it is when hunting or precision marksmanship, and if a shooter trains enough with his weapon and familiarizes himself with his shot placement when using the WML as an aiming point, shooting from the hip becomes a viable tactic for close quarters engagements.

        For those who use night vision, the WML White/IR comes equipped with an invisible infrared beam perfect for illuminating pitch black areas while also providing the same targeting benefits as its white light brother. Aiming with a night vision device over one eye, especially in the dark, is difficult and awkward and the WML White/IR offers a solution.

        The hostage crisis at the Iranian Embassy lasted for 6 days, but it took SAS just 17 minutes to take out the terrorists and secure the hostages. Suffering only one injury during the assault, the Iranian Embassy hostage crisis remains one of the most stellar examples for a well-conducted counterterrorist operation in the world today.



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