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        INFORCE Blog

        The Tactics and Techniques of Weapon Mounted Flashlights

        The Tactics and Techniques of Weapon Mounted Flashlights

        Weapon-mounted flashlights have made significant strides since the days when individuals held their pistols with one hand and clunky, unwieldy baton-flashlights in their off hand. Nowadays, there exist pistol-mounted lights, rifle-mounted lights, and helmet-mounted lights, all of which are exponentially brighter than their predecessors from as recently as the 1990s. Despite these technological advancements, there remain potential pitfalls for shooters employing weapon-mounted lights that could hinder their effectiveness.

        For instance, a two-point sling is incompatible with an underbarrel flashlight due to the risk of the strap accidentally wrapping around the flashlight's bulb. This could cause the strap to rebound towards the shooter, potentially blinding them and revealing their position to adversaries in the room. When considering rifle platforms with a sling, the optimal placement for your light would be on the 9 o'clock rail, assuming that the front portion of your sling is affixed to the lower part of your handguard.

        The INFORCE WML, for instance, can be positioned at the 9 o'clock location due to the convenience it offers in activating its non-slip thumb switch. This configuration enables quicker transitions between the flashlight's momentary, constant, and strobe modes without compromising your grip.

        Conversely, for a one-point tactical sling, a 6 o'clock mounted flashlight is feasible, especially for those employing side-mounted lasers. The 6 o'clock mount also offers an advantage when firing from behind low cover. By utilizing your bottom-mounted flashlight as a support, you not only retain control over the light and stabilize your rifle, but you also present potential assailants with a deceptive target. Generally, an individual temporarily blinded by a bright light in darkness will assume that whatever lies beneath the light represents the "center mass" and may fire at the protective cover you are concealed behind, particularly if they are aiming low.

        Nonetheless, caution must be exercised to prevent the light from striking the rear side of your cover, leading to a situation analogous to a flashlight entangled by a two-point sling. The beam may ricochet back, causing night blindness. To mitigate this, it is advisable to keep your flashlight off when not actively shooting and to only activate it when you are certain it is safely positioned on cover.

        Personally, I prefer mounting my light on the side of my weapon. I have affixed my weapon light to a bolt-action rifle equipped with iron sights. Activating the light not only illuminates the area in front of me but also enhances visibility of my front sight post, facilitating aiming in low-light environments due to the contrast with the dark notches of my rear sights.

        For handheld lights, the most versatile technique, which eliminates the risk of bouncing the beam off a surface, is the FBI technique. This involves holding the light in your off hand at a distance from your body, creating a decoy target for potential assailants. When peering around cover, this technique is easier to control as you are acutely aware of the positioning of your hand relative to your body.

        The evolution of weapon-mounted flashlights has revolutionized the tactical landscape, offering enhanced visibility and target identification in low-light scenarios. While technological advancements have brought us versatile mounting options and intuitive controls, it is crucial for users to tailor their approach to their specific equipment and tactical circumstances. By carefully considering factors such as sling type, mounting position, and engagement strategies, shooters can harness the full potential of weapon-mounted lights while minimizing the risk of self-sabotage. As the realm of firearm accessories continues to evolve, a well-informed approach to employing these tools ensures that those who rely on them remain safer and more effective in the face of adversity.

        The Importance of Beam Intensity in Tactical Flashlights

        The Importance of Beam Intensity in Tactical Flashlights

        Tactical flashlights are essential tools for information gathering, navigation, identification, control, and communication in low-light environments. While lumens have traditionally been the primary focus for flashlight performance, factors like candelas, hotspot, and light color significantly impact the effectiveness of a tactical flashlight in critical situations.

        Until recently, a flashlight's quality was often determined by its lumen output, with a 1000-lumen flashlight being considered high-quality for tactical purposes. However, the emphasis has shifted towards beam intensity and candela ratings, as they play a crucial role in providing efficient and quiet operations in low-light scenarios.

        While other flashlight companies produce high lumen flashlights with a lot of light flood, INFORCE focuses on delivering the best beam intensity in its class, making their flashlights ideal for specific tactical situations such as self-defense. An INFORCE light can function as a nonlethal deterrent, since its 10,000 candela beam intensity can cause flash blindness in either low-light or even daytime conditions.

        When used tactically in low-light situations, such as searching and navigating through buildings, speed, efficiency, and stealth are vital. Clearing a building meticulously with an attached flashlight can be time-consuming, but it is crucial for safety. However, the brightness of a flashlight starts to diminish the moment it is activated, making it essential to conserve battery life. Using a tactical flashlight's momentary mode to briefly flash an area helps avoid providing an easy target to potential opponents. Moreover, being cautious while approaching dark areas with a flashlight is essential to prevent alerting potential threats to your presence.

        The size of your flood is determined by your flashlight’s lumen count. High lumens determine a larger area of flood. The brightness of your hotspot, the area at the center of your flashlight beam, is determined by your candela count.

        Although candela ratings and hotspot sizes are significant factors in flashlight performance, flood plays an essential role as well. A balanced flood ensures a broader area is illuminated, allowing for better situational awareness. While a bright hotspot is useful for identifying specific threats, flood ensures you have a comprehensive view of your surroundings.

        In high-stress situations, correctly identifying threats is of utmost importance. Making a knee-jerk reaction and shooting someone without verifying the situation can have severe consequences.

        The INFORCE Wild 2's high candela count ensures that shining its light on a subject inflicts a painful and bright experience, causing them to turn away. This intensity effectively disorients potential threats, buying valuable time for both self-defense and identification. Furthermore, the flashlight's powerful beam leaves the subject unsure whether they are facing an ordinary flashlight or a weapon, adding an element of surprise and advantage in dangerous situations.

        The emphasis on lumens in tactical flashlights has shifted, and shooters who wish to prioritize power should focus on high candela counts and beam intensity in their next tactical flashlights. INFORCE flashlights exemplify the importance of these factors in delivering efficient and effective tactical tools for information gathering and threat identification. Balancing flood and hotspot further enhances the flashlight's usefulness in diverse scenarios, ensuring safety and success in low-light environments. When used responsibly and with proper training, these advanced tactical flashlights can become valuable assets for individuals and professionals alike.

        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.

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