As always, Massad Ayoob has some great thoughts about lighting on weapons. His article in backwoodshome is well worth the read:
My old friend (and publisher) Dave Duffy suggested my topic for this month in Backwoods Home. He had a bit of an epiphany in a critter eradication situation.
Dave writes, “A few weeks ago I had to shoot a skunk in the chicken house, but the old long-barreled Sears semi-auto proved unwieldy as I tried to take aim at him.
“Since then I attended a preparedness show in Utah where a gun seller was displaying a short-barreled Remington 870 with extended magazine and high quality LED light toward the front. It would have been perfect for the situation above. (I’ve had to shoot skunks and rats in the chicken house on at least a half dozen occasions.) It also looked way cool! You operated the LED light with your left thumb. He was charging about $1500 for it but it was all high quality. I’m thinking of buying one.
“It occurred to me that this shotgun would double nicely as a home protection gun. I’ve used my old Sears shotgun in “practical” situations more than any gun in my home, even though it’s the least expensive of any firearm I own.”
There’s a lot to be said for a maneuverable firearm that has a light attached. (In police work, we’ve come to call it “white light,” to distinguish it from laser sights and from hand-held flashlights.)
When the SureFire company figured out how to attach them to pistols, LAPD SWAT quickly glommed onto them for their .45 caliber semiautomatic sidearms, starting a trend nationwide. The next cops to go with light-mounted guns were K-9 officers. During a dangerous manhunt in the woods, backyards, or alleys, the K-9 cops only had two hands with which to do three jobs: keep hold of the dog’s lead, hold a gun, and hold a light. Attaching the light to the gun was a perfect fit for their mission.
The next step in development was smaller lights, sometimes combined with laser sights, which quickly slid on and off a rail that was integral to the gun. Heckler and Koch started the trend in the early 1990s with their USP (Universal Service Pistol), whose polymer frame was molded to take a proprietary quick on/quick off light unit. This soon gave way to the universal-fit Picatinny Rail, now available for military style rifles, standard on modern police service pistols, and even available on some shotguns. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the light mounted on a soldier’s weapon can mean the difference between life and death.
And, as my friend Dave has noted, this concept has huge potential in routine rural living applications.
SureFire light system replaces “slide handle” on Remington 870 shotgun.
The backwoods gun & light
When you have to shoot a critter in the dark on your rural property, a light attached to the gun can be a huge help. Let’s start by looking at the rationale of the concept.
Continue reading here: The light at the end of the gun by Massad Ayoob.