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Concealed Carry with light attached

Posted by Rob Longenecker on December 7th, 2007

Hi all,

I’d love to hear your arguments for and against carrying a concealed weapon with a light attached. I think of a concealed handgun as a reactive, self-defense weapon most often used in situations that last a few seconds. Having a light on your gun seems to indicate an entirely different purpose. Educate me.

I really want some feedback on this please.



11 Responses to “Concealed Carry with light attached”

  1. Joe Allen Says:

    For me, I have dismissed the idea of a weapon mounted light on a CCW piece for a number of reasons:

    • There are no concealable holsters that I know of for a pistol with an attached light. Plenty of duty holsters yes, but no IWB that I’ve ever seen. Even if there were, the added bulk of the light would seem to cause a little more trouble concealing, and slow the draw down a bit.

    • Since I spend a large portion of the dark hours at home and asleep, the likelihood it that if I need to use my gun to defend myself it will be in broad daylight. Not 100%, but statistically speaking it’s more likely.

    • A weapon mounted light violates one of the cardinal rules of gun safety, and for a civilian, I don’t believe it’s benefits outweight that safety consideration. Consider Rule Two “Never point the muzzle at anything you don’t intend to shoot”, and Rule Four “Always be sure of your target and what’s beyond it”. With a weapon mounted light, you can’t identify or verify your target until you have the gun trained on them. For a soldier or cop this might be acceptable behaviour, they have completely different rules of engagement. In my mind, however, it exposes me to far more liability than I’m willing to accept. This is also why I practice a combination of FBI and Harries technique with a light instead of the more modern and practical Surefire/Rodgers technique.

    • If your adversarys are armed, that bright light is a handy spot to aim for. With a handheld light, you can hold it high and away from the body if need be.

    I do think that in some cases a rail mounted light would be appropriate for a home defense weapon, and I’ve considered getting one. In my case, since I live alone, I can be pretty sure that anyone in my house in the middle of the night is a legitimate target.

    This is by no means absolute gospel, it’s just the culmination of the thought process as I decided what I would carry.


  2. Rob Longenecker Says:

    I can’t argue with your logic. Why then, do I get requests for IWB’s to hold pistols with lights attached? What’s the attraction?

  3. Joe Allen Says:

    My only guess is lack of actual experience. About a year or so ago, I changed from an Officer’s 1911 to a full size for EDC, and that extra inch and a half is a noticable hindrance on the draw – even with the skinny 1911 slide. I can’t imagine stuffing a big ‘ol fat Glock in there with an even wider light housing on it, and then trying to jerk it out of my britches even remotely gracefully!

    While waiting on my first permit to arrive, I did a ton of research on the web and determined the type of holster that would work best for me: tucked, straight drop, low ride and position around 2 or 3 o’clock.

    That idea didn’t long survive contact with reality. It wasn’t but a few days before I naturally settled in to how I carry now: 20° of cant, as high as I can get it stable and all the way ’round back at about ten after five. I still like having the option of tuckability in a holster, but I very seldom use it.

    And now… time for an unsolicited endorsement: It’s a good thing for me my first holster was a Tucker Coverup. Change holes on the clip, tilt it back, and it’s good to go. I didn’t end up with a drawer full of holsters to get from point A to point B. I still carry in that holster to this day.


  4. Joe Allen Says:

    Can you guys make me an IWB for this pistol:


    I’ve been using a SmartCarry and it’s just not working out.


  5. Matt W Says:

    Put a serration on the blade and it will work for you. lol

    Mounted lights on guns. Impractable for inside the pants carry. If you do decide to have a mountable light then take it off and put it in a pocket or use the slide on holsters.

    Uses of a mounted light for the civilian: 1.The night stand gun. 2.clearing your house. It frees up a hand to open doors. (call the police and stay out if you know someone is inside)

  6. Dax Says:

    While I do agree with the above points I do see if a few benefits from carrying with a light attached. I did carry for about six months this way. And the main reason I stopped was not because of the light. It was because of holster choice. The only IWB holster I could find was all kydex and took 12 weeks to get. It was a high quality holster, but I did not care for the all kydex design.

    Also, I think this is obvious, but I want to state it just to be sure. Your weapon light should never be your only light. I always carry a flashlight on my belt and NEVER used my weapon light as just a flashlight.

    Knowing that the majority of armed encounters happen in much less then ideal lighting conditions (as a whole) I still think it is advantageous to have the option of pulling your weapon an illuminating your target in one motion. And not having to fumble with a separate light. I agree that chances are if you are pulling your weapon you will already be behind the curve and need to shoot, however what’s wrong with having the option? What if your attacker is still 20 to 25 feet away and has a blunt weapon or knife? Would it not be a benefit to be able to pull your weapon and light him up and command him to stop? I know that is unlikely, but so is getting in an armed encounter is the first place.

    As long as you have done your research, and have received some training it its use (which I have) I see the attached weapon light as a good thing. Just another tool at your disposal if needed. Not to mention the fringe benefit of having a few extra ounces of weight at the end of the gun to keep muzzle flip down, even if you never turn it on.

    Now do these benefits outweigh the hassle of the extra bulk? I guess that’s for each person to decide. I for one would consider carrying with a light again if I could find a holster with the right design that would allow me to.

    Also as I side note I will be entering law enforcement later next year (in POST training now) and for the moment at least I plan on carrying my duty weapon with a light. It would be very nice to be able take my duty weapon and carry it concealed off duty without removing the light.

  7. Rob Longenecker Says:

    “Just another tool at your disposal if needed.”
    The firearms accessory industry depends upon that thought.

  8. Dax Says:

    “The firearms accessory industry depends upon that thought.”

    Very true. But that does not automatically mean the accessory in question has no merit, does it?

    I do my best to stick to the KISS plan (Keep It Simple Stupid). And I think a carry gun with a red dot scope, laser, weapon light, and built in GPS system 🙂 is just as silly as it sounds.

    However I do think a weapon light has more merit then just a “tacti-cool” accessory.

    Just my opinion.

  9. Don DeBusk Says:

    Wow, is this ever a hot topic throughout the training industry, as well as the gun forums. You’ve opened THE can’o worms here, my friend.

    I have long said, that lasers and weapon mounted lights are essential tools for LE and Military. Many times, agency operatives are on the “offensive”; sweeping and clearing hostiles from buildings, or otherwise confined and segregated areas. Weapon lights are necessary tools, deployed prior to, or shortly after entry; sometimes in bursts, sometimes constant.

    Lasers have their place also. They can assist the operative in aquiring a constant POA on a reluctant, or sporadic target. Studies have also shown them to offer a tremendous psychological advantage; the, “I’ve been HAD,” effect.

    For citizens, I have always been of a contrary mind. As stated above, a weapon mounted light, in a defensive situation, makes for a great target. If you consider that most home, or business invasions, will involve a shotgun on the part of the assailant, consider the mentality of the perp, who will not have his shotgun on safe and is already pretty nervous. He will have his finger in the trigger guard and above all, doesn’t want to get discovered, let alone, shot. He sees a light. He unloads in it’s direction in a nano second. Good guy? At least hit, if not taken out of the fight completely.

    In the case of lasers, things don’t appear to be any better. A laser takes a lot more time to aquire a POA on a target. As a citizen in a lethal force scenario, you have about .06 sec to get your weapon to low guard and be prepared to engage a threat with two shots. At what point during that six tenths of a second are you going to turn on your laser, find the dot at distance and align it POA on your threat? Answer. It doesn’t matter, you’ve already been shot.

    Things get worse when there is a hostage involved. It takes less time for a knife blade to be plunged into a loved one, or a shot discharged, than it does to turn on your laser.

    To be clear, you have to find the dot, AT DISTANCE, and align it on the target.

    All this said, if you really want to discover how IDPA is a game and not real life, attend a night match. This is where the flashy gizmos really shine for citizens. You cannot be even remotely competive with hand held media. And, the laser is a great addition to the equation.

    I think this is a double edged sword for Tucker Gunleather. Since you make a goodly number of LE rigs, there may be a demand for holsters for railed guns and weapon mounted flashlights. However, at least IMO, a citizen has no business even contemplating such a thing.

  10. Bruce Gibson Says:

    “However, at least IMO, a citizen has no business even contemplating such a thing.”

    I agree with Don on this one. It’s real easy to find yourself packing far more “toys” than necessary for any perceived real-world possibilities.

  11. Tom Caudle Says:

    I have to disagree with Don concerning the use of laser sights. I have a crimson laser sight on my Smith & Wesson M&P. This laser comes on as I draw the weapon. Finding the POA is no more difficult than finding the front sight with the barrel on target. This is the gun I carry in my “The Answer” every evening I am out of the house.

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