Choosing the Right Weapon Light
Most people at one time or another wish they had the ability to see at night. We are restrained, as human beings, by the fact that our eyes are only set up to conduct tasks during the day. But life doesn’t always happen in the daylight, and situations arise that have us wishing to the night stars above that we had the piercing vision of an owl. Maybe you’re a police officer, or perhaps you have a working farm and need to protect your animals from predators, or maybe you just want one. All you know is that you need a weapon light to give you the scotopic adaptation you are looking for, and you need it long before the next low-light scenario comes your way. Choosing the right weapon light for the task doesn’t have to be confusing if you know how and when you’re going to use it. Let’s clear the confusion and shine a light on the differences in this important accessory so that you can make a confident choice.
With most accessory purchases, budget comes into consideration, and this is no different when it comes to outfitting a prized possession such as a gun. The price range among weapon lights span anywhere from just around $100 to over $1000, so your ultimate decision may fall on the heftiness of your wallet. That said, you don’t want to skimp on quality and usability as nothing is worse than a cheaply constructed light failing when you need it the most. Online dealers like Omaha Outdoors carry quality weapon lights at reasonable prices so after doing your research and deciding on what type of accessory you need, purchasing online will give you way more bang for your buck.
Gear that has multiple uses in several scenarios are a great investment. If you foresee the need to have a weapon light that will double as a handheld flashlight, there are options such as this out there, and for some, the versatility may be worth the extra cost.
Ease of Use
In a tactical or real-life scenario, switches that are difficult to manipulate will push even the most patient marksman over the edge, and the result might be a weapon light getting tossed in the swamp. Turning the light on and off must flow smoothly to aid in strategic shot placement. It also must be silent, as the last thing you need is an annoying “click” giving away your location. Take this all into consideration when choosing a weapon light for your situational needs.
In real-life use, a weapon light must endure rain, mud, freezing temperatures, and rough handling. A tempered glass lens and anodized finish lend to durability and long service life. Battery contact needs to be ironclad, so look for dual-spring construction that keeps battery contact solid and unmovable.
No amount of duct tape can safely secure the wrong weapon light to a firearm, nor should it. Compatibility to your rail system is imperative, as well as having the right tools to assist in quick installation and removal. When looking for a weapon light, consider where on the gun you plan to mount it. In the field or on the range, side-mounted lights will provide unobstructed use, but when the situation calls for getting around corners, whether it be a building or tree, a light mounted on the top or bottom of the rail won’t get in the way when you are in those tight cover situations.
The three primary light outputs are flood, spot, and adjustable. All accomplish the task of illumination, but in some instances, one may be more useful than the other. Most lights have an adjustable beam which offers the best of both worlds. Also, high output equals less runtime, so if you need to run that light for extended periods, it is best not to choose the high-output blinding weapon light as you would need for self-defense. In general, a light that throws out 1000 lumens is adequate in most situations.
No matter which weapon light you decide on, it is imperative to field test it in full operation at the range. Pistol weapon lights have been known to cause issues with the magazine, and testing the gun using your ammunition will weed out any problems so they can be rectified before a real-life situation occurs. Also, barrel mounted weapon lights can interfere with the action of a semi-automatic shotgun, but this is easily averted by purchasing a light that attaches to the forend or magazine tube.
Choosing the right weapon light boils down to what is right for you, your gun, and the scenarios in which it will be used. Having the night vision of an owl might be too much to wish for, but with a weapon light properly installed on your gun, you will get as close to it as humanly possible.
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