5 Handheld Tac Light Techniques [While Holding A Handgun]

In this informational guide, you will learn 5 bad ass handheld tac light techniques with or without a gun in your hand.

Today, in armed citizen and law enforcement tactical situations, the use of a handheld tactical flashlight is still a widely-utilized option.

In police and civilian scenarios that result, ultimately, in drawing a weapon, the individual will usually begin the engagement with simply a flashlight in hand as an investigative tool while the firearm is holstered or concealed.

Others simply do not like the bulk that a weapon-mounted tac light creates, cannot find a holster that correctly accommodates these needs, or simply just prefer to use a handheld tactical flashlight.

Keep learning below:

5 Tactical Light Techniques

There are many varying techniques that you can use. 

By the way, if you don’t have a tactical flashlight yet, you can pick one out of this best EDC flashlight guide on our site.

Harries Flashlight Technique 

An old technique, the Harries Flashlight Technique is from a time when police used big, clunky, Mag-light flashlights. Because these were the flashlights that police used at the time, (now cops use much smaller flashlights), this technique became widely used and well-known. 

For this method, the individual performing the technique holds their firearm in their dominant hand, as they always should. With that person’s other hand, they will hold the flashlight and slide that arm under the shooting hand.

From here, the person performing this presses the backs of both of their hands together. Essentially, the hand holding the flashlight provides support for the shooting hand. This positioning stirs up tension and thus, provides stability for a clean shot. 

Because the shooting hand winds up doing much of the work when it comes to manipulating and controlling one’s firearm, control may be slightly compromised with this technique.

Neck Index Flashlight Technique

For this method, the person handling the firearm will practice one-handed shooting with their dominant hand. This means that the other hand will be holding the flashlight.

With that person’s shooting hand, they will extend their arm all the way outward, locking it in for as much support as possible. The other, non-dominant hand will be brought to the neck, or lower cheek on the face. 

It should be noted that the positioning of the flashlight should not be higher than the very bottom of the cheek to ensure that no peripheral vision is blocked in the process. 

The benefits of this positioning are that it is quick to assume and feels natural. The drawbacks of this positioning are that with the flashlight held this close to the person’s head, the head is highlighted and provides for a target.

For anyone attempting to remain safe, this is not a plausible scenario. Also, this positioning requires one to be fairly comfortable with one-handed shooting. 

Keeping your wrist locked out can help with one-handed shooting, but for some, one-handed shooting can lead to a jammed firearm. 

FBI Flashlight Technique 

This technique is similar to the neck index technique in that one will extend their dominant hand forward with the firearm comfortably in their hand, prepared for one-hand shooting.

The flashlight will be in the other hand, but instead of keeping the tactical flashlight close to one’s face or neck, the shooter will raise the flashlight in such a manner that resembles flexing one’s bicep. (Which way is the beach?)

This motion creates a nice 90-degree angle, getting the flashlight away from one’s head and will not attract shots towards center mass or one’s head. Unfortunately, with this method, one-handed shooting is necessary. 

The Chapman Technique

It is said that the Chapman Technique uses a quasi-sword grip. To achieve this method, your will essentially be holding both the firearm, and flashlight in both hands, outstretched in front of the body.

The firearm, naturally, will be in the dominant hand. With the non-dominant hand, one will wrap their thumb and pointer finger around the light, almost like you are pinching it. 

The remaining fingers on the non-dominant hand will actually wrap around the firearm grip, resembling a standard grip with two hands. The thumb of the dominant hand will provide support to the tactical flashlight as well. 

This method is much more stable than some other methods but can take much longer to assume. Much practice and repetition are necessary to be prepared to use it in real-life scenarios. 

The Ayoob Technique

This method is very similar to the previous. The Ayoob has been around for a while, and like the Harries, was used back in the day when Mag-light flashlights were prevalent and used by police.

Here, however, the non-dominant pointer finger supports the flashlight while wrapping around the grip of the firearm. 

It is said that this method is the quickest to assume, as it feels the most natural. However, depending on the size of the flashlight and the shooter’s hands, it may compromise the grip and accuracy of the shooter. 


Common FAQ

Should I opt for the single-hand or double-hand methods?

This vastly depends on your shooting ability. More so, it is important to determine your level of comfort with one-handed shooting.

If you excel in a quick draw, with a firm, locked out elbow and wrist to prevent jamming of your firearm, you may do better with the one-handed methods. 

Will the size of my flashlight impact my ability to perform these techniques properly?

When it comes to size, the Ayoob and the Harries methods were designed for larger flashlights.

If you enjoy the Mag-light style flashlights and kick it old school, you have an option here for a single-handed or double-handed method.

There are others that will better accommodate smaller tactical flashlights such as the Chapman method. 

What accessories for flashlights are available to improve my tactical flashlight technique?

One particularly useful accessory is the Thyrym Switchback. This device actually will transform your flashlight into a tactical tool.

Just look at this:

Referenced Chris Costa (Features Switchback)

It has many models and essentially will screw into your flashlight to hold it. Then, the device slips onto your finger, like a ring, to allow you to completely use both hands to support and grip your firearm. 

Wrap Up

These 5 handheld tactical light techniques are the most common. You can use them with a handgun with a light attached or without.

Depend on how you train and what type of scenarios you might get into, training is the key. You can training all these technique at the comfort of your home.

Maybe a weapon mounted light will be better, and you would like to get one and try it out.

If so please check out our best handgun weapon light guide for more information.

Related Content: Mistakes and Fixes For Weapon Light Techniques

Kristina Martel

Kristina Martel is a law enforcement officer in South Florida. Writing is a passion and escape for Kristina and as often as she is able to, she unwinds with expression via pen and paper (although usually a laptop). Residing in Loxahatchee, Fl, Kristina and her husband have three dogs, and over 20 chickens. When out of uniform, it is important to reconnect with hobbies and qualities that keep us human. Kristina does love firearms, however, and often shoots in her backyard when not at the police department range.