Pros and Cons: Weapon-Mounted Lights For Law Enforcement Applications

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In this informational guide, we are going to cover the pros and cons for weapon mounted lights for law enforcement applications.

Putting on the uniform and wearing the badge to work every day is a danger. While it is a danger that eventually quiets in your brain a little, it is still there, and never goes away. Being a police officer comes with the dangers.

The opportunity to help people and to catch the bad guys comes with a definite risk.

It is for this reason that the gear that police choose to carry with them on their duty belt and outer vest carriers are top-notch. When it comes to weapon-mounted lights, they pack a punch. Some officers prefer them, and some are slightly hesitant. When it comes to duty gear, police are picky, and understandably so.


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Pros

Weapon-mounted lights sit on the rail of the weapon, which means that they stay out of the way. Unless you are looking for it, you do not see it if you are looking through your sights.

In situations in which a police officer must have their weapon drawn and it is dark, weapon-mounted lights provide that brightness without the officer having to take their hand off of the gun or their eyes off of what they are looking at (or trying to look at).

Most weapon-mounted lights offer ambidextrous controls, meaning that bother right-handed and left-handed shooters are able to easily manipulate the light. They provide a sense of reliability and are of a compact size and weight.

A weapon-mounted light also confirms that what an officer thinks they are looking at actually is what they are looking at. This is an important aspect of police work. Officers must be sure that what they shoot is what they are intending to shoot.

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Cons

On the contrary, weapon-mounted lights do slightly alter the shape of your weapon. Because of this, that weapon will not fit into a regular holster.

Officers will then need to outsource to find a holster that accommodates the rail-mounted tac light on their firearm. For some, this can prove to be a minor inconvenience.

It is important to note that due to the fact that weapon-mounted tac lights will inevitably add some weight to the barrel of your gun, this can affect one’s shot.

Some officers will have to make adjustments to compensate for a little bit of a “dip” in their shot due to the extra weight. While this is something that can be fixed and corrected with training, it can be a bit of a hassle to work through.

A large question that is raised in regards to having a weapon-mounted light is that if the purpose of the light is to provide visibility in the direction your gun is pointed.

Many officers state that they should never have their weapon pointed in a direction unless it is a threat.

In some cases, while using the tac light, a weapon may be pointed at an innocent person by accident until it is discovered with the light. This is something that will fall back on the training of that officer to ensure that discerning skills are practiced and applied.

Want To Buy One?

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Please check out: best pistol weapon lights buyer’s guide

Plenty of options to choose from that attach directly to the rail of your handgun.


Common FAQs

Is Viridian X5L Gen 3 With the Camera Practical for Law Enforcement?

Is a weapon light featuring a auto-on camera practical?

As a police officer, my answer is yes. Far too often, camera views from bodycam footage become obstructed by the officer’s weapons or hands.

With a weapon-mounted camera and light, this allows an angle in the perspective of where the weapon is pointed. Especially under scrutiny, this is a plausible thing to have.

This is practical and can even be used for shooting practice.

Are Weapon-mounted lights practical for use for concealed carry or home defense?

In the event that something sends you scrambling for you firearm, especially in the dead of the night, if you are trained to know how to quickly turn that light on, and if you keep your finger OFF of the trigger until you intend to shoot, having a light mounted on the rail of your weapon would be a good option to allow for maximum visibility.

In heated situations, accidents do happen as emotions run high. It is important to be sure of what or who something or someone is BEFORE you shoot.

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.