Pretty sure you have seen some bad ass weapon light configurations on the internet, but not all are practical or setup correctly.
In fact, some are straight up ineffective or even pose safety concerns.
Let's take a look at the mistakes and fixes for these common weapon mounted light tactics.
Need A Light? Check Them Out…
Top 8 Weapon Light Tactics [Mistakes & Fixes]
Light Not Mounted Securely
Anything you mount on a gun has to be tighten down so it wouldn't get loose after repeated recoil. Some lights come with the most basic screw mounts that get loose overtime including the factory Surefire Scout light mount.
I don't know about you, but having to re tight the light after every 20 rds is annoying, and it takes away my confidence that I can bring that gun to a real life situation.
The best thing to do is mount a light using QD lever, so you can easily swap lights with other guns quickly, or something that you can tighten down with a torque wrench, so you know it wont get loose no matter what.
Here are some high quality weapon lights that come with dedicated mounting systems, which you can check out here on our site.
Poor Light Placement
Weapon light placement isnt a simple topic, and it can go very deep as you explore various weapon systems. Different light setups for different applications, so be flexible when it comes to altering your setup.
When a user mount a light without any clear intention or understanding the why, it causes
- Grip ergonomics issue
- Environment such as tall grass blocking your light
- Tactical flaws
- Backsplash safety concerns.
There isnt one way that fixes all problems, so to understand where to mount the light and why is important by weighing the pros and cons are for anyone seriously tries to learn about their weapon system
Generally speaking there are only 5 places to mount a light on a rifle
- 12 O'clock – Prevents backsplash off of cover, ambi friendly
- Left & Right –
- 6 O'clock
- Offset angles
Depends on the size of the light and other accessories on the rifle, you have to rearrange things to work for you.
Ask yourself these question the next time you config a weapon light
- Is where you mount the light blocking sight picture?
- Is where you mount the light still protected from heat?
- Is where you mount the light
- Is my light configuration for range fun or setup for actual use?
Mounting A Light On Heat Sensitive Surfaces
When mounting a light on a sub gun or a rifle, it's important to keep the weapon light away from mounting spots that generate heat.
Piston driven system and DI guns generate alot of heat near the front end of the handguard and gas block, and it's also the most common place to mount a weapon light and a pressure switch.
There isnt a heat proof method to mount light on a handguard. However the smartest thing a user can do is not place a light or pressure switch near spots that can burn your hand.
Activation SW Awkward To Reach Or Operate
Check out: Best Remote Pressure Switches
Have you ever mounted a tail cap switch light or placed a pressure switch that just felt awkward and annoying to operate?
Weapon light pressure switch placement is another critical part of your setup that affects your tactical performance.
Generally speaking, guns like the IWI Tavor, Kriss Vector…etc have harder times finding a sweet spot to mount a light and keeping the ergonomics as consistent as much as possible.
Not all guns have this issue, but certain guns have that problems due to
- Limited rail space
- Not ambi friendly
- Bad ergonomics
- Design flaws
Anytime when the shooter has to change ways of gripping the gun, change grip placements, it's causing inconsistency in training, which can lead to bad training scars and bad habbits in the field.
Highly recommend placing the pressure switch control on top of the handguard at 12 o'clock, so when changing shoulders the shooter doesn't have to apply any awkward weird grip when clearing corners.
Picking The Wrong Light
Have you ever just picked a random weapon light based on look without fully understand lumen intensity, candela ratings or beam patterns?
Everyone has been there and done that at one point, and its a great learning process for many people.
This is where learning takes place to make you a more educated gun owner, and also learn what not to do.
- Not recoil proof
- Can't positively identify things in low light
- Can't combat Photonic Barriers effectively
- A weapon light without a good throw
- Using a pistol light on a rifle with less throw
- Getting extra features like IR, which most people absolutely dont need
- A light with horrible control ergonomics
Most people go for high lumen lights without doing their researches, but high candela is also very important that lot of people don't pay attention to when buying their first weapon light.
Don' pick A light with low Candela (under 13K cd)
- Cant penetrate fog or ambient light
- No effective hot spot for threat control
- Bad throw distance
- Can't identify things well in low light
- Even a high lumen light with low candela feels weak & ineffective
Learn More What Is Photonic Barriers & How To Combat It
Don't pick A light with low lumens (Below 200 lm)
- Less effective than whats commerically available today
- Low lumen – Not tactically effective
- Just not overwhelming enough for deterring threats (Once you used a light over 800 or 1500 lumens, you will not go back down to a 120 lumens light)
Please check out:
Pressure Switch Cord Snags
Do you hate the fact that your weapon light pressure switch cord is just hanging around, and it can potentially get snagged, cut or damaged?
Of coures, which is why there are newer pressure switches offering different cord length and clips to minimize the cord exposure.
When someone doesn't tug away the cord, it can be an issue where the cord is hanging too loose on the handguard, and it can get snagged onto things in the environment.
Unplugging from the light or laser isnt want you want in a tactical situation. Many people are shifting to products with integrated activation switch like the Cloud Defensive OWL, Inforce WMLx type of weapon lights.
Prioritize Front Sight Over Weapon Light
Depend on how you have ready setup your light accessories on your favorite long gun.
Most free float handguard rail equipped rifles give shooters the ability to add a front sight based on desire, and most people who likes to mount a weapon light on the 12 o'clock position have to make a decision which accessory to prioritize first.
The point of having a weapon light is so the shooter can positively identify what he is about to engage. If the shooter can't see, then having a iron front sight is useless.
There for we always prioritize the weapon light over front sight.
Casting Rifle Barrel & Muzzle Shadow
A weapon light that casts shadow of the gun isn't that much a big deal in indoor tactical applications as far as shadows are concerned, usually the light casts shadow of the barrel and muzzle depend on where you mount the light.
Reasons why shadows should be avoided in low light:
- Shadow casting
- Suppressor casts larger shadow, and blocks most of the light shooting down range
- Expose a person's location to threats in low light
In order to prevent shadow casting, it's the common practice to place the light flush to the muzzle.
For muzzle brake users
It's highly recommend to place a concussion proof weapon light like the Surefire Scout and many others like it at an offset angle, so the direct blast does not repeatedly beat up your light internals, and also not recommend placing it too close to it to avoid unnecessary beating .
This is very easy to do if your long gun handguard is as long as the barrel, if not you have to get a longer rail handguard or buy weapon light mounts that extend forward such as the Impact Weapon Component mounts.
For Suppressor users
Unfortunately when you have already placed the light flush to the muzzle, adding a suppressor will give you the shadow problem again.
Suppressor casts a large shadow because it's thick, and it can take away a lot of the light projecting down range.
Depend on the size and length of the suppressor, finding a perfect spot where most of your light is shooting down range without spilling on the suppressor is what you need to do ultimately.
We got to be flexible when it comes to tweaking our configurations, which is why we use modular systems to swap parts faster and easier.
If you plan on always have the suppressor on the gun, then the better solution is to:
- Move the light forward on the handguard rail as much as you can
- Use aftermarket forward extended light mount for additional length
As the content creator of badassoptic.com, My background in the firearms industry and shooting sports gives me the experience to recommend tried and true products and keep away subpar ones.