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  • Post last modified:January 4, 2024

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.

Top 8 Weapon Light Tips

Light Not Mounted Securely


Securing any accessory mounted on a firearm is crucial to prevent it from coming loose due to repeated recoil. Basic screw mounts, including those found on some lights, can indeed become problematic over time, even including factory mounts like the Surefire Scout light mount.

The inconvenience of having to repeatedly tighten a light after firing just a few rounds can be frustrating and erode confidence in the reliability of the firearm in real-life situations.

To address this issue, it's advisable to consider mounting lights with Quick-Detach (QD) levers, which allow for quick and easy swapping of lights between guns. Alternatively, opt for mounting systems that can be tightened down with a torque wrench, providing the assurance that the accessory won't come loose, regardless of the recoil.

Poor Light Placement

inforce wmlx gen 2 on cz evo 3 pov

Weapon light placement is indeed a complex topic, and it can become intricate as you explore various weapon systems. Different setups are suited for different applications, so it's essential to remain flexible and adaptable in configuring your setup.

Mounting a light without a clear understanding of why you're doing it can lead to several issues, including:

  • Grip Ergonomics: Poor light placement can affect the ergonomics of your grip on the firearm, making it less comfortable and less effective in handling.
  • Environmental Factors: Depending on where the light is mounted, environmental elements like tall grass or obstacles can block the light beam, reducing its effectiveness.
  • Tactical Flaws: Incorrect light placement can lead to tactical disadvantages, such as compromising your ability to acquire targets quickly or exposing yourself unnecessarily.
  • Backsplash Safety Concerns: Poor light placement may result in backsplash, where light reflects off surfaces and blinds the shooter or gives away their position.
ar15 modlite plhv2

Generally speaking there are only 5 places to mount a light on a rifle

  • 12 O'clock: Mounted at the top rail, this position helps prevent backsplash off of cover and is ambidextrous-friendly.
  • Left and Right: Lights can be mounted on either side of the rifle, providing versatility for left-handed or right-handed shooters.
  • 6 O'clock: Mounting a light at the bottom rail can be useful in some situations, but it requires careful consideration of the potential for heat exposure.
  • Offset Angles: Mounting the light at an angle can offer a compromise between various factors, allowing for effective use without significant drawbacks.

Ultimately, the placement of your light depends on factors like the light's size, other accessories on the rifle, and your specific needs. When configuring a weapon light, it's essential to ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the light's placement blocking my sight picture or hindering my ability to aim accurately?
  • Is the light's placement still protected from extreme heat or environmental conditions?
  • Is the placement of the light well-suited for my intended use and application, whether it's for range fun or serious use in tactical situations?

Mounting A Light On Heat Sensitive Areas

modlite plhv2 on cz evo 3

When mounting a light on a sub-gun or rifle, it's critical to be mindful of the placement to avoid heat-related issues. Both piston-driven and direct-impingement (DI) guns generate significant heat near the front end of the handguard and gas block. Interestingly, this is also one of the most common areas to mount a weapon light and a pressure switch.

While there isn't a foolproof heat-resistant method to mount a light on a handguard, the wisest approach is to avoid placing a light or pressure switch near areas that can become excessively hot. By doing so, you can prevent the risk of burning your hand or causing damage to the light and its components due to extreme heat. Safety and practicality should always be the primary considerations when configuring weapon lights on firearms.

Activation Switches Awkward To Reach Or Operate

modlite plhv2 on scar17

Check out: Best Remote Pressure Switches

Different firearms and handguards may present challenges in finding an optimal location for mounting and operating the pressure switch.

Certain firearms like the IWI Tavor or Kriss Vector, for example, may have limited rail space, lack ambidextrous-friendly features, or have design flaws that make it challenging to find an ideal pressure switch placement. Inconsistent ergonomics and grip changes can indeed lead to training inconsistencies and potentially undesirable habits in real-world scenarios.

One widely recommended solution is to place the pressure switch control on top of the handguard at the 12 o'clock position. This placement minimizes the need for awkward or unconventional grip changes when transitioning between shoulders or clearing corners. It promotes a more consistent and ergonomic approach to using the weapon light's controls.

Picking The Wrong Light

modlite pl350 pov plh5k

Here are some of the potential issues associated with not fully understanding these factors:

  • Recoil Resistance: Inadequately designed lights may not withstand the recoil forces of firearms, resulting in damage or malfunction.
  • Low Light Performance: Lights with insufficient lumen output and candela may struggle to provide adequate illumination in low-light situations, making it challenging to positively identify targets.
  • Combatting Photonic Barriers: Effective light penetration through photonic barriers like fog or ambient light is essential for threat identification.
  • Beam Throw: A light's throw distance, determined by candela, impacts its effectiveness in illuminating targets at various distances.
  • Control Ergonomics: Lights with poorly designed control interfaces can hinder ease of use and rapid activation.
  • Unnecessary Features: Opting for features like infrared (IR) illumination when not needed can add unnecessary complexity and cost.
  • Candela Importance: High lumen output alone may not suffice; high candela ratings are crucial for producing a concentrated, bright hotspot for threat control.
  • Avoid Low Candela: Lights with low candela ratings, typically under 13,000 cd, may struggle to penetrate environmental conditions and may feel weak and ineffective for long gun applications.

Learn More What Is Photonic Barriers

Pressure Switch Cord Snags


It's a common concern for firearm owners that the cord of a weapon light pressure switch can be vulnerable to snagging, cutting, or damage when left exposed. This can potentially lead to operational issues or unintended disconnections from the light or laser, which is far from ideal in a tactical situation.

To address this concern, newer pressure switch designs offer different cord lengths and clips to minimize cord exposure and provide more secure and streamlined solutions.

Additionally, some users are opting for products with integrated activation switches like the Cloud Defensive OWL or Inforce WMLx, which can eliminate the need for an external pressure switch cord, providing a more robust and user-friendly setup for tactical applications.

Casting Rifle Barrel & Muzzle Shadow

  • Shadow Casting: Shadows can obscure the target or potential threats, making it challenging to identify and engage them effectively.
  • Suppressor Shadow: If a suppressor is attached to the firearm, it can cast a larger shadow and block a substantial portion of the light that would otherwise illuminate the target downrange.
  • Exposing Location: Shadows can inadvertently reveal the shooter's location to potential threats, especially when operating in low-light environments where concealment is crucial.

For muzzle brake users

surefire muzzle brake in action

Placing a concussion-proof weapon light, like the Surefire Scout and similar models, at an offset angle is indeed a wise practice to protect the light's internals from the direct blast generated by the firearm. The forceful blast from the muzzle can potentially damage or affect the performance of the light over time. Therefore, offsetting the light helps to mitigate these concerns.

It's also important to avoid mounting the light too close to the muzzle, as this can subject it to unnecessary stress and potential damage. The optimal setup ensures that the light remains effective while minimizing the impact of concussive forces.

To achieve this setup, it's typically straightforward when your long gun's handguard is as long as the barrel. However, if your handguard is shorter, you may need to consider options like acquiring a longer rail handguard or utilizing weapon light mounts that extend forward, such as those offered by Impact Weapon Component (IWC). These extensions help maintain a safe and functional distance between the light and the muzzle, preserving the light's performance and longevity.

For Suppressor users

If you plan on consistently using a suppressor on your firearm, some recommended solutions include:

  • Moving the light forward on the handguard rail as far as possible to minimize the shadow cast by the suppressor.
  • Utilizing aftermarket forward extended light mounts that provide additional length between the light and the suppressor. These mounts can help maintain a proper distance to ensure effective illumination and avoid shadow issues.