Let’s admit it, we hunters like our gadgets and toys. Whether you’re just learning or a tactical veteran, tactical lights need to be used with proper care.
SO WHAT IS A TACTICAL LIGHT?
A tactical light is a light that you attach to your weapon so that you can light up and identify your target before you pull the trigger. These lights come in many flavors and different sizes. You’ll need to pick the one that works for you. As in choosing a weapon only you know what you really want.
WHY DO I WANT A TACTICAL LIGHT?
There are many reasons to own and use tactical lights, lets look at the reasons.
- Home invasion
- Hunting at night
- Making sure your target is what it is supposed to be
Let’s take a look at these scenarios one by one.
Home Invasion is mostly self explanatory but here’s an example.
There’s a noise in the house and the wife nudges you in the side and says, “Honey, would you please check it out?”. Of course you get out of bed, grab your gun, and go searching with no light. You hear the noise again, can’t identify the noise but it’s definitely coming from the kitchen area. You quietly creep into the kitchen and crouch down waiting for the noise again. The refrigerator door opens, the light comes on and it illuminates your oldest son. You release your finger from the trigger and breath a sigh of relieve thinking to yourself that could have really turned out badly.
Let’s try this again with a tactical light.
You grab your gun with your tactical light attached and proceed down the hallway, you do quick shines in any recessed area’s and move along quickly. Remember when your light is on you are a target as well. You clear the hallway and hear the noise again coming from the kitchen. Crouching at the doorway you listen carefully. You decide to light it up so you can see your target. Light comes on and you see your oldest son approaching the fridge. Nice, that wasn’t a close call at all.
How about using your light while hunting.
Using your tactical light while hunting has several advantages. Watching where you step if in unknown territory and identifying your target in the dark.
You certainly don’t want to shoot your hunting partner by mistake, and you don’t want to step on anything lethal. Just remember every time you turn that light on anything out there or any prey see’s it too.
Making sure your target is what is supposed to be. We have touched on this a little in both the above examples. Bottom line, make sure you know what your shooting before you shoot it. Tactical lights give you the upper hand if you use them properly. Improper use can lead to disaster.
OKAY, WHAT KIND OF TACTICAL LIGHT DO I WANT?
There are so many to choose from it will make your head spin, so keep it simple. Prices range from around 50 bucks up to $800 to $900 depending on what you want in a tactical light. There are lights that will attach to almost any weapon, up to designs specially outfitted for a specific weapon. I would think if you are on a limited budget, the best way to go if you have a lot of weapons would be to equip with a light that fits more than one weapon and get a specific tactical light for your main hunting rifle. For those of you with unlimited resources, I would choose one exactly designed for each and every weapon you own.
GREAT, WHAT MAKES THE CHOICE SO HARD AND WHY ARE SOME TACTICAL LIGHTS SO EXPENSIVE?
First to address the prices.It depends on the quality and brightness of lighting it provides. Whether it has a laser built in, settings on the light itself, if it’s built for a specific weapon or more of a one fits all. Some include kits to make it fit your weapons and some even come with a infrared switch.
Now to look at what makes the choice so hard. Brightness on tactical lights is measured in lumens. It’s a measure of light that determines how bright a light is. I found in my search lumen ratings from 150 to 1000, most being in the lower brightness, 400 and under. For reference a 60 watt bulb in your house puts out about 800 lumens. The cost also rises with lights that have higher power lumen’s. Most use LED lights, make sure yours has that. Tactical lights for weapons come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. This is where it comes down to personal choice and preferences.
IS THERE A DOWNSIDE TO TACTICAL LIGHTS?
The only real downside is using your light improperly. Improper use for a civilian consist of not knowing or remembering that when that light is on whatever your hunting can see you. In a home invasion it could very easily make you the victim. Use it properly, quick burst and keep moving. The last place that was lit is going to be the bad guys target.