The US Concealed Carry Association (USCCA) has a very interesting series on concealed carry readiness called “Into the Fray”. We’ve featured a few of these videos because we felt that they demonstrate key techniques, ideas, and methods that will directly benefit the individual concealed carrier.
In this episode, USCCA editor Kevin McCloskey discusses a few different ways that concealed carriers may use their flashlights.
In the dark, there’s two major methods to use light discipline to a concealed carrier’s advantage:
Spot (“blip”) lighting – This is where you key the flashlight on for a brief moment to orient yourself in your environment and then turn off the flashlight. The flash of light helps you orient while not giving a potential enemy a place to zero on target.
Continuous light – When you find your target, turn the flashlight on and keep it focused on the attacker while you engage. This ensures your aim is precise and on target while giving your attacker the disadvantage.
Major issues brought up in the video: how you hold your flashlight.
There is an FBI method which includes holding the light up and away from the body. This allows you to see your target but ensures your opponent, if aiming towards the light, doesn’t have you in his cross hairs.
Another popular method is cross-arm. This is where you hold the flashlight in your non-dominant hand and overlay your dominant arm in a single-handed grip over top. This provides support to your dominant hand and allows you to keep your muzzle pointed down until your target is confirmed.
Target confirmation is a big deal in a darkened area. Knowing what you’re shooting at is just as important as locating the bad guy.
This is applicable in both home defense as well as everyday concealed carry.
“What if the bad guy shoots at my light?”
This is a very common question which Kevin does an excellent job in addressing. He mentions that some 80% of shots on target miss their mark. While the conditions of those shots may play an important factor, he uses his case to make the argument that it really doesn’t matter how you hold the flashlight so long as you can maintain control of it and your handgun to ensure you can put rounds on target.
Ultimately, we agree on this point.
The flashlight needs to be in a position where it’s useful for you, comfortable for the situation, and effective in helping you navigate and differentiate between friend or foe. Outside of that — and all other factors being equal — there’s no guarantee in a real life situation that the method of you holding your flashlight will have any noticeable effect on your opponent’s shooting.
The most important part is for you to identify and neutralize your opponent. Everything else takes a second place in terms of factoring.
Practice regularly for real life situations you believe you may encounter and definitely practice properly identifying your targets. These are both activities you can do in your home.
Navigating with a flashlight takes time and patience but it ought to be done by anyone seriously interested in defending the life of himself, his family, and his property from bad guys.
Stay safe. Carry concealed.