Home Defense At Night


Don’t Walk With Your Light On The Ground

Alright, we all know how dangerous it can be at night so let’s go through some tips on surviving such an encounter.

Now imagine that I was wondering through my house with my gun and flashlight…

Did you see my light coming? Did you see that light was down in the ground? Could you tell by the way that the light was moving on the ground, that I was really in a curious mode, not in an alert defensive mode?

If you’ve gotten up in the middle of the night, and it’s made very clear to you that you need to get a gun, and you’ve decided to take an offensive approach to search through your house for somebody…

Well, walking with your light on the ground, curiously looking around is going to get yourself hurt.

Now, when that light came around the corner, the bad guy that’s lying and wait, he saw that. So, he knew what distance, direction, and by the movement of the light, he knew intent.

All 3 things he used to device an attack plan. And he had time to do it.

So knowing that you’re moving offensively through your house, we need to be a little bit more aggressive and we need to take some different tactics.

Should I Use A Laser?

Lasers. Lasers make your gun look really cool when you’re showing it off to you friends. But, when you’re using that laser in a dynamic situation, what tends to happen is when you press out and activate that laser, you start chasing, much like what a cat does.

So, using a laser is not an end-all. It doesn’t make you instantly accurate. In all actuality, it can make you instantly inaccurate.

The first thing you see when you press out and activate that laser is the laser. You really stop looking at the target. And now you try to manipulate that laser where you get it right over the target. And now I’m ready to fire.

Okay, so if you’re going to put a laser in your gun, first of all, you need to know what it is sighted for. You have to sight in a laser just like you do sights, just like you do a scope. Because at one point that laser and that bullet are going to meet, then they’re going to diverge.

And later on down the road, they’re going to meet one more time. So, that initial meeting point of the laser and the bullet is where you are ranged at.

Now in pulling that laser, again, you’re going to chase it initially. Your hand is going to be moving, and you’re not going to get that.

“I can’t hold it still.” “There! Now I got it.”

So, you’ve got to train with it. If you can train yourself to continue to look at your target, ignore chasing the laser and put the laser over the intended target. Then it can be a useful aid.

But, unless you have the proper amount of training, you put time into that training, you’ll end up being inaccurate because you’ll be chasing the laser.

Lasers are great. I like lasers. But know that they are nothing more than an aid. They do not instantaneously make you accurately deadly. It’s something you see on the movies. Okay? It’s a piece of equipment that you need to learn how to use.

Should I Use “Night Sights”?

On the issue of night sights, I personally don’t care for night sights. If you got them in your gun, that’s great. If you don’t, it’s not really a big deal. Now, here’s why.

Instinctive shooting is going to take over in a dramatic situation, when that situation gets so dynamic that you’ve got to pull your weapon out, press forward, and get a firm firing grip on it, lock your front and rear sight, and you’re not going to be looking at the front and rear sight.

You’re going to press that weapon out instinctively. And you’re going to shoot. The fact that you’ve got a microdot of tritium on the front is not going to matter or whatsoever.

Now guys spent a lot of money on them. They think they’re great. But, in a true life-and-death situation, that front sight pressing out is no different than closing your eyes, pressing out, opening them one more time, and pulling the trigger. Okay?

Registering that front sight of tritium in a dark environment, with shadows moving across, it’s not as effective as what you think it is. You’re much better off spending your money on weapon mounted light, to illuminate the whole area, as opposed to a pin head drop of tritium.

That’s my take on night sights.

Weapon-Mounted Light versus Hand-Held Light

Weapon-mounted light versus hand-held light.

Weapon light, we’ve seen earlier that I can mount it easily to my gun. It’s secure, and then my toggle switch allows me to turn it on as momentary on and constant on.

Now, with the weapon mounted light, I’m able to use both hands and a firm firing grip, pressing forward on my target without any type of external shaking. No extra movement. And wherever the light goes, so does the muzzle of my gun. So I am illuminating everything that my gun is pointing at.

Everywhere the muzzle goes, the light follows. And where the light goes, the muzzle follows. They’re 1 unit. Should I need to use this hand?

To push, pull, hold, it’s free to do so. The light still remains on. Okay?

Now, I take this weapon-mounted light off. And now I get into a hand-held.

There’s a myriad of different ways to use this hand-held light. The most common is to grip it in my fist with a thumb actuating knob on the end. With the weapon pointing forward, take my arm, move underneath, and I use the light as such.

Still have momentary on, still have constant on, and generally the light is pointed where the muzzle is.

However, moving around that light can move off where my muzzle is at. This could present a problem. And should I have to push a door open, pull something to me, hold one of my kids, I now do not have any light illuminating the area, which I need to shoot.

In order for me to illuminate that area, I need to bring it back around and get in to the same stance and grip that I originally had. Okay?

Now there are techniques where you hold the light of a certain area and maybe he’s going to shoot that light and your gun is pointing at him. In reality it doesn’t work, not in a tactical environment.

Now there are a lot of law enforcement agencies that still teach this. Maybe you’re some alphabet soup agencies that do this, but in reality in order to get that light illuminating where the muzzle is consistently, we need to have it locked in under your shooting hand.

Now I can’t tell you which one’s the best for you, but for me.

A weapon mounted light is what I use.


  • Dave says:

    Weapon mounted lights are OK, however you should mention that they also make you an excellent target. I would much rather have the light situated such that a bad guy locks in on where I am not. I’d much rather take a shot in he arm or hand than in the face or chest. And, this being my house in the middle of the night, it’s very unlikely that I am wearing my vest.

    Just an old cop and combat veteran view.

  • Very good article, I use a weapon mounted light on the job but also carry a small push button cap flashlight in my chest gear. Just in case. I really appreciate your site, articles, videos and tips. I still learn or relearn from your teachings.

    Thanks Again
    C. Owens #13

  • Recci 54 says:

    SEAL training taught us to keep lights away from a shooting hand.

    Tritium sights are good for finding you gun in the dark!

  • What’s with the canted gun hold? Watching too many gangsta movies?

    I don’t know about the other folks, but this is my house. I live in it. I can navigate the whole house in complete darkness without a light. A criminal coming into an unknown house in the dark has a disadvantage that I don’t have. Cops clearing a house of criminals are at the same disadvantage as the criminals. Strange house; unknown floor plan; unknown furniture layout; unknown number or type of criminal possibly inside, together with unknown innocent civilians who may also be inside. Only my wife and I remain living in our house, so unless she has suddenly developed a sleep walking problem, I know exactly where she is. Other than she and I, no one else is supposed to be in the house. I know the layout, I know where the furniture is. I know what is behind each wall and door. I have a distinct advantage over any person who may be attempting to transit the premises. No light is necessary until that final identification of the intruder. I’ve got all night to wait him out. I’m not going anywhere except back to bed. I don’t have to make the first move. I can just wait until he moves into my line of fire. I flash an ultra bright beam of light on him, hopefully hitting him right in the eye with a light sufficiently intense enough to burn his retina and if I feel I should engage him with gunfire, I can. End of story. I don’t live in a 10,000 square foot McMansion. Unless he goes back out the way he came in, he has to come to me. Home defenders need to seriously think about their home defense plan and not get all involved in some scenario that is totally unnecessary.

    • Have you ever trained shooting from the hip with,Peripheral vision over the front sight.Or Point and shoot,where ever your Firing trigger point of aim is about where the POI will hit at close range. You have to train like Cowboy fast drawing contest hitting a steel plate at 25 yards. Are you a Cat ? I bet you have stubbed a toe or two. and canting your pistol is no different then pushing straight out over the radius into the front top of the blade of the front sight just keep your eyes on the front sight.like hitting a baseball or soft ball or golf ball. Sounds like your a jealous wanna be. Every detail of what he describes works for E.J.but maybe does not work for you or any one else. One thing you do have right is,yes Knowing your environment is key .

      I suppose you do Scenario training I hope, to embed it into your muscle memory ?

      I do not have Any Invasion experience or any Open Area Public attacks.With the Country falling apart soon we will never know until it actually happens, as I read
      a lot of Armed Robbery and self defense Shooting Crime happening lately for
      the last 5 years. In Las Vegas,NV. with this economy and drug users. now the
      Damned Illegal Mexican gang banger’s, are now getting busted for Poaching now
      more rampant then ever before. Illegally hunting out of season and stolen
      Firearms and False ID’s. now after two years of Investigation and now in Prison..

    • DEFENDER says:

      Ok – Left Coast – I am not going to say what I do below to try to put you down or criticise you.

      I am taking this time to try to help you and others and that is all.

      Take it for what you think it may be worth.

      1 – Canting the gun – There are certain shooting positions and scenarios(especially with double and triple taps with one hand where this method is advantageous.)

      2 – Your plan – It is good you at least have a plan and prefer not to search for the bad guys. “But” more often than not in a “Real” fight (“Dynamic Critical Incident”) things will not be and not happen they way you planned. You need to be “ready” for a “lot more”.

      3 – It sounds like you have not actually been in a real fight and have not had any actual Combat Pistol Training.

      4 – EJ sounds like he has(like me) ” been there” and pretty much knows what he is talking about.

      If you are going to defend with a gun – I recommend you check out the nearest gun club that sponsors IDPA(International Defensive Pistol Assoc) matches. Go to a match, watch, ask questions, etc. Learn. Then practice “Defensive”/Combat Pistol Shooting. There is a lot more to it(Defensive Tactics and Shooting) than one would think.


  • blake says:

    I’ve never had a career where I had to use a gun, so I realize my opinion may not be valid, but from what I’ve studied, the trick with using a light is not to be static. If you flash your light and stay there, yes, you can become a bullet magnet. Like CJ showed in the video, you don’t keep it on and patrol. This is why weapon lights have limited battery, they should only be used in small bursts. So you think there could potentially be someone hiding in a corner, you flash your light for just a second, then you move to a different position. If anyone is now shooting, they’re shooting where you were, not where you are. Now you can zero their position to shoot back. That’s my understanding anyway. As far as target ID. You may not have kids, but there could be a hundred other scenarios where someone is in your house and its a no shoot situation. Maybe your neighbor is autistic. When I was a kid, I used to sleep walk. My parents found me one time at 3AM on my neighbors front porch. Maybe a neighbor came home so drunk they forgot which house was theirs, the key didn’t work, so they broke a window and unlocked the door. Maybe the next day, they apologize and offer to replace the window, but not if you shot first.

  • Briggs says:

    Hey Guy’s it’s all good. The best thing that comes from the discussion is you have thought about it and have a plan. My plan is that my dog’s should alert me to the intruder and where they may be. Next I keep 1 plug in sensor light in each room. When they enter the room it lights up so I know where they are. I know there is always the chance they cut the power and then I will follow my third plan which is the flashlight plan I believe police use in homes they are not familiar with. I have a plan with my family. Stay where you are, I don’t want them wandering around the house in this situation. I will let them know when all is clear. I also use a baby monitor at the center point of my house. I hear everything right next to my bed. If a family member is up, I know it. I may still be sleeping but I know what is going on. If there is any unusual noise, I know it. I have a second monitor in my garage. I can even hear someone outside. If the power goes out, I have my dog’s.
    The one draw back to the flashlight plan is that the intruder knows which direction to send a bullet. My suggestion is to hold the light in your free hand with the lighted end pointing out from the little finger side, with your fore arm in blocking position about neck height with hand and flashlight as far to the far side as you can hold it. If he shoot’s at the light it should be to your left or right. If he attacks he will encounter your arm first and you will have the chance to shoot without your gun hand being damaged.
    Well, You might not like my plan but it is more food for thought.
    Be Safe and Be Ready

  • Lee says:

    Practice , practice , practice ! You have to develop mussel memory because when your adrenalin is pumping your mind goes blank and you have to rely on instinct. Great article. Thanks

  • Wasi says:

    part 11. The purpose of an inarnetl’ serial number would apply when you have a gun discovered at a crime scene or on a criminal who scratched it off. You’d be able to pick up the serial number and trace back how that gun came to be provided to the criminal.2. I’m thinking of a ballistics database for cases where you recover bullets but not guns from crime scenes.3. True but that’s a simplistic way to come up with a premium. A more profitable way would be to charge less than $10/$100 to people who are lower risk and more than $10/$100 to those that are higher risk. 4. I would imagine both would like to get rid of it.5. Probably nothing, existing guns would have to be grandfathered exempt I’d imagine.Part 21. No it doesn’t exist, but it’s a concern among gun rights types (note how even the health law had a provision added to state no gun databases would be made). An attempt to create a compromise bill that would get both sides on board has to address both sides’ concerns, even if we think they may not be valid.2. Possibly, don’t know much about it.3. Interstate commerce would mean its constitutional. Congress could pass a law allowing people to buy and sell guns and the states couldn’t infringe upon that.4. So what? As you point out the insurance would be pretty cheap for any halfway responsible person.I have seen zero (!) suggestions made in the post Newtown shooting period by the anti-gun crowd that would have prevented the shooting. Which is regrettable for the anti-gun crowd. Why should this be a goal? I think it would dramatically cut into many gun crimes and accidents while at the same time only offering minimal hurdles for a responsible gun hobbyist (possibly even removing some hurdles for them).

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