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Light – Do you have enough?

When you use a weapon mounted light or handheld light, you really don’t get a true feel for their actual capabilities until you take them out to a live-fire range at night. Though there is no exact formula that is universally accepted, I will tell you that “generally speaking” you need:

2 Lumen of light for every foot you wish to see clearly in complete darkness

When Isay, “see clearly” I mean positively identify a threat. By this standard, a 100 Lumen light is good for fifty feet. Considering that MOST(not all) gunfights take place at distances around seven to ten yards, a 100 Lumen light is not a bad choice. I like the Streamlight TLR-1 100 lumens weapon mounted light. If you are going to use a hand-held light I like the SureFire E2D LED, while it is a 200-lumen light, you are using it hand-held and move the light around and still have your gun pointed in the direction of the potential threat. You can bounce it off the floor or the ceiling and adjust the light intensity toward the threat, as you need too.

For self-defense use, I would say that a 100 Lumen light should be the starting point or minimum. Keep in mind; you are responsible for every round you fire!

You must be absolutely sure that what you are shooting at is a legitimate threat.

Lower powered lights are easier on batteries and work well for camping and chores.

During one of the Modern Warrior Classes, I had a chance to work with a new weapon-mounted light that put out a whopping 500 Lumen. ‘Great!’ you say, the more the better. Yes, a 500 Lumen light will let you distinguish targets beyond a hundred yards and that is a positive. I realized just how bright it was when I activated the light to test it while aimed at the ground by my feet. The light-colored rocks and sand reflected so much light back up that I was temporarily blinded. My dilated pupils were shocked and constricted.

As for home defense use, if you were to ‘bounce’ a 200 to 300 Lumen light off of an interior wall in your house a similar blinding issue could occur.

Lesson learned!

Stay around 100 to 150 lumens and learn to work your light smartly. To do that you need to get out to a class where you will be shooting in low light/no light drills like we do in Modern Warrior.

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