Should you install a light to the rail of your concealed handgun, or should you just leave it the way it is?
First and foremost, you need to know that you don’t have to have a light on your concealed gun. So the question is not whether it’s right or wrong. It’s really more about whether it’s a good idea for your needs.
There are many beneficial reasons to carrying a concealed light on a firearm meant for home defense or self-defense. But adding a light to a smaller pistol designed for CCW adds a bit of a different dimension.
There are a handful of pros and cons to carrying a light on a concealed firearm, and that is what we’re going to discuss today.
The Pros of Having A Light On Your Concealed Gun
There are undeniably many major arguments to be made in favor of having a light on your weapon. If you can’t see in darkness, a flashlight could be your best friend when it comes to self-defense. Not only does it give you good vision when you can’t see, it can also disorient an attacker.
If you don’t have a light on your firearm, your only other recourse is to hold the light in your non-dominant hand while your dominant hand grasps the weapon. This creates two issues: one, it necessitates that you can only grasp your handgun with one hand, and two, it means that you don’t have any hands free for tasks such as reloading, clearing malfunctions, fighting in a close quarters defensive scenario, or really doing anything else.
This is why installing a light on your defensive firearm is often recommended as a good idea. It’s certainly a great idea to have on a home defensive pistol that you keep on your nightstand at home. The firearm that you use to respond to a home intruder should definitely come with a light on it for the above reasons.
And in the case of a firearm for your everyday concealment gun, you never know when you may find yourself in a dark or dim environment where a light could really make it a lot easier to defend yourself.
Additionally, carrying a light on your firearm could save someone’s life. You could hear someone in darkness or see their silhouette, and believe they are a threat or intruder. The light would confirm for you whether they are or not. Being able to positive identify your target is of the utmost importance.
So, there are undoubtedly major convincing arguments in favor of making sure that your concealed pistol always comes with a light on it. But there are some cons to doing so as well, which we will discuss next.
The Cons of Having A Light On Your Concealed Gu.
The biggest con to having a light on your concealed gun, by far, is that it adds a significant amount of bulk and weight. Carrying a gun every day is already a burden. It’s heavy and can really wear down on you over the hours of your everyday life.
When you add a light into the mix, it makes the gun even more burdensome and noticeable to you. Even though you can carry smaller and lighter guns to mitigate this, adding a light to the gun will still make it bulkier, and perhaps even negative the whole idea of having a compact and easily concealable gun to begin with. As dramatic as that may sound, the truth is that carrying a concealed firearm is not always fun and adding a light into the mix can make it even less so.
That’s also not to mention that your holster options are more limited. Most holsters are not designed to accommodate a gun with a light. The good news is that some holsters are designed to come with lights on them. You just need to make sure you can find one that is made for your make and model of firearm.
Another con is that depending on the light, the activation switch may be located close to the trigger guard. There have been a number of negligent discharges that have gone off in this way. The best solution to remedy this is simply to avoid using a light that has an activation switch near the trigger.
Keep in mind that not carrying a light on your concealed gun does not mean that you cannot have a light at all. A compact but powerful LED flashlight is a commonly recommended part of an EDC, or everyday carry. You can stash away such a light in your pocket and then use it if it is necessary in a dark defensive scenario.
So, is carrying a light on your concealed pistol a good idea? The answer is it depends.
A light on a home defensive handgun is absolutely a wise idea, and if you don’t carry a light on your CCW gun, you should still carry a spare EDC flashlight in your pocket anyway.
Ultimately, the right approach will likely be to add a light to your CCW firearm, buy the appropriate holster, and then go about your everyday life with it on to see how you like it.
Everybody is different – some people will tell you that a light on your concealed gun is absolutely necessary, while others will tell you that it’s really not that big of a deal. Try carrying your pistol with and then without a light, and see what you prefer for yourself.