I keep hearing concerns about the BG being able to shoot at your light, but has it ever happened? If not, is it still a concern?
A light makes you a target. If nobody can see anything because it's dark, then the only thing they're guaranteed to see is the source of the light. This is why most operators avoid the tape switch. It's to easy to activate and can give away your position and in the process lets the bad guys know which direction to shoot.
Using a strobing methode is preferred. Stick and move...stick and move...
We have stopped using the spotlights on high-risk traffic stops because they seem to get shot during real gunfights and sims encounters in training. That is a fairly static situation, though. During quick, fairly close encounters where a suspect has been found, direct lighting tends to blind them and give the person with the light some advantage. Until then, short bursts of light or indirect lighting seem to work best.
From limited point of view. threats intending to shoot, will shoot at the lights.
I became acutely aware of this after 10 years of force-on-force training beneath the decks of a decommissioned ship that had no power rigged.
Students that were marginal at best on the range the week previously were shooting flashlights out of our hands on a regular basis at ranges of 30’ or more in total darkness…as in they had no sight picture.
Flashlight bezel diameter approx 1”…Those rounds that just missed the flashlight ended up in our heads or chest.
Given a total black background and then offered a white funnel of light to center your attention on, (we being the rocket scientists that we were) found out very quickly that the students serving as threats in the scenarios (very little previous tactical experience or shooting prowess) naturally aligned their vision and weapon to make crazy accurate shots. Solution for us: Offset lights from our body, light briefly and move. Get their location, power them with light from angles or positions they could not easily retaliate from and then gun them down from other angles.
On another note:
Clue me in on the vehicle stop:
If the suspect is shooting at the light and you are not standing directly behind the light (and you shouldn't be), is that not a good thing?
2nd thought, maybe you can PM to discuss the specific tactics.
Are you saying that they were walking around in a dark ship, with thier lights on, and got shot?
Were they using the light in the 'stobe' fasion, and moving, and got their lights shot?
We got shot a lot when we used the more traditional "hands-together" techniques like Harries, searching with our lights constantly on....What a concept! I learned Harries from Gunsite, considered a decent place to start your combat handgun career at the time.
The idea of light and move, strobing as a teaching doctrine is fairly new in the grand scheme of modern American gunfighting as far as I am aware. Hands-apart was tabled by the FBI quite some time ago, but overcome by the momentum of supported hands-together techniques.
Stobing, moving, offsetting: We are constantly faced with strong opposition to the idea.
In many cases, only after folks get pounded into Simunition rubble do the die-hards being to evaluate the ideas as being viable.
Back to the dark ship. Again being the Nobel Loreates that we were, we quickly started offsetting our lights....Something I used to scoff at based on Range only experience.
What technique you select is really a small part of the light equation. Duration, movement, angles, strobing, powering on when appropriate, quality and quantity of light coupled with other principles create the larger percentage of the picture.
Back to the original question. How many document cases of an officer/individual getting shot because his or her light was on?
As far a LE is concerned, I really do not think most post-shooting statistics even include this as a concern, so there is probably not a lot of good data to support an argument one way or another based on DOJ documentation.
There are plenty of stats on when (time of day) shots are fired. Most shootings take place at night.
There are stats on Mistake of Fact shootings (the wrong guy was shot because not enough information (light/ID).
I’ve seen some post shooting reports that attribute the death to not having a flashlight.
I do know this; there is a saying “Three on a match”. That is, if you are going light your buddies cigarettes, you better limit to yourself and one other guy and the extinguish the light source.
Sniper see the initial light, turrets his rifle and starts his sequence. The second lite allows him to fine tune the angle etc…Third guy gets it. Light emitted from a match on the battlefield killed more than one individual. The bad guy shot at the light....
Absent “documentation”, I will trust rigorous force-on-force simulations to pave the way in terms of making a decision until real world stats prove otherwise.
During training session I ask folks how many of you would tape a flashlight to your forehead and search for threats?....How about holding a flashlight between your teeth?....How about taped to your chest?....No, no no...are the answers.
Well from the threats point of view as well as the inevitable bullet path....That is exactly where you are placing the light when you are using a Hands-together technique when searching for a threat.
Ken J. Good
President of Strategos International -
Former Director of the SureFire Institute
I have a question about offsetting the light. This is for CHL issues. Since searching and clearing is not really a problem and most encounters would be quick, how do you reccomend using a light to disorient an attacker?
Would offset be an issue? Or would it be case of trying to get the light into play? Obviously in a rapid hands on attack the point would be moot. I guess what I am trying to ask is how do you see the light being used in a CHL defensive scenario? I ask because all of my preparation for my CHL has included the advice of getting a good light.
Any help would be appreciated.
I think carrying a handgun, you could find yourself in any number of scenarios that might require more that just wait and see…
That being said, most handgun fights are extremely close, and are played out in under 3 seconds and I am probably one of worst guys to ask advice in terms of civilian applications.
So take what I have to say with a few grains of salt.
Practice vacating the space you are in after you fire. Do not expect your bullets to do anything. Do this on the range until it becomes second nature.
Movement can be side-to-side, down, hard/fast 45-degree angles & backwards (my last choice).
In a similar vein, if you illuminate a threat,
Light, move, shoot, move or Light move, light, shoot, move depending on what you get in terms of ambient light sources, initial read on the first light, or you might be seeing muzzle flash from the threat (You know exactly where and what he/she is doing).
Practice 10 ringing people with your light, right in their pupils using a variety of positions/techniques with your handgun.
As a caveat, learn to shoot without good light/gun alignment. Getting rounds downrange is a whole lot better that perfect light placement.
Here is a link to a PDF that explains everything is greater detail and offers some range drilling practices.
Best to you.
VBSS? Brings back fond memories except when my reinforced boarding team( 14 Haze gray and underway squids) got destroyed by by an East coast SEAL squad( 8 guys).
Lumpy196 (man you have a few posts!)
Your question is the next logical\reasonable extension.
All my carbines, shotguns, subguns have weapon-mounted lights on them.
However, when deploying these weapons, I generally search for threats in unknown locations, communicate known threat location with light, emit confusing patterns/angles of light downrange, hold hallways and stairways with a handheld light offset of my body.
Think about it, folks in my team really don't like the light moving all over the place if it is attached to my weapon. With a light in hand, you can create some serious chaos for threat's downrange and have the weapon maintain it's place.
The weapon itself is mounted on the shoulder and held in place with the firing grip hand.
At the longer ranges (75 yards +), in force-on-force training many times projectiles fly over the top of your head because the person down range is shooting at the light located high over the body. Absent of other good information, depth perception is not as good in diminished light, so any angle deviations at the threats’ location results a big miss downrange. I’ll take it.
Once I have the area accounted for in terms of numbers of threats/location or I am actually shooting a specific threat, then the equation generally switches toward the weapon-mounted light. As soon as I am done shooting, its back to the offset light as soon as practicable.
With a smaller handheld it is easy to simply roll the light under the Forend and activate the weapon-mounted switching while still retain the light in the same hand.
As we state in our curriculum, this is not basic light\weapon work and may not be acceptable to many folks simply because of training time constraints or established doctrine. It is not for everybody. All useful techniques are time and situation specific.
Nevertheless, all of the Strategos staff uses these techniques with very positive results in CQB and in open area work. I do not have good experience with this idea with vertical foregrips, but a few of my guys run with them & I have not heard any squawking one way or another.
The next thing one needs to master is bilateral shooting using the offset light concept. There is a transition issue.
Great info, now off to the dark basement to practice .
I would suspect that no handheld flashlight is worth so much it won't be discarded if the hand holding it has something more important to do!
I read on Warrior Talk Forum of two methods of making use of your flashlight holding hand.
One was using a "flashbang" ring instead of a cord lanyard as a means of retaining the handheld flashlight in your palm and therefore freeing up your fingers.
The other was to have three or so G2's (or G2Z's) in "speed holsters" meaning that you could simply discard one or two should you need you hand for anything.
Ken, have you explored either of these?
Let me just say that holding up that 10 lb carbine is going to get fatiguing....
As far as dropping the light goes, that is a foregone conclusion in a deadly force scenario. But what about the much more common LE search mode? LEOs can not just shoot whatever (or whomever) they find, but must detain and question.
How could one illuminate a suspect, call for backup, remove cuffs, and continue to cover the suspect with a light in the left hand and a shouldered gun in the right?
If operating with a team of others this may be less of a problem, but what about the poor bastard on solo patrol, with backup 15 minutes away....
Thanks for sharing your knowledge, it truly is appreciated.
Does anyone else think that the poor bastards who go up against Ken and his team, especially in a low light situation, will be finding themselves in a world of hurt...
It's good to note that these techniques would best be served by having a lightweight carbine.
This bears repeating, I think. Someone with training is going to react much differently to almost anything. The way someone is going to react to a light, pimp slap, gunshot, whatever, is highly dependant on what training they have. If they are expecting armed resistance and are trained to deal with it, you're on a whole nother plane compared to some dumb-shit burglar who just bought a 'gat' on the street corner.
As a general statement, I generally find people or cause them to react with my handheld, shoot them with my Weapon mounted light.
We regularly deal with LE and set up drills and scenarios that require alternative use of force (inert O/C), proper communication, dealing with no-shoot threats that must be secured. Weapons retention is an area of study I have paid close attemention to as well. I have a fairly good understanding of the demanding requirements of the LE officer & I deeply respect their position in these matters.
Again, let me state, this is A technique that can be leverage in quite a few situations not THE technique. Like all techniques they simply do not cover the gambit of all the operational realities.
As far as fatigue, I take a short break, get on my weapon light and then get back off of it. It is hard to “show you” on an internet discussion board so bear with me.
Here is possible application (there are many):
Imagine yourself holding a hallway. If you have your weaponlight on, weapon properly mounted, any threat that initially shoots at your light accurately before you can react; can with a high degree of probability hit you in the brain housing group.
If you keep the weapon shouldered, take a knee, raise the light over your head you are creating a lure. This light can be changing angles constantly, erratically if desired (not so with your weaponlight). If the threat fires at your light, extinguish the light, drop to what we call the “modified prone” and return fire at the threats’ muzzle blast or simply vacate the space and attempt to neutralize the threat from another angle. Weapon light can be used as required.
See the following links for a discussion on “modified prone”
We show the pluses and minuses of most everything we do and let the individual determine its usefulness in their own environment.
Having the ability to fluidly move between all your options is honed through training. The more choices, the better you must be. Hicks law in effect.
Let me just add one thing about the entire concept of "offset lighting"...
15 YEARS ago, when I was sitting in "Patrol Tactics 101", the already outdated textbooks talked about "offset lighting" and of course showed the pics with the LEO with 1970's sideburns holding his flashlight out to the left of his body while he pointed his S&W revolver with the other hand.
Then our CJ instructor, retired from LE duty after 30 years, added that this information (15 years ago) was largely outdated because "Inmate Tactics 101" (that's your first day in jail) taught you to fire just to the right of the light.
Secondly, if a shooter is suddenly surprised by you and your light, are they going to take aim on your beam and fire tight three-shot groups into your bezel? No, because they're bad guys... They don't practice, or care about "what's beyond the target". They're going to open fire, probably sideways, and hit everything within a 3' radius of that light.
I'm not being rude, I just think that the concept of holding your flashlight a foot off to one side of you makes you safe from the gangsta snipers shooting at your xenon bulb's second filament is a bit "overblown".
Strobing and moving is a MUCH better tactic than holding your flashlight to one side.
I was the leading scoffer of our training cadre in the early 80's when I first saw the picture you are describing. We are not advocating walking around like a zombie with the light extended…
One picture cannot really capture the combination of offset, movement, duration, and angling issues as seen from the threat’s point of view.
Like you, I doubt any inmate, any new shooter, any shooter period in a close quarters confrontation where they feel/see the pressure of a committed, skilled, attacking shooter will take the time or have the time to consciously shoot right or left of a light.
I base this on the fact that I have seen many, many, many shooters from this perspective in an interactive Force-on-Force environment. I have seen what they look like, and the frantic attempt to shoot something, anything in front of them (spray and pray). I have had SWAT officers/military operators with much more real-world trigger time than I absolutely unload their MP-5’s, pistols at relatively close ranges at what they believed was the target area….When all is said and done they have the opportunity to carefully inspect my body for hits as they are flabbergasted (read pissed) their shots did not find the mark and I ended up on their flank, back, or underneath their line of fire to deliver my shots. More than one heated exchange following the “firefight” ensued.
When it all calms down, I go through it with them step by step and show them the illusion they were shooting at. Videotape is also a fantastic arbitrator. They were dreaming in John Wayne, but fighting like Pee Wee Herman. We all do it.
This phenomena of creating a false picture for people to shoot at in diminished light conditions is not accomplished once in a while, but repeated on a regular basis.
We did not arrive at this through some fantastic mental accession or even skill per se. We arrived at this through sheer force of repetition and experimentation as you can walk away from mistakes in FOF. You have the opportunity to push conventional wisdom aside and just see, What if? When you keep on getting pounded consistently one way, alter it and try again. Debrief, try again. Attempt to train somebody to do something new, fall on your sword, try again. Eventually you learn to find a way to show somebody the path to success faster than you originally arrived. This is a good thing.
Do I get hit in Force-on-Force when attempting to offset my light? Yes. I do not care what your skill level is, anybody on the other side with a gun, can kill you.
Do I get hit more when I maintain a relatively easy to read light on my centerline? Yes.
The goal for me has always been to reduce my percentage of gross errors and make my mistakes ”windows” smaller and smaller so that opponents have less opportunity to exploit them.
I am in agreement with you in terms of the movement is far more important that the offset. But in my opinion, they go together at times and are not mutually exclusive.
I can cite a quite of few real-world examples. Here is one where this concept quite possibly saved an officer, at least that was his viewpoint. Long story short, a suspect was hiding very still behind a curtain. He turned out to be a mental disturbed Viet Nam veteran. As a pair of officers was searching the premises, the suspect emerged from concealment and attempted to downward stab this SWAT officer. The officer had been to one of our low-light courses, and immediately directed his SureFire M3 into the man’s eyes and prepared himself to drop the hammer as he moved. The light was offset high over his left-shoulder and he said he was moving it.
He said he was milliseconds from shooting when he realized the guy was lunging at open space and was now falling as the threat lost his sense of balance/orientation. He (the threat) was having what we call a “Kodak moment”. The officer continued to move offline and both officers brought lights and guns to bear, but the guy immediately capitulated on the ground. Me personally, I don’t know that I could have done that (not shoot), but I was not there.
The officer is question contacted me and profusely thanked the training staff for giving him some additional tools.
To be fair, much of this could have been done with a weapon-mounted light, because from my limited point of view it was the quick blind and move that really set this up.
When it comes to edged weapons, a few inches can really spell the difference, something to also keep in mind when building your repertoire of techniques.
Show me how much movement you can show with a hands-together technique when searching or a weaponlight by itself? Why is light movement important? I don’t know? Why is moving your head constantly against a skilled striker important?
Go into a mat room, turn the lights way down or off. Give one guy a knife, give the other a good light and a knife. Note how you naturally begin to use the light, knife and movement in combination as the attacker attempts to hone in on your position based on the light.
All this being said, I always welcome anyone to practically show me otherwise as I am open to the better mousetrap and methodology. Show me in the equal opportunity of a FOF situation.
Man, I love that line...
Good info thanks.