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Shooting Techniques While Using a Flashlight

Learning to shoot with a flashlight is one of the most useful survival and self-defense skills a person could have. Statistics show that most self-defense shootings and incidents happen in low-light conditions.

A flashlight can help you identify the target and be certain of what you’re shooting at. First and foremost, choose a light model based on your needs and preferences.

Once you choose a flashlight, you have to learn how to use it for self-defense. There are some important tactics that you can easily implement to ensure your safety. For example, it’s crucial that you always keep it in the same place, on your belt, and inside your home.

  • Don’t mount your light on a weapon

Though this could be convenient and useful at times, it’s not always the best idea. You see, if you were to hear a bump or noise in your house, you want to first check what is making the noise.

You don’t want to investigate what’s making a noise with a weapon-mounted light. Why? Well, you don’t yet know where the noise came from. What if it’s your child or your pet? I’m sure you don’t want to point your gun at them, or accidentally pull the trigger.

For this reason, you should never aim and shoot a gun unless it is absolutely necessary. I strongly suggest you have a flashlight that’s separate from the one that’s mounted to your handgun.

Now you’re probably wondering:

How do I Shoot While Using a Flashlight?

flashlight techniques

Before reading any further, please note that should you plan to use any type of weapon, that you seek the advice of a professional or expert first. With that said, there are several different techniques you can choose from. Some of them allow you to point a gun along with your light. Others have your light away from your body. The choice of the technique you’d use is up to you and what you’re comfortable with.

I suggest not to bring your gun hand and your light hand together until you’ve decided to shoot. However, make sure to train before you do this because our instincts can sometimes play a big role.

Be careful

If you do decide to use a gun and a flashlight at the same time, I suggest you drop the flashlight before shooting. This will free your support hand that is holding the light and allow you to hold your gun properly. Still, practice doing this because it’s harder than it sounds. Yes, we understand it’s unnatural for people to drop stuff we’re holding, especially in stressful situations.

In this case, I suggest you use a survival flashlight because these are usually durable and drop-resistant.

Here are some of the best ways to use a light while shooting:

  1. FBI Technique

This is quite a smart technique that makes sense, and feels more natural. The idea is to keep the light away from your vital areas. A would-be attacker might want to shoot at your light thinking that’s where you are.

Hold the light away from your body with your non-shooting hand. This way you can search for your target without really giving away the center of your location.

Still, remember that once you do shoot, the muzzle blast will give it away. Also, you might find it hard to shoot with only one hand.

The technique may sound easy, but having your arm extended away from your body can mess up your balance and shooting ability to some extent.

  1. Neck Index Technique

This is not as tiring, and it’s definitely more stable. Simply, hold the flashlight using an icepick grip again, but against your cheek or neck. Is it more stable? Yes. Is it slightly more dangerous? Also, yes, if the would-be attacker decides to shoot at the light.

However, this method allows you to transition from searching to shooting. You can shoot with one hand, holding your flashlight in another. If you find you have time, transition to two-handed techniques.

Still, holding the light that close to your body will illuminate you just as well as your target. Keep that in mind.

  1. The Harries Technique

For this technique, lock the backsides of your hands or wrists together. This will apply some pressure to the backside of your shooting hand and provide a somewhat stable shooting platform.

This is the type of technique that requires some practice to do quickly. During stress situations, you can easily get confused about which hand goes where. Ideally, you should point the weapon at the target with one hand, and then slip the support hand under your shooting arm.

What you can do is also go from a Neck Index technique, check out the target and then transition to the Harries technique. With just a little practice, this is easy to master.

  1. Surefire Technique

For this, you need a small flashlight with an On button at the tail-end of the handle. Hold the flashlight between the index and middle finger of your shooting hand with the On switch against your palm.

Use a two-handed grip to hold the gun but only with the bottom two fingers of the non-shooting hand. The index, middle finger, and thumb should hold the flashlight. Simply squeeze the flashlight against the palm of your hand to turn it on.

Some people point the light to the ground, which is actually a fairly good idea. The ground will reflect just enough light to illuminate the area around you.

The downside is that the technique is that because it is not easy, it takes time to master. You’ll have to learn to operate the light with only three fingers and use the rest to support the gun. Unless you’re trained to do this, you’ll end up pointing your gun right where you point the flashlight, which is not a good idea. It’s an efficient method but requires training and the ability to shoot within a second.

What is the best method?

There is no correct answer to this question. In reality, these are all effective, but you’ll have to put in some work to learn how to use them. Some are more complicated than others, but it all comes down to your preference and skills.

It’s important you’re careful at all times, regardless of the technique you choose. Whenever there’s low light, shooting guns becomes more dangerous. Admittedly, all these techniques can end badly unless you practice them.

Unload your gun and give yourself time to master the techniques safely. Pay attention to your natural tendencies, and what would be the easiest method to use. Also, choose your gun and flashlight carefully since those are what plays the main role.

Real-life scenarios may not play out exactly how you practice, but practice does make a great difference. Using a flashlight while shooting means you’d have to hold on to two objects, possibly shoot at a target, and all that while your own life is maybe in danger.

Looking for the Right Flashlight?

This, too, is a matter of preference. If you can’t make up your mind, I suggest you try a basic tactical flashlight. These models are easy to use, durable and reliable.

You may think smaller lights are easier to operate, but those provide less power, which is why I wouldn’t suggest them. Go for a tactical, or even a simple EDC flashlight will do. They are bigger but you’ll quickly get a hold of them with some practice.