The debate between rail-mounted lights on handguns or handheld lights is similar to asking: What came first? The chicken or the egg? It’s a topic that can make even the calmest pistoleros wound up. Luckily companies like CrimsonTrace, Viridian, Laserlight and many others offer high-quality options for whatever a shooter’s preference may be. Having a light/laser mounted on a firearm isn’t a new concept. Thanks to modern-day technology, lights and lasers have become smaller with more reliable points of attachment. Gone are the days of using C-clamps to rig a light to the end of your carbine or finding clever ways to attach a light to a handgun.
With over 20 years of experience in the light and laser business, Crimson Trace’s newest product in their lineup is the Laserguard for the Ruger LCP II.
How do you actually test the capabilities of light and laser? Many ranges close before dark. And indoor ranges typically don’t allow you to flip light switches while the range is hot. Typically, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to practice low-light shooting drills at your local range.
Recently, several editors and I descended into the dark caves at Rockcastle Shooting Center. We spent time on the range with CrimsonTrace’s extensive light and laser lineup. Our first exercises included using handguns that were equipped with only Crimson Trace laser units. We had a wide array of pistols to choose from, including Smith &Wesson Shield, Springfield XD-S, Glock 43 and a Ruger LCP II.
I’ve trained on my local range with my Glock 19 with a light and laser combination at night. However, when in a cave there’s a stark realization of how much a light/laser combination aids in vision. Rockcastle is a large facility that encompasses several long-range ranges, a golf course, a hotel, a 2nd Amendment Community and several caves — one that has a shooting range. With our Danner boots laced up, we cruised to the caves in the new Honda Pioneer 1000.
We scrambled down a ladder and traversed rocky uneven terrain in the dark. It was time to test our target identification skills in the dark and one-handed shooting. The goal — work our way around the cave; identify targets; put one round on each paper-target threat and move quickly to the end. First, we started with the Glock 43 with a laser and handheld light. Then we transitioned to the Ruger LCP II with the Laserguard, which is a light and laser combination. Each of us worked through both drills. At the end, we discussed the differences and benefits to having both a laser and light combination in complete darkness. One major benefit to using a handheld light is being able to identify targets without sweeping them with your handgun.
Those in the group who had never trained in low-level scenarios commented, “you don’t realize how reliant you are on ambient light or consider how crucial a light is, especially when identifying targets in the total darkness.” The takeaway lesson is that training with a handgun with a rail mounted or handheld light is not suggested; it’s an absolute necessity. For those who consider their firearm as the first line of home defense for things that go bump in the night — find ways to practice live-fire drills with your firearm of choice and accessories you deem crucial.
Whether you’re a firm believer in the rail mounted light or handheld light — there’s one thing certain — train, train harder; and if you feel as if you’re prepared, hit the range again.
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