Marietta police department – firearms training unit pistol Mounted Light Instructor –Lesson Plan

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Pistol Mounted Light Instructor –Lesson Plan

I. Introduction

A. Instructor introductions

    • Sgt. David Barnes

    • Cmdr. Rick Hardy

    • Lt. Brian Marshall

  1. Marietta Police Department (2007)

    • Marietta is situated just north of Atlanta on I-75. The city is 25 square miles in size. Marietta is the county seat of Cobb County. The residential population is approximately 60,000 people. The daytime population reaches 300,000 with two college campuses, a Lockheed Aircraft manufacturing facility, and many other commercial and industrial sites. The Marietta Police Department is made up of 137 sworn officers. There are three shifts of patrol officers supported by detectives, traffic enforcement, DARE, crime interdiction, SWAT, K9, community outreach, parking enforcement, court security, training, intelligence, narcotics, and DEA officers.

    • Eight Marietta Police Officers were involved in shootings in the last 4 years. Most of the encounters occurred in low-light situations. Only one officer was hit by suspect gunfire. He survived his injuries. All seven suspects were hit by police gunfire. Three were fatally shot, one committed suicide after being shot, three survived.

    • In September 2004, the Marietta Police Department issued ALL officers a new Glock 22 with an Insight Technology M3 light and a Safariland 6280 holster to secure the weapon with the light mounted.

    • In April 2013, the department transitioned to Glock 22 Gen 4 with Safariland 6360 holsters.

    • In September 2015, the department transitioned to Glock 34 Gen 4 with Safariland 7360 holsters.

Note: Show Introduction Video then switch to PowerPoint

  1. Performance Objectives

    1. Lesson Goal

* Learn aspects of pistol-mounted lights for agency wide issue. *

    1. Student Performance Objectives

      1. Learn the importance of pistol mounted light systems

      2. Familiarize instructors with available equipment

      3. Learn methods for the issue and safe training of pistol mounted light systems

      4. Demonstrate proficiency with pistol mounted light

  1. Statistics / Reasons

During the ten-year period between 1985 and 1996, sixty-two percent (62%) of shooting incidents that resulted in the death of a law enforcement officer occurred during the 12-hour period between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. In fact, according to the statistics compiled by the FBI, the six-hour period between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. was the single most dangerous period to serve as a law enforcement officer, with over forty percent (40%) of all murders of law enforcement personnel taking place during this time period. Similarly, the data compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, indicates that in 1999

  • 70% of all rapes occurred at night,

  • 56% of all robberies occurred at night, and

  • 61% of completed and 70% of attempted vehicle thefts occurred at night.

Perhaps more frightening is the fact that 70% of all armed robberies and 52% of all assaults by an armed assailant occur at night. The chilling conclusion that can be drawn from all of these statistics is that armed and violent criminals use darkness to conceal their crimes.

Darkness also hinders the ability of law enforcement to apprehend violent criminals. Low light conditions make it difficult to locate and identify suspects. Colors at night tend to appear as shades of gray or black. Facial features are more difficult to distinguish and darkness can make if difficult to determine whether the object the suspect’s hand is a gun, knife, club or some other non-lethal item. A low level of ambient light also makes it difficult to accurately aim a firearm. In a dimly lit room, for example, it may be impossible to see the weapon sight, or you may be able to see the sight, but the target may not be visible in the shadows.

Fortunately, professional quality tactical flashlights (whether gun mounted or handheld) and laser aiming devices can level the playing field and actually give trained law enforcement and military professionals an advantage over the wrongdoer in a low light encounter.

  1. Cardinal Rules of Firearms Safety and Pistol Mounted Lights-

    1. Rule #1 – Treat all guns as loaded:

      1. Always unload and lock slide open on pistol before removing, cleaning, repairing a pistol light.

    2. Rule #2- Don’t point gun at anything you don’t want to shoot:

      1. Use the corona or spill portion of the light to search and identify threats, not the hot spot, it is coaxial to bore.

    3. Rule # 3- Keep your trigger finger off the trigger and outside the trigger guard until you are ready to fire:

      1. Only use your support hand thumb to operate the light

      2. Never use your trigger finger.

      3. Your middle finger can be used for one hand emergency light operation, but support hand thumb is preferred.

    4. Rule # 4- Identify your target and beyond:

      1. This is what having a pistol light is all about.

      2. Use as much light is necessary to identify threats/targets.

      3. Leave light on as long as you need it, shut it off if it makes your situation worse.

Question: Survey class about their agency’s use of weapon-mounted lights

        1. Classroom Body

SPO #1 “Learn the importance of pistol mounted light systems”

  1. Flashlight Tactics

    1. Why do we need light?

      1. Identify potential threats

      2. See weapon sights to eliminate threat

      3. Temporarily blind threat

    2. Identify yourself!

      1. With any “blinding” flashlight beam it is critical to tell the person you are illuminating that you are the “POLICE!”

      2. Simply yelling “Get your hands up” or “Get on the ground” without saying POLICE first may cause an innocent person to think they are being robbed or assaulted depending on the setting.

    3. Methods before weapon mounted lights

      1. Harries

        1. Support hand underneath weapon hand

        2. Backs of hands together

      2. Chapman

        1. Support hand holds light and cups support hand

      3. Rogers

        1. SureFire / O ring technique

        2. Small tactical light between support hand fingers

        3. Grip is most similar to non-light assisted grips

    4. Problem Areas with above

      1. Teaching two separate grips

      2. Officers usually struggle with heavier mag lights

      3. Support hand occupied hindering reloads, opening doors, use of radio

      4. Keeping light and weapon aligned

        1. Trying to aim two devices at one time

        2. Think about night qualifications you have attended. (Lights shining everywhere)

      5. Light must be equipped separately / in advance

        1. If searching, you can draw your handgun and flashlight and get in position (Harries, Chapman, Rogers etc.), and line up flashlight if you know low light encounter is coming

        2. Not practical to use during when drawing straight from holster to threat or when “startled”

          1. Officer likely to draw gun only / drop light

          2. Must make critical ID without light at ready

  2. Pistol Mounted Light

    1. Why do we need a pistol-mounted light?

      1. The old tactics were a marginal solution

      2. Easier to teach, learn, and perform than old tactics

      3. Technology has advanced to make a more practical solution

      4. Rapid threat identification is critical

      5. Pistol mounted light insures that light available every time the weapon is drawn

      6. Temporarily blind the threat

      7. Assist in seeing weapon sights

      8. Frees up support hand for radio, reloads, doors

      9. Can be operated with one hand

      10. Firearms instructors can teach one secure grip style for day and low light engagements

      11. Most gunfights / confrontations will occur in low light

  3. Equipment needed to make it come together

    1. Pistol with an equipment rail

      1. Most manufacturers offer a “rail frame” pistol

      2. Adaptors are available to convert non-rail guns

      3. Some lights will work without a rail

      4. Consider weapon trade in / buy back to offset cost

    2. Weapon mounted tactical illuminator light

      1. $85-$450 depending on features

      2. Laser models cost significantly more

    3. Spare Batteries

      1. Most use two 3V lithium batteries

      2. 10 year shelf life

      3. 60 minute average run time

      4. About a $1 a piece

    4. Spare Bulbs

      1. Cost can vary ($18 and up)

      2. Bulbs are fairly sturdy

      3. Most light kits will include a spare bulb

      4. LED bulbs may be more durable (too soon to tell)

    5. Holster

      1. Holster that will accept the pistol with the light attached is highly recommended

        1. Keep light ready at all times and eliminate potential accidents during installation / removal on a loaded gun

        2. Weapon can be holstered without need to remove the light

      2. Discourage keeping the weapon and light separately for safety and practicality

      3. Consider increasing your holster security level

        1. Officers more likely to be killed with own gun

        2. Officers are seldom the victim of losing a “quick draw”

        3. Security features can be defeated with practice

        4. Helps make argument to administration on need for new holster to accept light

  4. Taking it to the administration

    1. Be prepared for the following discussions:

      1. “Do you buy new holsters or attach light as needed?” This is usually a financial argument. Some departments keep their current duty rig and attach the light for building searches etc. New holsters can make the transition more difficult on a tight budget. Officers may be resistant to learn a new holster and defeat its security features. Here are some things to consider if you choose to use a conventional holster and mount and dismount the light as needed.

        1. If the light and gun are separate then you must pre-plan the situations it will be used in.

        2. The purpose of weapons lights is quick ID and acquisition. This can’t be done if you have to attach the light during or after the draw.

        3. Attaching the light to the muzzle end of a loaded gun under stress is not well advised.

        4. The emergency holstering of a light equipped gun into a non-light designed holster is unsafe and a liability.

        5. Example: Suspect at gunpoint wants to run. Do you run with a gun in your hand or take it apart and holster or he wants to wrestle, do you throw the gun away?

      2. In our case, we went from a Level 2 Safariland 295 to a Level 3 Safariland 6280 SLS(with optional sentry lock). Here’s why:

        1. National studies show that officers are not being killed because they can't draw fast enough; they get killed because they can't retain their weapons.

        2. The new holster is slightly slower on the draw, but far more snatch resistant, even with all three safeties defeated.

        3. The 295 Holster cost $115, the 6280 cost $82. We are looking into eBay for the old ones

        4. As you know we fear change in this business. Our guys complained about the holster change until we drilled them on the range over and over. Now there are no complaints at all.

        5. In 2009 we began issuing the new 6360 ALS model.

        6. In 2015 we switched to the 7360 ALS. These models will accomidate G17 and G34, as well as blue guns, simunition pistols and Ti Lab laser equipped guns for use on the training simulator. The 6360 barrel plug prevented this.

        7. Example: With Level 3 Safariland 6280 we are consistently getting sub 1.5 sec draws and center mass hits at 7 yards.

      3. “How do we prevent accidental discharge or improper use of the light?”

        1. This is simple, through policy and training. Your departmental policies that pertain to the display, draw, or use of firearms should not need to change with the introduction of weapon lights. The use of the light will be only in conjunction with the use of the firearm. Officers should be made clear that they have not been issued a new flashlight. They have a “tactical illuminator” on their firearm to assist in “target identification and acquisition”. There is no reason to use the light as a conventional flashlight (looking for property, directing traffic, etc.). Use the same policy that would discipline an officer for drawing their weapon unnecessarily for improper use of the weapon mounted light.

        2. Bottom line: It is our job to teach safe weapons handling as firearms instructors. We are capable of adding the element of safe light use.

        3. Our policy is to teach officers to operate the light with the support hand thumb and never the trigger finger. Start with this philosophy when you issue the light and begin familiarization, do not allow officers to develop their own style for light use.

      4. Budgeting

        1. Gun example: Glock 22 w/ night sights - $450

        2. Light example: Insight Technology M3 - $100

        3. Holster example: Safariland 6280 level 3 - $87

          1. I suggest the 7360 now in 2015.

        4. Subtotal for outright purchase of materials- $637

        5. Subtract money from officer gun buy back - $350

        6. Total department cost per officer - $287

      5. Marietta Police Department transition example:

        1. Cost breakdown

          1. Glock 22 pistol (40 S&W) with Trijicon night sights

            1. $459(new)-$350(trade-in value w/ optional officer purchase of old gun)

            2. $109 for each new gun

          2. Safariland 6280 Holster w/ sentry lock (Level 3)

            1. Basketweave- $82

            2. Sentry Locks- $6 per holster

            3. 6280-832-81-S (Glock 22 w/ M3, basketweave, right hand, with sentry installed)

          3. Insight Technology M3

            1. $91 each w/ 2 batteries and a spare bulb

            2. All bulbs were collected to be issued out as needed

          4. Sanyo 3V lithium batteries

            1. $1 each x 1500

            2. Batteries are stored in shift locker

            3. Signed out as needed

            4. Helps prevent hording, misuse

            5. Assists in budgeting and predicting consumption

          5. Total department cost

            1. Per officer total = $288

            2. 136 officers x $288 + $1500= $40,688

            3. Paid for with asset forfeiture money

  5. Special Consideration for Glock users:


SPO #2 “Familiarize instructors with available equipment”

Note: Have inert weapons with assorted weapon lights available for evaluation. Provide assorted duty holsters for weapons with lights.

  1. Lighting Technology (LED vs. Incandescent)

    1. L.E.D.

      1. Light Emitting Diode

      2. Whiter light

      3. Technology generates more heat, aluminum body required

      4. Still improving (as of 2007) in lumen output (65-80 lumen)

      5. Update 2009- Next gen LED has arrived. Most LED are 125 lumen

      6. Some issues with color/facial recognition

        1. People tend to look like wax figures.

        2. Insight Tech is offering the Procyon with a more traditional color light to help with this issue.

      7. More durable than incandescent

      8. Generally smaller coronas (2007)

        1. Improving greatly by 2009.

    2. Incandescent

      1. Xenon light bulbs

      2. Produces more traditional color

      3. Higher lumen outputs than LED (LED is catching up in 2008)

      4. Bulb durability / replacement costs

      5. Yellower light compared to LED

      6. Generally produce larger/brighter coronas

  2. Products

    1. Insight Technology –(

    2. Insight was bought by L3 Warrior Systems in 2011.

      1. M2 / UTL ($188-$224)

        1. H&K USP Series

        2. 125 lumen LED Upgrade kit due in April 2011

      2. M3 ($87-$109)

        1. Glock w/ rails (SIG and Beretta with adaptor)

        2. 90 lumen light

        3. 125 lumen LED Upgrade kit due in April 2011

      3. M3X ($160-$199)

        1. Fits Weaver, Picatinny, Glock w/ rails

        2. Mil-Std, waterproof, 125 lumen light

        3. 150 lumen LED Upgrade kit due in April 2011

      4. M3LED ($199)

        1. Glock w/ rails (SIG and Beretta with adaptor)

        2. 90 lumen light with red or green bottom mounted LED for navigation (discontinued)

      5. M3 LED 2011 (@$100)

        1. New LED upgrade to original incandescent M3.

        2. 125 Lumens

      6. M4 ($224)

        1. S&W Sigma Series E

        2. 90 lumen light

      7. M5 ($144-$170)

        1. S&W SW99 / TSW

        2. 90 lumen light

      8. M6 ($239-$279)

        1. Glock w/ rails (SIG and Beretta with adaptor)

        2. 90 lumen light with laser

        3. 125 lumen LED upgrade kit in April 2011

      9. M6X ($435)

        1. Glock w/ rails (SIG and Beretta with adaptor)

        2. Mil-Std, waterproof, 125 lumen light and laser

        3. 150 lumen LED upgrade kit available in 2011

      10. XML / X2 / X2L ($109)

        1. Springfield XD sub compact series

        2. 40 Lumens / Mini-Light

        3. X2L model has laser

      11. S.S.L-1. (Solid State Light) ($120-140)

        1. Fits same holsters as original M3

        2. LED light, waterproof, aluminum body

        3. 80+ lumens, split style switch., adapts to any rail

        4. –discontinued-

      12. XTI Procyon- (eXtreme Tactical Illuminator) ($160)

        1. Fits same holsters as original M3

        2. LED light, waterproof, aluminum body

        3. 125+ lumens, with strobe feature 2008

        4. New generation of high output LED

        5. 150 lumens in 2009 renamed WX150.

      13. WX150

        1. Fits same holsters as M3

        2. LED light, waterproof, aluminum body

        3. 150 Lumens with strobe feature

        4. Uses CR123

      14. WL1-AA

        1. Similar to WX150 but a AA battery version.

        2. 150+ Lumen, Laser model will also be available

        3. 90 minute run time on cheaper AA batteries

      15. ILWLP / LAM-1000

        1. “Laser Aiming Module”

        2. Has visible and IR lasers

        3. Has white light and IR illuminators

        4. Called ILWLP by the military

    3. SureFire – (

      1. X200 ($175-$250)

        1. Fits Glock w/ rails etc. includes Picatinny conversion

        2. 65 Lumen Waterproof / LED

        3. X200a- diamond pattern long range

        4. X200b- round pattern indoor ranges

        5. –discontinued 2008-

      2. X300 ($225)

        1. Combines features and replaces X200 a/b models

        2. 110 lumens

        3. Waterproof / Round pre focused LED

        4. The X300 went up to 500 lumens in 2012

          1. Name changed to X300 Ultra.

      3. X400 ($450)

        1. Should commercially available in 2009

        2. X300 with a laser sighting module

      4. Millennium ($370)

        1. 125 lumens for 1 hour or 225 lumens for 20 min

        2. Super High intensity 9V system

      5. Nitrolon ($196)

        1. 65 lumens for 1 hour or 120 lumens for 20 min

    4. Glock – (

      1. GTL10 / GTL 11 GLTAC3166 ($95)

        1. Glock light 60 lumens for 70 minutes

        2. Dimmer feature on GTL11

      2. GTL21 / GTL22 GLTAC3167 ($250)

        1. Glock light 60 lumens for 70 minutes

        2. Laser module built in

        3. Dimmer feature on GTL22

      3. GTL51 / GTL52

        1. Dimmer feature on GTL52

        2. Visible and IR laser aiming

        3. IR light and xenon white light

    5. Streamlight – (

      1. TLR-1 ($99-$129)

        1. Fits most railframes

        2. Waterproof / LED / Aluminum housing

        3. Pre 2009 models 80 lumens for up to 2.5hrs

        4. 2009 models have C4 LED at 125 lumens.

        5. TLR-1s (Strobe model) is 160 lumens

        6. In 2015 all TLR-1 and 2 were 300 lumen standard.

        7. TLR-1 HL (high lumen) reportedly 600 lumens in 2013

      2. TLR-2 ($220-$329)

        1. Fits most railframes

        2. Waterproof / LED / Aluminum housing

        3. Pre 2009 models 80 lumens light plus aiming laser

        4. 2009 models have C4 LED at 125 lumens.

        5. TLR-2s (strobe) is 160 Lumens

        6. TLR-2 GL (Green Laser) expected in 2013

      3. TLR-3

        1. Compact 90 Lumen LED

        2. Waterproof to 1 meter for 30 min

        3. Uses one CR2 3V battery

        4. TLR-4 – Laser version of TLR-1

    6. Laser Devices – (

      1. LAS/TAC 2 #22101 ($168)

        1. 6V 95 Lumens

        2. Optional LED or Laser heads

    7. Blackhawk- (

      1. Xiphos NT ($200)

        1. 65 lumens – 2 hr runtime on one CR123

        2. Strobe feature / low battery warning

        3. Waterproof LED

        4. Uses proprietary Blackhawk SERPA holster

        5. New 90 lumen model in 2009.

    8. SIG Sauer- (

      1. STL-900L ($137-215)

        1. 130 Lumen LED

        2. Strobe Feature

        3. Laser aiming module built into lens.

        4. Uses one CR123, 80min runtime.

        5. Polymer housing with aluminum bezel.

        6. Push button activation, not traditional rockers switches.


      1. If you have to ask: “Is this a good light?” Its probably an airsoft knock off clone of one of the above companies lights. Get a good light and compare them side by side. Don’t trust what the websites say for the lumen output of the knock offs. They are exaggerated.

      2. If you can’t get it from GT Distibutors, Galls, Brownells, BoTach, OMB, Streichers, or another reputable police supply, its probably not worth it. “Cheaper than Dirt” (NcStar, Sun Optics, etc are Chinese knock offs.)

    10. Safariland – (

      1. RLS- Rapid Light System $@100

        1. LED Powered by 3 AAA batteries

        2. Not for use with holsters

        3. An option for quick attach/detach that reduces muzzle danger.

      2. ALS Series Holsters- (6320, 6360)

        1. New for 2007, Similar to 6280, but has ALS

        2. Internal Auto locking holster

        3. Glock models work with multiple light types M3,TLR-1, SSL,X200, X300, Procyon.

      3. SLS Series Holsters- 6280

        1. Duty version of 6004 tactical holster

        2. Level 2 std, Level 3 with optional Sentry Lock

        3. Plain Black, Basketweave, gloss, Nylon-look

        4. Fine-Tac (kydex) $55

        5. Some will retain weapon with/without light attached

          1. If light is broken in struggle

          2. If light is out of service

      4. 7TS Series (7360, 7368)

        1. Injection molded, lighter, slimmer.

        2. A bit more flexible than traditional safari laminate.

        3. Some models will accommodate a wider variety of pistols. In my opinion, these are better than the 6360s.

        4. Trigger access is better protected. G34 will fit the same holster as G17. No barrel plug means threaded barrels, blue guns, simunition/UTM guns, etc will work completely.

    11. Don Hume (

      1. TAC Light – H738 ($104)

      2. Most finishes

    12. Bianchi (

      1. Luminator – Model 7945 ($90)

      2. Most finishes

    13. Blade Tech (

      1. Assorted holsters ($90-125)

      2. Kydex style / Paddle, tactical, IWB

    14. Desantis (

      1. Model T65 Duty Holster– ($120)

      2. Kydex style duty holster, T64 (belt holster)

    15. Uncle Mikes –(

      1. 99057/99058 – Jacket Slot ($75)

        1. Nylon / Level 2 thumb break

      2. EVO-3

        1. Triple retention holster with spring loaded hood

        2. One holster model will accommodate many types of lights (Glock, Insight, Surefire, all in one rig)

    16. LaserMax – (

      1. LMS-1141P(Glock 17/22/31/37) – ($250-$300)

        1. Laser module replaces recoil spring/guide rod

        2. Works very well with rail mounted illuminator

        3. Pulsating laser is factory sighted / coaxial to bore

        4. Point of aim = point of impact regardless of distance

    17. Crimson Trace- (

      1. Laser Grips (for pistol/revolver applications) ($300)

        1. User installed to right side of pistol grips

        2. Activated by proper grip on pistol.

        3. Non-pulsating bright laser

        4. Does not require special holsters.

SPO #3 “Learn methods for the issue and safe training of the pistol mounted light systems”

  1. Policy / Procedure

    1. Rules stay the same

      1. Your current departmental policy should not need to be changed.

      2. You should have policy in place for the display/drawing of firearms

    2. Draw your weapon when you need a weapon, not just a light

      1. The light is a tactical illuminator, not just another flashlight

      2. It should be used only for this purpose

      3. It is for illumination and identification of potential lethal threats

      4. You will not use it as a back-up flashlight, for directing traffic, lost property etc.

    3. Improper use of light will result in swift discipline

      1. Use existing policy on improper display of weapons

      2. Make it clear to officers that this is critical to making this system safe

  2. Nomenclature

    1. Lens, switch, locking tabs, bezel, battery door, etc.

      1. Walk though of all components of light

      2. Demonstrate all parts

      3. Have students show understanding of all nomenclature and operation

    2. Battery Installation

      1. Discuss battery life and replacement procedures

        1. For 3V batteries expect up to 10 years of shelf life

        2. Most 6V incandescent/xenon/halogen will produce 60 min of run time at 90 lumens

        3. Newer LED systems will get 90-120 minutes at 125-150 lumens.

        4. Establish a sign out/log system for issuance of batteries.

          1. Controls abuse (digital cameras etc.)

          2. Helps plan budget for next years batteries

          3. About $1 a battery and $18 a bulb

      2. Demonstrate how to install batteries

        1. Have students show understanding of procedure

      3. Bulb Replacement

        1. Demonstrate bulb removal

          1. Bulb cost $18 approx.

          2. Do not store extras in duffle bag

          3. Avoid finger oils on bulb

          4. Establish a log book/sign out procedure for bulbs

            1. Prevent abuse, document neglect

            2. Establishing a budget

        2. Discuss temporary removal for day-fire

          1. To extend bulb life consider removal for day fire sessions

          2. Remember to re-install at the end of session

  3. Installation/Removal from Weapon

    1. Unloaded and slide locked

      1. Install/Remove light only when gun is made safe

      2. Installation on loaded gun leads to potential “lasering”

    2. Only for cleaning and battery replacement

      1. Do not remove light from weapon once installed

      2. Only remove for cleaning or battery replacement

      3. Do not remove to use as a “back up/spare” flashlight

  4. Switch Operation

    1. Thumbs forward grip

      1. Using a “thumbs forward” grip allows the support hand thumb to operate light

      2. Use the same grip in the day as in low light, simplifies training to one grip (Harries, Rogers, etc.)

    2. Rule of Thumb

      1. Discourage or forbid the use of the trigger finger for light operation.

      2. The support hand “rule of thumb” will help to avoid accidental discharge claims.

      3. I recommend the use of momentary toggle only for searching, use the lock-on feature when a suspect is located. Thumbs slip off the momentary toggle when firing.

  5. Bezel Focus

    1. Only when weapon is unloaded

      1. Muzzle awareness / “Laser rule”

    2. Set it and forget it

      1. Don’t mess with focus constantly

      2. Potential for bezel to unscrew and bulb fall out

  6. Cleaning/Maintenance

    1. Clean lens after shooting

      1. Remove light from weapon prior to cleaning lens

        1. Don’t laser yourself trying to clean with your T-shirt while attached to gun.

        2. Unload and slide lock before light removal

      2. Point out the build up of gunpowder residue on the lens

      3. Remind officers to clean it before and after night fire sessions

    2. Light solvent or moisture

      1. Cleaning solvent, tissue, cloth, Q-tips, etc. all work to remove residue

III. Range (cold/hot)

SPO#4 Demonstrate proficiency with pistol mounted light

  1. Draw / Holster

    1. Practice – Practice – Practice

      1. Encourage daily ritual of 3-5 good draws a day during preparation for duty

      2. Second sight picture, ready, scan positions

        1. Do not rush officers to holster immediately after shooting, draw quickly/smoothly but holster only when threat is over and area safe

        2. Encourage a scan of the area

          1. Look for secondary threats

          2. Look for and move to cover

          3. Help to break tunnel vision

      3. Remember to shut off light if locked in constant-on

        1. Officers will occasionally holster weapons with lights on

        2. Lights do generate heat, but not likely to cause damage

  2. Grip

    1. Same as day time grip

    2. Recommend thumbs forward

    3. Slight push-pull of strong vs. support hand

    4. Don’t change grip for light operation

    5. Pressure switches vs. squeezing of grip

      1. Sympathetic effects on trigger control

      2. Uneven grip squeeze / Too much grip

  3. Switch Operation (two hands)

    1. Rule of Thumb

      1. Reinforce the use of support hand thumb for light operation

      2. Discourage/forbid use of trigger finger to use light


      1. The two handed light activation will be argued against by some who want to turn on the light using their trigger finger. This generally comes from your K9 handler who says “I can’t do it that way with a dog leash in the other hand.”

      2. Answer these questions:

        1. Do you send support/cover officers with the K9 handler on searches? If so, can they illuminate threats for the handler? Can they be the primary “shooters” when contact happens?

        2. Can you accurately shoot with a dog pulling on your support hand?

        3. If shooting starts between your cover guys and the bad guy, are you really going to hold on to the dog and shoot one handed?

        4. Is it possible to turn on the light with the support hand thumb then holster the gun with the light on, so it is on whenever you draw during the track?

        5. My suggestion is to NOT approve the trigger finger use. If the handler has lethal cover and illumination the he should control his dog. His need to use the tactical illuminator is not out weighted by the risks of N.D. by using the trigger finger. I’m not a fan of pressure switches, but this is one option.


    1. Momentary and constant-on

      1. Discuss tactical advantages of leaving light on after engagement vs. use of darkness.

      2. During a ongoing fight use of darkness for cover and eliminating your “light signature” may be considered

      3. Realistically officers will probably want light on target throughout engagement and keep light on target post shooting

      4. “Light Signature” vs. blinding suspect with bright light should be considered

  1. Switch Operation (one hand)

    1. Use of constant-on feature

      1. “Clock(wise) to Lock” (Insight M series models)

      2. Develop a word device to help officers remember switch operation directions

    2. Opening doors, using radio, etc

      1. One of the primary advantages of weapon mounted lights

      2. Have officers activate constant on with support hand thumb, then use radio while covering a suspect or simulate door opening

  2. “Halo Effect” / “Light Corona”

    1. Low-ready target illumination

    2. There is a ring of light apart of the central focused beam from the flashlight

    3. This light is sufficient to illuminate targets when pointed at the feet of a suspect

    4. Demonstrate this effect by having officers individually turn on their lights

    5. Don’t point weapon just to ID

      1. Do not point the light at center mass just to identify the target – THIS IS A CRITICAL POINT

      2. The halo is sufficient to provide identification

      3. Discuss PoliceOne article (Appendix F: John T. Meyer)

  3. Light Coaxial to Bore

    1. Effective up to 5 yards

      1. From 0-5 yards the central focused beam will show where the round will hit

      2. Past 5 yards it is difficult to determine the center of the beam

    2. Close Quarters sighting device

      1. At 0-5 yards the light is like a laser sight

      2. A proper trigger pull is still necessary to hit the desired area of the target

      3. Have officers fire center mass/cranial/pelvic shots by moving light focus

    3. High Tuck position

      1. Encourage two handed grip

        1. Better retention

        2. Avoids accidental shooting of support hand

        3. Demonstrate isosceles (center) tuck and strong side tuck

  4. Transitions from primary light

    1. What to do with primary light if in your hand when firearm is needed?

      1. Put on top of mag pouch

        1. Small lights (Sure Fire/Stinger) can rest on mag pouch

        2. Difficult to find light holster and not practical

      2. To thigh then to ground

        1. Support hand puts light on upper thigh, then release

        2. Can be done with small lights or Mag-Light type

        3. Prevents damage to light

        4. Controls fall and how far light “wanders” for easy recovery, lands near feet

  5. Reloads

    1. Easier with weapon light

      1. Gone are the days of putting a mag light between your knees or under your arm

      2. Discuss tactical advantages of leaving light on vs. shutting light off

      3. Hands free of other flashlight, reload the same as day time

  6. Range Qualifications

    1. PNC-4 (Night specific course)

    2. PNC-5 (Night specific course)

    3. PQC-1A (Day qualification at night)

IV. Closing

  • Range Clean-up

  • Weapon readiness

    • Clean pistols

    • Clean lights (and laser aperture if applicable)

    • Replace batteries as needed

  • Thanks to

    • Insight Technology– Bill Peterson-(603)551-6032

    • Bushnell Outdoor Products (Uncle Mikes) – Michelle Spann / Robert Gates – 706-651-8644

    • SureFire– Kaydra Patterson-(800)-828-8809

    • Safariland– Tom Campbell-(413)530-1950

    • Glock- Doug Robinson- (770) 432-1202

    • Streamlight-Tim Taylor (800) 523-7488 / (484) 432-0988

    • Ring’s Blue Guns- Carl and John Ring-(321)951-0407

    • LaserMax- Marshall Schmidt- (585) 272-5420 Ext. 329

  • Questions?

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