The Flashlight and the Gun

If you own a gun, a flashlight isn’t necessarily something you can dismiss now that you’ve got real 

Nebo Redline Tactical Flashlight

firepower. You see, a cardinal rule of self-defense shooting is : NEVER SHOOT ANYTHING YOU HAVE NOT CLEARLY IDENTIFIED.

Violation of this simple rule causes countless tragedies that are totally unnecessary. One Monday morning at work we got the call for an early, unscheduled faculty meeting. This is never good, because it almost always means something bad has happened over the weekend. In this case, the fathers of two students had gone deer hunting over the weekend. One hunter shot at movement in the brush, which he thought was a deer. Tragically, he had shot his friend to death.

Imagine living with the burden of having shot your own friend to death. What is so sad is that this was completely avoidable.

Now suppose that you get up one night, grab your gun, and see an ominous silhouette in the shadows of the kitchen, so you shoot. Only then do you discover it is your daughter coming in late from a party, the wife who couldn’t sleep and decided to take some medicine, or the son who was hungry and raided the fridge.

If you have a gun in your home, here is a simple and life-saving rule: NOBODY MOVES IN THE HOUSE WITHOUT TURNING ON A LIGHT. This means that anyone who gets up to go to the bathroom or fridge, who decides to check on the dog, who comes in late from a party, etc., turns on a light at the earliest opportunity and turns on lights wherever he or she goes.

Your flashlight now becomes critical to identifying threats and potential targets. There are several methods for wielding a flashlight and a pistol at the same time.

The Harries Method

The Chapman Method

The Rogers Method. In one variation, the fingers hold the flshlight like a cigar. The purpose of this grip is to enable you to get several extra fingers on the pistol grip.

The Modified FBI Method. The idea is to hold the light off center, so anyone who aims at the light will likely miss you


The Neck Position. This is a modified FBI. Note the hand is ready to strike, and there is cover at the head and neck.

(These pictures were found here, where you can go for further info.)


3 Responses to “The Flashlight and the Gun”

  1. My opinion is that the The Harries Method is the best of the early methods because it has the most secure hand to hand contact. These days anyone can get aftermarket clamps for flashlights on most modern semi-auto pistols but if you don’t have such a flashlight clamp then try all three method WHILE shooting at the range and see which works out best for you.

    If you can control the weapon with just one hand (hard to do if using a rifle) then the first FBI method is a good one. I do disagree with the second FMI method as it has the worst of both worlds: light too close to your face and only one hand on the gun.

    I’d like to note that the first FBI method was also a subject of a Blackbelt magazine article in November 2010 for non-gun defense. In this case the light was used as in the second FBI method (due to the attacker being directly in front of you) but then you step off the line to strike and now it looks like FBI method #2.

  2. James,

    I might also mention the new integral lasers, which have become so small that they’re mounted in certain grips or have a small attachment under the frame. I just don’t know how well they illuminate a target, though.

  3. Great idea to hold it off to the side – though this is assuming that whoever aims at you has good aim – you could get hit by a bullet holding the light off to the side just because the other person doesn’t aim correctly.

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