New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

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New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby tperk100 » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 05:46:01

Just bought a Bushmaster AR and am interested in scope recommendations appropriate for home defense and 100 yd range. Mostly am looking to outfit AR for home defense, QUICK and EASY target acquisition. Am rookie to AR's, but have been told that red dot is what I should consider.

Also, should I consider a tactical light setup and /or red or green laser?

Suggestions appreciated.
Tom P in Sunny Virginia Beach


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby bryanrheem » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 11:01:40

Congrats on the new AR and welcome to the land of legos, where you can mix and match so many accessories it'll make your head spin. You'll find great advice here regarding this topic so here are my 2 cents:

1) Get familiar with your AR by sending tons and tons of lead down range. If you want to use this to protect your life and those you love, you want to be familiar with how to manipulate it, to clear malfunctions, to understand how it shoots with specific ammo at specific distances.

2) Get proficient with your iron sights. All batteries eventually wear out, electronics can fail. Irons sights can still hit man sized targets at 100 yards.

3) RDS is a good option for what you're looking for. There are TONS of options on the market but again, it comes down to training with your specific gear.

4) Lights are a good idea for HD because you want to see what you're shooting at!

5) Study your house scenarios. A 223/556 round will punch through drywall so be aware of what is behind / next to what you are shooting at.

Now get out to the range!


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby tperk100 » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:18:59

Thanks!
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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby 0ne5hot » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:51:09

This is a good alternative to a RDS. It uses a glass-etched reticle that dosen't need batteries. I got this to replace my EOTech 512 because after I had lasik the reticle on the 512 was a little fuzzy (just the way my eyes healed), Because of that I stick with "traditional" scopes and irons. But RDS are still a good choice, just remember you get what you pay for when it comes to sights.
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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby Mindflayer » Thu, 07 Aug 2014 14:53:46

I have a Aimpoint Micro T1. Works great, even with insane astigmatism.

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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby 10mmSnob » Tue, 26 Aug 2014 14:32:40

Check promotive.com. As a serivce member, you have access to a number of employee discounts at various companies and some of them are optics manufacturers. Leopold was on there for a while, offering something like 30-40% off of MSRP. I'm still kicking myself for not picking up their prismatic for the AR, although my 512 isn't bad at all.

Oh, yeah, and definitely spend your money on ammo before you spend it on optics...don't be that guy.
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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby grumpyMSG » Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:29:16

There are two pretty prominent manufacturers worth serious consideration. Aimpoint and Eotech. Both offer military level sturdiness, the Eotech and the donut of death probably offer slightly faster target acquisition, but only a couple of hundred hours of battery life. The sight will turn itself off after a set period of time if you forget If you remember to change them when the time change happens, you should be good to go. Aimpoints on the other hand offer Thousands of hours of battery life and that can happen with the sight left on for days on end. Replace the battery once a year and it will be ready to go.

Essentially, the Eotechs run on either AA or CR123 batteries. Aimpoints on the other hand can use AA (the Comp M4s) or a smaller tougher to find size (DL 1/3N). Some folks will encourage you to look at one of the Aimpoint Micros, but for a possible home defense weapon, when it comes to field of view bigger is better. Alignment doesn't need to be perfect, see the dot, dot on target, pull the trigger and the bullet will be within 2 inches of where the dot is no matter where it was "In the tube" for Aimpoints or "On the windshield" for the Eotech. With the Aimpoints, you will have far less worry about battery life. As far as durability goes, the Aimpoint has probably had a better record in military service than the Eotech (battery compartment issues) but either would serve you well.

I am going to advise you to take a look at the Pro Patrol optic, which is basically an older style Aimpoint on a newer style mount. It offers the Aimpoint's toughness, ease of use and long life with what is probably the best value in the line.
http://all-in-general.com/product_info.php?products_id=75922

Adding a weapon mounted light is a good idea, but remember home defense is 30 feet or less, so in this case bigger is not better. As for a laser, it has a role with night vision goggles, but not so much in the home defense role. As for mounting it all up, you don't need 4 feet of rail to mount a light. one of the tubular keymod handguards or Magpuls MOE handguard will work better than a MilSpec rail system for a home owner. Last but not least, if the rifle is a home defense weapon, leaving the sling off would be better because it can't grab a doorknob or chair if it's not there.
You just have to ask yourself, is he telling you the truth based on knowledge and experience or spreading internet myths?


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby tperk100 » Tue, 26 Aug 2014 16:40:23

Grumpy (and others)...Thanks much for such a comprehensive answer to my concerns! I will consider all of what you have offered.
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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby MarcSpaz » Tue, 26 Aug 2014 17:42:41

I hope this isn't way too much for a reply...

Everything I am going to tell you is pure opinion. I have never served in the military, nor am I a LEO. However, I have had some training with the AR's and about 2.5 years of experience with them. I am far from an expert and possible the guy who use these for a living can either confirm or correct me if I miss something.

There are several kinds of red dot sights (RDS)... or what people consider RDS. Unfortunately names like RDS and holographic are interoperable and accurate to a degree.

You have battle quality holographic sights like the EOTech EXPS, Reflex sights like Leupold DeltaPoint (still uses a hologram) and then true RDS like the Leupold and Aimpoints (still uses a hologram) mentioned above. They all have there advantages and disadvantages.

The trick to rapid target acquisition at close range has little to do with your sighting hardware. There are two main things to focus on. One is lighting/visibility... can you see your target? The other is going to be practice... period. Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong. In fact, I have friends that are so proficient with AR's at close range, that while clearing a house or building with a flat-top M4A3 with no sighting hardware, that they will still be on target every time. They have practiced so much that the muscle memory wont let them make a mistake.

Obviously, for home defense, the typical Joe won't train that much. You still need lots of practice though. And use a range or sign-up for events that get you moving on your feet, shooting while in motion and responding to animated targets... not just static in a booth.

Okay, now that the "training lecture" is over... lets talk sights.

Fixed and Flip-up Sights -
As mention, get used to using these. Batteries die, electronics fail. I typically recommend round frame sights like the Troy Micro M4 front & doa rear folding sights. Because everything is round, it i very easy to shoot with both eyes open and acquire a good picture. You will need to work with someone who knows how manual battle sights should be set-up so it is done and you are trained correctly.

Pro's - No batteries, easy to use, hard to break.
Con's - Hard to use black sights in low light, can be slower target acquisition compared to digital sights.

Red Dot Sights -
Pro's - Slightly larger aperture than manual sights, faster target acquisition, good for low light and daytime, brands like Aimpoint have 4 or 5 years or battery run-time, durable.
Con's - with the smallest aperture opening and largest body of all digitals, they will obstruct your forward view the most and have the most sensitivity to head-to-sight alignment.

Reflex Sights -
Pros - Smallest and lightest option, larger opening with the slimmest aperture hoop causing the least amount of view obstruction for faster target acquisition, more forgiving to head position, good in day/night conditions
Cons - Shorter battery life, can be damaged more easily, quality reflex sights tend to be more expensive than a quality RDS.

Battle Quality Holographic Sights -
Pro's - Intermediate battery life, extremely durable, largest aperture and very slim hoop for extremely rapid target acquisition, very forgiving to head position, good for day/night.
Con's - Compared to the previous types, they are heavier, more bulky, expensive and really limited to EOTech for quality products.

On my M4 I started off with an Aimpoint, switched to a Reflex, and then to a EOTech. Now, I don't use any of them. I am using flip-up sights and an under barrel laser/flashlight combo. The red laser is not good past 20 yards outside during the day... but I feel this is the best home defense configuration I have had so far.

I did keep the Reflex on my MP5 though.

In this picture, the light/laser is on the side. I relocated it under the barrel to get rid of shadows to my side.

Image

My Aimpoints...

Image

Image

EOTech

Image

Image

Image

Classic Reflex

Image

Image


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby Rumson » Wed, 27 Aug 2014 00:36:05

I'll add some more information to make your head hurt a little more but I must make an assumption that your Bushmaster has a removable carry handle and standard rounded fore grip.. I'm not military but am an "enthusiast". Two gun matches and things like that..

Remove the carry handle to expose the top rail. You need the top rail to mount optic (s).. Go get a small reliable flip up rear site. The flip up rear sight should have minimum length to expose as much of the rail as possible. Start practicing with the iron sights as these never fail and you may very well need to rely on them at some point. While your practicing you can do further research on optics..

I currently run an EoTech 517. It's great but I'm limited to under a hundred yards in my experience. Yes you are looking at home defense but you will get bored shooting paper at the local indoor range and will eventually want to extend your reach as it's the natural progression and its what the rifle is designed for.. I actually want to get a 1x4 Leopold but then I loose my close in abilities.

What I've seen recently and I don't know where it started is guys are running a scope and red dot type sight. Scope on the top rail and red dot canted off to the side. I believe some are making mounts so the red dot is canted directly next to the scope. I believe I'm going this route in the near future.. Best of both worlds and you don't need to swap optics depending on your situation..

So, get the rear flip up sight and start shooting. Then get a small red dot type optic and mount to the top rail.. Start shooting and see how easy the red dot makes it. The ammo you'll save with easier target acquisition will pay for the red dot.. Then get a 1x4 scope with a special canted red dot mount and you can hit at 25 yards and 300. Then decide you don't like it or it can be tweaked a little and buy more optics. Did anybody tell you owning an AR can get expensive?

Stay away from the forward quad rails until you find an actual need. They are heavy and will slow you down on target acquisition.. Stay away from the lasers as they'll probably just give away your position in an actual event.

Setup a predetermined kill box within your house. Home defense takes planning. You need to know where your family or roomies are during the event and in most cases in VA you can not go hunt the perp inside your house. You do not have to retreat but you cannot persue unless somebody you are trying to protect is an another area of the house which requires you to pursue.. Thus the reason for the kill box.

Hope I don't start a poop storm with my advice but constructive criticism is always helpful and only increases our knowledge.


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby BertMacklin » Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:21:33

Rumson wrote:I'll add some more information to make your head hurt a little more but I must make an assumption that your Bushmaster has a removable carry handle and standard rounded fore grip.. I'm not military but am an "enthusiast". Two gun matches and things like that..

Remove the carry handle to expose the top rail. You need the top rail to mount optic (s).. Go get a small reliable flip up rear site. The flip up rear sight should have minimum length to expose as much of the rail as possible. Start practicing with the iron sights as these never fail and you may very well need to rely on them at some point. While your practicing you can do further research on optics..

I currently run an EoTech 517. It's great but I'm limited to under a hundred yards in my experience. Yes you are looking at home defense but you will get bored shooting paper at the local indoor range and will eventually want to extend your reach as it's the natural progression and its what the rifle is designed for.. I actually want to get a 1x4 Leopold but then I loose my close in abilities.

What I've seen recently and I don't know where it started is guys are running a scope and red dot type sight. Scope on the top rail and red dot canted off to the side. I believe some are making mounts so the red dot is canted directly next to the scope. I believe I'm going this route in the near future.. Best of both worlds and you don't need to swap optics depending on your situation..

So, get the rear flip up sight and start shooting. Then get a small red dot type optic and mount to the top rail.. Start shooting and see how easy the red dot makes it. The ammo you'll save with easier target acquisition will pay for the red dot.. Then get a 1x4 scope with a special canted red dot mount and you can hit at 25 yards and 300. Then decide you don't like it or it can be tweaked a little and buy more optics. Did anybody tell you owning an AR can get expensive?

Stay away from the forward quad rails until you find an actual need. They are heavy and will slow you down on target acquisition.. Stay away from the lasers as they'll probably just give away your position in an actual event.

Setup a predetermined kill box within your house. Home defense takes planning. You need to know where your family or roomies are during the event and in most cases in VA you can not go hunt the perp inside your house. You do not have to retreat but you cannot persue unless somebody you are trying to protect is an another area of the house which requires you to pursue.. Thus the reason for the kill box.

Hope I don't start a poop storm with my advice but constructive criticism is always helpful and only increases our knowledge.


I have heard that there is no duty to retreat but beyond that law is extremely grey. One cannot use lethal force in defense of property alone or simply because one is trespassing, one should not make that case as he'd beyond on the protection of the law. One can use lethal force if there is reason to believe your life is in danger, always use this case. Beyond that much of the law is implied, typically in favor of the homeowner, but no castle doctrine or stand your ground on the books.


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby Rumson » Sun, 31 Aug 2014 12:10:03

Yes very true. My thoughts are grab the defensive firearm, secure the family,dial 911,shout out you are armed and they are to leave..If they do not leave and continue to encroach upon you the zone is enforced. 911 should hear that you warned and you gave them the option. Any lack of action to defend at that point is risking the family. If they leave that is ideal. Toss a key out the Window to the police when they arrive and let them sweep the house.

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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby learningcircles » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 05:37:11

There are a lot of good options out there for red dots, but many depend on your budget.

The cheapest option, but still a good one, is a Primary Arms micro red dot. I prefer to get a lower third co-witness riser:

https://www.primaryarms.com/Primary_Arms_Micro_Dot_Removable_Base_Gen_II_NV_p/md-rbgii.htm

Next up, the Vortex Strikefire. Get the Red dot only version, as I found that on the Red/Green dot version, the red dot isn't bright enough to see in the daylight.

https://www.primaryarms.com/Vortex_StrikeFire_II_Bright_Red_Dot_p/sf-br-503.htm

There is also a decent Vortex micro dot, the SPARC. Though I haven't used one personally, I hear good things:

https://www.primaryarms.com/Vortex_SPARC_II_Red_Dot_p/spc-402.htm

The best value red dot optic, dollar for dollar and ounce for ounce, is the Aimpoint PRO. It comes with a good QD mount, and the battery will run for years. Price starts getting high with an aimpoint, but the durability and features are nearly peerless.
https://www.primaryarms.com/Aimpoint_PRO_Patrol_Rifle_Optic_p/12841.htm

And finally, the BEST red dot available right now is an aimpoint T-1 or T-2. Be prepared to pay for it, though. Ruggedness on the optic is unmatched, weight is low, batteries will run on high for YEARS, and let's be honest--it looks awesome.

https://www.primaryarms.com/Aimpoint_Micro_T1_Sight_with_Standard_Mount_p/12417.htm

Having covered all that, I'll say that I prefer a 1-4x optic with an etched and illuminated reticle for home defense. That way, even if the electronics crap out, I'll always have a reticle to aim with. I use a Vortex Viper PST 1-4x on my home defense AR, pictured below:

Image

Hope all that helps, and enjoy the rifle. Get out and shoot it!


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby tperk100 » Fri, 20 Mar 2015 10:43:52

Thanks to all for your help.
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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby iainb » Tue, 08 Sep 2015 15:20:27

learningcircles wrote:Next up, the Vortex Strikefire. Get the Red dot only version, as I found that on the Red/Green dot version, the red dot isn't bright enough to see in the daylight.

https://www.primaryarms.com/Vortex_StrikeFire_II_Bright_Red_Dot_p/sf-br-503.htm


At least with green lasers they are gaining popularity because they are easier to see in the daytime than a red laser. I'd imagine green dots would probably have the same benefit.


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby Oakes » Wed, 09 Sep 2015 22:30:19

Trijicon just came out with a new MRO that has a bigger field of view and is less money than the Aimpoint. Have not seen touched or heard anything other than a G&A review.


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby M1A4ME » Thu, 10 Sep 2015 07:40:53

Will the AR15 be your primary inside the house home defense weapon? Or do you have a good reliable handgun as the first weapon that your hand picks up?

I have an AR15 in the bed room, unloaded, but with a few magazines in the case with it. I have a 12 ga. riot gun in the bedroom, loaded. I have a couple handguns in the bedroom, loaded. Oh, also have the SIG 556R in the bedroom, unloaded but with mags in the case, like the AR.

A rifle, in most homes, is pretty clumsy to move around with. Especially if you intend to move around with it on your shoulder and ready to fire. Do it. For practice, unload your rifle (check a couple times to make sure) and then shoulder it as if you are ready to fire, and move from room to room, through the doorways, down the hallway, into/out of rooms, etc.

Yeah, everyone says retreat to the bedroom or the safe room and wait for the cops. If one of the family member doesn't make it to the central bedroom/safe room, will you sit tight, or go try to find them and make sure they get to the rest of the family? If you go to them will you do it unarmed? Or with that AR15?

There's a lot you can do - in your house, to get an idea of what works best for you or fits you and your house better.

When I get up, in the middle of the night, to check out an unusual noise, or the dogs barking in the yard, I grab the semi auto handgun with the bright light on the rail. Then, if I decide to go outside and see why my dogs are barking, I grab the AR15 with the really bright light on it to check out the yard/house/sheds. I don't turn the light on and leave it on, I just have it in case I need it. If someone/something is looking my way when that 550 lumen light comes on, they won't see much of anything for bit after it washes out there night vision.

If you choose the AR15 as your primary carry around the house weapon, what ammo will you use? Buy something that is reliable. Remember that the range will be extremely close and you'll get expansion (only at longer distances do folks start to question the effects of loss of velocity and expansion) but will you get too much? I really don't know. Check out You Tube videos of people comparing/testing bullet expansion of different calibers and bullets and see what ranges they are shooting. You need a combination of penetration and expansion. Too much or either one is bad.

Good luck. And do practice, but remember, shooting 25 to 100 yds. at the range is nothing like shooting 5 to 25 feet in a home. Noise, muzzle flash, your mindset, will all be much different inside your home than sitting on a chair shooting off a bench at a range.


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby MarcSpaz » Thu, 10 Sep 2015 10:02:42

All of those reasons are why (when home) I carry a semi-auto pistol with a tac light on my hip til I go to sleep and beside the bed... a 300 Blackout with a 9" bbl, light laser, a suppressor and with subs in the mag and supers in a spare mag in the event I need a touch more power.


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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby tperk100 » Sun, 07 Aug 2016 01:51:55

Finally, I am back. I have as my first grab for HD a 20+1 Sig P226 9mm w Lasermax LMS-2261 internal guide red laser....no light but might put one on it sometime. No need to comment on this for now.

Remember....I know NOTHING about the AR just yet. I am trying to figure out a number of things with respect to the AR, but for now I am still focused on sights and lights. I have acquired a Surefire X400 Ultra, 500 lumens light and green dot laser (see bottom pic). Did not buy specifically for AR, but since it costs over $500 I am dang sure gonna use it for something. It seems as if it would be great to mount on the bottom or side of AR so not to obstruct whatever sights I put on top. I am assuming I can get a remote switch for it, if that makes sense. For now I would appreciate help on just this. I need to figure out how exactly to mount it, and what parts I need, considering that I have long arms and would like to keep the existing or another vertical grip as far forward as possible (I suppose this will mean mounting the X400 to the side somehow). You can see that I have no bottom rail at this point.If this seems like a reasonable plan, what parts do I need?

Any help will be appreciated.

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Re: New AR Owner - Red Dot/ Other Recommendations?

Postby MarcSpaz » Sun, 07 Aug 2016 11:31:30

Great choice on the laser/light combo. Green has been found to be much easier for the human eye to see and thanks to modern improvements in tech, they are no more or less sensitive to temps than the red lasers.

If all you want to mount is the laser/light, something like this should be fine. Its $5 and available at most gun stores.

https://www.magpul.com/products/moe-pol ... il-5-slots

There are some major points that will lead me to recommend having the laser/light combo in the bottom of the handguard. First, the laser is not going to be perfectly aligned at every distance. If you have the laser/light combo mounted on the right side and you zero the laser for 25 yards (for example), at 100 yards, your point of impact will be 6 inches to the right of your point of aim.

Obviously, you are not taking a 100 yard shot off of a laser while in a home defense situation. I use this to illustrate a point. I am assuming since this is for home defense, you will most likely be shooting at a human. People are tall and narrow. So, your rounds being two or 3 inches off target to one side or another in a true home defense situation could make the difference between an effective hit or a miss.

If you have the laser under the barrel, you will have a shift in point of impact vertically instead. This means if you are aiming center mass, you will still hit the rough center of the torso, providing significant injury to stop an attacker. This becomes even more critical if your aim is not exactly perfect... which in a crisis situation, I'm sure its not going to be easy to acquire your target due to stress of the situation.

As far as the flashlight goes, this should also be mounted on the bottom when possible. The light is going to cast a shadow due to the handguard and barrel. For example, if the light is on the right side, you are creating somewhat of a blind spot on the left side of the rifle. Not only is the left side not being fully illuminated, the light being lit is now making your pupils contract, making the darker areas harder to see into. You could have a hostile to your side and not even see them.

I would also recommend mounting on the bottom over the top for a few reasons. If the light is mounted on the top, that same shadow is now cast at your feet. Now your forward and side-to-side visibility are fine, but you can't see where you are walking. This is a trip hazard and if someone is laying on the floor behind cover/concealment, you may not see them.

When the light is on the bottom, you get some nice advantages. There, the light is not shining in your face, so it increases your low light vision compared to mounting in other locations. The shadow blind spot is now on the ceiling. I'm pretty should you're not getting ambushed by someone hiding on the ceiling, so now your path is illuminated and all possible peripheral ambush/cover/concealment locations are illuminated.

Also, if you need to rapidly drop your light profile and can't turn it off quick enough, you can drop your point of aim to the floor. Now the weapon and your body are blocking a large amount of light, reducing exposure risk while you try to get the light turned of.

Momentary pressure switches are good for a few reasons. You don't want the light on full-time because that gives your position away to the bad guys. Also, if you have been woken up, your eyesight is already well adjusted to darkness. Likely more so than anyone who has ill intent that came in from outside. Plus, you know where everything is in your house. Why provide light to help the bad guy get around.

Tac lights serve two purposes. One of them is NOT to serve as a flashlight. Wherever that light is pointing, so is your weapon. You may not want to point your weapon in your kids room to see if they are okay (for example). Get a flashlight for that.

The two purposes of a tac light are to provide a brief burst of light in a dark area you suspect a person intent on doing you harm may be hiding and temporarily blinding/disorienting your attacker. Nothing takes a bad guy out of the picture faster that suddenly strobing a nice bright light in their face. They can't see you because their pupils shrink up and they are temporarily blinded. This works in well lit areas too, but is much more effective in low light situations. Particularly when the bad guy doesn't know where you are or where any of the furniture, doors or walls are.

Hope this helps.


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