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American Handgunner Sep/Oct 2010 - Page 72
COPTALK Massad Ayoob At belly-to-belly distance, you don’t need much illumination … but you may need something else a gun-mounted flashlight provides. OPINION AND FACTS FROM THE MEAN STREETS A Gun Light Plus-Factor T Then: SureFire light Standoff capability created by Streamlight TLR-1 on issue Glock 22 may well have saved he rise of the on Jarvis the life of the officer mentioned in column. Beretta flashlight9mm. equipped service pistol began many years ago, with special reaction teams, Gun notably LAPD SWAT. mounted lights, then It proved it could be and now. a lifesaver searching darkened buildings for dangerous suspects. K9 was the next arm of law enforcement to pick up on the value of Now: Springfield Armory combined white light XD45 with SureFire X200. and handgun. With one hand often being required to hold a big dog’s leash, the canine handler was down to a single hand to manipulate both gun and flashlight (often outdoors on moonless nights or in the same dark buildings et’s compare two starkly similar police encounters involving deadly where SWAT had first proven the value of force. St. Paul, Minn.: An officer is losing a fight with a much bigger, the concept). stronger attacker who got him down and is trying to kill him. In desperaFinally, administrators realized patrol tion, the officer draws his pistol, presses it to the would-be cop-killer’s body, division street cops found themselves and pulls the trigger. Nothing happens. The pressure forced the muzzle out of searching pitch-black buildings and dark battery, and the gun will not fire. Jacksonville, Fla.: The suspect drew a .45 alleys, performing midnight manhunts auto, shot the cop in the face then shot him six more times. The officer returns in the woods too, and authorized or fire, wounding the suspect several times. The armed gunman falls atop the even issued light-mounted pistols to the supine officer, who press-contacts his .40 against the man’s skull and shoots rank and file. Synthetic holsters proved him three times in the head, ending the fight. themselves adaptable to the bulkier Both departments issue the Glock Model 22. What’s the outline of pistols with lights, and difference? The Jacksonville cop posessed a Streamlight the tactical illumination tool TLR-1 flashlight mounted on his Glock .40. Because industry sped the process by the head of most such flashlights protrude beyond the introducing ever more commuzzle, it keeps the barrel/slide assembly from being pact white light units compatshoved out of battery, allowing the gun to function! ible with handgun mounting. Today, it’s routine to see “the cop on the street” wearing a holstered pistol with flashThe latest and light attached. We will never smallest from know how many tragedies have he great majority of auto pistols won’t fire if InSight shown been prevented due to the bright pressed hard at the muzzle against an oppoat 2010 SHOT Show. white light. It allows the officer nent’s body. The Springfield Armory XD to see a suspect is holding keys or a Service Model is a notable exception. The 1911 can be made cell phone instead of a gun, just in time to to work this way for one shot by holding the trigger back and keep him from pulling the trigger. We’ll then releasing the manual safety, but that’s a pretty tricky sleight of hand for never know how many police lives have someone fighting to the death at contact distance. Having a flashlight already been saved because the gun-mounted light on the gun when it’s drawn creates “standoff capability” keeping the gun in blinded the armed suspect and either intimbattery in these critical situations. It’s simply one more reason why it makes idated him into surrendering, or put him far sense for today’s police officer to carry a gun with a mounted light. enough behind the curve the officer could Make sure you run a couple hundred rounds in test-fire to assure relifire the first accurate shot and prevail. ability. There have been documented reports of otherwise-reliable guns In all of this, however, one other sigfailing because the weight of the flashlight mounted on the front of the nificant advantage of the light-equipped polymer frame altered cycling characteristics. Once reliability is assured, service pistol appears to have been you’re good to go with a system that helps you both see and shoot in the largely missed. dark, and gives you one more ace in your hand of cards when the stakes on the table happen to be your life. standoff caPabiLity L See And Shoot T * 72 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER2010