When using a flashlight you use a one-handed or two-handed technique. I suggest you find one of each and practice them. One mistake many make is to assume that the two-handed technique is better and fail to practice the one-handed technique. As a police officer the two-handed technique works well to keep the pistol on target longer with less strain. In my opinion they do not offer any more recoil control than one-handed shooting. I found that the Rogers/cigar or Harries two handed techniques(pictured below) work the best, but still requires practice to master with little recoil control over one-handed shooting.
Use the Cigar technique by wrapping your forefinger around the flashlight and using the palm to activate the tail switch. The remaining fingers wrap around the pistol in the normal grip. Turn the light on by pulling backwards with the forefinger against the palm. This requires a small diameter light with a tailcap switch.
Harries works but as you get tired the support elbow will raise up until it is parallel to the ground. Keep the elbow pointed down. Press the back of the hands together with the support wrist slightly bent to cradle the strong side hand. This works with side or tailcap switches and with larger diameter flashlights.
I like the Eye index one-handed technique over all flashlight techniques. I found that I didn’t shoot much slower one-handed. At normal ranges of a civilian encounter the accuracy is there, if you practice. Many people talk about practicing one-handed if you get injured. I found that as a civilian there are other options if injured and the more important reason to practice the one-handed draw and shooting is because there might be a flashlight in your support hand.
Eye index technique:
The Eye index is essentially the retention position where the support hand is also used defensively to block blows from the threat or to strike the threat as necessary. It also has the added benefit to intuitively move the light wherever the head moves. You can fire the pistol from retention or extended with normal one-handed shooting. You can also use a lanyard and drop the light to shoot two-handed. We’ll talk more about that next post.
Weapon mounted light technique:
Using a weapon mounted light works well for a civilian when at home. Some found that they can even conceal their weapon on their person with a weapon mounted light, most can’t. With this light you can defend yourself with a normal two-handed grip. The problem comes when you don’t have a legal reason to have a gun in your hand but need to see around you. In the last post we used the example of walking in a dark parking lot. We can’t walk around with a pistol in hand but can surely walk around with a flashlight. There is nothing wrong with having a weapon mounted light, it just doesn’t take the place of a flashlight.
There are other techniques out there. If you find one you like then make sure you practice shooting at speed. This is another great reason to buy a shot timer. Many people in the gun world make fun of shot timers as being useless games where people chase tenths of a second. I found when practicing techniques some feel better than others. When I shoot using a timer some techniques feel good but are slower to shoot. The shot timer makes it more scientific and less about feelings.
In the next post I will talk about using the flashlight lanyard and why I like it. Hint: what some say is a bad thing really works well because of how gunfights really happen. More on that next time.