Flashlights and When to Stop the Gunfight?

I described some options in the last post that many feel have problems, i.e. dropping the flashlight on a lanyard and shooting the gloomy lethal threat with two hands. While no system is perfect I would like to discuss just what happens with our eyes during a gunfight even in full daylight. When the mental trigger to draw and shoot occurs I believe that our visual focus will be on a small space in the center of the target, usually the chest or face. When considering the effect of tunnel vision, focusing on such a small area is easier than in training. If we keep our focus on that small spot how will we know when to stop shooting? Will we fire a few rounds and then look? In the past, firing rounds and then looking for a response resulted in the good guy being shot by the bad guy. Often the only way to know the threat is over is to shoot the subject to the ground and then take cover or leave the area. That means you will not normally see the subject drop a gun or start to turn until you have fired many rounds in this fight that will last just a few seconds.
This does not mean that if your shooting is disrupted by something such as stumbling or moving past cover, that you just pick back up and start shooting again. You will have to see what the subject is doing. I found that I can see well enough to determine what the subject is doing in a general sense in almost all public places I go at night. I can tell if they are running away, coming at me and what their arms are doing. If they are still coming at me then I continue to shoot because at the very least we are in a fight for my gun.

Many people believe that they need to keep the flashlight on the subject so they can see what the subject is doing with their hands and weapon while the gunfight is in progress. Because of tunnel vision you can’t see their hands, even in full sun, unless you are shooting at their hands. It is amazing how shooters train to use their peripheral vision and expect to use it during the gunfight. If you are one of the over 90% (some say 99%) of humans tunnel vision will keep you from seeing the bad guy’s hands if you are concentrating on their chest or face as a target.

You can decide to use the lanyard as I do or you can train to keep it in hand while you shoot. Either way you must train using a flashlight technique for those times when it is pitch dark and you will lose sight of the bad guy if you drop your light. Please think about the role of tunnel vision and what you will need to see before you decide on when and how to deploy the light.

Lastly, I will nag you again with my annoying saying. What we do right before we know we’re getting into a fight often decides if we win or lose. Train with the flashlight. Keep the batteries fresh. Carry it with you when you go out in public and have it in your hand when you transition from light places to dark places.


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