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How to Choose a Holster
for a Handgun with
A Weapon Light

By Dan S. Defense

Most shootings happen in low light or no light conditions. It means that our main sensory input mechanism, is impaired, when we may need it most. There are few ways to overcome this severe limitation. The best way is to turn night into day by wearing night vision goggles. But, while being ideal from a tactical perspective (with high end gear that can withstand the occasional bright light), it will be silly and impractical for you to walkabout with night-vision, while out on the town. Imagine the looks you'll get from shocked passersby.

Too much attention and, of the worst possible kind to the armed law abiding citizen. So, not a good idea! Still, putting kidding aside, having a good way to see threats at night will improve your ability to fight back. This is where weapon lights come into play. Weapon lights allow you to illuminate the threat with a flood of concentrated light. You will be able to identify the threat, see what is behind it and temporarily blind your would be assailant.

A Weapon light is a good thing to have at night!. Here we'll discuss the best way to carry your weapon light on your handgun, in a holster, which means that your weapon light will be instantly accessible to you. Since the most popular weapon lights come from Surefire and Streamlight, we'll look at some options for carrying your weapon light of choice in a good holster.

At this point, some folks who are serious about self defense, will think there's merit in the idea of carrying a weapon light in a holster. Some, on the other hand, some will suggest that having night sights on your handgun is good enough. I'd agree with some of that thought, and say that having night sights on your handgun is important. Night sights will allow you to see your front sight, a critical element in being able to hit the threat that's trying to harm you.

But, I'd submit that you can do better and that night sights ought to be seen as only a starting point for being prepared for an ugly night encounter. Keep in mind that a weapon light will clearly show you everything you need to see, and allow you to make the right call, prior to shooting. It's might be possible to see the threat, but not the innocent person, standing in the shadow just behind them.

For those who say that a light can be carried independently for the weapon, I'll just say that it is true and I'll write an article for that, covering some of my favorite hand held lights, but being able to use both, I'd still prefer a weapon light --it will be quickly accessible, it will allow me the use of one hand if needed and the light will follow my barrel, which will in turn follow my eyes. So, your first choice comes now --read on to see which weapon holster may be good for you, or search for the article on hand held lights.

When you carry a handgun with a weapon light, you'll notice that the handgun is bulkier and heavier. That means that you need a proper holster that will compensate for these two factors, in a manner that will allow you to present the handgun quickly and efficiently. No holster can make the extra weight disappear, but it can spread the weight and keep the handgun in a stable position.

My five requirements for a holster for a handgun with a weapon light:

1. It must be sturdy and stable --that means a well made holster designed for your specific handgun and weapon light.

2. It must have strong belt loops --the package of handgun and light will be heavy.

3. It must keep the handgun close to your body --it will already be hard to conceal this bulky package.

4. It must be an OWB (Outside Waist Band) to allow for quick and efficient presentation.

5. It must be accompanied with a strong and sturdy belt --the best holster with a cheap belt will fail you when you'll need it most.

There are lots of cheap holsters in the market place. Many promise to hold any handgun with any light. They are made from cheap materials and they may appeal to people who think they spent enough money on a good handgun and a good weapon light. To them I'd say this--don't be foolish! Think about the fact that the holster and your ability to present your handgun and weapon light quickly will determine your odds of survival. Get a good holster and don't be a cheap skate!

There are many good holster makers. Some from production lines and some from custom makers. Read up on each brand. See how uses that brand and what the key selling points are. A cool looking holster does not translate into a good one. Some of my best holsters for weapon lights are made from "plastic" (they all have nice and fancy scientific names that translate to very hard plastic). I mentioned the Surefire lights --I have X200, X300 and X400 lights and the X200 and X300 ride in Blade-Tech holsters. The X400 is still waiting for its holster from The Malabar Front.

My Thunder Ranch 45 ACP revolver likes the Streamlight Lights TLR-1 and mostly rides in a fanny pack. There are many other good brands, but these are the ones that I like most at this point. I'm notorious for getting more, new holsters and changing my favorites quite often. Regardless, this is about you and what works best for you--research this area and give it some thought. Your life may depend on it!

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!
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