Quantico Tactical

Gunfighter Moment – Jeff Gonzales

There is a lot of talk about having the brightest light possible these days. For the most part, I find it comical and here is why.

Do you even carry a light bro…

Let’s be clear we are talking about self defense scenarios, scenarios where your personal safety is at risk. Due to this risk you may have to employ lethal force from your firearm. To further define this, you will more than likely be carrying concealed. Seems reasonable, so why do I find it comical? We have conducted a dozen of our Concealed Carry Tactics classes this year alone. So much information has been discovered in the process. For instance, the average student does not carry a flashlight. Oh, they might have a flashlight, but they do not carry one with them every day. A very small percentage of students will employ a dedicated weapon mounted light for concealed carry. If they do have a weapon mounted light they have opted not to carry a handheld flashlight.

Que the crazy

Granted, this is a small sampling, but damn it is still very telling. One of the most versatile tools you can carry on a daily basis is a rugged, compact and powerful light. This is the criterion we use to select our lights and we recommend folks follow as well. The real question is how powerful? Que the crazy… I am not going to get wrapped up in the crazy, there is plenty to go around on this, but what I will say is there IS a point of diminishing returns. I don’t care what some folks think, at some point the juice is not worth the squeeze. In this case, the juice is the ability to carry the light consistently; like every damn day.

Look, it’s covered…

I would prefer someone who is carrying concealed have a good light over a spare magazine if forced to choose. I find it far more likely you will use the light versus the spare magazine. The crux of the issue is your ability to conceal your full load out versus just “covering” it all. Too many folks live in a fantasy camp or downplay the importance because they cannot conceal properly. Some will go so far as to dismiss the importance of concealing properly with a hint of bravado. If you are going to carry concealed, the operative word being “concealed”, then do it better…case closed.

The wheels come off fast

Then there is the argument for having a light with ridiculous light output because they need to penetrate six rooms deep as they conduct assaults on some structure. The funny part is many of these folks are the same folks who will fall back to statistics to support their inability to demonstrate true marksmanship. Hitting their target on demand from the extended ranges. They practice almost exclusively at the extreme close ranges creating a house of cards. The irony is so thick you could cut it with your knife you probably do a poor job of concealing as well.

Could of, would of, should of

If you do subscribe to statistics and find yourself at close range, the likelihood of having the time to deploy an uber bright light is a pipe dream. A prime factor for most criminal acts is proximity. The suspect has to be close enough to do harm, threaten to do harm or force you to do something unsafe. Even in the blackest of nights, your ability to observe the gun or knife shoved in your face is probably better than you think. But still some believe it is better to have all those lumens in case they need it to identify a far threat. I’m good with that, maybe you do. Here is another issue few recognize; your ability to accurate identify friend from foe. So, while your light may be ridiculously bright can you actually see the threat and when I say see, I mean be able to articulate in a court under oath you positively identified your threat before you employed lethal force.

Carry a light, carry it all the time and conceal it better.

– Jeff Gonzales
Trident Concepts, LLC

Jeff Gonzales of Trident Concepts, LLC is a decorated and respected U.S. Navy SEAL who has worked in a variety of environments and capacities throughout the globe. He specializes in personal protection tactics and training for armed and unarmed conflicts. His motto is “Concepts that meet reality”. Jeff’s goal is not simply to train you, but to better prepare you for the worst-case scenario.

Gunfighter Moment is a weekly feature brought to you by Alias Training & Security Services. Each week Alias brings us a different Trainer and in turn, they offer some words of wisdom.

Tags: , ,

26 Responses to “Gunfighter Moment – Jeff Gonzales

  1. Ed Hickey says:

    Yes all the time

  2. JohnnyO says:

    So… If you were to recommend a good, concealable, everyday carry light (not a weapon light)- what would it be? These days there are too many “tactical” flashlights out there to choose from and at prices that limit the average consumers ability to “sample” them until we find the ideal light.

    • Chuck says:

      I posted below, but found that surefire has a light called the titan which seems small and ready to go. As I mentioned I have the Gerber Infinity which is pretty concealable.

    • KP says:

      I’ve found the Streamlight Stylus or the Microstream are really great single output lights at a stupid low price and slips neatly into any pocket, pen sleeve, or anything of the sort. The Stylus puts out a (measured by them) 50 lumen, and the smaller one 28, which is a nice no-nonsense usable beam.

    • The other Ben says:

      The Surefire Titan offers superior brightness from a single AAA, but at the expense of an infuriating twist-cap switching system. Streamlight’s 1AAA puts out an acceptable (for size) 70 lumens with a familiar tail switch. For me the lower cost and better switch of the Streamlight was well worth the lower output. Don’t bother with the Microstream, it’s half the output of the 1AAA and not appreciably smaller.

      If you find yourself scoffing at 70 lumens, or even at the Titan’s 125, or (more likely) you don’t care for the super wide beam pattern, you can step up to the 1L or E1D from Streamlight or Surefire, respectively.

    • David Spicer says:

      I carry a SureFire one cell Backup. I have custom Kydex mag/light holder fore each gun I carry. This is quite a capable light. The pocket clip allows carry even with out the Kydex holder. Just another suggestion. I even carry this in uniform when working.
      D. Spicer
      Oath Keeper

  3. Chuck says:

    Which light would meet this need? Honest question to the group. I have a tried and true Gerber Infinity which I have used for years both down range and back in the Civ world to count inmates at night, but I am sure there is something better and I have just become accustom to my particular light. I honestly have to say that I don’t carry a light on me daily and only think about it while at work or on orders…

  4. bulldog76 says:

    hell i rock a led minimaglite it works its has 272 lumens more than enough for what i use it for

  5. Jason K. says:

    I carry a streamlight protac 1L everyday. Great little light for the price and although it may have more lumens than needed (180). I also use it for other tasks. To me, more lumens are not just for “tactical” reasons, but also for signaling, etc. if needed, you will see it farther. But again, that’s just my opinion, and Jeff’s article is excellent.

    • Drew Bliss says:

      Protac 1L is a good light. I have it mounted to my AR as a dedicated weapon light and it works well enough for someone who’s not a full time warrior.

      For My EDC I use an EagleTac D25A clicky. It’s about the size of a chapstick, 210 lumens on high, simple to use, lightweight and relatively rugged. It also costs less than($55 on amazon) the typical cost of the equivalent Surefire or Elzetta. Maybe it’s not bombproof like the others but it works on a single AA which are inexpensive and rechargeables are commonly available. Great light.

  6. Dellis says:

    I started carrying a light full time about 3 years ago. I started with this uber 800 lumen beast cause i might need to flag down a jumbo airliner in distress! Turns out that in the dark a light that bright will not only blind you but everyone else around you for 100 yards.

    So I went the K.I.S.S method and opted for a Fenix PD35. I keep it at its lowest setting unless I need more light power which is easily adjusted via top push button.

    I have a few of them so I am very familiar with its operation. I keep it in the same place on my person no matter what I am wearing. Its muscle memory now to reach for it.

    My only complaint is it’s not AA option for battery, which is much more common and readily available than CR123A

  7. Ben says:

    I’ve been using a streamlight pro tac 2L for years. At the time, 2009ish I think, they were much cheaper than comparable surefires (not sure if that’s still true) and damn near indestructible. I’ve owned three or four of them, not because they’ve ever given me problems, but because I am always losing knives and lights.

  8. Bill says:

    I’ve put many a light through the laundry – the ultimate test of an EDC light. I don’t consider myself dressed unless I have a light on.

    Off-duty I always carry a spare mag, and the light is there regardless. I’ve never “needed” the mag, but the light is probably actually used daily. As for concealment, it’s a light, in a land of knives clipped to pockets.

  9. SR says:

    I agree with you, the author. You floundered around trying to make it it though. This is a poorly written piece that feels like a Twitter composition or Facebook conversation rather than an article about illumination needs for both utility and self defense.

  10. Redbeard33 says:

    Great reminder for something I often forget -thanks.

  11. Banshee26 says:

    So, ummm…perhaps the EDC experts can clarify, but…why do I need to conceal the fact that I have a flashlight?

  12. Max says:

    I carry a Surefire EB1 Backup everyday, have for over two years. Use it infinitely more times than my gun, which I also carry everyday. Other items include a pen, and IFAK, a spare mag, and a knife.

    Tools I use more often than my gun, and are equally important in my opinion.

  13. JesterIsDead says:

    Grammar Nazi: “Could of, would of, should of” Really?! I blame public schooling.

    • Drew Bliss says:

      Could have, would have, should have –> Could’ve, Would’ve, Should’ve

      • Airborne_fister says:

        Public skooling? (Ment to be spelled wrong)

      • Riceball says:

        I was going to mention the same thing, thanks for saving me trouble. I see that mistake way too often now a days, along with adding an apostrophe S to make words plural.