Exclusive: Handheld or Gun-Mounted Light?

Here’s a concealed carry conundrum: Whether to carry a handheld or gun-mounted light. We’ve all been over this a few times in our minds, I’m sure. Let’s run through it again and see where you land on the matter.

First, the issue of whether to carry a light. Really a good idea to do so. Just the “know your target” rule should be more than enough to settle this one.

Second, now that you know carrying a light is a really good idea, here are some pro’s and con’s of carrying a handheld light…


  • You can use your light when you all you need is just a light. Take this Viridian V100 out of a pocket or carrier and the worst people will think is you’re hyper-prepared for just about anything.
  • A handheld light can be a deterrent to a would-be attacker. The light itself can be pointed in the eyes or, with some lights, the case or bezel of the light can be used as a strike weapon.



  • A handheld light requires an extra hand and an extra motion to put it into action.

Okay, now that you’ve started a bit of mental wrestling with whole handheld light concept, here are some pro’s and con’s of a gun-mounted light…


  • Light comes out when the gun comes out — one unit, one motion. Very efficient.
  • A gun-mounted light may be more powerful and effective than a handheld light. This TruGlo Tru-Point laser/light combo puts the unit’s on/off switch right at your extended trigger finger and, when turned on, not only emits a room-filling bright white light, but also a green laser to aid in aiming.
  • Whatever you’re aiming at with your gun, you’re already aiming at with your light. But…



  • Whatever you’re aiming at with your gun, you’re already aiming at with your light. So this light is only coming out if there’s a threat needing the attention of your gun; you shouldn’t use it for any other purpose.
  • Adding a gun-mounted light adds some challenges to carry and concealment: Not only is there more gun and gear to conceal but also holster options, while increasing, are still fewer than standard holsters.


While we’re discussing this (in the comments below), I’m going to put this TruGlo Tru-Point through its paces. So check back later for a full review. In the meantime, let me know your thoughts on handheld versus gun-mounted lights and lasers…

— Mark Kakkuri

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5 thoughts on “Exclusive: Handheld or Gun-Mounted Light?

  1. Sgt. Jim Hagearty

    I have been carrying a Surefire® X300 Ultra on my Sig P220 Match (DA/SA) for three years now. I had a custom Kydex holster made for the combo and I love it.
    The problem I have encountered is when training . . . . . shooting anywhere from 300 to 1,000 rounds per day, the muzzle blast coats the lens of the light . . . . . and the residue is very difficult to remove.
    Surefire tech support uses a pencil rubber eraser, which works, but I have a lot of pencils with no eraser left on them. It is a very laborious task!

    1. M. Maenner

      Try putting a thin layer of chapstick on your lens when you go to the range. The residue will stick to it, and when you’re done shooting for the day, just wipe it off.


    A light is also a target for the bad guy. Even if missed, it’s too close for comfort. Until the gun-mounted light manufacturers and their salesmen came along, the concept was to hold the light on your target, but not in the vicinity of your body…..at arm’s length.

    Forget the “trendy” stuff.
    Think about it……

  3. Matt Steger

    I believe any pistol that you are using for home protection,should have a light and laser attached to it. You’ve been waked up by a loud noise still alittle foggy from sleeping.you do not want to be looking for your gun and then your light,time matters at this point in time. It is so much better having your gun and light in one package attached together.(pros)speed and target identification are the most critical aspects in the situation.

    1. mark Post author

      Thanks, Matt, for your comment. I agree with you — a light and/or laser is a worthy addition to a house gun and critical for saving time, positively identifying a target, and so on. It won’t be long before these, like suppressors, will be a part of virtually every defensive gun.

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