On average, we spend at least half of our life in the dark or low light situations. Between the actual darkness of night and the darkness of being in an interior or underground room of a structure with no light, you encounter low light situations constantly.
In a high stress environment where you may have to respond with a firearm, it is important to know a few techniques for the proper operation of a stand-alone flashlight in one hand, and a handgun in the other. No matter what method you chose, make sure that you can NILE with it. The acronym stands for:
These techniques are as varied as the types of dogs at an AKC event, and some are just as odd. When sitting back and researching this article, I came across more than 40 possible techniques and here are what I feel to be some of the best. This is not all-inclusive and you may have a personal method that you use where you tape the light to your chin, or bite it, or insert an angle head flashlight in your ear, and feel free to use those. These are my top six
The Harries Technique
One of the most common and most often taught flashlight methods. It merges the back of the hands crossed under the firearm with the firearm in the strong hand and the lite in the off hand. It provides a stable platform for the shooter and a good accurate point of aim for both the light and the handgun. On the bad side, you need to practice this and make sure you bring the offhand up from under the firearm and not from in front of it for safety. In addition, unless you have a rear-button light, the Harries Technique can be very awkward.
Used with rear-button lights, this places part of the off hand on the grip of the firearm to help maintain positive control. Like the Harries, it needs to be practiced often to be able to use without fumbling with the light when seconds matter.
Named after Massad Ayoob, gun guru and all around firearms defense master instructor, the technique is one of the best and can be used for top button or rear button lights. Holding the light like the grip of a sword, index it down and to the side of the firearm. Ideally, the thumbs should be together and both pointed forward. I feel more comfortable with my light thumb just slightly above my handgun grip thumb due to the size of my mitts, but ideally, they should be together.
The Good Old FBI Technique.
This technique is one of the few that involves keeping your hands apart. The good part of this is that if the bad buy responds by firing at the light, it is away from your center mass. The bad part is that you are aiming two different objects from two vastly different points and this fine motor skill in a high stress situation may not be very easy.
The Maynard and Good or Pucket Technique.
Also referred to as the Neck-Index Technique, you see this taught and used often as a legacy method. The idea was in the good old days when peace officers carried long Maglite type flashlights; it could be tucked in the neck/chin/shoulder matrix and supported here. If needed the lite could be used in a downward fluid strike as a less than lethal impact weapon very quickly
The Chest Index
Used as a very basic hands-apart technique. Not much you can say about this one other than it is simple and ergonomic without having the benefits that you get from any of the other hands apart techniques like the Pucket or FBI.
All of these techniques have positives and negatives. None of these is perfect. Your best bet is to experiment with them all and see what works best for you, your light, and your handgun.