Considerations For the Weapon Mounted Light (WML)

OLIGHT BALDR Mini on my FN 509, in for testing.

I've been on the receiving end of a lot of different weapon mounted lights as of late, and I figured it has been a while since we've covered anything on this topic and that it might be a good idea to talk about it.

Let's go over some considerations for a weapon mounted light, if you need one, and some things to keep in mind going forward.

Do I need a weapon mounted light?

Okay, so this is a rhetorical question but I assume that some people have asked it. And, with the amount of new gun owners out there it needs to be answered. The answer is that it depends and I cannot really answer that question for you.

All I can do is share some information to help you figure out the right answer for yourself. The truth of the matter is that weapon mounted lights (WML) do have their place, but these are not a do-all tool for every situation.

At the end of the day, the EDC light you'd keep in your pocket is a more valuable tool.

Carrying an EDC Light, too —

Most people who carry a pistol with a light attached to it feel as though they don't need a small flashlight in their pocket, but I believe this is a mistake. Hear me out.

Imagine you're out with your kid's scout troop and one of them drops something in the dark and nobody has a flashlight to find that thing (this has happened to me).

Would you think whipping out your 600 lumen weapon mounted light is a good idea?

It's not. (Thankfully in my situation at the scout meeting, I had a small pocket flashlight that helped and I generally don't keep a WML on any of my guns, full-time.)

In fact, you should never remove your gun unless you plan to use it or take it off for the day. It's irresponsible to use your gun's flashlight in a situation like this because you may end up pointing it at someone who is not a threat.

Again, not good.

So, you might want to consider carrying a little pocket light as well.

I know that every cell phone these days has a built-in light, but they kinda suck compared to a real EDC light like this one.

Pros to a weapon mounted light —

One of the main pros to having a light mounted on your carry pistol, is that if you have your gun on you and are in the dark and need to defend yourself, your light is there, hopefully in ready, working order to aid you in that defense.

And of course, it frees up your other hand to either defend yourself physically or put two hands on your gun, which is the ideal way to shoot.

Cons to a weapon mounted light —

The main drawbacks to a WML is that if you've got your light on, the bad guy can see it and ultimately knows where you are. If you had a tac light in your hand you can extend it away from your body so you remain tactically superior by not giving away your exact position.

Another downside to this is the fact that you're limited on holster selection. Now, more and more manufacturers are making aftermarket accessories for this type of setup, but there are still fewer holsters on the market.

And, it gets even lower depending on the manufacturer of light you go with.

Good options for a WML —

I've got a few different brands of these lights on hand right now and some of them feel cheaply made, as well as a few that are really good. I've got a few reviews in the works for you, so make sure you stay tuned for that.

My go to right now (on my nightstand safe gun) tends to be the OLIGHT PL-2, which you can find in OLIGHT's store for more information.

In addition to my go-to, we have a few lights in our online store, here, that are certainly worth checking out.


At the end of the day, only you can make the decision to use a WML or not. I strongly suggest that if you do use one, that you also have a handheld light not far away so that you can use it for the majority of your situations.

If you do decide to put a light on your gun you should know how it works and train to use it so it becomes like second nature, while not relying on it because anything electrical is going to break at some point.

Further reading:

Handheld VS WML

Best WML Options

How to Use a Handheld and Gun at Same Time

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Richard Nelsen on August 20, 2020 at 2:32 pm

    If you are involved in a nighttime shooting situation and survive.
    You may end up in court and be asked did you confirm the target.
    Having a WML would certainly put you in a stronger position.

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