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Denver police chief orders review of gun-mounted flashlights after string of accidental shootings

Alarmed at a spate of accidental shootings by police officers, Denver’s chief of police has ordered more training and a review of policies for the use of gun-mounted flashlights, the Denver Post reports.
Typically, the flashlights are mounted under the gun barrel and the light beam is aimed where the weapon points; the problem arises when officers inadvertently pull the trigger instead of the light switch.
“It’s gotten to the point where I’m concerned about it,” Chief Robert White said. “We’re mandating additional training.”
There have been two accidental shootings by Denver police this month and five in just over a year. Two were directly attributed to the flashlight arrangement. In most, no one was shot, but a bystander was grazed earlier this month.
Elsewhere, at least two men have been shot by officers who were trying to turn on their flashlights. One, in Plano, Texas, was killed; a man in the Bronx, N.Y. was shot in the stomach and survived.
The gun-mounted flashlight was first used by Navy SEALS. “The difference between law enforcement and Navy SEALS is thousands of hours of training,” a firearms expert told the Post.
SureFire, the manufacturer of one such weapon-mounted flashlight, issued a written rebuttal to similar criticism, noting that more than 100,000 such lights are in circulation and that “only two safety-related incidents had been reported in 24 years.”

*Oops! Push wrong button! Sorry about that!
Despite all the guns being made with rails, to hold flashlights, lasers, key ring holders, bottle openers, etc. ... What is the practical purpose and application here?
Mounting a flashlight on a long arm, shotgun or pistol caliber carbine, is one thing. It takes two hands to properly manage and maneuver and has practical application in aiming in lowlight close quarter combat.
Dangling a flashlight off a handgun is another matter entirely. There is a great amount of confusion of the mind, under stress, on what you want to do ... turn on the light or pull the trigger.
You can learn to carry a flashlight in your weak hand and operate your gun with the other, and preferably, not with your finger somewhere it don't belong until you need to.

I still subscribe to the "old way" of thinking and teaching ...bad guys will shoot at the light ...
Placing your light in direct line with your head makes a great target/aim point.
A flashlight, firmly gripped in the weak hand can be held away and up from the body. It does not illuminate or silhouette you. Correct use of a "momentary" switch allows you to "flash" your target and obtain enough of a sight picture to accurately fire if needed. A larger heavy flashlight (6 cell Streamlight, etc.) makes a great "impact tool" if needed if the situation does not warrant deadly force and use of the gun. I can recall a few experiences, searching buildings, when that beam of light suddenly revealing a face or full size figure was a bowel moving event and that millisecond of momentary shock was almost enough to curl a trigger finger. In one case, the reaction was to plant the light squarely in the head of ... a well dressed mannequin in a clothing store. Had that been a pistol mounted light, there may have been some explaining to do.
You should also be trained and adept at "fire by the flash" of the first round in total darkness, where you gain a sight picture from the first round sufficient to light up the target and attain a correct sight picture for the following shots. Does require practice but you may be surprised how good you can get at it.

Learn to rely on ALL your senses! We tend to rely all too much on vision. If you are a "daytime person" you may have to work a bit harder to enhance your "night vision" but there are a few proven tricks to see better in the dark or limited light. Learn to use your ears, sense of smell, even the ability to sense and feel body heat. With (considerable) practice, you will learn to sense and feel another person and accurately determine their location in a pitch black room!

For a lot of reasons, I remain dead set against hanging a flashlight off a handgun and still keep my old Streamlights handy and working in the house.
The strobing flashlight on the 870 ... am rather pleased with that. It does serve a worthwhile purpose there.
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