Sunday, May 9, 2021

Low Light: Using a Laser on Your Carry Pistol

A Low Light Competitor

During the Sensible Self Defense Low Light Match in April 2021, I experimented the SIG P320 Lima Laser module (with a green laser) that I have on my everyday carry (EDC) pistol. There was a full moon so there was sufficient light to identify all of the targets without a hand held light. For the experiment, I wanted to see if I could use the laser system in low light as effectively as I could the red dot sight during daylight.

The match format was four stages, run twice with a total round count of 82 rounds assuming no misses. We ran all of the stages once during daylight, then ran the stages once again after the sun set. Two stages were home defense scenarios based on actual events that required movement and shooting from cover and two were standards stages, one focusing on running the gun skills and one focusing on reloading.

The experiment showed that yes, the laser system in low light was as effective as the red dot sight during daylight. The total time difference between my pistol daylight runs using the red dot and my low light runs with the laser was 0.29 seconds for the entire match. For this match at least, I ran the pistol with the laser as well during low light as I did during daylight.

Although I used the SIG P320 Lima system, I believe any laser sighting system with a grip switch would have worked equally well (see picture below).

SIG P320 Compact with Lima Laser Module

In a recent class I attended, master instructor Tom Givens of Range Master somewhat downplayed the need to practice under low light conditions stating that you are rarely in total darkness. That may be true for those who live in crowded urban areas or apartment complexes and is certainly true for many commercial parking lots. However, even though I live in San Antonio, Texas, in my neighborhood you can easily find yourself effectively in the dark when outside if there is no full moon. As a result, I find value in practicing under low light conditions. 

The SIG Lima Laser module provides another tool to help you effectively use your pistol to defend yourself and other innocents. A P320 with the red dot, iron sights, and the Lima module provides you with three independent sighting systems. Add a hand-held flashlight and you have the tools to address any lighting conditions you may reasonably encounter in a defensive situation.

Depending upon which study you believe, somewhere between 60 and 85 percent of all police officer-involved shootings occur during the hours of darkness. Although no such data exists concerning private citizen-involved shootings with criminals, since a lot of criminal activity occurs in low light conditions we can assume that there is a likely correlation.

The Sensible Self Defense Low Light Match provides shooters the opportunity to test their low light skills in a variety of scenarios. We will continue these matches later in the fall of 2021 once daylight savings time ends. If you find yourself in San Antonio, we welcome all safe and responsible shooters and would enjoy having you participate.

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