Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Serious question:

Why is a weapon light that is considered eminently practical (if somewhat narrow-purpose) when attached to a plastic autoloader suddenly risible when screwed underneath a wheelgun? Do revolvers convey night vision, thus dispensing with the need for illumination devices? Or do they have built-in IFF sensors?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I laugh at the sight of the pimped tactical N-frame, too, but why?

47 comments:

Warren Peace said...

My concern with such a setup is the safety of manipulating a light forward of the cylinder gap. The cutting blast of a magnum cartridge against your thumb or finger is something to be avoided. As of yet, despite many glowing reviews, I haven't found any printed mention of this potential issue.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I dunno. I kinda like that config. Well, without the optics on top. It would be a good 3AM house gun.

Joseph said...

Because it ruins the lines of an otherwise beautiful gun.

Now if Ruger would strap on onto a GP100, that' wouldn't look nearly as silly as a S&W.

Tam said...

"My concern with such a setup is the safety of manipulating a light forward of the cylinder gap. The cutting blast of a magnum cartridge against your thumb or finger is something to be avoided. As of yet, despite many glowing reviews, I haven't found any printed mention of this potential issue."

Good point; this would seem to very nearly require a remote pressure switch on the grip. Else used as an entry gun with the doctrine "Once the lights go on, they stay on." Although I can't think of many doorkickers that are using wheelguns anymore.

Tam said...

"Because it ruins the lines of an otherwise beautiful gun."

Don't get me wrong, I loves me some S&W revolvers, but I've never considered a slab-barreled, unfluted, stainless N-frame to be what one would call "conventionally beautiful".

The Raving Prophet said...

I actually bought a 327 TRR8*. I fell in love with the thing when I first saw that S&W was introducing it. I have absolutely no real use for the gun (too big to conceal, I prefer the 1911 for defense), but I had to own it. A mounted light is kind of a "turn it on, leave it on" thing- even ignoring the cylinder gap issues, the light is too far forward for easy manipulation with the fingers of either the gripping or support hands.

Personally, I also love it because it pisses off the purists. Those folks can use a good upsetting, IMO. The firearm is a functional tool, and as such there's really no such thing as an objective state of perfection. So long as it works, there's a good deal of room for personal opinion in how it looks.


*The TRR8 and M&P R8 are identical, but the TRR8's lower rail is removable; on the M&P R8 it's fixed. Holsters tend to be made for the M&P R8, so while the TRR8 will fit them without the rail, it's a bit easier to insert the gun if the rail is mounted.

Joseph said...

True, but it beats a GP100 by a mile.

Les Jones said...

"Do revolvers convey night vision, thus dispensing with the need for illumination devices?"

Our beaming pride of ownership reflecting off of our sterling character provides all the illumination we need.

(I kid. Flashlights and guns go together like bread and honey, though I'm not sold on them being mounted on pistols, as opposed to being handheld.)

Tam said...

"Flashlights and guns go together like bread and honey, though I'm not sold on them being mounted on pistols, as opposed to being handheld."

One hand for the gun, one hand for the light, one hand to drag the young 'un to safety...

That's one of the arguments that sold me. (Although I doubt I'll be doing much young 'un dragging.)

Anonymouse said...

I think the muzzle compensators on that one should be *under* the barrel, so after just the first shot it the gun spins 180 and is ready to eliminate the genetic distraction.

Why does it look bad? It's just incongruous with the simplicity of the revolver. Would you tape a ruler to your pencil to make sure you could draw a straight line? Ok, somebody would. But it doesn't make it purdy.

Tam said...

"It's just incongruous with the simplicity of the revolver."

I've had the sideplate off; I ain't buyin' "simplicity".

Rustmeister said...

Easy - it doesn't look cool.

Revolver folks are supposed to use their free hand to carry their flashlight, preferably one that's shiny aluminum, holding six D cells.

Farm.Dad said...

Now i am buddys with the local smith rep. ( he hunts on our ground and is always free with the " smith swag " so i shot one that iirc was a bit pre official production. It seemed like a fine pistol as far as n framed .357s go . He had some clip on lazer thingiie and a light for it , neither of which i found in the least bit helpful. If i wanted a pistol that muzzle heavy ( when devices are on ) i would buy one of good honest steel . I must admit though that i dont own a single auto or rifle with a rail either . Mabey i am just a Luddite and cannot see the benefits of a lot of crap hung of my gun . Or maybe i have not shot enough paint ball for it to intrigue me .

Boat Guy said...

Gotta admit, while I love my S&W N-frames (2 625's, 1 TR Mod 22, 1 Mod 27) the lack of night-sights and light rails does give me some pause compared to the 4"XD that usually winds up in the holster and in the night stand.

Jay G said...

I'd wager it's the incongruity of a rail (tacticool) on a revolver (not tacticool) that adds to the chuckle factor.

It's a lot like a lever-action rifle with polymer furniture and an Eo-Tech. Sure, there may very well be a legit reason to configure it thusly, but it doesn't mean I'm not going to throw up a little in my mouth when I see it...

Les Jones said...

"One hand for the gun, one hand for the light, one hand to drag the young 'un to safety..."

Yeah, well, that's why I went to the trouble and expense of having electric lights installed in my house - nothing's too good for my kids. I figure if I'm shuffling screaming kids to a safe room the sneaky tactical thing is blown. At that point I can hit the light switches or stick the pistol in my waistband.

Also, am I supposed to point my gun around the room to show my children where to go? "Oh, Katie has a boo boo on her chin? Here, let me shine my gun on her face." That's one of the reasons I'm not sold on mounting the light to the gun. A pistol is a pistol, a rifle is a rifle, and a flashlight is a flashlight.

I don't use a light on my gun when I'm carrying away from home, so I'm not too worried about not having one on my gun at home.

Nat said...

I have spent the morning thinking this over, I too follow Les' model of just kicking on lights. I go with the thought that the bad guys (strange sound the missus heard) will be a little taken aback when the over heads come on. But I have come up with an idea that addresses a couple of the tactical advantages to having REALLY bright flashlights. I will build and post a video soon. I will take all the snark and giggles when I am finished with it as well....

Anonymous said...

"Yeah, well, that's why I went to the trouble and expense of having electric lights installed in my house"

You have hardened electric lines that can't be cut or damaged by storms? Cool.

"Oh, Katie has a boo boo on her chin? Here, let me shine my gun on her face." That's one of the reasons I'm not sold on mounting the light to the gun."

You know you can dismount the light too, right?

Light rails just add a little more flexibility. You have to seek training in order to know how to utilize it.

The concern over light rails on revolvers is like the concern over front serrations on 1911s. You have to have training to understand why they are there.

That is why all revolvers do not have them. They are marketed to those that seek knowledge.

Shootin' Buddy

T.Stahl said...

I wish I were allowed to attach a light to any of my guns!

Anonymous said...

that darn light just shows old military guys like me where to shot at! The old flashlight in one hand and the revolver in the other is the only way to make sure i dont shot the person who has a light on the firearm.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

My first thought when I see something like that is about how far out of whack that gear probably makes the gun's balance.

Revolvers are already more muzzle-heavy than semi-autos. The ammunition is all forward of your gripping point, and the cylinder is a fairly significant chunk of metal by itself - semi-autos don't have the cylinder at all, the ammunition is inside the gripping point, and, while the slide may mass as much as or more than a cylinder, it's mass is distributed along the entire length of the gun (and at least partially behind your grip, somewhat offsetting any weight that's toward the muzzle).

In other words, a semi-auto is more "balanced" in your hand before adding gear, while a revolver starts out muzzle heavy. Adding gear makes a revolver too muzzle heavy almost right away, while a semi-auto has a little room to play with.

D.W. Drang said...

it looks like crap.

According to Clint Smith (in American Handgunner) it's intended use is for a "shield man" on an entry team, since poking an autoloader around a shield can lead to stoppages, due to getting the shield in the way of the slide. Or something.

that darn light just shows old military guys like me where to shot at!
Haven't looked into the beam of a 100+ lumen weapons light, have you?

Tam said...

"The old flashlight in one hand and the revolver in the other is the only way to make sure i[sic] dont[sic] shot[sic] the person who has a light on the firearm."

So, your plan is to hold a light source a foot high and to the left of your head so the bad guys will shoot at it instead of your melon?

Question for you: Ever been to a public shooting range? When Gary Glock aims at the bullseye, where do his bullets impact?

Tam said...

"In other words, a semi-auto is more "balanced" in your hand before adding gear, while a revolver starts out muzzle heavy. Adding gear makes a revolver too muzzle heavy almost right away, while a semi-auto has a little room to play with."

This is a interesting point...

Les Jones said...

"You have hardened electric lines that can't be cut or damaged by storms? Cool."

I'll take my chances that storms won't take out my power lines at the same time a team of ninjas invade my home.

"You know you can dismount the light too, right?"

Are you insane? That's the precise moment the ninjas would choose to strike.

Look, it isn't that I don't appreciate that light rails on pistols can be useful in some situations. It's that I don't think the odds are that great I personally will find myself in that situation, and there are situations where I'd flat out rather have a flashlight designed for handheld use, with a lanyard and thumb-activated switch just the way I like it.

There's also a crossover point where if you're going to have a huge ass pistol with a rail- mounted light that prevents holstering you ought to just go ahead and grab a rifle already.

GeorgeH said...

In my house, I know where everything is, every corner, every shadow and an intruder does not, so it's to my advantage to have no lights.
If I am inserting myself into a night gunfight outside my house, then I want a double stack auto with a bunch of spare magazines and a shotgun. I can't see a scenario where a revolver with a light is advantageous.

Tam said...

Les,

I grok from where you're coming, here.

To me, if I'm at home, I'm going to be shooting from my bed, most likely. I'm not in the line of work where a pistol-mounted light would most come in handy.

I was just pointing out that Mr. Awerbuck delineated several scenarios where a pistol-mounted light may come in handy for a householder who has to leave the "safe room" to herd kids or whatnot. A lot of that usefulness can be circumvented by prior planning, as you point out, and a lot of it is very "Worst Case Scenario" (although, as I've mentioned before, if your day has reached a point where gunfire is in order, it's already well outside 'normal' and is unlikely to get any more statistically probable from the first "BANG!" ;) )

Dan said...

http://lh4.ggpht.com/_KAdyQEMU6Dg/SbwsSo_JWJI/AAAAAAAAA0E/mSXMNjFH-WE/s800/Sarah13.JPG

Matt said...

Les makes the best point yet:
"There's also a crossover point where if you're going to have a huge ass pistol with a rail- mounted light that prevents holstering you ought to just go ahead and grab a rifle already.

However, even a light carbine is a pain to negotiate doors with (especially if they have closers on them. Got a storm door?). And for trans-vehicular use, they suck.

I am a lot more sold on handgun-mounted flashlights than I was. I carry a Glock 31 mounted with a StreamLight M3, in a GINORMOUS holster, every day at work. I've found that damned light sure comes in handy. The other night, both my main and my backup light went down, and I found myself unclipping that weapon light from the Glock and using it, very effectively.

As for cutting yourself with the gases, please note how far forward the light is mounted. You couldn't reach it from a shooting grip, anyway. And if it sat far enough back to do so, you would typically use your trigger finger to turn it on, anyway, creating a Brake/Accelerator mutual exclusivity.

My main complaint is the feo-ness, they un-holster-ability, and the giant delicate optical sight. But this would make a DYNAMITE pin gun or plate match gun. As a M58, it would make a decent hog gun, too.

Tam said...

Heh.

The electro-optical sight on a duty pistol is another matter entirely. :)

There comes a point where a pistol gets too encrusted with geegaws and doodads to make it effective at the jobs for which a pistol is intended; witness the brief SOCOM flirtation with the "Offensive Handgun".

James E. Griffin said...

"un-holster-ability, and the giant delicate optical sight."

Those were my objections, seeing that a newbie cop was thinking of it as a duty gun.

I'll concur that it'd be a great competition gun, especially since it uses full-moon clips. Or a hunting handgun for game suitable for the .357.

There's a reason I have more than one gun. Different situations ideally call for different tool configurations.

Now I recognize that That Man Murphy was an optimist, and most times you make do with what you've got on you. By definition, any armed encounter is an emergency. This configuration would not be my choice for an emergency.

Kristopher said...

Your butler should carry and point the flash-light.

After you have shot your burglar, he can call the constabulary, clean your Howdah pistol, and get you a gin and tonic.

Steve Skubinna said...

I suppose it's that revolvers look archaic, however modern the materials in them and however complex the workings inside. So the juxtaposition of one with more modern appliances strikes people as odd. Like Jay G's point about a lever action with polymer and an EOTech. To which I'd add a front grip, a laser, and a bipod. And a tactical sling. Chuck Conners gets tactical.

My "sit next to the bed" guns have tactical lights, my carry guns don't. I have a Streamlight for those times I want a light without having a handful of gun (most of the time, it turns out) and if I need to draw I use the Harry's grip so light and gun are aligned. I believe it's mostly a myth that the light gives bad guys an aim point - the side lobes of a light are going to make you a good enough target anyway, and synchronizing the light and point of aim holding them apart is just not possible to do quickly and reliably. A good tailcap switch lets you illuminate briefly, go dark and move, then illuminate again, all without fumbling or changing your grip.

When I go outside my house at night I carry a 1911 and the Streamlight. Bear and cougars. I think, however, that the light makes me safer than does the gun as far as four legged predators are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Tam,
I can't believe you forgot the best wheel gun accessory ever a colander

staghounds said...

Rustmeister has the real reason.

And Herr Stahl, you aren't permitted to attach a light to a gun in Germany?

Linoge said...

My valueless opinion? It just looks funny. Of course, this is coming from the guy who has rails on damn near every one of his firearms, but, for some reason, rails (and accessories on those rails) just plain look strange on revolvers. And do not even get me started on that side-by-side monstrosity made by Stoeger...

Yes, I buy (and do not buy) firearms partially based on aesthetics (assuming the getting-the-job-done aspects of various firearms are equal).

Anonymous said...

A wheel gun is not a practical defense tool; it is a playtoy. It would be like using a heavy leather German Shepherd grade leash for a daschund.

T.Stahl said...

Yup, attaching a light to a gun is illegal, lights made to be attached to a gun are also illegal.

Reason: Poachers use lights to blind game in the dark and then shoot them. That's why I'm not allowed to attach a light to my home-defence Glock. Because I might use it to blind and shoot Bambi in my living room.

Oh, the possession of 1" scope mounts and flashlights with a 1" tube diameter is legal. ;-)
Not to mention that tactical lights are legal in probably most neighbouring countries...

Nat said...

Anon 5:07---What flavor Glockaid did you drink?

Jeffro said...

Because it would be like a '57 Chevy with a carbon fiber rear spoiler and front air dam? And it ain't Pro Stock or similar?

Ian Argent said...

I see someone else mentioned it; but I can understand wanting a flashlight on the bedside gun. My nightstand I can reach from the bed. The light switch I have to approach the door to flip AND the light it is attached to is between the bed and the door, backlighting me if I'm standing at the switch; or blinding me to the door if I leave it on and turn off the light using its integral switch.

There's enough ambient light that anyone entering the room sillouttes themselves against the door anyway, so I would know when to jacklight them.

I could do with a detached light; but given the chance, I'd like to have 2 hands on gun...

Also, even if you are sprogless or don't need a hand for the kid because they're taking cover beside you - one hand for the gun, one for the flashlight, one for the phone to the cops? Response time may be measured in minutes at best - but you might want someone to take the slow or the dead off your hands...

It's not like you can't have both the tacticool light and a handlight, after all. I haven't heard of one maglite per month, even in NJ.

The Raving Prophet said...

I think Anon. is under the impression that eight rounds of .357 is somehow insufficient, and quick reloads courtesy of full moon clips (the aforementioned 327 models are cut for them, along with chamfered charge holes for ease of loading) are also worthless.

As for holsterability, yeah, you can't holster it with the light attached, but there aren't all THAT many holsters for semiautos with mounted lights. But like I said, holsters do exist (the one I have is a Blade-Tech), and it is sized for the lower rail to be attached (but not the upper).

Anonymous said...

The nice old Italian gentleman who built this house back in 1954 saw fit to install hardened underground power lines, and there is a switch in the master bedroom that when thrown powers a solenoid in the attic. That turns on every light in the house inside and outside, including the closet lights. You can't shut them off till the switch is reversed.

He owned a night club in Pittsburgh.

tomcatshanger said...

I like a weapon light and a hand held light for bedside use.

Weaponlights for the bedside handgun rifle, with a few hand held lights for the hell of it.

Jeff said...

I just use the claymores to backlight the ninjas as they come in. Flashbangs are for wusses.

Only thing I don't really care for is the optics on the roof, honestly.

Anonymous said...

Perception-- it looks funny to our preconditioned sensibilities. No reason to treat it so different, just because it was invented a few decades before the autoloader. Put a light on your matchlock if it floats your boat, maybe it'll help in finding the flint and steel to get match lit while the burglar is coming at you. -- Lyle

Fabsterrant said...

Hi, I recently saw a Colt Python as a two and a half inch snubbie and it looked really nice. Revolvers from back in the day are just that nice and I think we want to keep it that way. Geez with 12 oz airweights can you imagine a 40 oz L frame snubbie? I bet they shot real well though and SW makes a 7 shot L frame snubbie on its current catalouge. Also a lot of the airweights are on the gun auction sites. So the Harries carry for revolvers is always there for the nostalgic ones.