“You Light Up My Life”-An Economical and Efficient Weapon’s Light

“You Light Up My Life”-An Economical and Efficient Weapon’s Light

The first “Weapon’s Light” I ever had mounted on one of my personal firearm’s was a AA Mini-Mag light with a special end cap/pressure switch set up on a CAR-15 and a Mossberg 590. Compared to no light at all, it made a big difference. I bought them (bought 2) for the CAR-15 and my Mossberg 590 because of an incident I had with a skunk outside my home one night.

We had been having a skunk problem at the time, so when I came home from work at 11PM one night and saw a skunk start running across the yard under the Dusk to Dawn light, I whipped out my Glock 17 and engaged him, when he was far enough from the house to be safe.

Well, out of the four shots I fired at about 25-35 yards, I hit him with one. He made it beyond the shootable light and I stepped into the house, grabbed my 590 twelve gauge and a 3 D-cell Maglite, and took off after the wounded skunk.

I caught up with him quickly, but was concerned about getting to close, for obvious reasons. My first shot at him was about 35 yards away, I hit him, but he kept staggering towards a rock break I knew had a groundhog hole, and I didn’t want him to get away, being wounded.

Trying to hold and rack a pump action shotgun with a 3 D-cell flashlight in your hand is….difficult. On my first attempt, I short-stroked it. I finally got a round in the chamber and let it fly, just as he made it to the hole. I dropped him right there, and that was that.

After that incident I realized having a light on my weapon was pretty important, even if it’s only to dispatch a predator or nuisance animal on the farm, not to mention in a low light defensive situation. The next day I started looking in catalogs I had (this was the early 90’s, so…no internet) for a fix to the issue.

Keep in mind, I knew about the Surefire forearm replacement I could get for my Mossberg, but at that time (and income) of my life, there was no way I was spending that asking price on a light, and I would have had to modify the bayonet lug to get it to fit. Not happening.

I found a company that had started making a special clamp for a rifle or a shotgun barrel, and they also made a replacement end cap with pressure switch for the AA Mini-Mag light. At the time it fit my budget, it worked great, and I never had to try and figure out a “Work around” for those situations again.

Fast forward about 30 years later. The list of weapons lights I have used are pretty extensive, but suffice it to say, the model number usually had the “Surefire” name in front of them. I really don’t like CR123 batteries, but a number of my electronics unfortunately use them. They are expensive, not as common as AA’s, and when they die, they don’t give you any warning at all.

Although I have used pressure switches extensively, I’m not a fan because that is usually the most fragile part of a weapons light system. I had one fail on me in Iraq during a patrol and that is “No Bueno!”. If I can use the light with an easy to use switch, and without the need for a pressure switch, more the better. I have been using a system for a bit now that cost under $60, is versatile, economical, durable and efficient.

LXA-100 tail cap left, AA Mini-Mag light center, Magpul light mount right

The Light

The first part of the system is the tried and true AA powered Mini-Mag light. This version is L.E.D. and has a light output of 127 lumens. One of the downsides to the old Mini-Mag system I had, was the old style, plug in bulb could back out under heavy recoil. It did not work well on my HK-91 for that reason. This new version has an L.E.D. bulb, so it has a solid connection that won’t come loose under recoil.

Another thing to think about is the light’s output. My original Surefire 6P light’s bulb put out 60 lumens, and back then that was a lot! I bought an extra (expensive!) bulb that increased the light output to 120 lumens, and it was a pretty big deal. This Mini-Mag puts out 127 lumens, which is astounding in comparison to the older lights. Accessories that are available include extra lenses like the IR lens for use with night vision devices, and other lenses that are colored red, and blue for low visibility light signature.

Mini-Mag in an old laser mount on the left, next to that is an IR lens and it’s light head mount. The Mini-Mag accessory kit pictured on the right.

The Switch

Another addition to my system is a replacement, push button, end cap for the light. This cap is one of the programmable types that you can place on a certain setting and use it as programmed. Besides the ability to set the switch level, it also takes the pressure switch need out of the equation, thus eliminating a possible area for failure.

The last reason the switch makes good sense is the ability to completely shut the light off so you have no accidental light activations. This can get guys killed in a low light combat situation if the enemy is unaware that you are in the area, and someone inadvertently activates their weapon’s light.

With this system, you can turn the light head all the way to the left (as it’s pointed away from you), and it will not come on, even if you hit the switch. Need to use the light, set the light head to the focus setting you want, then hit the button when it’s needed.

The Mount

Finally, we come to the mount. I don’t know if you’ve looked, but except for the mount we’re gonna talk about, there are none that I could find, that fit the Mini-Mag. The nice thing about this mount from Magpul is that it will also fit lights like the Surefire 6P or G2 that I use. This mount can be purchased for either the left or right side of the weapon rail, and in either the 11 or 7 o’clock (right) or 1 and 5 o’clock (left) positions.

It is made out of the polymer that Magpul uses on most of their accessories, and sets the light in the perfect position for you to activate your light’s switch with your support hand thumb. Being a lefty, I opted for the right-side mount, so my right thumb can activate the light’s switch. Normally, I don’t like to mount accessories on the right side of my weapons, since keeping that side “Slick” makes it more comfortable if the weapon is snugged up against my back or chest. The way this mount rides on the rail, negates any discomfort issues with it up against my back.

Light system mounted on an 11.5″ Sig M400 AR. Pressure switch cover is for an IR DBAL  laser

NOTE: The most recent Magpul mount I received did not snug up as tightly on the Mini-mag light as the other three I have. My fix for this was the plastic hull, cut off of an empty 12 gauge shotgun shell brass base as a shim. If you run into that issue, this is a “fix” to that problem.

Well, that’s it. A weapon’s light that runs on commonly available batteries is durable with a good reputation, has the ability to be activated quickly and in a natural position by a switch that works well, All this is set up in a mount that is flexible and places the light where it is needed on you weapon. I’d call that a win, especially since it’s only about 60 bucks.

By the way, I like this system so much, I’ve replaced all the weapon light rigs on my “Go To” weapons with this new system.


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“You Light Up My Life” Series-My EDC Light

“You Light Up My Life” Series-My EDC Light

Over the course of a few decades, I’ve used A LOT of different lights. My first “Tactical” light, after a G.I 2 “D” cell “Anglehead” I had as a kid, was a Pelican “Sabrelite”. It was an OD colored, 3 “C” cell diving light. At the time, it was considered “Top of the line” in the military community.

I started carrying a light in my “Every Day Carry” gear back in 2003. I bought a Surefire “E2 Executive” (that model is no longer available) and made it part of my EDC gear. It was a 2 CR123 battery light, and worked well, but it was expensive and battery life sucked. Fast forward to 2015, and my Wife gets me a “Stocking Stuffer” that year that was a 1-AA led flashlight with a pocket clip. What’s not to love about a light that uses one, commonly available, battery, is easy to use one handed, whether turning it on, or focusing the beam?

I’ve been carrying that light for almost 5 years now and have yet to see an issue with it. It fits perfectly in the knife pocket on my Tru-Spec 24-7 pants. I liked it so much, four years ago, I bought nine more to add to various things like survival kits, shoulder rigs and the like. Focusing the beam is a simple matter of pulling out or pushing in on the head of the light. The beam output is 190 lumens, and that AA battery lasts a long time.

Galco “Classic Lite” shoulder rig with my Springfield XDs 45, a CRKT “Sting” a reload and my Coast HP1 flashlight.

An $8 light that is small, durable, power efficient, bright and works when called upon. What more could you ask for in a piece of EDC gear? I actually plan on buying some more soon, simply because they would make trade goods during a SHTF scenario. Check it out, you;ll be glad you did.


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A Paramilitary Threat We Could Face

A Paramilitary Threat We Could Face

Should you take something, like what this video shows, seriously?

If so, why or why not? This was a list of questions and comments I came up with when a friend asked what I thought of how to defend against that kind of threat.

  • Do you know how to effectively disable the vehicles in this video so you put those goons on foot?
  • Do you know how to set up effective vehicle barricades?
  • Do you know how to set up a “Defense” for your neighborhood or block?
  • Like most Gang bangers, I’d say most of these guys would perform poorly if you separated them from their support vehicles. Then you demoralize them even more by destroying those vehicles so they know they don’t have a ride home.

Things to note about the personnel and their gear:

  • Many of them are overweight.
  • Many don’t appear to know how to wear or use their gear.
  • Their weapons’ logistics suck, probably half and half AR’s and AK’s for their “Dismounts”. They should all have one or the other, and if they have the money to upgrade their vehicles like that, they have the funds to have the same rifles. Looked like one M2 .50cal., three Barrett M82 .50 cal. rifles,  ten mounted 30 cal. belt feds and those consisted of some M60’s, I think I saw a PKM and two 1919A4’s (one was just the barrel sticking out) as well as at least one RPD.

Things to note on the 19 trucks I observed:

  • Only two of the trucks, that appeared armored, had brush guards for pushing through barriers with only minimal damage. In addition, only two other “Technicals” had brush guards. An oversight?
  • Only six trucks appeared to be armored. This can be a disadvantage because of the extra weight and you can use that against them.
  • Many appear to have some improvised armor, but who knows how effective it is.
  • Very few have much in the way of ground clearance, which means they need to break through barriers, or dismount outside the protective perimeter of the target and walk through.

Note the difference in clearance between the “Up-Armored” Humvee in this pic, and the ASV pic below. 

As a dismount, I’ve used both the “Up-Armored” Humvee and the M1117 ASV in combat operations, and I can tell you that having ground clearance can be a game changer. One of the biggest disadvantages of the ASV over the Humvee was weight.

The 4 1/4 tons of the Up-Armored Humvee beat the 15 ton ASV in certain soft ground or small bridge areas, but the ASV would do 70 MPH and go over most things that would easily stop a Humvee and it had an M2 .50 cal. and a MK19 40mm belt-fed grenade launcher in the turret, and an M240 .30 cal. up on top. The Humvee had an M240 in the turret.


The point of the vehicle info I’ve given you from my experience, is there are plenty of ways to deny or destroy heavy vehicles. Their vehicles might appear “Bad Ass” but if that armor is real, there are a lot of disadvantages to it as well. As to the mounted belt-fed weapons, ask an OIF or OEF Infantry vet how you deal with them with your deer rifle.

Last but not least, is the personnel. They look like a number of social media profile pics I’ve seen of the “Budweiser Militia” around our Country and are probably just as inept. Smart, squared away militia don’t advertise themselves on social media.

Here’s the bottom line.

If you learn how to properly set up a defense against vehicles and their dismounts, and if you have a solid core of people who are serious, loyal and available when the time comes. You can beat the threat posed by the people in this video or the one with the NFACers in Stone Mountain GA.

Training and organization is key. Go forth and GET YOU SOME!



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