What Do You Really Need For Nighttime Concealed Carry?

Nighttime is scary. Oh, most of us tend to pretend we’re big and bad and not bothered by the dark, but most of us are. There’s nothing to be ashamed of, either. It’s a primal fear that goes way back in our evolution. After all, predators lurked in the dark.


Unfortunately, they still do, only most of the predators we need to worry about prowl around on two legs instead of four.

Trying to prepare for the potential eventualities that we may encounter, having to fight at night is a recurring concern of many in the firearms community. As a result, the blessed free market has provided us with numerous goodies to keep away the night.

However, as Tamara Keel notes at Shooting Illustrated, some of us regular CCW holders may be looking at all of this wrong.

Night is a commonplace setting for needing a concealed-carry gun, but true-dark darkness really isn’t. In this modern world, the places where crime occurs can be dim, sure, but rarely is it truly dark. (Note that I’m distinguishing concealed carry from home defense, here.) Basically, the bad guy needs to see you in order to know you’re there to target you in the first place. As trainer Chuck Haggard has phrased it, “It’s really tough for bad guys to rob you, or even find you, when everyone is in the pitch-black ninja closet.

Tom Givens, head honcho at Rangemaster, taught out of his facility in Memphis for years and, as a result, has a large database of students who were involved in armed self-defense situations. At the time of this writing, his students were involved in more than 60 shootings. Not one of them required a light to see or hit the bad guy.


I recommend you head over and read the whole thing, because Keel makes some fantastic points. I don’t necessarily agree with all of them, but I’m not sure I disagree with any of them either, if that makes any sense.

I will say that if you retained every word Keel makes in this and internalize it, you won’t go wrong if you ever have to defend yourself with a firearm.

We in the firearms community tend to look at what the professionals use, because we figure that if it meets their needs, then it should meet ours. However, their needs do tend to exceed ours. As Keel rightfully points out, we’re far less likely to be clearing buildings with our concealed carry weapon (she does specify that she is not talking about home defense situations with this discussion, and neither am I).

Instead, we’ll pull a weapon on some punk that wants our money…or worse. Once that threat is gone, say he runs inside of a building nearby, we’re not going to go running in after him, clearing each floor in near total darkness. We’re not the police.

She makes some other points, that I also find myself agreeing with, but I could spend another few thousand words discussing this topic, and no one wants to read that right now. Instead, I’ll quote another point Keel and I are in agreement on.


Basically, any time someone’s biggest objection to something, be it a flashlight, glowing tritium lamp or laser is “It’ll give away my position!” I have to wonder what sort of attacker they’re preparing for. If he doesn’t know your position, how is he attacking you in the first place?



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