There comes a time when someone decides their EDC setup is insufficient for all tasks. In most instances it is due to clothing restrictions at a special event or place which would need closer to a deep conceal or non-permissive environment (NPE) setup with a smaller firearm. Remember- mission drives the gear. Want to carry a gun in areas where it is frowned on or you can not afford to print? A smaller option might be your answer. What comes next is a series of requirements put up against the user’s concealment capabilities to determine what fits your mission best.
Dependable/reliable small semi autos and small revolvers in calibers from full duty pistol calibers down to sub pistol calibers like .32 auto and .22LR are chosen regularly. Finding the right gun, then determining which ammo, then finding the right holster is a process that needs serious attention that should be considered before the whole purchase. Next within this process, once the weapon has been chosen and bought- training for ability is needed.
This brings me to a concept of how I found carrying guns without weaponlights is perfectly fine if you have the needed skills (just like with everything else). A lot of people urge pistol lights are needed without having trained, used, or understood the concepts behind their use.
We need light to properly find potential threats. Coupled in this is prudent presentation of the weapon when necessary. If you are drawing your weapon and pointing it without articulatable reason of fear of death of serious bodily injury you could be facing criminal charges. If you need to do that to use the weaponlight to determine if there is a threat, you are making serious mistakes. Optimally a handheld is readily available and in use when needed to find potential – reread that word- potential threats. The handheld can illuminate areas that may have threats waiting in a dark area and helps create greater reaction time and distance. Using the handheld helps avoid issues and unnecessarily drawing your weapon.
Adding lights to concealment weapons can remove some of the advantage of smaller guns. Smaller weaponlights that fit the profile of smaller guns typically have anemic near unusable output. No one is living in complete darkness, so stop thinking that is a good test of capability. See it for yourself – I have. Use a small weaponlight (less output than tlr1hl and x300u) in many lit and dimly lit environments and see how their throw is hindered by ambient conditions. Notice how hands and what are in hands are not easily illuminated.
Personally, I found many smaller guns to include revolvers are more naturally shot one handed. Shooting one handed is a skill that should get some attention as it is. For me it became a normal option that did not need special focus. Something I have also learned is good reps and good training can positively affect all my other shooting. I learned double action revolvers with irons shooting helps my 2011 with red dot shooting and vice versa. My one-handed shooting with small pistols helped one handed shooting with duty sized pistols. The skills translated positively over to other guns.
If you carry a smaller gun and/or a backup gun, this applies to you. It all needs training to reach good proficiency. Training has helped show me the viability of one-handed shooting- which reinforced the idea of not needing a weapon-mounted light for all missions. It takes effort but so does shooting well. Carrying a capable handgun and handheld light with powerful output are my minimum.