I recently received an email asking about the feasibility of mounting a light on a revolver. The writer was concerned about clearing his house at night and being forced to shoot one-handed with a separate flashlight. Would it be possible, he asked, to somehow mount a light to his wheelgun, to approximate those that are widely mounted on autoloaders?
That’s a tough one to answer, because it’s really two questions in one: can it be done, and should it be done.
I’ll address the feasibility portion first: yes, it can be done, though the approach varies a bit with the make/model. In all cases, their are some limitations – mainly, the light has to clear the ejector rod as it swings away from the frame. The larger the light, the smaller the gun, and/or the more closely the light is mounted to the bore axis or to the cylinder, the more likely it is to interfere with proper cylinder opening.
The best choice is to make provision to mount the light in a forward position, in front of the ejector rod. This is the approach taken by S&W in their 327 TRR8:
The problem with this is that it makes activating the light on a momentary basis from a firing grip difficult (if not impossible.) One is left with the necessity to turn the light on and leave it on if one wants to shoot with a two-handed grip.
To provide a platform on which the light can be mounted, a short section of Picatinny rail can be attached (via screws) to the barrel’s underlug. If the particular gun doesn’t have an underlug, the barrel itself can be carefully drilled & tapped to accept the rail – only, of course, if the barrel is of a bull (heavy) configuration. There are also some clamp-on solutions available.
The other half of the question is “should you?” I’ll put on my Tactical Tommy hat here, and say that I think it’s a bad idea except in very specific circumstances.
For a gun to be used in an ensconced position the attached light has merit. All you’re required to do is wait, and the light is nothing but a shooting aid: confirm the target, and allow a clear sight picture.
Using it to check your house, on the move, is another matter entirely. In this case, the light takes on multiple functions: navigation, search, identification, and (in the worst case) shooting aid. The trouble is that if it’s attached to your gun, then you have a loaded weapon pointing in all sorts of directions that proper safety habits say it shouldn’t!
A loaded gun is not a tool for navigation or searching, and using it as such is (in my opinion) irresponsible. Think of it this way: would you be pointing your gun in all directions and places in the daylight? I would hope that the answer would be ‘no.’ If that’s the case, why would you deem it acceptable to do so in the dark?
The light on the handgun is a limited-use device. Don’t try to make it into something it shouldn’t be.
-=[ Grant ]=-