Editor: this article is by Jim Davis; his bio is at the bottom of the article.
A significant number of defensive situations occur during the nocturnal hours, making it vital that we can identify whether or not a threat exists. Since there is a lack of light, we have to supply our own since we can’t simply start cranking off rounds at silhouettes in the night. The next question becomes whether to have a light mounted on our weapon or not.
Some argue that mounting a light on a weapon will cause us to potentially point a weapon at people who are not threats while searching with the light. But, again, a valid point is made here.
The other side of the coin is that using a hand-held light in conjunction with a weapon can also cause the same thing. Beyond that, should we experience a stoppage with our handgun while using a hand-held light, it becomes an actual juggling act trying to clear the stoppage while holding onto that light (not to mention, there might be a threat boring down on us while doing so).
Some other cons to utilizing a weapon light are that it adds weight to the weapon system (a real consideration with pistols) and adds to the bulk and signature of the pistol (and requires a specialized light-bearing holster).
All that said, I recently had the opportunity to evaluate a weaponlight from a relatively less known brand, Nightstick. Specifically, I was sent the TWM-30F model. The length of the light is 3.75 inches, and it weighs 5.4 ounces. It is powered by two CR123 batteries (included), which give a run time of 1.75 hours. The output of the light is 1200 lumens, and the effective range is listed as 194 meters, which I would estimate is reasonably accurate, as the beam really reaches out. The light is waterproof and resists damage from being dropped from two meters. The Type III hard-anodized finish is listed as Olive Drab Green. Still, to my eyes, it more closely resembles the Coyote Brown of my Glock 19X (regardless of the color name, the two finishes go together quite well). The light is made from aircraft-grade 6061-T6 aluminum.
The light has a strobe option and an option to lock it off to prevent accidentally turning on when you do not intend it to be illuminated. However, I prefer to keep it simple, so I haven’t opted to use the strobe option, using the constant beam instead.
There are two activation switches, one on each side, so that the TWM-30F is fully ambidextrous. To activate the light momentarily, a switch is pressed for .5 seconds or longer and released to turn off. For constant on/off, the switch is held for .5 seconds or less.
To properly operate in an area with threats present with a weapon light, it is essential to realize that the operator shouldn’t simply turn on the weapon light and walk around with it illuminated. Doing so will alert the people with ill intentions to your location, only compounding your problems.
It is more advantageous to activate the light for a moment and then immediately move to a new position quickly. Do you want to live? Light and move. Light and move. Do not become fixated on constantly having that light on!
This light will prove effective in temporarily blinding a threat at night should that person(s) look into the light; it is dazzling to the eyes! More than one bad guy has been convinced to give up the fight when his vision has been taken away. I’m not saying this will always be the case. Still, it’s certainly better to avoid having to pull the trigger unless it is absolutely necessary.
I’m not going to beat around the bush – mounting this light was a challenge. I had to get the screw in precisely the right spot to get the mounting bracket over far enough so that it would grasp the rail of my pistol. If the screw is in too far, the bracket won’t move enough. If the screw is too far out, it won’t move the bracket enough either. Mounting this light proved not to be a fast task. With that said, I found it slightly easier to remove and re-install the light after that first time because to take it off; one had to get the mounting screw to the right spot. Once that’s achieved, it’s easier to manipulate the mount.
Mounting the Nightstick TWM30
The light mount can be fitted to a wide variety of pistols, and three different mounts are included. In addition, it comes configured standard to fit Glock models (probably a good choice, given the number of Glocks in circulation).
How does it work?
This is an intensely powerful light! I’ve used other lights with a similar lumen output, but this one seems to have a quality to its beam that just works really well. It reaches out a long way, but at the same time, the flood is nice and wide, which helps to identify peripheral threats and light up rooms. For a pistol light, it fits the bill very well. I also believe this would be stellar if mounted on a carbine such as an AR-15 (it looks like it will fit a Picatinny rail).
The 1.75 hours run time is also good, considering the user will probably not be running around with the light on constantly. There will be a lot of one-second bursts allowed by the batteries.
The TWM-30F feels solid and appears to be quite durable; I experienced no issues with it during use.
Although it adds some weight to the end of a handgun, it can also be a good thing because it dampens the muzzle flip, keeping the muzzle steadier. In addition, rapid-fire strings are easier to accomplish with that extra weight on the muzzle.
Most people will use a weapon light for home defense (think bedside or nightstand-safe gun) or duty since carrying one concealed is going to be more difficult. This light will also be a plus for tactical use, given that concealment is not likely to be a consideration in a home defense event.
Note that having a weapon-mounted light of any kind on your pistol is not a reason to go without a hand-held. Ideally, you would have both: a Nightstick or similar WML on your handgun and something small and reliable in your pocket or readily accessible wherever you sleep or spend the majority of your downtime. I personally like the Streamlight ProTac 1L and Fenix PD36 TAC, but there are many options out there.
The TWM-30F can be found retail for around $129.99 at the time of this writing. For what the buyer gets, this is a very reasonable price compared to some of the other weapon lights on the market. In addition, the light is effective and durable. Aside from the initial installation issue, I found every other aspect of the light to be excellent.
This would be a worthwhile addition to your toolbox, and it adds options for the user. For example, when shooting at night or in artificial darkness, it is imperative that you can identify whether or not you’re dealing with an actual threat. As such, this light could save your life or the life of a loved one.
About the Author: Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes for inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.