One of the cardinal rules of gun safety is not to point the muzzle at anything you aren’t willing to destroy. However, let us posit for a moment that in a low-light home defense (you could say CQB) scenario…that may be easier said than done.
This isn’t to challenge any established doctrine or to tell you what to do in any situation. There are legitimate experts on low-light shooting and CQB, and you should absolutely listen to them.
Instead, the idea here is to think critically about your equipment and setup and how you practice in case of the proverbial “bump” in the night.
High Ready Vs. Low Ready
By now, it’s well established that the low ready position is “better” with a long gun because the first shot is faster. A high ready position with a handgun is better for the same reason.
Some people will occasionally argue that low ready decreases the chances of flagging or muzzling anyone in the home.
Is that really true?
To simulate a weapon-mounted light, I used my boresight laser and a flashlight, took pictures with my phone (with the flash and room lights off), and pointed them at my wife’s mannequin in our basement. I angled the flashlight downward to simulate low ready and upward to simulate high ready.
Here’s the mannequin set to a height of about 4.5 feet…
And here’s the mannequin set to a height of about 5.5 feet.
As you can see, the low ready position flags the mannequin at a shorter height with the laser at about chest level but goes over the mannequin’s head in the high ready position. Set to a taller height, the mannequin gets flagged at chest level in the high ready but below the chest area at low ready.
It’s crude, it’s silly, and it’s a grown man playing with flashlights and lasers in a basement…but here’s the point.
A Weapon Mounted Light Means You Flag Everything
We all know, and we all agree, that you shouldn’t point a gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy, but the reality here is that using a weapon-mounted light guarantees you will point a loaded gun at someone if someone is there.
If you go check out the proverbial bump in the night, there’s a chance you’re going to be aiming a gun at your child, or a grandchild, or a spouse. Given the people who live in your house or frequent it, this is a good thing to think about.
The idea isn’t so much to pontificate on the merits of ready positions or weapon-mounted lights; the idea is to think about shooting techniques, what you practice and why.
Practice What Best-Serves You And Your “Mission,” Whatever That Is
In the low ready position, the muzzle is pointing below the vitals of most adults at close distance but at the vitals of a child. An unintentional discharge is less likely to be fatal to an adult but likely fatal to a child. With a high-ready position, the opposite is true.
The idea here is to think critically about how and what you practice. You want to carefully select what’s going to be a good fit for you and your life.
Do you have small children? Grandchildren? The low-ready position may actually be a bad practice. Do you live in an apartment complex? A .308 SBR is probably not a great choice of home defense gun. And so on and so forth.
Our daughter just started kindergarten. Low-ready is probably not the best practice for me and my life – unless I suddenly have good reason to anticipate my home being invaded by a gang of midget assassins – so I don’t practice it.
Have you discovered that there are drills, techniques, and practices that don’t really fit your reality? Let us know in the comments.