I was in my favorite gun store/training facility the other day, perusing the racks for a decent, inexpensive (but not cheap) weapon-mounted light system for my AR. I picked through lots of really cool, but pretty pricey (sometimes north of $150!) Streamlights, Surefires, etc., and finally asked a fellow there what he had for options. He asked me, “Well, do you already have a light of some sort?” Yup, I have several. Then he went to the rack and pulled off a Viking Tactics (VTAC) package and hand ed it to me. “Why not just get a mount for a light you already own, and not spend a ton of money?”
Hot Damn! The price tag was $25, and it went home with me.
The Viking Tactics Light Mount is a slick piece of gear that doesn’t cost much, and is very versatile. It’s a molded PVC Thermoplastic that is impervious to rust, reasonable impacts, moisture, etc. It’s basically a clamp that secures to a 1913 Picatinny rail (found on most guns these days, it seems), with a standoff that houses a flashlight in a loop. It has an adapter that is removable, and therefore can hold pretty much any smaller light with a little bit of ingenuity. It’s designed for the modern luminary offerings from Streamlight and any other number of other manufacturers, but I found that with a couple wraps of duct tape, I was able to get everything from mini-maglites to cheapo by-the-drugstore-register LED flashlights to fit just fine. I have an ancient (10+ years old by my count) Streamlight Scion rechargeable that I was hoping to use, but I was bummed to find out that it was just a tad too big to fit in the VTAC mount. So, I have a Streamlight Polytac on its way from Amazon ($35), which, when combined with the price of the mount, gets me in the illumination game for far less than the cost of a dedicated weapon light.
So, until my Streamlight shows up, I had to make do for some pictures for you folks. My AA mini-maglite volunteered for the job! Warning: it was a little loose when I took the pictures; I had to wrap some duct tape around the barrel of the light to get it to work properly and stay in the light mount. It worked fine.
I was able to get the VTAC light mount on my AR fore end rail:
I was also able to mount it on my little Smith & Wesson M&P compact:
So your gun doesn’t have a “Picatinny” rail but you want/need a light? Even if you have, say, an old H&R break-open shotgun or a Marlin lever action .30-30, it is probably currently drilled and tapped for Weaver-type scope bases on top of the barrel or receiver. The addition of a Weaver scope base (about $10-15) gives you a mounting point that this light mount will work on. (Picatinny rails and Weaver bases are practically interchangeable.) Yep, it may look a little goofy, but it adds valuable light in a situation where you may desperately need it. And it weighs practically nothing, so you can keep it in your firearms tricky bag or with your gear with the appropriate allen wrench taped to it, and you can add it when the time comes that it’s needed…and chances are even if you don’t have a sexy $100+ dollar 100-lumen flashlight, you can make what you have work with a little Yankee ingenuity and duct tape or friction tape.
Yeah yeah yeah, I know: flashlights take batteries, so god forbid we use them. But you know what? Not all SHTF scenarios are end-of-the-world doomer scenarios where you’re plodding across a wasteland and society is a long-forgotten term. Chances are that your SHTF scenario may be a 5-long-day power outage after a hurricane or flood, or maybe rioting or who knows what else? Maybe your SHTF problem is an empty wallet (believe me, I can relate!). I prefer to have every advantage I can while I can have it, and this little setup helps me get there, and with some piecing together, helps me get there without spending a ton of dough, while having quality gear. Win-win.
What do you guys think of a setup like this? Are there better options? Let us know!