Photo Credit: Steve Coulston
Arisaka Defense Brings Light To The Masses
Owning a firearm is a right that our forefathers wrote into the Constitution of the United States of America. While the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, that right also carries with it a heavy responsibility. We are obligated and expected as responsible gun owners and to exercise our 2nd Amendment rights safely.
For this author, the Four Rules of Firearms Safety was taught at a young age. There are different variations to the rules but they basically say the same thing. As a reminder, they are as follows (in no particular order):
- Always assume any firearm is loaded. Treat them accordingly.
- Never cover anything with your muzzle you don’t intend to destroy.
- Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
- Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it.
I would also add that it is imperative to always keep your firearm pointed in a safe direction. Meaning point your firearm in any direction that is the safest at any given moment based on your given environment. That alone will keep you and/or someone else out of harms way in case you have a negligent discharge (ND). Yes, negligent, not accidental. As an FYI, if you were following rule #3 the ND probably won’t happen. Unless you have a target or threat that needs shooting, keep your booger picker off the bang switch. Don’t become another "here’s what not to do" statistic or destroy the life of you or someone else because you couldn’t stop finger banging your pistol. Sometimes us gun owners are our own worst enemies… I digress.
Let’s look at Rule #4 for a second. Be sure of your target and what’s behind it. At the local gun range that seems pretty straight forward. Target = Paper Target. What’s behind it = Berm. Seems pretty straight forward. Get off the square range and into the woods, urban jungle or your own residence, it gets a whole lot more complicated. The scenarios and "what if" games that can be played out are infinite. Got all that figured out? Great, now what happens in low light/no light environments.
Darkness completely changes the environment you may find yourself in should you need to engage a target. God forbid a situation requires you to make that split second decision to present your firearm and press that trigger to stop a threat. Remember, you are responsible for every round you send down range. That is why Rule #4 is so important.
Let’s back up a little. Let’s go back to before any shots are fired. There is poor lighting and you are alerted to a potential threat. Feel free to make up whatever scenario you like that takes place in a low light/no light environment. How can you be aware of and be sure of your target if you can’t see it? The obvious answer is to have a readily available light. Not just any light, but a white light that is capable of efficiently illuminating a target and beyond. No, I am not going to get into tactics about how to utilize your firearm and light should the need arise I would recommend you take a low level light course from a solid instructor who is well versed in low light tactics such as Wes Doss’s Lights, Sights and Lasers Tour, Sage Dynamics or any other respected instructor.
Let there be light. God created natural light. Man created artificial light. Today, most "tactical" lights utilize technologies that incorporate Light Emitting Diodes, more commonly known as LEDs. LEDs have a longer life span than their incandescent siblings, are smaller, can take more abuse, run cooler and use less power. Flashlight manufactures are capitalizing on the benefits of LED technology to pack a whole lotta light into a small package. Long gone are the days of the ginormous 4 D cell incandescent Maglites. I still have one laying around somewhere, but when compared to a modern day compact, single 3v CR123 cell LED flash light, the Maglite is pretty dim. Downright pathetic actually. Today’s lights are retina scorchers. They are also a dime a dozen. Well, not quite, but it is very common to see an LED flash light at the check-out counter of your local hardware store on sale for a buck fiddy. But remember, you get what you pay for.
Personally, I have used a lot of "tactical lights" during my time in the military and in everyday life as a responsible armed citizen. I carry a compact while LED light with me every day (and I recommend you do too). A good quality light will sting the wallet a little. Ok, a lot. Costs can range from close to $100 for a good compact carry light to over $1000 for a hardened weapon light. It all depends on your application. I am sure it is no secret that the king of the personal/weapon mounted light market is Surefire. I personally own a decent Surefire collection when it comes to weapon mounted lights for pistols and long guns. I trusted my life to Surefire in the military and I continue to trust them now. I can also trust they will be a costly investment.
One of their more popular long gun lights is their Scout series of lights. They make these lights in a variety of cell sizes that utilize the popular 3v CR123 batteries. You can get whatever combination of switch, output, visible or IR light if you like. It all depends on what you want to pay. You will drop $300 at least. Worth it? I have one, but you need to decide for yourself. But what if there was a cheaper, yet comparable option? Would you be interested? I was.
Photo Credit: Steve Coulston
A few of my buddies started building their own Scout clones from a few manufacturers I hadn’t heard of before. Arisaka and Malkoff Devices teamed together to make solid lights and mounts and even offer a kick ass Scout clone. Regardless if you want to create your own light or buy one already assembled both companies will set you up right. As someone who was looking for a M300 Mini Scout for my latest build, I figured I would take the economical route and purchase a Arisaka 300 series light for about a third less than the Surefire.
The Arisaka 300 series light is very similar to the Surefire Mini Scout. The 300 utilizes a Arisaka body, mount and tail cap and a Malkoff E1T Scout M300 head. The tail cap is offered in a constant on or momentary configurations. The body is compatible with the 1913 rail specific Surefire Scout mount. The light head is designed to fit all Surefire E series lights and M300 scout lights and throws 300 lumens. The housing is made from aircraft grade 6061 T6 aluminum, is Type III black anodized and houses a fully potted LED for rugged use. Specified runtime off of a single 3v CR123 battery is 45 to 60 minutes. The output is on par with the Surefire M300 Mini Scout at a better price point.
The Arisaka Scout comes without a mount. This allows the end user to select the appropriate mount for their long gun handguard. I ended up getting the Arisaka Inline Scout Mount for MLOK. A Keymod version is also available. The mount mates perfectly with the 300 Series Light and the entire assembly securely fastens to the handguard of your choice. The tail cap I used was the Arisaka momentary tailcap. I should note that you can’t screw the cap all the way down or you will have a constant on light. In order to get the momentary switch to work properly you need to screw it all the way down then back it off 1-1/2 turns. Once dialed in the switch worked very well. If desired, the user can also buy a remote tape switch.
While only time will tell how the more economical light will hold up over the more expensive Surefire I have high hopes. No, I didn’t take both variants and torture them side by side as I don’t have that kind of disposable income, but the more economical option appears to be very high quality and rugged. It has remained solidly mounted and continues to shine bright. Thus far it seems like a great option for a moderate price point. If you are in the market for a quality long gun light and want to save a few bucks, take a look at the offering from Arisaka and Malkoff. The mount, body and light by Arisaka and Malkoff will save you about $100 over the Surefire alternate.
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