How To Mount a Tactical Flashlight on a Weapon

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Adjustable gun tactical mount

What Is a Tactical Flashlight Mount?

A tactical flashlight mount is a method or tool that allows a shooter to add accessories to their weapon. Mostly what shooters attach are optical such as scopes or tool for either nighttime and low light shooting situations — tactical flashlights.

That was more of the easy definition of what a tactical flashlight mount is. To be a little more specific, a tactical mount is a platform on which a shooter mounts tactical gear such as a scope or a tactical flashlight. The keyword in this definition is “platform.” A platform for a tactical mount is one of two types of setup.

For most of us, we are used to a tactical mount being a set rails, which allows a piece of equipment to slide on and be securely attached, though not permanently. There is another option. It is a clamp mount that features rings. The rings attach to the gun and then allow an accessory to be mounted by a clamp to the platform. Some mounts are both a rail and ring. In fact, there is a lot of variation.

Why the variation?

Mounting a tactical flashlight to a handgun is a little more challenging than mounting one on a rifle and mounting one a shotgun is different from both. A little variation goes a long way in allowing shooters to find a tool that works best for their weapon and shooting situations.

Speaking of different shooting situations, it is important to consider the environment and why you are shooting when you choose the type or brand of mount for your gun. The quality of the tools you have to do the job, impact your ability to do that job.

How to Mount a Tactical Flashlight on Rifle

tactical flashlight mounted on automatic rifle
If your rifle already has rails built into it then mounting a tactical flashlight to it is going to be pretty simple. There are two general steps — mounting the flashlight and then mounting the unit to your rifle.

Step 1: Open the Mount: If you have a rail/ring set up then you will need to open the ring to mount the flashlight. This may involve loosening the ring or removing the bolts that hold the ring’s halves  in place.

Step 2: Mounting the Flashlight: So good quality tactical lights have a mounting area that is usually dead-center of the shaft. It has a texturized grip that spans the circumference of the light. That is exactly the spot where you want the rings to hold the light. That is the spot that the manufacturer designed for mounting.

NOTE: What is important is that the flashlight is the same diameter as the ring. If the flashlight is too larger you risk damaging it. It is too small, it will not remain in place, especially when you consider kickback.

If the fit is not exact, the flashlight will move. If the flashlight is too small, then you can help prevent that movement by cutting a piece of bicycle innertube tire and wrapping it around once. The rubber will grip the flashlight grips, and the ring will grip the rubber. The rubber will also help absorb shock.

Step 3: Close the Ring: Once the flashlight is positioned, replace the ring top and screw it into place. Keep in mind that you just want the ring to be secure.

Step 4: Attach the Mounted unit to the track system. Slice the two mounts together and then replace the mounting bolt. Most of these are hex-nut bolts.

Note: Different brands of mounts will have different needs. Some have extra equipment like a pressure switch. The instructions for dealing with those add-ons will be in the manufacturers kit.

Step 5: Check your work: You want to gently check that everything is as it should be. The bolts should be even and tight. The unit should not be loose or able to spin or wiggle at all. The entire unit should be secure. The last thing you want is to fire your rifle and lose your light. Check it twice.

Where Do You Mount a Tactical Flashlight on a Shotgun

For tactical reasons, we are discussing pump action shotguns. Not all of pump action shotguns are designed the same. If your magazine has an extra space past where the pump slides, you’d probably mount your flashlight there so long as it does not interfere with the pumping action of the gun. If there is no extra space on the magazine, then you have two options — Mount the flashlight carefully on the barrel or on your arm.

If your tactical flashlight mount is going on the barrel then be sure to choose one that is high-grade aluminum. Plastic mounts may melt, and steel may get if you fire the shotgun often. Aluminum may also get hot, but it will take longer.

How to mount a tactical flashlight on a shotgun

The best tactical flashlight mount for a shotgun is a double clamp/ring mount. They come in a variety of styles, prices and are made from many different metals.

Step 1: Open the ring mount: Open the ring and mount the flashlight. This may involve loosening the ring or removing the bolts that hold the ring’s halves  in place.

Step 2: Mounting the Flashlight: High-quality tactical lights have a textured grip that is centrally located on the light’s shaft. That is spot offers a designed for mounting or gripping the light with your hand.

NOTE: What is important is that the flashlight is the same diameter as the ring. If the flashlight is too larger you risk damaging it. It is too small, it will not remain in place, especially when you consider kickback.

If the fit is not exact, the flashlight will move. If the flashlight is too small, then you can help prevent that movement by cutting a piece of bicycle innertube tire and wrapping it around once. The rubber will grip the flashlight grips, and the ring will grip the rubber. The rubber will also help absorb shock.

Step 3: Close the Ring: Once the flashlight is positioned, replace the ring’s top and screw it into place. Keep in mind that you just want the ring to be secure.

Step 4: Attach the second ring to the shotgun’s magazine or barrel. Tighten the ring plates gently but firmly. You want to be careful not to damage or crimp either the magazine or the barrel.

Note: Different brands of mounts will have different needs. Some have extra equipment like a pressure switch. The instructions for dealing with those add-ons will be in the manufacturers kit.

Step 5: Check your work: You want to gently check that everything is as it should be. The bolts should be even and tight. The unit should not be loose or able to spin or wiggle at all. The entire unit should be secure. Make sure to check the pump action to be sure that the tactical flashlight mount does not interfere with the slide action of the pump.

How to mount a tactical flashlight on a handgun, pistol, etc.

The method of attaching a tactical flashlight mount to a handgun is the same as it would be for either a shotgun or a rifle. The question is why would you? Sure, there are reasons out there, but for most of us, this a better solution would be to mount the flashlight to an arm sleeve mount. By attaching the unit to your arm you decrease the weight of the gun which can cause problems with aiming. However, every shooter has a preference.

Low Profile Rail Mount for rifle

There are tactical flashlight mounts that attach to the bottom of a pistol. These are mounted forward of the trigger and under the barrel. Many are weapon specific and mount by rail method.

To add a tactical flashlight mount to a handgun:

Step 1: The bottom of the barrel must be modified if it does not come with a manufacturers rail/track. If you do not know how to add this unit, take it to a gunsmith. Add the rail/track to the bottom of the barrel.

Step 2: Add the light to the mount. Slide the flashlight into the mount and secure it.

Step 3: Slide the entire unit onto the rail/track that is mounted to the bottom of the barrel.

Step 4: Tighten the rails securely but carefully. You do not want to damage your gun’s barrel.

Step 5: Check your work. Make sure the unit is secure and that you can easily activate the light when needed.

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