Red dot sights, powerful combat lights, and self-luminous tritium sights are important parts of the home defender’s working tool box. How they are used is more important than how they are chosen. Just the same care in obtaining this gear pays big dividends in security. While skill at arms is purchased with a different currency, obtaining modern high-tech gear, such as thermal, gives the prepared defender an option. A combat light is useful not only for illumination but for identification. There are worse things than being shot, and shooting the wrong person is one of these. Lighting up the potential threat is important.
The old saw about the drunken neighbor entering the wrong house is too often true. There have been any number of unfortunate incidents of confused individuals shooting their own family members. My grandfather explained one such incident in detail. A store owner was asleep in the apartment behind his rural store. His wife had loosed the door to the store to obtain some type of medication and wrestled with a stuck door. As she re-entered the bedroom, she startled her husband. He had suffered a home invasion before. He fired once and killed his wife. This occurred about 1930 and made a big impression on my grandfather. He stressed safety and being certain of your target and your shot. I am thankful to have had such a teacher.
I think an overlooked resource is thermal imaging. These imagers are especially important to those with considerable curtilage about the home or who live in a rural area, but they may also be important in an urban environment. Thermal imaging works because human beings and animals have a higher temperature than the environment. Even when the outside temperature is over 100 degrees, humans and animals stand out in thermal imaging. An average temperature for mammals is 99 to 102. My Canine Lupus Dingo, Lucy, runs around 102. She was nice enough to provide a suitable target as I got the measure of the Leupold LTO Quest HD thermal imager. It was no mean feat to locate Lucy in the yard and even scope her out behind foliage. The LTO Quest offers a range of 700 yards and zoom capability, is easily set for different views, and will capture and store images.
Thermal imaging in some forms is decades old and well understood. If you have seen security camera videos on the nightly news of criminal suspects in gray against a dark background, this is thermal imaging. I have been conducting extensive research with the Leupold LTO Quest HD unit. This is a compact thermal imager no larger than most smartphones. The unit is compact and durable, and it offers a wide range of settings. The readout may be set for gray scale, white, red, or green. I usually keep the sight set for red. A red or dull-orange glow is highly visible. The Leupold is compact and relatively inexpensive, no more than a quality handgun. It is easily rechargeable, and images may be stored in the unit. There is a flashlight included in the body that does not interfere with thermal imaging. Maximum range for a reading is 700 to 750 yards. That is a long way away. The LTO Quest is designed for hunting use but has obvious utility in home and area defense.
The unit allows you to cut through the dark and identify a suspect, trespasser, or burglar—or just the neighbor’s cat. As you know, camouflage and cover are easily affected. Cover will stop a bullet, but concealment is effective in preventing us from discovering the intruder’s location. There are limitations to this technology. Thermal imaging cannot see through glass. But the technology is interesting, and while useful for hunting and camping, the gear is also viable for scanning property and scoping out threats.
The SureFire Stiletto is a slim, well-designed combat light that features a pocket clip similar to a modern folding knife. The light is high output—650 lumen—and easily rechargeable. The primary switch offers both 650- and 250-lumen beams. This is a light, affordable tool that has rendered quite a few bulky lights obsolete. The easy carry and rechargeable battery have won me over. This is gear you may keep on your person at all times.
A weapon-mounted light or laser is a good choice for personal defense, especially home defense. Some units are especially expensive, and while good gear is worth its price, the TruGlo Tru-Point is affordable and in my experience works well. The TruGlo features not only a 200-lumen light but also a laser, either a red or green unit. You may set the combat light for light only or laser only or for light and laser. The light is useful for illumination and identification and the laser for aiming. I usually keep the TruGlo light set for both the light and laser. The laser hurts nothing but may be useful. For daylight use, the light isn’t needed, but it generally hurts nothing. For simple readiness, the light and laser are the default setting.
These devices are useful and give the home defender many more options than simply deploying a firearm. The thermal imager is quite interesting and useful in detecting man or beast about the home. I would think the device would have some use in locating lost or missing individuals. The Stiletto combat light is something many of us have been looking for for decades. The TruGlo is an effective but durable combat light and laser combination.
What is your favorite light or thermal imager for owning the night? Share your answer in the comment section.
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I have a Fluke Thermo unit I use in my work on electrical systems. Has a 6 inch false color display and a working range of 1 ft. to 1000 ft. I’ve watched the cats around the place at night, hunting mice.
Scotty Gunn says
Most of us can’t afford FLIR.