Beretta Blog

Turn Your Handgun Into An Effective Home Defense Tool

Posted by Tom McHale

on Jun 10, 2014 1:10:00 PM


When it comes to home defense, cheating is an acceptable, and desirable, strategy. If you’re ever forced to defend your loved ones in your home, and you find yourself in a fair fight, you tactics suck, or so the saying goes.

Put into more practical and actionable terms, when preparing your home defense strategy, it makes sense to identify all reasonable advantages and put them into action.

Also see: Deadly Force During a Home Invasion

One big advantage you can easily implement is the addition of lights and lasers to your home defense gun. Neither of these tools replaces good gun handling technique nor are they designed to. They are designed to give you more options in a bad situation.

Benefits of a weapon mounted light

Should you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of hearing the proverbial bump in the night, it will be dark. Funny how that works isn’t it?

CMR-202_016Darkness and handguns don’t work well together, even if you have fancy tritium night sights on yours. While you might see your sights glowing, you really don’t have a clear view of what you should or, more importantly, should not shoot at. A weapon-mounted light gives you the ability to see clearly what’s in front of your muzzle, and that’s crucial information to have before you pull the trigger. Even though a weapon mounted-light faces forward, it will help you see regular (non-tritium) sights too.

A pistol-mounted light is not intended to replace a handheld light. A handheld light is for searching and a weapon mounted light is for shooting. It’s as simple as that. Remember Rule 3? Never point your gun at anything you’re not willing to destroy. If you’re using your weapon light to look around, you are, by definition, pointing your gun at unknown things. Since they’re unknown, you’re not sure if you’re willing to destroy them, right?

Benefits of a lasers

A laser gives you more aiming options. It’s as simple as that. Especially in low light or dark conditions, you will see exactly where your shot will impact, assuming you pull the trigger correctly.

Use of a laser supports the natural tendency we have to focus on the danger when we’re threatened. Yes, lot’s of training will teach one to revert concentration back to the sights when ready to fire, but the brain’s desire to focus on a threat is a powerful habit to overcome. When using a laser, you can focus on the threat and aim at the same time.

A laser also provides flexibility in shooting positions. When using standard sights, the gun must, by definition, be up high and right in front of your eyes. Using a laser, you can safely and accurately fire from more unconventional positions where the gun is lower and not blocking your direct vision. In night training exercises I’ve done, I’ve found that ability to search, with your gun held lower out of your sight, makes a big difference in overall situational visibility.

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How to add light and/or laser capability to your Beretta

For purposes of this discussion, since we’re talking about home defense applications, I’ll limit this to medium and full size handguns. A home defense gun can be larger, and, therefore, easier to aim, fire and control recoil, than a pocket carry gun. Larger guns generally give you more accessory mounting options like rails.

Beretta PX4

Speaking of rails, all PX4 Storm handguns have them, so you can mount a laser, light or both. Crimson Trace offers Rail Master lasers, Rail Master lights and the new Rail Master Pro. While the Rail Master light and lasers are a “pick one” option, since you only have one rail, the Rail Master Pro houses both a 100 lumen tactical light and your choice of red or green laser in the same rail mounted unit. You activate the light and laser with paddles positioned on both sides of the trigger guard, so can turn them on or off at will. The body is aluminum and built like a tank, so you don’t have to worry about babying it. I’ve been testing the Rail Master Pro my a Beretta PX4 .40 S&W and it’s a great solution.

All of the PX4 models, full size, compact and even subcompact have rails, so adding a light and laser is easy.

Beretta 92

If you have a pistol in the 92/96/M9 family, you might have additional options for separate light and laser solutions.

Beretta_92FS_Crimson_Trace-1The standard 92, 96 and M9 models have a smooth dust cover (no tactical rail) but you can add Crimson Trace lasergrips to virtually any of those models. The Crimson Trace LG-302 or LG-402M lasergrips will fit Beretta 92, 96 and M9A1 large frame pistols, including the Centurion, Elite II and Brigadier models.

If you prefer the ability to activate your laser at will, check out the LaserMax guide rod laser solution for these models.

If you have an A1 series pistol, like the 92A1, 96A1 or M9A1, you have a rail to work with. Of course, you can go with a rail mounted combination unit like we discussed for the PX4. You can also choose to split your laser and light functions by mounting a light only on the rail, and using Crimson Trace Lasergrips. This approach may give you a little more flexibility as you can independently activate the light, laser or both.

Closing thoughts

A lot of folks get all wrapped around the axle about lights and lasers. Some are concerned that they make people reliant on them at the expense of skill development using traditional sights. 

I look at the situation differently. To me, lights and lasers add capability and options. They don’t replace functionality or skills already in place. 

Why not take advantage of every opportunity to stack the deck in your favor?

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Topics: Concealed Carry, Self Defense


Written by Tom McHale

Tom McHale was born helpless, hungry and shooting-deprived. He's finally given up the corporate life to pursue his passion of creating slightly offbeat, but educational, content related to guns and shooting. So far, he's published six books and nearly 1,500 articles on various topics related to shooting and self-defense.

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