WON Landing Page March 2022

Crimson Trace Tactical Light Indoor Drills

The AR platform is popular for personal/home defense. Crimson Trace recently introduced an aftermarket tactical light, the CWL-202, for rail-equipped long guns. We are going to kick off a series of how-to articles that feature one of the country’s top trainers giving us recommendations on how to use Crimson Trace products. We’ll begin with the Crimson Trace Tactical Light.

Sponsored by Crimson Trace

I have taken a few courses where we learned, as part of the program, to clear houses, and that information will help with how to open doors and move strategically from one area to another. The lighting techniques? Adding that to movement is the tricky part, but important.

Since I have no clue on how to use a weapons light, I went to a knowledgeable source, firearms instructor Chris Cerino, of the Cerino Consulting & Training Group, to get information about how to train with lights on an AR.

Chris said, “Using a weapon mounted light carries some responsibility since you are pointing a gun at everything you light up.” This is where and why movement comes into the picture, and of   making sure you identify your target first, before taking a shot.

CT tac light

From the Crimson Trace website, which shows the light on this Smith & Wesson AR15.

The light comes with 2 ways to run it – either a mounted push button tail cap or a mounted remote tape switch (which is behind the tail cap). These switches will be attached with 2 Velcro straps or a self-adhesive backing. When running the light, you may choose to use the mounted remote tape switch to locate and identify the target. Or, you may use the tail cap for momentary use, and especially for painting. The tail cap has the option of being a constant light or momentary.  If you’re in your home, you may be able to navigate without the light, since you know furniture placement and such, but you might also need to turn it on briefly to see a route. With an AR, it would be impossible to also run a second handheld flashlight, but if you can,

Chris also said, “A light constantly on is a dead giveaway that you’re there.” You need to learn to “paint” an area with light quickly and then turn it off and move. “See what you need to see and then turn it off and move or prepare for your next move,” said Chris. “Do not paint an area with light and trail the beam back to your feet or location. You don’t want to give away your position.”

Why use the Crimson Trace Tactical Light?

The CWL-202 Tactical Light comes in either 500 Lumen or 900 Lumen models. I used the 900-Lumen, white light model. If offers a tap-on/tap-off tail cap activation and remote on/off pad for personal customization. It fits rifles, carbines or shotguns that have M1913 Picatinny, Keymod® or M-LOK® style accessory rails.

Crimson Trace Tactical Light on Smith & Wesson AR15

Here are a few other specs:

  • Made of Anodized aluminum
  • Waterproof up to 1 meter
  • Impact resistant up to 1 meter
  • Includes M1913 Picatinny and Keymod®/M-LOK® attachments
  • 1 hour, 25-minute battery life
  • 3 inches
  • Weighs 4.9 ounces with batteries installed
  • May be used as an independent flashlight (handheld)
  • High output Cree XPL LED

Tactical Light Indoor Drills

Chris stressed that it takes time and practice to get comfortable with a weapon-mounted light. To run these drills, it is best to wait until it is dark or nearly so in the place where you intend to practice. Be sure to follow all the rules for safe gun handling in this situation.

First, remember to set up the tactical light so it works with your hand and fingers of your support hand, especially. “Figure out how to operate the pressure switches consistently. There is a constant on switch and a momentary switch,” said Chris. “It is generally hard to fire a gun with a momentary switch and not have it strobe on and off, so knowing your limitations with the momentary switch is important. There may be a time when you have to fire at a threat without constant on light. Example – see threat, fire, light off and change positions to re-engage from another location to keep a bad guy from pinning you down.”

Chris added, “Also, practice moving through your home, dry (i.e., without ammo anywhere) and watch for splash-back when clearing around corners. Splash-back happens when you attempt to illuminate a target from a position of cover and you fail to present the light beyond the cover. The light hits the wall, door, cover piece and splashes back at you and illuminates you – giving the threat a full view of you and your position. Done properly, the light is presented beyond the wall, door, cover item …BEFORE it is turned on so the there is no splash-back and only the bright beam of light is presented to the threat.”

Crimson Trace CWL-202 on S&W AR15 MOE SL

I took Chris’s advice to heart. Hubby and I brought in 2 silhouette targets, life size. I waited in a nearby room while he set them up, their locations unbeknownst to me. We live in a situation where our drill would endanger no one else in the house or in the surrounding area. I used a Smith & Wesson M&P15 Magpul MOE SL rifle unloaded (verified by him, with a chamber flag inserted in the empty chamber with the bolt closed on the flag, and without a magazine inserted into the mag well) and practiced turning on the light. By the way, this is a great gun for personal defense for a woman, as it is slim and light weight. I made sure the pressure pad for the light had been attached so that my fingers could comfortably reach the switches. When Hubby told me it was time to roll, my heart rate went up just a little. I worked my way around the kitchen, doing momentary light flashes, and then I would move. I went to the doorway of the great room and began “slicing the pie” before proceeding into the room – even though the room is big, one flash of the 900 lumen light gave me a quick impression of everything in the room, revealing one of the 6 foot+ target standing by the stairway to my left. I turned on the light, pointed my gun at the target’s center of mass and said, “Bam, bam.” I then proceeded to work my way across the room and at the foot of another staircase, I saw the other silhouette. “Bam, bam.”

CT Tactical Light CWL-202 r Chris Cerino

We repeated the drill and Hubby tried it.

It’s imperative to put yourself into these types of training situations. Let your brain see what it’s like to move through your home in the dark with a firearm, and what a sudden flash of light looks like and how far it will cast a beam. Also, allow yourself to feel the threat. This is the pressure that makes us stronger and more capable.

Next week, we intend on taking the targets outside to the range for low-light live fire and moving drills. Stay tuned.

Visit Crimson Trace to see this Tactical Light here. Normally $99.99, now on sale for $79.99.

Train with Cerino Consulting & Training Group in 2019.


  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.