Editor’s note: When you attach a light to a firearm, it’s no longer just a light; it is now a deadly weapon. Rule 2 applies: Never allow the muzzle to cover anything you’re not willing to destroy. Make use of bounce lighting, directing the muzzle at the deck (low ready) or ceiling (high ready) whichever makes the most sense in your environment. With the lights of today, there’ll be enough ‘splash’ to identify a threat at normal engagement distances.
I’m not sure where creativity ends and genius begins; however, if true genius is the gift of making the fruits of creativity practical, then I would say that Bill Rogers is so gifted.
I first met Bill when we were squadded together in the 1980 US IPSC Nationals. In those days the forward rake and cross draw holsters ruled the roost but Bill used an IWB holster of his own design and manufacture in a classic FBI position (not so ironic since Bill is a former FBI agent). From this inaugural affiliation with “practical shooting,” Bill quickly became a force to be reckoned with not only on the shooting range but also within the industry itself. Over the years Rogers has teamed with Bill Wilson, Tommy Campbell and Safariland to bring to the market products to make the competitive shooter more efficient and the potential combatant more secure. One such piece of kit that falls into the latter category is the Rogers Rail Light Gen 2.
Let me start with a confession; while I carry a flashlight on my belt and have two on my nightstand, I’m ambivalent about lights mounted on the accessory rail of handguns. As Clint Smith says, “handguns are weapons of convenience, not weapons of effectiveness,” and attaching a goiter-sized hunk of metal in front of the trigger guard abates the factor of convenience if one is planning on carrying the handgun in a holster. As a nightstand accoutrement I get it; but since that renders the handgun to a role where convenience isn’t a factor, why not just lean a light-enhanced shotgun or carbine against the night stand and call it good? Were I a credentialed Law Enforcement Officer working the night shift I’d probably feel differently, but I’m not, so I don’t……
The Rogers Rail Light Gen 2 comes with the Roger’s manufactured bracket, the Streamlight Microstream USB light and USB cord to recharge the Lithium ion battery.
However, Bill recently showed me his Rogers Rail Light Gen 2 and I’m beginning to see ……..well, the light (pun intended). Although Rogers Rail Light has been around for a few years, the original model employed the Streamlight Microstream that put out an anemic 45 lumens. The Gen 2 now utilizes the Streamlight Microstream USB light. It’s 3.87 inches long and weighs 1.2 oz. and produces an amazing 250 lumens on the first touch setting and 50 lumens on the second touch setting! It’s equipped with a Lithium ion battery which is chargeable via a USB port by means of a USB cord which comes with the unit. Fully charging the battery initially takes about 3 hours and will deliver 1.5 hours of operation at 250 lumens or 3.5 hours at 50 lumens.
The genius is in the attaching bracket manufactured by Rogers. With the light attached to the bracket, the unit easily fits into a pocket and can held in place by a pocket clip which can also double to hold the light in place when clipped onto the brim of a ball cap. Two screws hold the light in the bracket. When loosened, the light can be reversed in the bracket so that the unit can be attached to the port side of a handgun for right handers or starboard side for the southpaws. In either case the light is positioned perfectly for the thumb of the support hand to activate the button from a standard “thumbs forward” shooting grip of the handgun.
Above, holding the unit in the support hand, putting the thumb on top of the slide and “rolling” the gun into the light, the unit “snaps” into the accessory rail. Below, by pushing down on the light and rolling the gun away from the unit, it neatly and quickly “unsnaps.”
The unit snaps on to an accessory rail by a simple roll maneuver from the side. While holding the unit in your support hand, simply put the outboard rail of the bracket in the side groove of the accessory rail and roll the handgun inboard. Putting your support thumb on top of the slide, simply press down until you hear the “click” and the unit is attached. The unit snaps off by taking your support hand thumb and exerting downward pressure on the light as you roll the handgun away from the unit. It neatly “unsnaps” into your hand. The beauty of the system is that with a little practice, this maneuver can be accomplished quite quickly.
For most concealed carriers, it will be more convenient and easier to conceal a handgun without a light attached. The Rogers Rail Light Gen 2 makes it simple and FAST to attach the separately carried light to the gun. The added benefit of not pre-mounting the light is that it can be used by itself at times when brandishing a firearm would not be warranted. You and I both know that you’ll need and use your flashlight exponentially more than you’ll ever use your handgun.
When mounted on the accessory rail, the activation button is perfectly located for the thumb of the support hand when a typical “thumbs forward” grip is utilized.
A close friend of mine, Billy Miller had the dubious distinction of being in the World Trade Center (NYC’s Twin Towers) when it was bombed by the blind Sheik in 1993. Billy had to egress the building via the stairwells from the 107th floor in pitch-black darkness because the backup power system was near where the bomb detonated. They estimate that there were 50,000 people using the stairway. These were the days before cell phones with integral lights and those evacuating the building had to literally feel their way down each step. According to Billy, “it was tense.” To this day Billy is NEVER caught without at least one flashlight and he’s convinced me to arm myself similarly.
The Microstream USB light is a compact unit that can be easily carried in a pocket and held in place with the integral pocket clip.
The Rogers Rail Light Gen 2 can be accessed and attached to my daily concealed carry gun about as quickly as I gain access to the flashlight that I currently carry on my belt and assume the Harries or Syringe position.
Watch Bill Roger’s YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmfPlVda1G4 for an overview of this remarkably convenient piece of gear.
When one considers that the Rogers Rail Light Gen 2 retails for $40, it appears that creativity has truly been made practical which as previously stated is a mark of genius!
Greg Moats was one of the original IPSC Section Coordinators appointed by Jeff Cooper shortly after its inception at the Columbia Conference. In the early 1980’s, he worked briefly for Bianchi Gunleather and wrote for American Handgunner and Guns. He served as a reserve police officer in a firearms training role and was a Marine Corps Infantry Officer in the mid-1970’s. He claims neither snake-eater nor Serpico status but is a self-proclaimed “training junkie.”