“You Light Up My Life”-An Economical and Efficient Weapon’s Light

“You Light Up My Life”-An Economical and Efficient Weapon’s Light

The first “Weapon’s Light” I ever had mounted on one of my personal firearm’s was a AA Mini-Mag light with a special end cap/pressure switch set up on a CAR-15 and a Mossberg 590. Compared to no light at all, it made a big difference. I bought them (bought 2) for the CAR-15 and my Mossberg 590 because of an incident I had with a skunk outside my home one night.

We had been having a skunk problem at the time, so when I came home from work at 11PM one night and saw a skunk start running across the yard under the Dusk to Dawn light, I whipped out my Glock 17 and engaged him, when he was far enough from the house to be safe.

Well, out of the four shots I fired at about 25-35 yards, I hit him with one. He made it beyond the shootable light and I stepped into the house, grabbed my 590 twelve gauge and a 3 D-cell Maglite, and took off after the wounded skunk.

I caught up with him quickly, but was concerned about getting to close, for obvious reasons. My first shot at him was about 35 yards away, I hit him, but he kept staggering towards a rock break I knew had a groundhog hole, and I didn’t want him to get away, being wounded.

Trying to hold and rack a pump action shotgun with a 3 D-cell flashlight in your hand is….difficult. On my first attempt, I short-stroked it. I finally got a round in the chamber and let it fly, just as he made it to the hole. I dropped him right there, and that was that.

After that incident I realized having a light on my weapon was pretty important, even if it’s only to dispatch a predator or nuisance animal on the farm, not to mention in a low light defensive situation. The next day I started looking in catalogs I had (this was the early 90’s, so…no internet) for a fix to the issue.

Keep in mind, I knew about the Surefire forearm replacement I could get for my Mossberg, but at that time (and income) of my life, there was no way I was spending that asking price on a light, and I would have had to modify the bayonet lug to get it to fit. Not happening.

I found a company that had started making a special clamp for a rifle or a shotgun barrel, and they also made a replacement end cap with pressure switch for the AA Mini-Mag light. At the time it fit my budget, it worked great, and I never had to try and figure out a “Work around” for those situations again.

Fast forward about 30 years later. The list of weapons lights I have used are pretty extensive, but suffice it to say, the model number usually had the “Surefire” name in front of them. I really don’t like CR123 batteries, but a number of my electronics unfortunately use them. They are expensive, not as common as AA’s, and when they die, they don’t give you any warning at all.

Although I have used pressure switches extensively, I’m not a fan because that is usually the most fragile part of a weapons light system. I had one fail on me in Iraq during a patrol and that is “No Bueno!”. If I can use the light with an easy to use switch, and without the need for a pressure switch, more the better. I have been using a system for a bit now that cost under $60, is versatile, economical, durable and efficient.

LXA-100 tail cap left, AA Mini-Mag light center, Magpul light mount right

The Light

The first part of the system is the tried and true AA powered Mini-Mag light. This version is L.E.D. and has a light output of 127 lumens. One of the downsides to the old Mini-Mag system I had, was the old style, plug in bulb could back out under heavy recoil. It did not work well on my HK-91 for that reason. This new version has an L.E.D. bulb, so it has a solid connection that won’t come loose under recoil.

Another thing to think about is the light’s output. My original Surefire 6P light’s bulb put out 60 lumens, and back then that was a lot! I bought an extra (expensive!) bulb that increased the light output to 120 lumens, and it was a pretty big deal. This Mini-Mag puts out 127 lumens, which is astounding in comparison to the older lights. Accessories that are available include extra lenses like the IR lens for use with night vision devices, and other lenses that are colored red, and blue for low visibility light signature.

Mini-Mag in an old laser mount on the left, next to that is an IR lens and it’s light head mount. The Mini-Mag accessory kit pictured on the right.

The Switch

Another addition to my system is a replacement, push button, end cap for the light. This cap is one of the programmable types that you can place on a certain setting and use it as programmed. Besides the ability to set the switch level, it also takes the pressure switch need out of the equation, thus eliminating a possible area for failure.

The last reason the switch makes good sense is the ability to completely shut the light off so you have no accidental light activations. This can get guys killed in a low light combat situation if the enemy is unaware that you are in the area, and someone inadvertently activates their weapon’s light.

With this system, you can turn the light head all the way to the left (as it’s pointed away from you), and it will not come on, even if you hit the switch. Need to use the light, set the light head to the focus setting you want, then hit the button when it’s needed.

The Mount

Finally, we come to the mount. I don’t know if you’ve looked, but except for the mount we’re gonna talk about, there are none that I could find, that fit the Mini-Mag. The nice thing about this mount from Magpul is that it will also fit lights like the Surefire 6P or G2 that I use. This mount can be purchased for either the left or right side of the weapon rail, and in either the 11 or 7 o’clock (right) or 1 and 5 o’clock (left) positions.

It is made out of the polymer that Magpul uses on most of their accessories, and sets the light in the perfect position for you to activate your light’s switch with your support hand thumb. Being a lefty, I opted for the right-side mount, so my right thumb can activate the light’s switch. Normally, I don’t like to mount accessories on the right side of my weapons, since keeping that side “Slick” makes it more comfortable if the weapon is snugged up against my back or chest. The way this mount rides on the rail, negates any discomfort issues with it up against my back.

Light system mounted on an 11.5″ Sig M400 AR. Pressure switch cover is for an IR DBAL  laser

NOTE: The most recent Magpul mount I received did not snug up as tightly on the Mini-mag light as the other three I have. My fix for this was the plastic hull, cut off of an empty 12 gauge shotgun shell brass base as a shim. If you run into that issue, this is a “fix” to that problem.

Well, that’s it. A weapon’s light that runs on commonly available batteries is durable with a good reputation, has the ability to be activated quickly and in a natural position by a switch that works well, All this is set up in a mount that is flexible and places the light where it is needed on you weapon. I’d call that a win, especially since it’s only about 60 bucks.

By the way, I like this system so much, I’ve replaced all the weapon light rigs on my “Go To” weapons with this new system.


"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.
“You Light Up My Life” Series-My EDC Light

“You Light Up My Life” Series-My EDC Light

Over the course of a few decades, I’ve used A LOT of different lights. My first “Tactical” light, after a G.I 2 “D” cell “Anglehead” I had as a kid, was a Pelican “Sabrelite”. It was an OD colored, 3 “C” cell diving light. At the time, it was considered “Top of the line” in the military community.

I started carrying a light in my “Every Day Carry” gear back in 2003. I bought a Surefire “E2 Executive” (that model is no longer available) and made it part of my EDC gear. It was a 2 CR123 battery light, and worked well, but it was expensive and battery life sucked. Fast forward to 2015, and my Wife gets me a “Stocking Stuffer” that year that was a 1-AA led flashlight with a pocket clip. What’s not to love about a light that uses one, commonly available, battery, is easy to use one handed, whether turning it on, or focusing the beam?

I’ve been carrying that light for almost 5 years now and have yet to see an issue with it. It fits perfectly in the knife pocket on my Tru-Spec 24-7 pants. I liked it so much, four years ago, I bought nine more to add to various things like survival kits, shoulder rigs and the like. Focusing the beam is a simple matter of pulling out or pushing in on the head of the light. The beam output is 190 lumens, and that AA battery lasts a long time.

Galco “Classic Lite” shoulder rig with my Springfield XDs 45, a CRKT “Sting” a reload and my Coast HP1 flashlight.

An $8 light that is small, durable, power efficient, bright and works when called upon. What more could you ask for in a piece of EDC gear? I actually plan on buying some more soon, simply because they would make trade goods during a SHTF scenario. Check it out, you;ll be glad you did.


"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.
“Adapting To Survive” The Shotgun “Shell Shrinker”

“Adapting To Survive” The Shotgun “Shell Shrinker”


Adapter Post27In the firearms or survival gear arena, I’ve always had a fascination with being able to adapt tools to perform more than one function, and do it well. In this series, we’ve discussed a cartridge adapter that allows the user to shoot a small pistol caliber bullet through a large centerfire rifle (.32ACP-.308WIN). We’ve also discussed the mechanical adapters made for some semi auto rifles and handguns. These allow the shooter to utilize the .22 Long Rifle cartridge for a practice/training or hunting application.
Next up in the series is another chamber adapter, but this one is for the shotgun. There are a number of “Shell Shrinkers” out there, that adapt one smaller gauged cartridge to a larger one. One manufacturer that comes to mind is Short Lane Gun Adapters. They make a number of shotgun, rifle and pistol adapters for a huge number of gauges and calibers. The adapter that we will discuss today is an old Savage “Four-Tenner” that I’ve had for a number of years.

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As you can see on the right side of the adapter pic, the “Four-Tenner” has a mechanical extractor which you line up with the extractor in you shotgun for easier shell removal.

The “Four-Tenners” that I own (I have two) are both 20 gauge to .410 adapters. They are approximately 12 1/4 inches long, so unlike many of the adapters you’ll see at “Short Lane Gun Adapters”, this one is not pocket sized. Obviously, the adapter has a outside diameter the same as the 20 Gauge chamber/barrel it is placed into. Also, the “Four-Tenner” has it’s own built in shell extractor, unlike many other adapters on the market.
As with many adapters out there, these devices usually have two primary purposes. Those would be training/practice and hunting. From the training/practice side, I can tell you the “Four-Tenner” made a great understudy for my kids to learn the use of the shotgun at a very young age (they were 4 years old), and all without them having to initially deal with the recoil of a 20 gauge. I used those devices in my Savage M24, .223/20 gauge, and my Stevens 311 20 gauge to teach them how to lead a moving target properly.

Adapters Post29My kids also started their hunting “Careers” by using both of those shotguns to hunt squirrel. For them to achieve a solid killing shot on a squirrel, they needed to be within 20 yards or so. This had the added benefit of making them learn how to stalk the alert “Tree Rat” and get into position for a good hit.

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The 3″ .410 pattern show on the left, the 2 3/4″ 20 gauge on the right. Both were #6 shot and were fired from 20 yards.

The test was simple. I placed paper targets at 20 yards because I figured this was a good average hunting distance. Using commonly available Remington ammo of the same shot size, I shot both targets with one round. For the .410, I used a 3″ high brass #6 shot load, and for the 20 gauge, I used a 2 3/4 high brass #6 shot load. As you can see by the photo, the .410 pattern shown on the left, has an obvious lack of “payload” for the number of pellets on target. That being said, it still will get the job done within a realistic range.
Another advantage to the “Shell Shrinker” concept is the obvious savings in weight and bulk, when comparing the .410 shell to it’s 20 gauge counterpart. The difference is carrying a cartridge that is approximately .45 of an inch in diameter and weighs about 22 grams, compared to that of a cartridge that is approximately .62 of an inch and weighs around an ounce. The difference with a box of 25 rounds is about 5 ounces in weight and a couple square inches in bulk.

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Here is a comparison of the sizes of the two cartridges. The 20 gauge box pictured (#4 shot) was not the load used in the test.

All in all, I have gotten a lot of use out of the “Four-Tenner” adapter over the years. But the best use I made out of it was in teaching my kids how to properly use a shotgun, and starting them hunting with one. I know there are still “Four-Tenners” available on different sales sites, but honestly, you’re better off going to a site like Short Lane LLC to get what you are looking for. Hope this was helpful.
“Parata Vivere”- Live Prepared.

“Adapting To Survive”: Firearms-Part 3, Advantage Arms-Glock .22LR Conversion Kits

“Adapting To Survive”: Firearms-Part 3, Advantage Arms-Glock .22LR Conversion Kits

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I put both my adapters in the same box with the extra mags and cleaning kit.

The ability to use another cartridge in a firearms is a huge advantage. For that second cartridge to be cheaper for training and better suited for things like hunting small game, well, that makes it a practical necessity. For the Survivalist, acquiring tools that performs multiple functions well (Not just “making do”) is not only efficient in terms of space savings and costs, but also practical for field use.

Well over a decade ago, I bought Advantage Arms .22LR kits for my Glock 21 and Glock 30, .45 Automatics. After using them for years and putting well over a thousand rounds through each of them, I can tell you they are one of the best investments I’ve made.


Having used a number of brands and types of ammo through my kits, the only ones that will not reliably cycle are the CB Long type. These are not designed to cycle the action and are used for quiet small game hunting. I don’t use the hyper velocity ammo like “Stingers” due to Advantage Arms warning.

I have used, not only the CCI Mini-Mags that they recommend, but the bulk pack solids and hollow points that they say might not perform well (they don’t recommend them, so make your own decision to use or not use that type of ammo). After about 200 rounds of break-in with the CCI Mini-Mags, the bulk pack ammo functions fine.


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Gen 3 Glock 21 with Advantage Arms adapter kit. 10 shots at 25 yards.

On both the Glock 21 and the Glock 30, the average group sizes at 25 yards are approximately 2.5-3″ with Federal bulk pack ammo. both kits/pistols definitely shoot “Minute of Squirrel” and have actually taken small game in the past. Another thing these kits will do is point out issues you might have with things like your trigger pull and sight alignment. You are using the same grip, trigger and sights (they come with factory Glock sights and can be replaced with other Glock aftermarket sights) as you normally would with your regular slide and ammo.

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Gen 2 Glock 30 with Advantage Arms adapter kit. Average group of 10 rounds at 25 yards.


These slides weigh about half of what the normal slide weighs. The slides are compact enough to fit in an M16 mag pouch with a mag when the kit is not in use. The slides are identical in size to the original pistol’s slide, so they fit in the holsters you already have and use for your pistol.

If you are looking for the most compact and accurate small game-getter you can keep in your bug out or get home bag, and your carry gun is a Glock, XD, or 1911 full size or compact pistol, you should look into Advantage Arms .22LR pistol adapters. If you are looking for a good training tool to practice with your carry gun, you should look into Advantage Arms .22LR pistol adapters.

They are reliable, accurate and versatile and could be a huge help for your practical Survivalist needs. Give ’em a call, you’ll be glad you did.


"Parata Vivere"-Live Prepared.