I'm a flashlight geek (kinda a lighting geek in-general, my car has a ridiculous set of Hella driving lamps supporting its HID-lo/HIR-hi setup
; for years, I carried a Surefire E2D, recently, though, I switched to a Z2S-LED w/X-Concealment clip - and even more recently, a Surefire LX2), and I've had some low-light training (no, not just me running around in the dark by myself, but actual training that I paid for, with vetted qualified instructors - I figure that if I'm bumping around in the dark with a live gun, I should probably get some instruction to be able to do it at least semi-right). I always have a decent light on my person, and I've been in enough weird and unexpected situations where my light(s) have come in handy, that I really respect the wisdom of never leaving home without it, even in broad daylight.
Like I said, I've done some low-light training, but I've never encountered smoke. Sure, there's a bit of gunsmoke, but what I'm interested in is the type of scenario that, hypothetically (since there's still no true picture yet, as vetted reports are, I'd imagine, forthcoming based on ongoing investigations), the innocents in the Aurora theater faced.
I know from what little training that I've had that yes, there can be "too much light" when it comes to close quarters: a very powerful light can cause the shooter discomfort or even momentarily self-blind given reflections from typical home decorations, furniture, and appliances - even white walls can cause such back-scatter effect.
Similarly, I know from some two decade's worth and well over 2 million miles of driving that in thick fog as well as snow, that there can be too much light for such situations, too.
I'm also a nerdy flashlight collector
, and therefore have tried to search up some past posts about such concerns. The closest I could get was:
- which internally references: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...45#post2653045
Through these threads, I read both what makes sense to me, instinctively - i.e. a light with a tighter output will be better at controlling back-scatter than one with a broad spill (which should work well for our needs, as, typically, most modern "tactical flashlights" offer a rather tight throw); as well as things which are contradictory - that you want to throw as much light forward as possible, but at the same time, too much light is just gonna splash back and blind you with backs-catter, because as physics would demonstrate, you simply can't "cut through" smoke.
One of the firefighters mentioned that you'll want to make sure that the helmet-light chosen isn't obnoxiously bright, that it would blind the team-mates that you're talking to.
At first pass, my thought is that's great validation for carrying as bright of a light as you can - but that thought is tempered by the other observations above, as well as by the further question of, if that is indeed the case, then how close do you need to be to this other person, to blind him (as it's implied in said post that the firefighter you'd be blinding would be a team-mate standing close to you)?
Tactically, yet another thought springs to-mind: if the environment is disruptive already, then could a strobing technique be used to hopefully confuse the aggressor even more? Or would this not even be worth worrying about, as the muzzle blast of the shooter's firearm(s) likely is already providing for that effect, to begin with, in the darkened and smoky theater?
These are questions which I've never thought of before this tragic incident.
Like I said, sure, I've had low-light shooting instruction - and yes, in one case, there was plenty of rain to deal with, too (ambient conditions that night [outdoor shoot-house] actually seemed to magnify the gun-smoke that lingered after each muzzle-blast)...but I've never practiced in a dark and really
smoky environment. Sure there was plenty of gun-smoke, but that's nowhere even near the same amount of smoke I've experienced in various airsoft and paintball games, as a part of their FX.
What is my light really capable of? How can I best exploit its capabilities?