I carry several items for personal defense. I carry a handgun, extra magazines and a good pocket knife.
The one item which gets the most use, is my tactical flashlight.
My light is not only is it an essential piece of defensive gear. It is also the most utilitarian item I carry, with uses beyond self defense. After all, how often have you dropped your keys or some other item under your car seat and need a light to find it? Have you ever had your electricity go out during a big storm and needed to see around your home?
Modern defensive/tactical flashlights have several features which differentiate them from the common/economy flashlight. Let’s talk about those features:
- A momentary-on tail-cap switch – this allows the user to depress the switch with the
thumb and turn on the light and easily turn off the light by letting
o of the thumb. This grip also allows for holding the flashlight in a manner to be used as a striking device if needed.
- LED light source of at least 200 lumens (preferably more) –
LED’s have become the go-to light source for flashlights. You may find a good price on a mini-maglite at your local hardware store. However, the output/brightness doesn’t really stack up against a modern tactical light. Most tactical lights will also use more powerful lithium batteries. These batteries have the higher energy output needed to power the brighter LEDs.
- A crenulated bezel – the rim around the lens of the flashlight often has ridges that protrude in a sort of “castle wall” pattern. These ridges are extremely effective at causing pain/damage to an assailant if used as a striking device. While the light helps you see, it is also nice to have a dual purpose as a defensive weapon if needed.
Defensive Use of the Tactical Flashlight:
A great use of the tactical light and more common than one would think, is a non-lethal, non-threatening response. Imagine this scenario: You are walking in a dark parking garage. You hear foot steps behind you and keep looking back and notice someone you believe is following you. Rather than point your gun at the possible assailant, you can point your really bright tactical flashlight in the direction of the possible bad-guy and in to their eyes. This will cause pain/discomfort in their eyes, and will often dissuade an attacker or identify that the person is not a threat.
The use of the light is an alternative to immediately deploying a concealed handgun (until you are certain the handgun is needed). If the individual was not a threat, you avoid the possibility of being charged with “brandishing” your handgun or some other offense related to deploying your handgun when the situation does not call for it.
The tactical flashlight also aids in the requirement of “positive target identification” before shooting at the bad guy. This is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. The mainstream news outlets have reported incidents where a family member is accidentally shot by a another family member who thought their home was being broken into. While they may have actually been in fear that someone want them harm, identifying the target and being able to tell friend from foe could have avoided a great deal of tragedy. This is why a flashlight should always be stored with your home defense handgun. You need to know if you are shooting an actual bad guy, instead of the teenager who snuck out to party with their friends and is coming home late.
Here are some brands we recommend:
- Surefire – http://www.surefire.com
- Streamlight – http://www.streamlight.com
- 5.11 Tactical – 511tactical.com
- O-Light – https://olightworld.com
- Fenix – https://www.fenixlighting.com