Defensive Flashlight Basics

Defensive Flashlight Basics

How to incorporate illuminaton into your personal protection strategy

The self-defense product that’s seen the most innovation in the last several decades is the flashlight. In this 21st century, a flashlight is not just a flashlight. The question is, how do you best choose a modern flashlight for self-defense application? It’s simple, follow the rule of the five Ls; lithium, lumens, LED, lightweight, and lanyard.

Lithium

No doubt your household contains a variety of gadgets that rely on alkaline batteries. You’re very familiar with these gadgets because you’re constantly changing these batteries when they die. Lithium batteries can produce twice the voltage of an alkaline battery and they last much longer. Also, to get the needed lumens for intense light output, you need the power of Lithium.

Lumens

A lumen is the measure of visible light that is emitted from a source over a period of time. The more lumens a flashlight has, the better it will allow you to see. A tactical flashlight should produce no less than 100 lumens; however, 200 lumens is probably a better minimum. With a higher lumen output a flashlight can have a blinding impact on an attacker. Not only are high lumen flashlights brighter, but they can also reach out farther, and allow you to better bounce light from floors and walls, which is one way to use a flashlight in a tactical manner. In some cases, even extremely small tactical flashlights can produce 300 lumens and the best flashlights will allow you to toggle between a low, medium, and high lumen output.

LED

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are more efficient, rugged, and brighter, than incandescent Xenon, Krypton, Argon, or Halogen bulbs. They will last longer and produce better light in bad conditions such as in fog, smoke, or dust. LED bulbs also respond well to different output levels. This allows you to have a light with very clear, low, and high lumen output.

Lightweight

The three-cell, D-Cell flashlights I first carried as a police officer weighed about 30 ounces. Modern versions of that light will give you about 150 lumens. By comparison, a 600-lumen lithium powered LED flashlight will only weigh about five ounces and is only around five inches long. You can easily stuff one of these miniature lights in a pocket and carry it all day. If a flashlight is too heavy to carry, you won’t carry it. For most conventional personal protection situations, keep the weight of a self-defense flashlight at less than six ounces, and with the vast array of modern options that’s easy.

Lanyard

A lanyard might seem like an unusual accessory for a flashlight but in a tactical environment it is a great idea. You may instantly need both hands free to do something. With a lanyard attached to your wrist you can just let go of the flashlight as opposed to dropping it or putting it in your pocket. And, you might need to let go of the flashlight to conduct a reload on your defensive weapon or help navigate family members away from danger.

Application

How do you use a tactical flashlight? A book could be written on this subject but let’s simplify the concept. At the foundation, you use a flashlight to locate and/or identify the threat. Some think a weapon mounted light can do this but that puts you in a situation where you might be pointing a firearm at things – people – you don’t want to point a firearm at. Once located, a high intensity flashlight can be used to momentarily stun or to impair an attacker’s vision. It will also allow you to see the sights on your defensive weapon in case you need to shoot. Of course, a weapon light can assume both of those tasks once a threat has been identified and it is a better option.

A tactical flashlight is essentially a search tool that can be used as a shooting aid if necessary. One should be kept close to any defensive weapon you have, whether it is stored at home or carried daily. With a handgun there are several techniques that allow you to shoot while holding a flashlight and you should become familiar with them all. Flashlights can be used when shooting a long gun too, but they are not ideal for that purpose. It’s best to equip all defensive firearms with a weapon light but to also combine their use with a flashlight for searching and locating.

For all these reasons, following the five Ls for flashlight selection is important. It will equip you with a very bright, compact, and comfortable-to-carry flashlight that’s rugged, and that can be tethered to you, so you won’t lose it during a chaotic situation.

 

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