You Need a Flashlight, Not a Lightsaber

If you intend to defend yourself against criminals, one item that may become necessary is a flashlight. You must see what possible threats around you are doing to determine what and when the mental triggers have occurred. If you can’t see enough detail to respond appropriately you need a flashlight.

What kind of light do you need? If you are away from your home or work you will usually be limited to ambient light and your flashlight. It needs to comfortably fit in a pocket or belt holster. How bright(lumen) does it need to be? How far do you need to see under your, “what if” scenarios? What type of batteries will you use? How large can it be depending on where you will carry it? What type of activation button will you want? Is it from a reputable manufacturer?

Over the years I settled on putting the light in my front support side jean pocket. Inside my house, around the driveway or backyard I found a light with 120+ lumen worked well for me ( At home I turn on the outside lights and use them with the flashlight.) With LED technology the lights allow a great amount of detail. C123 batteries last a long time while being stored but are larger in diameter than I want in a pocket light. C123 batteries are expensive and the rechargeable CR123 batteries are longer and don’t fit some flashlights. I use rechargeable AA batteries in other electronics at home. I decided once my supply of 123 batteries is about gone I will upgrade to a flashlight that is palm sized 4-5 inches 1 or 2 AA batteries with around 100-150 lumen.

As an officer I needed to see across the parking lot to find possible suspects I went looking for. 100 lumen was not enough, bigger was better. As a civilian who does not go looking for anyone, I don’t need to see across the parking lot because it is socially inappropriate to spotlight everyone in the parking lot as a civilian. It can actually cause you problems by pissing people off. All my “what if’s” ended in me doing something else, thus not needing a super lumen light saber that cost $400. I just need enough light to see around my car and to show the actions of people moving towards me in the ambient light. i.e. If I am approaching someone in a parking lot I change directions so we don’t cross paths. If they change directions towards me I use my light to find out why.

When I enter/exit public buildings I usually leave/go to my car and have the light ready in my hand. Everywhere I go, from my house to public lots, I can see well enough in ambient light to shoot a threat. What I can’t do is see the fine details far enough away to determine if the person is a lethal threat. Once I use the flashlight to determine the threat I can shoot using a flashlight technique (one or two-handed) or drop the flashlight on a lanyard if you use one and shoot two-handed. No matter how much I practiced I shoot two-handed better than one-handed or using a flashlight technique. I like to use a flashlight with a tailcap switch because it works well with all flashlight techniques that I might use.

In the next post I will talk about flashlight techniques, how they work with different flashlights and weapon mounted lights which are great for using at home but not so great for public use.

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