You may not think a flashlight is an important part of your EDC toolbox. If this is you, think again! This simple tool could be the most important component of your self-defense plan and it could save your life. A flashlight can be taken with you EVERYWHERE! There are NO “Flashlight Free Zones”
A self-defense flashlight is not just any run of the mill flashlight. There are specific features and guidelines you should follow when purchasing your perfect light. Lumens, batteries, size, weight, and extra features all play a critical role. This may seem overwhelming for anyone who isn’t intimately familiar with self-defense lights. I promise these questions and answers will help you.
First, Why Do I Need a Self-Defense Light?
Frankly, not having a flashlight is a mistake. If you are caught in an environment with little or no light that is unfamiliar to you, you will be left almost helpless. You cannot always rely on your phone for light, though they are good to have on you at all times. In an emergency, they have another important job to do, calling for help! Besides, the batteries in today’s cell phones do not last long and the flashlights on a phone are not bright enough to “blind” an attacker. You need your phone to be charged in case of an emergency.
Flashlights are one of the best non-lethal tools used for self-defense. They can help you avoid being in a vulnerable position by being able to identify a threat before one is within striking distance. A quality flashlight can light your way to great distances to avoid heading into a potentially dangerous situation and by temporarily blinding an attacker, they can help to create the time necessary to give you the chance to get away. During a confrontation, temporarily blinding your attacker and running is the safest self-defense option that is legal in every state and situation. Read more about why you need a flashlight here.
How Bright Does My Light Need to Be?
Self-defense flashlights are meant to temporarily blind your attacker so the darker the environment and brighter the light, the better. There are lights out there with brightness over 2,000 lumens! The bare minimum recommended brightness is 300 lumens. Keep in mind that even in daylight a high lumen beam flashed in the eyes will still temporarily disorient an attacker, giving you precious seconds to allow you to flee. Some lights have the added feature of a strobe function. I have tested a few and I can attest to the flinch and “pain” of a high lumen flashlight and the strobe function I can tell you is completely debilitating. No eye is able to withstand such brightness without flinching and writhing.
Brightness is not only important for self-defense. There are many situations when good powerful light is a godsend. Look for a flashlight that you can adjust the brightness level. You want to be able to find your way to your car or see your keyhole as well. Having multiple settings along with the blinding setting will help your flashlight to be versatile and useful in a multitude of situations.
What Size Flashlight Should I Buy?
The first question to answer is “What is the primary use of this light?” Will it be on your nightstand or in your pocket? The rule of thumb for daily carry flashlights is ease of use. Find a light that fits easily in your palm so you have it ready any time it is needed. It should be compact enough to store in your purse or pocket or to clip to your belt and light enough to carry easily. There are also options that have clips to attach the light to your keychain, which may or may not benefit you based on your normal activity. Though it is necessary to be able to carry your self-defense light easily, it must be sturdy.
Self-defense flashlights primarily temporarily blind attackers but if you are to find yourself in a physical struggle, it can be a great striking tool and help to strengthen your blow as well. Having a light that is heavy enough to be an effective striking tool and be one that you can still carry easily is the key. Therefore it should be impact resistant and made of strong material.
Do I Need a Self-Defense Light With a Knife or Taser Attached?
Self-defense flashlights come with a variety of features. Some have knives, stunning power, or glass breakers, to up the versatility. Whether or not you need any of these features really is up to you. The most important question to ask is “Is it legal?” Every state and jurisdiction has laws and regulations related to concealed weapons so you must do your due diligence and check local laws. To me, the ability to carry my light with me anywhere is a KEY benefit. For my everyday carry, I prefer one that won’t restrict me from going anywhere. These other types of flashlights are ideal in certain situations such as walking the dog or something similar. Again, your local laws will determine your ability to use such models.
What Other Features Should I Consider?
When looking for the right flashlight, there are a few things I recommend to keep an eye out for. First off, and most importantly, is the lumens. This is the rating given to the intensity of light beam from the flashlight. While anything over 100 could temporarily blind someone, I’d recommend that you start with a minimum of at least 300 lumens. At this level, the beam can briefly blind someone whether it is day or night. Honestly, more is better, so go as with the highest Lumen flashlight you can find and afford.
Find one that provides different levels of brightness so you can switch between the brightness levels based on your needs. Many come with a strobe function which can be used to disorient and confuse an attacker further, especially after hitting him with the full brightness setting.
Your flashlight must be of solid construction, and try considering a serrated bezel for increased striking force. The bezel (the piece of metal that holds the glass to the flashlight’s body) can come with serration, causing more discomfort and pain when used to hit an assailant than a flat surface would. It also may help to “hold” DNA evidence of your attacker to aid in convictions. If you needed to use force or lack striking force, a serrated bezel would increase your effectiveness. However, it’s important to note that a flashlight with very severe serrations looks more like a weapon which could create some challenges with security checks. I’d recommend to find a low-profile serration so you can bring your flashlight everywhere.
Finding one that is waterproof is also an added advantage. The need for a defensive flashlight can come anywhere and in any weather. Regardless of what type of environment or weather you might find yourself in, knowing it will work gives peace of mind.
Lastly, consider the batteries and expected life of the flashlight. When in the higher lumen mode, battery power is used more quickly. Be sure to look for a flashlight that runs on rechargeable or readily-available batteries (like AA or AAA). If extended use may be a possibility, be sure to recharge the batteries, or that you have an extra set handy. Remember to check and change the batteries in your self-defense flashlight regularly. I’d recommend any with a rechargeable battery, as I simply plug in the USB and charge it, and know I am good to go. No need to sift through the junk drawer only to find some batteries that may already be on their last legs!
How Much Does a Good Self-Defense Light Cost?
Self-defense flashlight prices and quality vary widely. You can find them being sold for as low as $10 (avoid these) and into the hundreds of dollars. You can get a great flashlight with many of these important features for around $60-80. Do your research to find what features will work best for you, know the flashlight is high quality and the lumen level is high as possible (minimum 300 Lumens). Honestly, this is one of those areas to get as much quality as you can. For me, my self-defense is not the place to cut corners.
So I Know What to Look for… Now What?
You know what to look for in a self-defense flashlight. You know what features and options are out there. But… what do you do now? Practice! No, really! Practice with your defensive flashlight is an essential part of any self-defense tool. Every millisecond counts! Pulling out your flashlight and turning it on without fumbling will take some practice. If your flashlight has multiple functions, learn and practice how to change the settings quickly.
Flashlights and Firearms
If you are forced to use your firearm in low light or darkness, your defensive flashlight is a critical tool to use in unison with your gun. To be effective, training on the use of shooting with a flashlight is essential. The flashlight not only allows you to illuminate your attacker who may be hiding in the dark, but also temporarily blinds them, giving you the upper-hand. Many firearms training schools and ranges offer classes on the use of a flashlight with your gun, enrolling in one of these is highly recommended.
The use of the light is not the only thing you need to practice. Work on your plan for what you will do after using your light. Are you going to run? Call for help? Use your flashlight to try to immobilize the attacker? You need to know the next steps and know what you are capable of so you make safe choices.
Make sure your self-defense tool kit is complete with a flashlight that is reliable, blinding, and easy to operate. I consider a defensive flashlight a must have. Don’t get caught in a dangerous situation without light. If you cannot see, you cannot defend yourself effectively.