Gone are the days when flashlights were just big, bulky, garage-kept halogen lights we used to help us see in the dark. Nowadays, flashlights can be as small as a pen-cap, come in all colors and styles, and can range in cost from one dollar to one-thousand dollars. Many people don’t understand the versatility of a good hand-held flashlight. A flashlight is typically thought of as something that can simply help us see when there isn’t enough light. I challenge you to join other ‘tactically oriented’ people and discover the world of tactical flashlights.
For years now, members of our armed forces and law enforcement community have been carrying flashlights as part of their daily kit. This provoked companies such as Surefire and others to engineer smaller, lighter, and more durable lights to meet their rigorous demands. These tactical lights aren’t just for those who need them ‘in the line of duty’; they should be considered an integral part of everyone’s daily carry gear. After all, a good flashlight is far more than just a light to help us see… it can be used as a great defensive tool as well.
Most good flashlights these days have shifted away from the old-school halogen bulb and gone on to the more advanced and durable LED (light emitting diode). The LED light is more durable and far more efficient – lasting thousands of hours more than a halogen bulb. LED lights also allow variable output intensities allowing lights to have options of low, high, and strobe modes.
A big factor in choosing a good light is inevitably going to be the lumen count. Lumens are the standard in measuring the brightness of a flashlight. With many lights emitting 200 plus lumens of light, the light itself can be used as a deterrent to a potential threat because of the brightness of light and the inability of someone being able to withstand that amount of light to the eyes. While it may be tempting to have the highest number of lumens possible, you must consider the downside to having a light that is too bright. For example, if you have your handheld light being used in your home in conjunction with a home-defense pistol, too much light may lead to light reflection off doorjambs or walls that ends up blinding you. Beam intensity needs to be considered as well, some lights are more narrowly focused, while others have a broader beam. Check out the ANSI/NEMA FL1 Standard labels on the manufacturer’s package – this is an objective means of comparison for lumens, beam intensity, and other attributes.
Even in a well-lit building or in broad daylight, your tactical flashlight can be used in other ways as a supplemental defensive tool. Some higher-end lights are made out of anodized, aerospace aluminum, giving them a light-weight feel but extreme durability. This tough-as-nails frame allows the light to be held firmly in your hand and used as a striking tool. An extra bonus on some frames is a protruding beveled lip around the lens that makes a much more aggressive striking surface to a would-be attacker.
For those of you who carry a concealed handgun, or are considering it, remember that you may need a light in order to properly identify a threat. After all, most shootings occur in low, or no-light environments. Successfully operating a handheld light in conjunction with a pistol requires practice and training, check out BluCore’s Low-Light Pistol class. A flashlight is also a great addition to a survival kit/pack. It can be used for signaling, finding shelter, and the batteries can even help you start a fire.
Remember, a good light can be used for simple things like finding your car keys but more importantly can be helpful in a variety of self-defense or survival situations. Even if you are running out to the store on a sunny afternoon, don’t forget to grab your tactical handheld light – you never know when, or how, you may need to use it.
To learn more about BluCore Shooting Center, check out our Website and our Online Store. We offer a variety of firearms training classes including pistol training, rifle training, and more! We also have an online gun store with guns, gear, and ammo for sale.