There are a lot of questions about flashlights among my self-defense students. A short article cannot cover all the options available in a category of equipment that falls within the tactical or self-defense genre. However, I would like to touch on some of the general topics that aren't common knowledge. Obviously, this article does not cover every possibility or situation; I am simply trying to provide enough general information to help someone without any experience find the right light.
Generally, when people think of tactical flashlights, they think of the big MagLite that can be used to knock out a Yeti. Here are a few reasons why flashlights make such wonderful tools. It is my intention to hit someone with just about anything I can get my hands on in the event that they attack me. It is possible to use a large MagLite, but a flashlight is much more effective, and you don't need to carry it in a backpack. When an attacker is in low to normal light conditions, a flashlight can be used to control, disorient, and confuse them. It is indeed the light part of a Nitecore Flashlight that makes it a great tool.
There are two main types of flashlight lighting methods - incandescent and LED. Most people are familiar with incandescent lights that have one filament light bulb that sticks through the head of the light at the base of the lens housing. The bulb is protected by a plastic or glass cover. In fact, these flashlights can burn quite brightly, but remember that, in a sense, they are burning. These lights produce a lot of heat and can be a little fragile; they may not tolerate much abuse from their filaments. They flood an area with light that is almost yellowish in color. The beam usually can be focused or unfocused to achieve the desired light ring. Having a versatile beam size is useful, but the user must be able to quickly adjust the focus to meet specific needs. Although there are exceptions to every rule, simple incandescent lights are generally less expensive.
Another type of flashlight is the Light-Emitting Diode (LED) flashlight. Although the engineering of LEDs is beyond the scope of this article, you should know how to compare them. In the same way that incandescent light is comparable to a normal 60W light bulb, LEDs are similar to the light emitted by the iPhone screen. LED flashlights usually have multiple LEDs in their heads. LED flashlights emit light with a slight blue tint.
Due to the number of individual light sources, the light emitted is usually more evenly distributed, and there is very little heat generated when these lights are on. In addition, they are less likely to break if they are bumped, hit, or shocked. Due to this, you'll find that many weapon-mounted lights are LEDs, as they are capable of withstanding the shock of a firearm firing.
A final technical consideration for a flashlight is its lumen level. Lumens are a measure of how bright a light appears. For the most part, a light between 50 and 80 lumens will suffice to see in the dark, but I usually prefer to use lights in the 150-180 lumen range for self-defense.
Consider several key questions when choosing a flashlight. If you address these questions during your research, you'll end up with a light that's more suited to your preferences.
The first question you should consider is the size of the flashlight. Will the flashlight be able to be worn or carried easily without getting in the way of my normal routine? In view of this, I avoid carrying the biggest flashlights I can find. Powerful pocket lights are available in plenty.
Getting your hands on a flashlight is the next question. Can I get it quickly and easily in the dark without having to search for it? It might seem common sense, but I've seen it overlooked many times.
I also want to know if the light has a good record of being used in the situations I will need it for. I wouldn't want to take a two-dollar key chain flashlight into a dark forest with a lot of obstacles if it does not work. The light isn't powerful enough to show me what I need to see, and it has almost no range.
A very important consideration is range. My flashlight's range is not the same as how far someone else can see it. When I turn on my flashlight, I should be mindful of the target I make just as much as I should be mindful of my need to see around me. Training and practice are the best ways to handle these situations. In a dangerous situation, you can reduce risk by learning techniques from an experienced instructor, but you need to learn them first.
If I need the light to produce a large amount of light, will it be enough to stun or blind someone for an instant? Whenever I need a flashlight, I look for one that can reach 150 lumens or more. However, I also look for one that doesn't always operate within that range because I sometimes just need one.
Would the flashlight be able to turn on and off instantly? I tend to prefer pressure buttons here; if I add pressure it is on, and if not, I turn it off.
When I need a flashlight just to be a flashlight, I tend not to use one without a way of turning it on and leaving it on.
Can the light function as a light? In more detail, can I actually rely on this tool when I need it? Can I adjust the beam, brightness, and features quickly and appropriately for a given situation? In the days when he was a young police officer, one of my friends told me about a time when he chased an assailant up a tree. Having five other officers with him, he pulled out his Best flashlight brands, which completely drowned out all other lights. It appears that the man with the brightest light is in charge, he told me.
Does the light have other 'special' features? Some lights come with little beveled edges around the end. These are great for self-defense, but I usually use a flashlight as a flashlight. I think it's worthwhile mentioning these, but I usually use a flashlight as a flashlight. Whenever I need to hit someone, I usually use something harder and more clumsy, like rocks or chairs.
However, it's nice to have this option if there's nothing else available. Lasers can also be found on some lights, but they are usually designed to be mounted on firearms. Considering laser options is beyond the scope of this article since most flashlight users do not carry firearms, and weapon-mounted lights are a separate topic.
Is the flashlight simple enough to actually use without activating a 'special' option by accident? Some lights have strobe options that can be disorienting to attackers, but strobe lights may also cause the same disorientation to the user. While attempting a pistol course in low-light, my strobe option kept turning on. When trying to make a shot with my pistol, strobes disorient me instead of signaling or disorienting others.