The modern tactical flashlight, a five-inch-long tube of rubber and glass-reinforced nylon, is very similar to the kubotan, an unassuming stick of similar length made of wood or aluminum built for self-defense. However, if you had to choose between the flashlight and the kubotan, the flashlight is the infinitely more useful option.
Not only is using a kubotan difficult but using it without training could also get you into legal trouble. In a court of law, you may have to prove that you have been trained in the weapon you used to defend yourself to justify its use. A self-defense case in court will swing in your assailant’s favor if it can be proved that you used excessive force.
Despite its size, the kubotan should not be treated as a gimmick weapon. In 2018, an Air China flight was hijacked by a man who threatened a flight attendant with a fountain pen. This lone terrorist was able to force the plane to land simply by pressing the fountain pen to the flight attendant’s jugular, and 90 Chinese paramilitary troops had to be dispatched to capture him.
This is one man with a pen: a short stick with a pointy end, just like a kubotan.
A well trained kubotan user can perform takedowns or even use the little stick as a restraint. This, however, requires years of training and constant practice, time that many average citizens do not have.
Grappling with a kubotan
A flashlight is a far simpler self-defense tool. If a threat is approaching you with malicious intent, shining a high-powered flashlight directly in your assailant’s eyes sometimes works just as well as pepper spray.
Pepper spray may be more intense than a flashlight, but it has shorter range and can still potentially blind your assailant long enough for you to escape. You need a 300-lumen light in broad daylight to cause temporary flash blindness, while only 100 is needed at night. At full power, an INFORCE TFx boasts 700 lumens of power.
To use it effectively against an aggressive opponent, simply shine a steady beam of light at your opponent’s face from a distance as he’s coming towards you and “step off the X,” moving either left or right out of your opponent’s way. It doesn’t matter if he shields his eyes or if he still keeps coming at you. He’ll be charging blindly in a straight line. Any horizontal movement you make gets you far enough out of his reach for you to make a getaway.
In police academies, 21 feet is known as the danger zone. If an assailant with a knife can get within 21 feet of an officer with a holstered firearm, it’s generally assumed that the man with a knife will be able to stab the officer before his firearm can be drawn, aimed, and fired. The same rule should be applied to a flashlight. If your tactical flashlight of choice is normally either tucked away in your pant pocket or stashed in a purse, you may want to consider keeping it drawn and ready whenever you enter an area like a dark parking lot or when you walk your dog at night.
If you remember nothing else, remember this: your objective is to get away from your assailant, not to destroy him. The flashlight can be used as a weapon but should only be done so as a last resort, and only with the appropriate training.