Practical Uses of Flashlights for Self Defense
A flashlight can be used for more than just illumination. With enough candelas, they can be turned into viable self-defense tools. Notice how I use “candela” and not “lumen.” Lumens on a flashlight measure the amount of light, but candelas measure a light’s intensity. Take this into consideration: the average fluorescent light bulb has 2,000 lumens while an INFORCE Wild1 has 500. While anyone can stare up at a fluorescent lamp and daydream about getting out of work early, nobody would want to look directly into the lens of a Wild1, and not just because it would be attached to a pistol. A fluorescent lamp’s intensity hovers at around 130 – 140 candelas, while a Wild1 has 5,000 candelas of blinding power.
Flashlights with high enough intensity can be used to deter any threat, including ferocious predators. For example, when hiker Jiji Oh went on what she thought was going to be a stress-relieving outdoor journey in the mountains of Steamboat Springs in Colorado, what started as a self-care journey ended up being a fight for her life. Lost in the wilderness for four days, she survived at night by scaring away predators with her flashlight. Thankfully for Jiji, she found a pair of fishermen at their “secret fishing spot” and was taken safely to civilization.
Likewise, in Nederland, Colorado, a family dog let out of the house in the middle of the night on a bathroom break was attacked by a mountain lion. The dog’s owners were able to scare away the mountain lion by making loud noises and shining the strobe of a powerful flashlight on it. The confused mountain lion had never experienced anything like a strobe before and decided it would be better to release the dog and walk away. The dog suffered several lacerations from the attack but is otherwise fine.
In an urban environment, your flashlight is more likely to be used against human threats rather than animal ones. Statistically speaking, the average person is more likely to find themselves knocking back a few cold ones at a bar than staring down a cougar in the wilderness. A tactical flashlight is not seen by many as a weapon, and bouncers will most likely let you pass as opposed to a guy with a pocketknife. In the same bar, you’re very likely to encounter someone drunk and belligerent.
In a self-defense scenario, the objective is not necessarily to incapacitate your opponent, but to remove yourself from the scene as fast as you can. There is no such thing as dishonor in retreat if it means you stay alive. In the absence of pepper spray, a flashlight can be used to temporarily disorient a threat before running away. Not only would it blind your opponent, but unlike pepper spray you would not be in danger of hurting others around you – or yourself.
Some argue that the flashlight can be used like a kubotan – a small stick, usually the size of a human palm – used by some as a self-defense keychain. The issue with this way of thinking is that many kubotan techniques require hours of training which ordinary people don’t usually have.
According to its proponents, the kubotan is not a “gimmick” but a practical self-defense tool capable of doing everything from blocking kicks and punches to incapacitating threats by applying force to pressure points. While a trained kubotan user can execute these techniques thanks to repetition and muscle memory, an untrained man on the street would be highly likely to fumble in a life-or-death situation. In fact, the official kubotan technique manual specifically states that no one should carry a kubotan without training.
The comparison between a tactical flashlight and a kubotan is fair since both are approximately the same size and made of durable rigid material like hard impact plastic or aircraft grade aluminum. The only real difference is the tactical flashlight helps you see in the dark.
In its simplest form, the kubotan can be used to strike at an aggressor’s face, chest, temple, or extremities. The problem is this would require the kubotan user to get up close enough to strike his or her assailant. Once again, if your objective is to run away, getting within grappling range of your assailant is generally a bad idea.
On the other hand, someone following you in the dead of the night will be temporarily blinded with a 12,000-candela blast from an INFORCE TFx from as far away as eight to ten feet; especially if the light is shined directly into his face. A flashlight is also a great tool for identifying who might be sneaking into your room, especially if your first reaction is to reach for your nightstand weapon.
If your room opens and you start blasting away in complete darkness, when you turn on the lights, there will be a chance you could kill a loved one. Reaching for a flashlight first allows you to both disorient an attack and see your opponent.