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        What Makes a Flashlight Tactical

        What Makes a Flashlight Tactical

        Flashlights have come a long way from their humble beginnings as simple handheld devices emitting dim, short-range yellow beams. In today's market, there is a distinct difference between ordinary household flashlights and the more robust tactical flashlights. While both serve the purpose of providing illumination in the dark, tactical flashlights offer a range of features and capabilities that set them apart.

        One of the most noticeable differences between tactical flashlights and their non-tactical variants is their construction and durability. Tactical flashlights are built to withstand the rigors of challenging environments and rough handling. They are typically constructed from high-quality materials like aircraft-grade aluminum, which not only adds to their sturdiness but also makes them lightweight and corrosion-resistant.

        INFORCE, for example, utilizes glass-reinforced nylon for its TFx and WML flashlights. This lightweight material is chosen for its ability to endure wear and tear while maintaining high-temperature strength. It's an ideal choice for products intended for rough handling, making INFORCE flashlights a solid, dependable choice for demanding situations.

        Another standout feature of tactical flashlights is their exceptional light intensity. While many flashlights focus on high lumens, tactical flashlights like INFORCE prioritize high candela counts. Lumens measure the total amount of light emitted by a source, and high-lumen lights are essential for illuminating larger areas. On the other hand, candelas measure the intensity of a light beam.

        To illustrate the difference, consider a fluorescent light bulb with a lot of light (averaging around 1700 lumens) but low intensity (135 candelas). Its light can fill a room, but would not be intense enough to cause harm to the eyes. In contrast, an INFORCE TFx flashlight shines a concentrated, high-powered beam with a high candela count (12,000) and relatively low lumens (700 on high), making it a viable self-defense tool. This intense beam can disorient or temporarily blind an assailant, providing a crucial advantage in self-defense situations.

        Tactical flashlights are designed with portability in mind. Unlike the large, heavy Maglite flashlights of the 80s and 90s, modern tactical flashlights are highly compact and easy to carry. While they may not be as substantial as dedicated self-defense weapons, they are certainly not to be underestimated.

        Many modern tactical flashlights feature a crenellated beveled edge. This feature serves a dual purpose – it can be used as a makeshift self-defense tool in emergencies, providing a means to strike or deter an assailant, while it can also help protect the flashlight's bulb from environmental damage by preventing it from coming into contact with hard surfaces like tables or walls.

        In conclusion, tactical flashlights distinguish themselves from ordinary household flashlights through their durability, light intensity, compact design, and self-defense capabilities. Whether you need a reliable source of illumination in challenging conditions or seek an extra layer of personal security, a tactical flashlight can be an invaluable tool. When choosing a tactical flashlight, consider your specific needs and priorities to find the one that best suits your requirements.

        Why You Should Bring a Gun for Hiking

        Why You Should Bring a Gun for Hiking

        You might not be a hunter, preferring to enjoy the serenity of creation and the melodious birdsong without worrying about harvesting an animal to bring home. However, when you’re out in the woods away from help, the chances of you getting involved in a dangerous situation increase exponentially.

        In February of 2023, a five-year-old boy was attacked by a mountain lion in Half Moon Bay California while hiking on his family’s property with his mother and grandfather. The boy’s mother managed to scare away the big cat, but not before it ripped into him with its teeth and claws. He received severe lacerations on his face and a fracture near one eye but is thankfully alive. His family started a GoFundMe to raise money for his medical bills. As of this writing, the mountain lion is still at large.

        Similarly, a 70 year old man was attacked by a mountain lion when he was hiking through the Spanish Fork Canyon in Utah, and a woman was killed by a bear near Yellowstone. Despite the saying that an animal is “more afraid of you than you are of it,” this is not always the case, and a frightened animal may resort to violence if it’s startled or defending its territory or young.

        There are also unique dangers facing women hikers. In May of 2023, two women were assaulted in Silver Spring by a machete-wielding illegal immigrant. One of them, only fifteen years old, was raped before the suspect got away. He was later captured in a nearby neighborhood assaulting a man before he was apprehended.

        Criminals go to remote areas like hiking trails or national parks for the same reasons you do: to get away from people. Except while you do it to get away from the stress of your work environment, they do it to avoid any witnesses. Being alone in the woods should give you even more reason to carry, knowing you’re away from any immediate help from either first responders or others.

        According to a survey conducted by the Hike and Camp blog, 78.90% of those surveyed outright refused to carry a gun, but 57.90% of the same people were fearful of others carrying a firearm on the trail. Only 5.3% of hikers carried a firearm with them while hiking.

        Where is the logic here? If you’re afraid someone will shoot you while you’re hiking, wouldn’t you want to have the means to defend yourself?

        However, the choice to carry a firearm while hiking is ultimately a personal decision, influenced by various factors including individual comfort levels, legal regulations, and one's understanding of firearm safety. If someone does choose to carry a firearm, it's essential to receive proper training, understand state laws regarding open and/or concealed carry, and follow ethical guidelines related to its use.

        If you do decide that carrying a firearm is the right choice for you, considering additional accessories like a weapon-mounted light from INFORCE can enhance your preparedness. A weapon-mounted light can provide illumination in low-light situations, aiding in target identification and potentially deterring threats without necessarily resorting to the use of lethal force.

        The WILD2 weapon light boasts a formidable output of 1000 lumens of white light, providing substantial illumination in low-light environments. This output can be crucial for identifying potential threats, whether they are animal or human, and for navigating through dark or poorly lit trails. With a runtime of up to 1.5 hours, this weapon light offers a reliable source of light for extended periods of use.

        In addition to its benefits for personal safety and self-defense, the INFORCE WILD2 weapon light can prove to be an invaluable tool for hikers who find themselves lost in the woods at night. Getting lost in an unfamiliar wilderness after dark can be disorienting and potentially dangerous. In such scenarios, having a reliable source of illumination like the WILD2 can make a significant difference in navigating through the darkness and finding one's way to safety.

        The WILD2's powerful 1000 lumens of white light can help illuminate the surrounding area, allowing lost hikers to better assess their surroundings and identify potential paths or landmarks. The well-defined hotspot and balanced spill provided by the light contribute to creating a clear view, aiding in terrain assessment and potential hazard avoidance.

        The device's durable construction, including its waterproof and dustproof capabilities, ensures that it remains functional even in challenging weather conditions or rough terrains. This durability is a critical factor when lost hikers might need a reliable tool that can withstand the elements while guiding them to safety.

        The potential dangers that hikers might face from both wildlife and human-related threats are worth considering, and if your state allows you to concealed carry, you would be much safer and be much better prepared for doing so.

        A Beginner’s Guide to Tactical Lights

        A Beginner’s Guide to Tactical Lights

        Here at INFORCE, we have talked extensively about the advantages of tactical flashlights. They’re great for quick target acquisition, low-light visibility, and for distracting opponents. However, there are some nuances to consider when buying and using tactical lights for the first time.

        While weapon-mounted flashlights like the INFORCE WML are excellent for fighting with shotguns and rifles, they do not always provide a perfectly round beam like one would expect with a handheld light or a pistol-mounted light.

        This is because pistol-mounted lights and handhelds almost always have the head of a flashlight either clearing or flush with the muzzle of the weapon. This is rarely the case with a rifle-mounted light. If you’ve never used one before, you should be aware of the silhouette caused by mounting a light on your rifle’s picatinny rail. Depending on the length of your barrel and where your flashlight is mounted, your beam will have some kind of distortion. The more “gun” there is forward of your beam, the more shadow you will have. Knowing this, it’s best to mount your flashlight as close to the tip of your weapon as possible.

        This shadow of your barrel can be used as a reference point for your point of impact. It’s good to train on a low light range to determine where exactly that point would be. If you memorize that sweet spot, you can fire from the hip at short ranges with your light instead of a red dot, which would be especially useful since low light fights indoors are fought at close range anyway.

        It’s also great to train in the darkness since it could lead to potential setbacks or advantages unique to your own weapon light setup. For example, in my own setup, I mounted my weapon light on the right side of my rifle, illuminating the iron sights for a close range kill. Some first time users might realize that using a tactical flashlight as a grip might not be a good idea since they tend to heat up rather quickly.

        In addition to your light, there may be other attachments on your rifle like optics, bipods, slings, canted mounts and lasers. Of these attachments, the sling might be the most problematic. Picture this: You heard something in the dark and you grab your rifle from its rack. You know that if you turn on your light prematurely, you might reveal your own position. You know the layout of your own home, so you creep out into the hallway where you heard the sound, and then you turn on your rifle and see nothing but a faint white ring where your flashlight head should be.

        You realize that in your haste to arm yourself and respond to a potential threat, your sling has wrapped around your flashlight. Not only are you still blind but whoever is in the room can see the ring illuminating you.

        The solution to this problem is simple: use a one point sling. This modern design is unobstructive and allows for quick transitions between your rifle and sidearm, especially valuable for competition shooters and law enforcement professionals.

        Firing your weapon from behind cover with a flashlight might prove to be another challenge. A well-trained shooter will know that the less exposed you are, the less chance the enemy will have of hitting you. This is common sense. Knowing this, shooters who engage from behind cover only expose the muzzles of their rifles and not much else. When most of this training is done in the daylight, there is a tendency to forget the flashlight. If only the muzzle of a rifle is exposed from behind cover, then the flashlight’s beam is still hitting your cover and shining right back at you. This is especially problematic when taking cover behind cylindrical objects such as columns one sees in parking lots. When using a rifle-mounted light, it’s best to extend your barrel further than normal to accommodate your attachment. Also, it would be good to remember that right-mounted lights are at a disadvantage when leaning out of cover on the left, while the opposite is true for lights mounted on the left.

        When using a pistol with a handheld light, the FBI technique is best used for shooting from behind cover. Not only does it direct threats to a point of light far away from your own body, but the light will be clear of any obstructions and shadows, giving you a clear line of sight.

        For more information on tactical flashlights, consider reading about the practical uses of flashlights for self-defense.

        Scan with your light, not with your pistol

        Scan with your light, not with your pistol

        While there are many advantages to using a pistol-mounted flashlight, there are also some very distinct drawbacks. Despite what many pistol light users might think, the weapon mounted light is not for searching or scanning. Massad Ayoob, a 40-year law enforcement veteran with a legendary reputation in the firearms world, advocates for using a secondary flashlight for the sole purpose of scanning an environment in a low-light combat scenario. 

        The simple reason why it’s a bad idea to search for a threat in your home with your pistol mounted light is that it violates the second rule of gun safety: never point the muzzle at anything you are not willing to destroy. If you imagine your pistol’s muzzle emitting a thin laser beam that kills everything it touches (as you should), you don’t want your pistol’s death beam pointed at your animals, your children, or your spouse. Some pistol instructors will argue that pointing the gun at the low ready with the flashlight illuminating the ground gives you a general idea of your surroundings without actually pointing your gun at anyone. 

        There are two problems with this technique: the first is that in an emergency situation, people’s senses are heightened and adrenaline is flowing. They know their reaction times have to be fast because their lives depend on it, and to someone pumped up on adrenaline, every human silhouette becomes a potential threat. 

        The second problem is the fact that your gun is out at all. In some states, this is considered “brandishing” even though the gun is not pointed directly at anyone. Federal law defines brandishing as follows: 

        The term “brandish” means, with respect to a firearm, to display all or part of the firearm, or otherwise make the presence of the firearm known to another person, in order to intimidate that person, regardless of whether the firearm is directly visible to that person. 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(4). 

        Depending on the state, the unlawful brandishing of a firearm could be anything from a misdemeanor to a felony. As long as the offended party sees that you have a gun and they perceive it to be meant for them, you can be taken to court, even if you have the gun at the low ready. 

        This is not to say we advocate for no pistol lights at all. This simply means there are other, safer ways to use them that won’t end up with you accidentally shooting the cat or being sued because you pointed your gun at a friend who you forgot was staying the night at your place. 

        For example, when searching a room, it’s best to use a handheld flashlight like the INFORCE TFx. As long as you remain close to cover, (door frames are perfect for this) you can scan the room with your handheld, and when you detect the threat, you can draw your gun and brace it against your flashlight hand to engage. 

        What if the gun malfunctions or you need to reload? Tasks like this require two hands, but manipulating a pistol while your offhand is holding a flashlight isn’t as hard as you might think. Prudence and tactical common sense dictate that you must “get off your X” and move to cover before anything else. Once in cover, the flashlight may be tucked under your armpit before you tap, rack, and clear your gun. Alternatively, you can manipulate the magazine by placing your flashlight in between your index finger and middle finger while grabbing your next magazine with your middle finger and ring finger. 

        If you should remember anything from this article it’s that the four main rules of firearm safety exist for a reason. If you have to violate one of them and possibly shoot your wife by accident, just know there are other ways to scan the dark, and not all of them involve a pistol mounted flashlight. 



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