You need a flashlight!
Today I want to take some time and talk about flashlights. It's quite hard to explain the real importance of a good quality flashlight. There are so many factors to consider and just too many uses to comprehend. The important thing to know is that you cannot do without one! And no, your smart-phone is not a flashlight! A real flashlight can be so much more useful. Flashlights can range from very cheap to very expensive, so knowing exactly what you will be using it for and how reliable you need it to be, will be a few deciding factors. And as some flashlights might have more functions or durable designs, you also need to know how you will be carrying, storing and recharging, or changing batteries, as this will also have an impact on the pricing.
The history of flashlights starts in 1899 when David Missel designed the first patented flashlight. But enough history for today, if you want to learn more about the history of flashlights, then head over to Wikipedia and historyoflighting.net, or just call up Google and search on.
There are just so many uses for flashlights, so I will be missing out on a lot of them. But these are just some examples to give you an idea just how useful they are:
- To Light Up Darkness
This one is pretty easy to figure out, you need to light up a dark alley on patrol? Flashlight! You've got a flat tire during the night? Flashlight! You need to swing open doors and hand out some ass-whooping in the middle of the night? You guessed it…Flashlight! Of course, different types of tasks will require different types of flashlights, for example, the pocket-sized flashlight you carry as part of your EDC will not be sufficient for tactical work. And, a flashlight that sticks with a magnet, and can bend and extend, will work great for working on your car, but will most likely be too weak to illuminate a bigger piece of land.
- To temporarily blind attackers
This might sound questionable. So let me ask you, have you ever been driving during the night and a vehicle from the opposite lane hits you with it's high beams and you can barely see in front of you? Flashlights can concentrate more light on an intended spot, such as someone’s eyes. Make the light bright enough, like 300 lumens for example, which is enough to temporarily blind a human, and bam! You just created some reaction space to move in. And it’s much less of a hassle than to try and distract someone in any other way, except maybe for a nice spit in the eye….maybe some more on that later.
- Striking tool
The famous police flashlights back in the day featured a nice elongated grip area that makes swinging it towards an attacker so much more fun, shine, and shiner! And with 4, D sized batteries in its body, it carried the weight needed for good impact. Today you get much brighter and lighter flashlights, and all sorts of shapes and sizes, even some with beveled edges or DNA collectors as some might like to call them. All the same to me, you can get very creative with swinging flashlights. And if it’s to your liking, close a fist around a smaller flashlight and go to town on that attacker's face and watch him dim down.
Again, one can get very creative. I for example during solo work, strap a headlamp on and a flashlight in one hand when I need to search for someone in an open field, this not only gives me more light, but creates the impression that more than 1 person is approaching, plus the headlamp is great when you need to keep your head on a swivel or search higher places, while still illuminating everything else with a widespread on the flashlight in hand. It’s hard to know how to attack someone who is behind a flashlight, so that gives you a bit more of an advantage. Then I use a normal headlamp when I need to do more intrinsic work where I need the use of both hands. And a flashlight that bends 90 degrees and clips onto your vest (like the early military flashlights) also works great.
Another great use for flashlights is signaling. Let’s say you’re out with the team chasing into different directions in an open field or around a block of flats and get separated, then it's a great tool to signal your position! Simply switch it on, point it to something that will help spread the light and your buddies will have less difficulty finding you. Or marking your way back by leaving a flashlight somewhere to shine and act as a personal light-house can also be useful. Or you just made a call to an ambulance alongside a highway or inside a parking lot or block of flats and switch on a flashlight to indicate where you are, just tell them to check for the flashlight. Most normal flashlights now come with strobe and S.O.S functions. So you can easily signal to someone from a distance.
Do you need one?
The answer is an absolute big NO! You need MUCH MORE than one! You need an EDC light for your pocket, purse, or man-bag. You need a work light in the trunk of your vehicle - solar rechargeable flashlights are my favorites. You need a weapons light with a strobe function if you do carry heavy metal. You need a bedside flashlight, toilet side flashlight, shower flashlight, and just as much every room you ever enter needs one! Seriously, some are just so cheap there is no excuse not to have them!
As far as legal restrictions go, there isn’t much when it comes to flashlights. You might, for example, get into trouble for shining a flashlight into a driver's eyes, or, you might be charged if you shine it into a pilot's eyes because that’s just stupid! Unless it was necessary of course. But other than that, just have some common sense and respect the privacy of other people and you should be fine. Of course, there might be some travel restrictions at airports and such, just check with the service provider you are using.
Ah, the good old trusty flashlight! In my opinion, one of the best EDC items a person can carry! And having a decent flashlight for defense and security work is of great importance. I won’t be getting into all the technical stuff here. And if you do sport a nice piece of illuminating genius utensil, keep on being the heroes of the dark, and remember to recharge!