Self-defense 101: How to use a tactical flashlight for self-defense
By Darnel Fernandez // Oct 13, 2019

When talking about self-defense, a lot of material focus too much on martial arts or emphasize the importance of having a weapon at hand. While still useful for survival, they don't really offer much practicality for everyday situations. You may have thought about using a shovel or any similar weapon as a tool for self-defense, but you wouldn't be carrying those around all the time, either. But something like a flashlight that can fit inside your bag can be an effective weapon. (h/t to


Not your ordinary weapon

You might think a flashlight wouldn't have much use outside of helping you see in the dark. Flashlights are usually found inside kitchen drawers, rarely ever seeing practical use unless absolutely necessary. However, you might be surprised how effective they can be as a lifesaving tool. (Related: When faced with a conflict, here are the first things you should do.)

While your average home flashlight is usually enough to get the job done, there are flashlights that are built for survival scenarios. Tactical flashlights are designed for military or police use. They are quite common and are small and bright enough to mount on a weapon for low-light encounters. Alternatively, they can also be carried on the non-dominant hand while the other is carrying a weapon.

These flashlights are much more durable than your regular flashlight given their weapon-grade aluminum covering. Also, rather than having an incandescent bulb like most flashlights, the tactical variant uses super-bright LED lights that use much less energy to create a brighter and more focused beam of light.

As for picking out what sort of tactical flashlight to get, take these factors into account:

  • Size. One of the main advantages tactical flashlights have over their commercial counterparts is that they're small enough to be carried around in your pocket. Don't pick one that's too bulky or it defeats the purpose of having one in the first place.
  • Waterproof. Some flashlight models are waterproof, making them useful in any weather.
  • 120 lumens. Flashlights need to be bright enough to get the job done. At least 120 lumens is necessary for decent brightness.
  • Simple and user-friendly. Some models, especially the newer ones, tend to have a lot of extra functions that make the flashlight seem a little cooler like strobe lighting or automatic SOS functions. However, sometimes its better to keep it simple. You don't want a flashlight so complex that it takes a lot more time than usual to get it working.

What they do in the shadows

With all these aspects combined, the tactical flashlight makes for an effective and simple everyday carry item that can help you get out of tough situations. There are four important-self defense functions a tactical flashlight could do.

  1. Flashlights help identify threats. A lot of attackers use the cover of darkness to move around. A bright flashlight can help alleviate this problem and identify threats before they could get close to you. Most of the time, shining a light on your potential attacker is enough to send him running.
  2. They can stun enemies. If a threat still attempts to approach even after being identified, shining a light directly on their eyes can give you enough time to escape or call for help. With at least 120 lumens, a tactical flashlight can instantly disorient most people and even block their vision. Additionally, most people would close their eyes or cover their faces with their hands, leaving them open to counterattacks when no other option is available.
  3. Used as an improvised weapon. Some tactical flashlights come with a serrated or toothed bezel. While they aren't large enough to cause major damage, you can still snag a good hit in after shining the light on an assailant's face.
  4. Handgun support. If you carry handguns for personal defense, you can increase your accuracy immensely in low-light situations with a tactical flashlight.

If you do happen to encounter something that goes bump in the night, don't swing around your flashlight haphazardly. Keeping your light on will make you an easy target.

Instead, you should only turn on your light to scan your immediate surroundings for potential threats. When not in use, turn it off immediately and move to a different location before turning it back on again to check. Done correctly, this tactic would throw off any potential attacker while keeping you on your toes until you get to safety.

Carrying a tactical torch around will ensure that you are never deprived of light and can properly defend yourself without the need for intensive martial arts or weapon training.

Sources include:

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