Training with Flashlights
So I've seen flashlights come up a few times on bullshido, and I've seen more than a few instructors go over them briefly or talk about using a handheld flashlight as a weapon and training with itů but it took a while for it to really sink into my brain. Years later, I realized what made flashlights awesome: they are "weapons" you can use (in a socially acceptable way) before an altercation or threatening scenario starts.
Here is what I am getting at - many of us have had an instructor tell us something along the lines of "if you are exchanging blows with someone, you've already made a few mistakes." If you use your fists, or a weapon, or even some non-lethal defense methods like pepper spray or a taser, you're already in a fight.
But a flashlight? shining it in someone's eyes at night is enough to stop someone in their tracks without any permanent damage, and although it is incredibly annoying, even your own mother would understand if you shined it at her because you didn't know who she was in the dark. It seems like a flashlight is a self-defense tool you can use before you get to the "I'm already neck deep in a pile of crap" point.
So what are you thoughts? Any experiences to share or training stories?
Never had to use it in anger, but my first line of defense in my pizza delivery days was a fist-sized Streamlight flashlight (the don't seem to make the exact model, I discovered after it tragically went missing). It was stupidly bright, like a camera flash. I used it once trying to re-read an address off an order slip when somebody wouldn't answer the door, and the glare rebounding from the slip temporarily blinded me. I am certain if I "beamed" an attacker, he would be much easier to evade afterward.
If you get one of the larger models, they also make a dandy, but highly legally defensible bludgeon.
EDIT: A mean flashlight is an irreplaceable part of one's home defense arsenal as well.
"Your body must be like a stone, your mind... like a meatloaf."
Originally Posted by strikistanian
Originally Posted by Devil
Originally Posted by Plasma
I carried a 5 C cell Maglite in my car for many years, until the batteries melted inside. The light came in handy many times, but for self defense I considered it to be more useful as an impact weapon. I've known LEOs who got quite a lot of use out if theirs that way.
I understand that the light itself can be used as a defensive weapon and I'm sure people have used it successfully that way, but it would not be at the top of my list if I felt I needed to carry a non lethal weapon. Not unless it were attached to an ASP or were large enough to also use as a baton. Otherwise, I'd rather rely on pepper spray.
As for home defense, I use a relatively dim light with a red filter, which I keep next to my pistol. If I need to get up in the middle of the night to investigate a noise, it will not ruin my night vision.
Flashlights are great for police, but I always found that the gear queer with the $600 flashlight always ruined my night vision when we'd do night entries on houses.
I am on the other side here. I really hate those idiots with their super-bright flashlights pointing directly to my face. Not even for some seconds to check but for the whole fucking time. If you are so fucking scared when it is dark, get a dog or a friend or whatever. You are fucking rude. You actually make me want to punch you in the face. Especially these days, when it dark early, this happens often. Most of the time I just say nothing and hope they go away because it really is not worth it but this kind of pisses me off.
So point is, overuse can piss people off. Ah and yes it makes sense to carry a flashlight, especially as it is quite useful as an actual flashlight and you get the self-defense thing for free. Though I personally hate that they ruin my night-vision, so I avoid use of them.
Currently I live in London where no-one needs a flashlight, it never gets properly dark here.
Back in South Africa I would try not to use a flashlight when just walking because, as my dad taught me and as other posters have said, it really screws up your night vision.
HOWEVER, when doing something like going to check out my dad's school (highschool principal) when the alarm went off at 4am we'd absolutely be using a really powerful flashlight.
I've seen a couple of FMA guys in the UK practice a draw, switch on and shine-in-oppents-eyes move which is pretty cool, but they use those heavy metal tactical jobs which I'd much rather just clobber the guy with.
Also, size matters. I've found a 3-Cell Mag is about right for the occasional SD use I put it to at work, in terms of speed of deployment, striking and restraint. Found the 4-Cells and up a bit unwieldy, but that's probably just me: many others like the longer Mags.
The good thing about a big ass Maglite is that it makes a great club. The shitty thing about a big ass Maglite is that it's not as bright as my tiny little Surefire that weighs just a few ounces and fits comfortably in my front pocket.
Query the word "tonk."
Query the word "tonk."
When I worked security, I carried one of those big bludgeoney maglights but I also carried a small pen light for actual flashlight usage for reading signs, reports etc. A super bright light is usually not necessary and fucks up your night vision, so I actually preferred a smaller dimmer one.
Some recommend wrapping the sides of your maglight batteries in electrical tape to take out any extra space and make it a little more solid.
When I go adventuring at night I usually carry a slim penlight clipped to my left front pocket.
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