By Tom Adessa
The manufacture and quality of Hi-Lum flashlights has grown by leaps and bounds in the last two decades. Choices are as varied as the consumer may want and need. I thought my old three “D” cell Maglight was great back in the day, but by today’s standards it is a dinosaur, however, with a LED bulb upgrade it is still useful. A New York State Trooper once showed me how to combine its use as a light with some great defensive and offensive tactics.
By Hi-Lum I mean 100-200 lumens as adequate for the average person as primarily a flashlight helps use see in the dark. A number of manufacturers produce a metal or polymer bodied light that is run by battery or is rechargeable. My favorite is a StreamLight 100 lumen flashlight, aluminum body which runs on two AA batteries. Rechargeable lights have their place, but AA batteries are very common and quick to replace with your spares. This style of light is also small enough to be carried pretty everywhere or even in a woman’s purse.
Tactically is where these flashlights really shine-no pun! Once again the lumens do not need to be over the 200 range, especially in the home. Over 200 lumens in the average home can be problematic as “splashback” of the light can be a problem. Too much light can potentially affect your vision and compromise your advantage.
Imagine this scenario; 2am, you hear a thud and breaking glass from the kitchen. Could it be an intruder? Possibly…but you need to make certain as there could be other reasons. And…you are not armed, but you need to investigate. You grab your cell phone, your flashlight and proceed to check it out. Stealth, being familiar with your house and surprise are on your side. As you enter the threshold of the kitchen you flood the room with light surprising anyone there. In this case it’s the cat that has knocked over a vase of flowers.
However, in another scenario that light could be put to use to disable an intruder or worst yet an attacker. 100-200 lumens shined into anyone’s eyes in the dark will disorient them and give you an advantage for around 3-10 seconds. That advantage is as varied as you can imagine. You can affect an escape to another part of your home and gather your family to a “safe spot.” You could use the light again in a few seconds after you dial 911 to disorient the person. Or you could gain the advantage of concealment/cover depending on your abode.
Worst case scenario is when the intruder attacks you, but the light can now be used as a weapon. The business end or bezel of a flashlight, whether crenulated (scalloped) or not is a very effective striking weapon. Strikes to the face or even the back of the intruders hand can be disabling and give you maneuvering room or even end the fight.
I don’t pretend to think these flashlights are the end all and the be all, but for the average person with minimal training they can be called upon for a variety of uses; in everyday life or an emergency, and at times offensively or defensively.
Tom Adessa resides in Central New York, he is a LEO, an avid lover of the outdoors and passionate about handgun shooting.