A lady of my acquaintance is in the habit of walking her dog every morning in a nearby park. Being in Southern California, the park is situated in a deep canyon, so it remains in darkness for some time after the sun rises. Walking along, her pistol concealed in her waistband and her flashlight in hand, she heard the noise of something rapidly approaching from her rear. Turning quickly, she activated her light and caught a coyote in the act of leaping towards her dog. She later told me the coyote seemed to turn around in mid-air as it made a hasty retreat.
Another student related his encounter with a loose, vicious dog as he walked to his mailbox after dark. Shining his tactical light in the dog’s eyes stopped the attack. He was armed and thankful he had avoided shooting because he had his light in hand.
Countless other friends and students have related similar stories, many involving questionable people approaching them. I consider all these success stories “saves," each one as important as stories where folks have prevailed in shootings.
I’m something of a flashlight junkie. As proof, a neighbor was visiting with my wife when she looked around and asked, “Is your husband afraid of the dark?”
I have flashlights scattered all over the house, including a handful on the kitchen counter, so I suppose her question had merit. Still, I make no apology for keeping flashlights handy; I live in the country, it gets dark out here, and I see no reason not to have flashlights in the house, the garage and in our vehicles. I even have flashlights stashed in the shed and the barn!
Here’s the thing; you’re going to use your flashlight thousands of times more often than your pistol. You should have a flashlight handy, nearby, and on your person, day and night, everywhere you go. In other words, along with being a handy tool, your flashlight is a defensive weapon likely to keep you from having to resort to your firearm.
It’s dark, you’re walking to your car, and a suspicious person approaches you. Are you justified in displaying your firearm? But there’s no law against shining a powerful tactical light in his eyes and saying, “Stop!” He’s not going to like it, and may loudly tell you so, but in the meantime, you’re creating distance as you blind him and move away.
I strongly suggest, should you be meandering about in the dark, your flashlight needs to be in your hand or immediately accessible. Not in the bottom of your purse, but someplace you can access immediately, and you practice reaching for it.
The EDC flashlight need not be large or heavy. There are wonderful, handy, lights available these days providing 250, 500 or 1,000 lumens of light. These lights are inexpensive and there’s no reason not to have several. I think 250 lumens is the minimum for a personal, tactical light and 500 or 1,000 lumens is even better. These lights will turn off aggressive critters, and people can’t look at them without closing their eyes and turning their heads away.
Your every day carry flashlight can be used defensively, offensively and will be one of the most useful things you can carry. Get in the habit of carrying one everywhere you go and maybe you’ll end up like me, with flashlights everywhere.