While I am not a big fan of installing a tactical light on the defensive handgun that is to be worn every day, this should not be construed to suggest that I don't like tactical lights. Nothing could be further from the truth. The tactical light—those high-intensity lights relying on lithium batteries—is a great defensive tool that has come along in recent times.
A hand-held tactical light can be used to identify a threat and is a great aid in accurate shooting, should such be necessary. Properly deployed, the tactical light will also momentarily blind the threat, allowing time to get that defensive handgun into play. However, most of the time the tactical light is not used for such dangerous endeavors. It simply allows us to see what is going on in a poor light situation, enabling us to take stock of those around us.
Coming out of a restaurant or theater in the dark, we access the tactical light in our support hand. Should someone approach us in a manner that makes us uneasy, we simply light them up as our strong hand is placed on the defensive handgun. The handgun is often never drawn or removed from concealment. That person who made us uneasy gets the message and really has no complaint that will stand up in court. Shining a flashlight on someone is not considered a threatening move or an assault.
I have found that I get the most use out of the small tactical lights, those that are easily carried in a pocket and don't take up much space. While there are a number of really good lights on the market, I tend to rely on the Backup from SureFire. It is only four inches long and about as big around as a quarter, yet it puts out plenty of light.
Using a hand-held tactical light requires that a person practice integrating the use of the light with the defensive handgun. There are several methods that are generally taught and a person can pick the one that works best for him. The important thing is to practice until the movements become second nature, making sure that the support hand never gets in front of the gun muzzle.
Many, possibly most, criminal attacks occur during periods of low light. For this reason, a good tactical light should be an important part of any defensive plan. Who knows, if you help the bad guys see the light, they might just change their ways.