“Hi, my name is Todd and I’m flashaholic.”
I’m addicted. Is there a recovery program called Flashlights Anonymous?
Dirt Road Girl stumbles upon my hidden stash, rolls eyes, and offers up a little prayer for intervention. She reaches for an ink pen only to find what she thought was a writing utensil is… you guessed it… a freaking flashlight!
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Just last week, a student asked me if that was a flashlight clipped into my front pocket. Even at school, I can’t seem to break the habit. Is it a disease? Maybe it’s the choices I’ve made. The company I keep. Maybe, as an infant, I was breast-fed too long or not enough.
Seriously, I’m drawn to lights like a moth to a flame. I see no way of breaking free. Nor do I intend to.
I own 3 or 4 pair of reading glasses with lights. These get the most use of any of my torches. During lessons in my classroom, I often turn the overhead lights off for easy viewing on the active board. To help a student at his/her desk in low light situations, I often illuminate their work with my LightSpecs. At first, kids made fun of my “glowing glasses”. Now, its old hat for Mr. Walker to light up their work space.
We recently lost power at school and the backup generator failed. My interior room with no windows was pitch dark. I simply reached up, hit the switches near my temples and then grabbed my EDC torch from my back pocket. The howling stopped.
By far, my LightSpecs see the most use. They’re not a defensive tool per se. Wearing them switched “on” would give an aiming point for a gun-wielding thug.
A “tactical” flashlight is needed for self-defense applications. I’m not a fan of tacticool stuff. I want my stuff to be functional and dependable. Depending on your budget and individual preference, there are many lights to choose from. Before buying, keep these tips in mind.
You want a torch that fits in the palm of your hand. Like a concealed carry gun, if it too large, you’re likely to leave it at home. It should easily fit in your pants pocket or attach to your belt or purse. A 3 D-cell Maglite makes a great blunt force object but not an everyday carry item.
Most experts recommend 100 + Lumens. I own a couple of Streamlight flashlights. I acquired my first while on the road, literally. The flashlight gods dropped it in the middle of the road last year on our way home from school. I yelled, “FLASHLIGHT!”, did an immediate U-Turn, and saved this torch from destruction. DRG shook her head in disbelief at my addiction and driving. The strobe feature is designed to disorient and confuse an attacker with 125 Lumens. The battery is rechargeable. No need to get all the bells and whistles. Press on, press off with enough Lumens to temporarily blind a threat is all that’s needed to give you time to fight or flee. Here’s the charging cradle I just received…with a spare battery always trickle charged.
If all you can afford is a plastic flashlight, buy it. True tactical lights are lightweight metal, waterproof, and durable. If employed in striking with the bezel end, it’s sure to leave a mark on the threat.
You don’t have to mortgage you home to buy a quality torch. I’ve got some disposable lights – the ones you buy that come three to a pack at the box stores for 10 bucks that would make great barter items. For a quality light, you’re going to have to spring for a little more. I just ordered a few more of the Streamlight 88031 Protac Tactical Flashlight 2L. A 180 Lumen light for $44.00. I use mine for EDC – Every Day Carry. It clips into my left front pocket. The other two will make great stocking stuffers. Correction. DRG has just added one to her purse.
- For more research, check out CandlePowerForums, a site with more information than you can shake a flashlight at. That’s right. There are entire sites that feed my addiction.
DRG has a small button light on her key chain. You can find these at camping stores, online or brick and mortar outlets. They’re useful for finding stuff like keyholes or dropped items. I carry a button light designed to clip on web gear on my “Get Home Bag“. It emits a blue light powered by a small LED bulb. Clipped on my boonie hat, it offers just the right amount of non-white light when getting set up in my hunting stands.
Pak-lite LED Flashlight
I first heard of these on a review at SurvivalBlog. These little LEDs on a battery get rave reviews. EagerGridlessBeaver Blog has an extensive write-up on testing these simple lights. You’ll want one after reading it.
These offer hands-free illumination. I keep them in my kits, BOB, and toolbox. Remember to keep fresh batteries on hand.
The Light Emitting Diode is your friend. Don’t leave home without ’em.
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