Alright, for you advanced preppers out there, the first part of this article is going to seem boring, so skip down to the tactical part if you'd like. Or keep reading to get a good laugh about my friend, who didn't understand why having a real flashlight was important.
Uses of Flashlight
I say the following knowing that I run the risk of sounding like an old curmudgeon. I've found yet another thing that cell phones are ruining: flashlights. Hear me out.
I was over at a friend's house when I dropped their remote control behind a big piece of furniture. I asked to borrow a flashlight so I could fish it out. He tells me that he doesn't have a flashlight and to just use my phone. I could not believe my ears.
My friend, a grown man with a home, didn't have a single flashlight. A flashlight is by far one of the most useful tools you can have and essential to every household, in my book. He didn't understand why he needed a flashlight when there was one on his phone.
Fellow survivalists are probably reacting just about the same way that I was—total and utter shock. If you're wondering the same thing as my ill-advised friend, here are 5 reasons out of about 100000 why you need a REAL flashlight.
5 Reasons Why You Need Flashlight
- Your phone WILL DIE! If you're actually in a situation where you need light for an extended amount of time, your phone is going to die on you much faster than a flashlight. Period.
- Your phone is needed for other things. Like… making emergency phone calls, accessing information, etc. Save your phone battery for things that can't be done by other standard tools.
- Candles are a TERRIBLE idea in an emergency situation. Let's add fire to a situation where everyone is nervous and it's dark. That will end well.
- Your phone's flashlight is so weak, it's basically useless in most situations you would need it in. Unless you're looking for something a foot ahead of you, that little light is going to leave you high and dry.
- Your phone is pretty fragile and not made to hold like a flashlight. You can't get a good grip and risk losing/breaking your device when using it in a dark area.
I could go on and on, but the point is that phones are really good at being phones. LET YOUR PHONE JUST BE A PHONE! Leave flashlighting to flashlights. 🙂
But now I'll take it one step further. Not only should you have a flashlight that isn't connected to your cell phone. You should have the right kind of flashlight. And I don't mean a Maglite or any other traditional flashlight. That's right – having a traditional, single-purpose flashlight is a HUGE mistake in my book. Every homeowner, driver, camper, city dweller, and country mouse should have(and know how to use) a tactical flashlight.
Significance of Tactical Flashlight
First of all, what is a tactical flashlight? It's exactly what it sounds like. A flashlight that doubles as a self-defense weapon if you find yourself in a situation where hand-to-hand combat is required. They vary greatly, and just like with all gear, some are really great and some suck.
Most are overpriced and include things like Tasers, which I find to be a bit over the top. You don't want to fool around and zap yourself in the middle of the dark. So I prefer a tactical flashlight on the simpler side.
My requirements –
- VERY, VERY bright – this kind of goes without saying, but the brighter the better. You want to have a high-powered light that not only illuminates everything you need to see very clearly but can also temporarily blind an attacker
- Tactical bits that are able to be covered/removed – I like being able to remove the spiky/sharp bits if the situation calls for it. You don't want to gauge yourself when digging in your BOB.
- NO PLASTIC! Period. It breaks and just sucks in general.
So to some, this might not sound all that practical. Why on earth should I have a tactical flashlight when I have a perfectly good Maglite already. First, I would say that you can't have too many flashlights. Secondly, I would ask you to consider the situation in which you need a flashlight.
You never need them when everything is going right and there's plenty of light and you're not vulnerable. A lot of times you need a flashlight, it's not just trying to dig a remote control out from behind a sofa. It's a situation where you find yourself very vulnerable. For instance –
- Your car has broken down or has a flat on the side of the road in the night
- There's a power outage and you're securing your home
- You're asleep and you hear a bump in the night
- You hear some strange noises around your campsite and need to go investigate
There are lots of uses for a flashlight, and most of the time you're going to be perfectly safe, almost all of these circumstances lend themselves to your extreme vulnerability.
And that Maglite isn't going to help you at ALL if you find yourself face-to-face with someone who is threatening your safety.
I've only ever used my tactical flashlight to shock someone with the strobe function of the light and temporarily blind them while I removed myself from the situation, so I haven't used the spikes on a human being. But we did test it on some wood and it seems… pretty damn unpleasant and like you could certainly take someone down with this thing.
This is the one I use, it's pretty tough.
You shouldn't pay an arm and a leg for one of these though. Anything over $50 is insanity. You can get a great deal on the Hybeam Tactical Torch and it's worked out great for me. It meets all of my requirements plus it has some additional settings for the light itself.
It's a great find. I have 3 – one in my car, one in my BOB, and one in my bedside table. I have other flashlights as well, of course, but I find that the Hybeam is what I'm most comfortable with when I'm feeling on the exposed side of things.
All in all, I think that relying only on traditional flashlights is a mistake, and I think most preparedness/survival-minded folks will agree with me. Having a self-defense tool built into your flashlight is smart and just plain sensible.
If you're interested in finding the one that I use, click here to find the Hybeam Tactical Torch. They do sell out pretty often, so if there are any available I would snatch them up ASAP.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 9, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.