Tactical Flashlights: How to Use Them for Self

When you’re in a survival situation, the last thing you want to do is waste time with anything but your basic needs. However, there are some things that even without an emergency just need to be done at night when it gets dark and/or foggy or if it’s raining heavily and visibility drops below 10 feet. You’ll also find many of these items on this list will come in handy while camping as well!

The “using flashlight for self defense” is a tactical flashlight that has been used in many different ways. They are perfect for use during any situation, and can be used to defend yourself.

It’s late Friday night, and you’re heading back to your vehicle after a wonderful night out downtown with your buddies. You see a shadow dash across the wall and hear footsteps as you round the corner onto a dark side street. The hairs on the back of your neck rise up straight. You hasten your pace, but the tempo of the other footfall also quickens. You’re looking about in the dark, trying to pick out shapes when a fist lands on your cheekbone. You’re knocked to the ground by the sucker blow, and you can feel your wallet being snatched from your back pocket.

Your intruder has vanished back into the shadows before you have a chance to respond.

You may have benefited from the use of a flashlight.

If you’re anything like me, you probably think of flashlights as something you keep in your kitchen drawer in case the power goes out, or as something you bring on a rare camping trip to help you make your way back to the tent after a late-night pee. A flashlight, however, is something that every guy should carry with him at all times, according to Mike Seeklander, a weapons and tactical trainer with Shooting Performance. Mike and I got up at the US Shooting Academy in Tulsa to talk about how to use a flashlight in a tactical scenario. This is what he said to me.

What Is the Purpose of a Tactical Flashlight?

We’re not talking about any old flashlight in today’s article. It’s tactical flashlights we’re talking about. What distinguishes a flashlight as tactical? A tactical flashlight is one that has been specifically intended for tactical (military or police) usage. For low-light shooting, several tactical flashlights are intended to be placed to a weapon. They’re often smaller than standard flashlights, provide much more light, and are constructed of weapon-grade aluminum for optimum durability. While tactical flashlights are generally intended for use by military and police forces, as we’ll see below, they’re also a great daily and personal protection tool for the common citizen.

Why Should Every Man Have a Flashlight?

Let’s speak about why you should start carrying a flashlight even if you don’t intend on utilizing it to stop would-be assailants before we get into the tactical and self-defense applications of a flashlight. A compact tactical flashlight, along to a pocket knife, is one of the most handy and adaptable items a guy may have in his Every Day Carry kit.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a scenario when a flashlight would have come in useful, but instead I’ve been left fumbling about in the dark. Consider what happened the other day. I was attempting to repair a connection on our television’s audio output, but there was nothing visible beneath the stand. As a result, I had to hunt around my home for a flashlight. If I had a little flashlight in my pocket along with my knife, I could have saved myself around 15 minutes.


And, as homeowners along the East Coast discovered this week, electrical power may go out at any moment and for lengthy periods of time. When navigating about your nighttime flat, having a flashlight on you may save you time and toe stubs.

A flashlight may also be used as an excellent self-defense tool, in addition to helping you mend electrical connections or navigate your house during a power loss.

Flashlights: The Most Underappreciated Personal Defense Tool

A flashlight is essential for low-light shooting if you use a pistol as a personal defense weapon. It not only aids in target identification but also lets you to see your rifle sights in the dark. Even if you don’t carry a pistol for self-defense, a flashlight might come in helpful in a pinch if utilized appropriately. (We’ll go over how to use a flashlight whether you’re armed or not further down.) They may be brought into locations where firearms are prohibited, such as movie theaters and aircraft, and are ideal for men who reside in nations with tight weapons regulations but still wish to carry a weapon for self-defense.

A tactical flashlight fulfills two critical self-defense tasks, as well as one additional utility.

Aids in the detection of hazards. Attackers often take advantage of the cover of darkness. In low-light situations, a powerful flashlight may assist in identifying dangers and eliminating the advantage of an assailant creeping in the shadows. Just putting a light on a nasty individual may be enough to make him flee.

Disorients attackers for a brief period of time. When it’s dark outdoors, have you ever had a brilliant light beam in your eyes? You were undoubtedly bewildered and maybe blinded for a while. You may use your natural response to bright light to protect yourself from potential assailants.

When you come across a potential danger, beam your flashlight squarely into their eyes, or “dominate their face,” as Mike puts it. Your attacker would most likely raise his hands to his face, causing dizziness and semi-blindness for three to four seconds. This provides you plenty of time to leave or fight. 

Improvised weapon as a bonus usage. A serrated or toothed bezel is seen on several tactical flashlights. These customized bezels are marketed as a tool that may be used to smash automobile windows in an emergency. However, Mike claims that shattering a glass with a tiny tactical light is more difficult than it seems. “For hours, I and a group of Military Special Operations men attempted to smash a vehicle glass with the toothed bezel of a tiny tactical flashlight.” It was never broken by us.”

A tactical flashlight’s bezel won’t shatter windows, but it may be used as an improvised hitting weapon during an assault. After you’ve confused your adversary by shining the light in his eyes, slam the toothed bezel into his face as hard as you can. It should feel like you’re stamping him with a huge rubber stamp.  


When flying, Mike advises being cautious with the toothed bezeled spotlights. A TSA official took one away from him because it was considered a “striking implement.” Put your flashlight in your checked luggage if you’re not sure.

In Tactical Situations, Which Flashlight Is the Best Flashlight?

As a result, a tactical flashlight is an excellent self-defense weapon. Which one do you think you should get? There are approximately 100 distinct models available on the market. It will usually come down to your money and personal choice which one you select. However, there are a few features to look for when choosing a tactical flashlight for regular use:

  • Small. You want something that you can keep in your pocket all day. The size of your flashlight should be no larger than your hand.
  • A light output of at least 120 lumens is required. A flashlight must be bright enough to cause attackers to become disoriented before it may be used as a self-defense equipment. Anything less than 120 lumens isn’t going to cut it.
  • Simple. There are flashlights with strobe or SOS features on the market, as well as flashlights that enable you to adjust the brightness of your light output based on how many times you press the on/off button. While many tactical lighting users swear by these qualities, Mike advises against them. You don’t want a flashlight that is so complicated that you can’t use the main function (strong light) when you need it the most. A basic on/off switch should suffice.
  • Waterproof. You need a flashlight that can be used in any scenario. Get a waterproof flashlight that will function in the rain or other moist environments.
  • The construction is tough. Get a flashlight that can survive a lot of usage since your flashlight will be used a lot. Choose one that is composed of hard anodized aluminum. It’s a robust metal that’s also light. Also, make sure the flashlight’s metal is machined to make it comfortable to hold. You don’t want to lose your flashlight when it’s most needed.
  • Is it better to use LEDs or incandescent bulbs? Mike favors LEDs because incandescent lights, in his experience, shatter quickly when dropped, but LEDs can take a battering. In addition, incandescent lamps waste a lot of electricity. You’ll go through light bulbs and flashlight batteries far quicker than you’ll go through LED bulbs.

Tactical Flashlights Suggestions 

P2X Fury Dual Output LED from Surefire. Former Navy SEAL Brandon Webb posted an essay after the horrible killings in Aurora on what civilians may do to help defend themselves in a similar circumstance. His most important piece of advice? Always have a really bright tactical flashlight on you. The Surefire P2X Fury Dual Output LED flashlight was suggested by him. This bad guy is capable of producing 500 lumens of light. The Surefire has a pricing disadvantage. You’ll have to pay $121.50 for this tiny fellow. Ouch.

Streamlight Protac Tactical Flashlight 2L, model 88031. Check out the Streamlight ProTac if you’re seeking for a more cheap tactical flashlight. Its 180 lumens of light output can easily blind an opponent, allowing you to flee and avoid. $44.


Extreme NiteCore LED Flashlight Mike’s preferred flashlight. His has taken a battering and been washed three times, yet it still performs well. Unfortunately, it looks that NiteCore no longer manufactures this flashlight, but you may still be able to get it new elsewhere. Look for a used one if all else fails.

How to Use a Flashlight to Safely Navigate in a Dark Space

When anything goes bump in the night and you suspect it’s an armed and dangerous intruder, there’s a certain technique to navigate in a dark environment with your flashlight to optimize your safety. This is how you do it.

First, try the light switch. If you’re in a low-light situation, the first thing you should do is switch on the primary light source if it’s practical and safe. Don’t make the same mistakes as the CSI forensics teams. It is preferable to have as much light as possible.

Of course, there will be times when turning on the primary light source is difficult – you aren’t close to the switch, the power is out, you’re outdoors, and so on. You’ll have to use your flashlight in such instance. However, if you fear an assailant with a weapon is close, you’ll need to utilize your flashlight in a certain manner to stay safe.

Turn on the light, scan it, then turn it off and walk. When you’re operating in poor light and suspect an armed assailant is approaching, you don’t want to keep your flashlight on all the time. That just makes you a target. Instead, go through the following steps:

  • Light on
  • Examine the surroundings. Keep an eye out for any hazards.
  • Turn off the light.
  • Move
  • Repeat

Man in overcoat use tactical flashlight maneuveringly.

If you’re navigating in poor light, don’t leave your flashlight on all the time. That just makes you a target. Instead, go through the following steps: turn on the light, scan, turn off the light, and move.

Your danger will most likely fire or assault where they last noticed your flashlight’s light. Turning off your light and then moving increases the likelihood that you will not be positioned where your danger may shoot or strike.

When You’re Unarmed, How to Use a Tactical Flashlight

Even if you don’t have a handgun, a tiny flashlight may be used to protect yourself against an attacker. When you come across a danger, shine the light on his face and take control of his eyes. The intense light will temporarily blind you and lead you to become disoriented, allowing you ample time to leave or confront your assailant. If you have no fighting skills and are unsure whether or not your danger is armed, your best choice is to leave. There’s no need for the machismo; living is more manly than getting your belly pierced with a knife.

If you must combat your assailant, a swift, hard punch to the face with the toothed bezel of your tactical flashlight should be enough to put him out of commission long enough for you to go. In this case, low, forceful kicks to the crotch or knees are equally effective since he won’t be able to see them coming with the light shining in his eyes.


When Using a Gun, How to Hold a Flashlight

If you use a gun for self-defense, you’ll want to learn how to utilize a flashlight to control and shoot the weapon. According to FBI data, the chances of needing to use your handgun in low-light situations are substantially higher than in broad daylight situations. Both weapon-mounted lights and night sights offer advantages and disadvantages when utilizing a gun in a dark area. The main disadvantage of weapon-mounted lights is that you must direct your gun towards the item you wish to illuminate since the flashlight is mounted on your weapon. Not at all secure. The difficulty with night sights is that although you can see your sights to align them, you can’t see the target and whether he/she/it is genuinely a danger if it’s too dark (and you don’t have a flashlight). Furthermore, night attractions might be rather costly and may not be within your budget.

A compact tactical flashlight, when used correctly, will enable you to safely evaluate your position without pointing your gun towards a non-threat (resolving the problem with weapon-mounted lights), and you’ll be able to see your sights and your target without spending a lot of money (solving the issues with night sights).

We’ll go through the tactics Mike doesn’t advocate utilizing while carrying both a flashlight and a rifle in the sections below, and then we’ll go over the way he favors.

Two-Handed Flashlight-Gun Techniques Have Drawbacks

Detective man holding flashlight and gun tactics illustration.

As seen in the left-side picture above, the first two-handed approach for carrying both a pistol and a flashlight entails holding the flashlight in front of you with your non-dominant hand while resting your gun-bearing hand on top. On police programs, you’ll often see this tactic used. The Rogers method is the second two-handed approach. As shown in the right-side picture above, the Rogers approach is a variation of the standard shooting grip, with the flashlight caught between the first and second or second and third fingers of your non-dominant hand.

While Mike feels both grips have appeal, he also believes they have drawbacks that jeopardize your safety and the safety of others while shooting a pistol in low light.

The major disadvantage of both two-handed tactics is that if you wish to shine a light on anything, you must also aim your rifle towards it. While taking your finger off the trigger is a smart safety precaution, you must accept the danger of aiming your muzzle towards a possible non-threat, such as your child or your strange neighbor.

Furthermore, two-handed tactics may expose you to a head strike. You have no means of shielding your head from a strike from a concealed assailant while carrying the rifle and flashlight in both hands.

Mike’s main concern with two-handed approaches is that, with the exception of the Rogers technique, none of them provide enough recoil control when compared to one-handed shooting.


Finally, while employing a two-handed approach, it’s simple to accidentally engage your gun’s magazine release if you’re not cautious.

Mike’s Advice: Use the Eye Index Technique

Mike promotes and teaches a one-handed method he calls the “Eye Index Technique” instead of a two-handed approach. The Eye Index Technique is a variation of the “Neck Index,” a gun/flashlight technique taught to Federal Air Marshals.

The eye index technique to hold gun and flashlight illustration.

Follow these steps to execute the Eye Index Technique:

1. Place your tactical flashlight in your non-dominant hand so that the light is directly in front of your face. This accomplishes two goals. First, the flashlight’s location here will illuminate both your target and your gun sights. To strike your target, you must be able to see both. Second, keeping your hand up by your head in this position protects you from any potential head hits.

2. Extend your gun hand out in front of you. You’ll need to change the way you hold the rifle for recoil control since you’ll only be shooting with one hand. With your dominant hand, grip the pistol tighter than you would if you were shooting with two hands, but keep your trigger finger as relaxed as possible. Your thumb should be tilted up slightly to ensure that equal pressure is applied on the gun’s rear back strap. Don’t go all the way out with your arm. Your elbow should be slightly bent. This will aid with recoil management by keeping your arm behind the rifle.

3. Switch on your flashlight. The light beam should highlight your gun sights as well as any target you engage in if you’re holding the flashlight in the right position. Examine and evaluate. Turn off the light and get out of here. When confronting a danger, take control of his face and utilize the time he’s bewildered to evaluate the threat level and make your decision.

4. Bring the pistol to your chest in a one-handed, high ready stance if you want to shine a light on someone who isn’t a danger. You protect your pistol from being taken away from you by an assailant you can’t see by keeping it close to your body like this.

Consistent training is essential for all weapons disciplines. It’s particularly crucial if you’ve never fired with one hand before. If you have access to an outdoor gun range that is open after dark, take advantage of it. You can and should practice shooting your pistol one-handed while carrying a flashlight in your non-dominant hand even if you don’t have access to a low-light gun range.


Mike Seeklander at Shooting Performance deserves a big thank you. I strongly advise you to take a Mike lesson if you have the opportunity. Fantastic instructor who is really knowledgeable. If you can’t make it to one of his seminars, you can still learn how to defend yourself with a handgun by reading his new book, Your Defensive Handgun Training Program. Mike sets up a comprehensive training regimen for using a pistol in self-defense. I just received my book and am looking forward to getting started.


Ted Slampyak created the illustrations.



The “armour protection flashlight” is a tactical flashlight that can be used for self-defense. It has an armor coating and a xenon bulb, which makes it ideal for outdoor activities.

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