If you possess a firearm for personal protection, be it for everyday carry or home defense, a flashlight is a mandatory accessory. Just like peanut butter and jelly, ebony and ivory and Abbot and Costello, a firearm and a light go together perfectly.
According to FBI statistics, 80 percent of police shootings occur in low or diminished lighting conditions. And you don’t have to look at statistics to know that bad things generally happen at night because it offers a tactical advantage to the bad guy. There are several ways to take away this tactical advantage, one of which is the use of a flashlight.
Even if you aren’t out after dark, you may find yourself in low light conditions during the middle of the day. Pulling into your garage, walking into a basement or an interior room at work are just three examples of low light conditions during the middle of the day. And all three put you, the law abiding citizen at a tactical disadvantage.
The right flashlight can also be used as a weapon, both as an impact weapon and as a means to temporarily blind or stun a bad guy by shinning it in their eyes. The later can give you the extra couple of seconds needed to deploy another weapons system or retreat to safety.
A flashlight is also a must have even if you aren’t carrying a firearm or if the situation you find yourself in doesn’t warrant the use of a gun. During the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, many of the surviving victims said that finding their way to the exists was a major problem, probably costing lives because without power, there was no light. A simple flashlight in the pocket would have solved the problem and perhaps saves some lives. And even if you don’t find yourself victim of a terrorist attack, low light conditions can be the result of a natural disaster or because of a simple electrical storm that knocks out the power.
The last critical use for a flashlight is target identification. A responsible gun owner is responsible for every round that is fired from their gun. And there is never, ever a circumstance when you should be firing your gun at a target that you have not yet identified as a threat. In low or diminished light conditions, it becomes difficult if not down right impossible to do that without the aid of artificial light.
In a county not far from where I live, a police officer shot and wounded is own daughter when she set off the house alarm sneaking back into the house. The officer grabbed his firearm when he heard the alarm and shot his daughter by accident. His critical mistake was not illuminating the “target” to identify it as friend or foe. Doing so would have prevented what was almost a catastrophic disaster. And that incident is not an isolated one, I have heard similar stories in the past.
So as you can hopefully appreciate, a flashlight is an absolute must if you have chosen to defend yourself and your loved ones. And a light doesn’t have to cost you a fortune, a good one can be had for around 30 bucks so there is not excuse for not doing so.
In my next article, we will go into the types of flashlights available and whether or not you should choose a stand alone light or the weapons mounted variety. Stay tuned.
Don’t just survive thrive!
Carrying a firearm for personal protection brings with it an awesome responsibility. You have the power to change a person’s world forever, and even the power to take their life. It is you duty as a responsible gun owner to always obey the cardinal rules of firearms safety and to understand the laws where you live and travel with your gun. Do your due diligence become educated on the use of force continuum and become proficient with your firearm before you leave home.