Over the years we’ve seen small handheld flashlights evolve into incredibly compact, powerful, rugged and utilitarian devices.
These flashlights have redefined the landscape and made it virtually inexcusable to not carry on a daily basis. As you become more familiar with your threat matrix one thing you will find is just about every place you might visit will have varying degrees of restrictions. Of all the restrictions carrying a handheld flashlight is probably not one of them.
I have carried a flashlight day end and day out and can remember my first issued Surefire 6P. I thought it was the coolest things since slice bread and the students hated it as I lite them up during their beach reconnaissance practicals back in the day. I clearly saw the advantages of a real bright light, but there comes a point of diminishing returns. You will need to figure out how much light is good enough in the smallest package you can carry daily.
So, how bright is too bright? Good question that is a bit harder to answer. Part of the beauty of a bright white light is the affects it can have even in daytime conditions. Granted not to the extent as if it were darkened conditions, but it works. If you haven’t been the recipient of short blast of white light walk into the bathroom, hold the light off to the side of your face pointing at the mirror. Look into the bezel and fire it off. Do it with the lights on and the lights off. That should give you a pretty good idea of what we are talking about here. There is another reason why you need to do this, if you have every had to do a building search or search your home in darkened conditions then you invariably came across shiny objects. As you are clearing that light will reflect back at you. So, those folks know what I’m talking about, everyone else its’ awesome to blind yourself like that.
I like to keep my daily carry lights around 200 lumens. That usually means a package that is easy to carry and bright enough. I think I have more flashlights than a woman has shoes. Okay, maybe not that many, I’ve seen some pretty impressive collections, but my point is I have a few for various situations. They vary in size, output and battery drain, but pretty much all run the same.
Some people will balk at the price for some of these tools, but really if you are carrying a firearm for concealed carry you better have a light. Something you can search with and then positively identify potential threats with in dimmed or dark conditions. Chances are you will pull your flashlight a hell of lot more times than you draw your gun.
I remember reading a survey taken after the towers fell. It was directed at the first responders and asked them knowing now what they endeared, what tools would you want if you had to do it all over again. The most popular answer was a bright handheld flashlight.