EDC (every day carry) is a popular topic of conversation. The conversation usually consists of topics such as firearms, holsters, knives, and the occasional discussion regarding belts. However, we often leave out important topics such as flashlights while discussing EDC. While not as glorious nor exciting as firearms, the role of a flashlight in your EDC is often underestimated.
Darkness is a Surety
Meteorologists are often ridiculed for inaccurate forecasts. However, many people dress for rain or snow when the local forecast shows a chance of either. If we dress accordingly for a 20% chance of rain in the forecast, why do we not carry a flashlight for a 100% chance of darkness? The truth is that darkness is a surety.
Carrying a flashlight allows us to perform tasks more safely and efficiently in the dark. Have you ever broken down on the side of the road or had to change a tire in the dark? Those scenarios, along with a host of other find it/fix it scenarios, can be performed more easily and more safely with the lighting provided by a flashlight.
As a society, we depend on electricity. As such, each of us has experienced power outages for varying lengths of time. These are often caused by weather such as thunderstorms, snow storms, ice buildup, or earthquakes. Many people prepare their homes with candles, flashlights, generators, etc. Having a flashlight on your person makes utilizing these tools much easier when needed.
Power outages are not always caused by mother nature. Motor vehicle accidents can often involve one or more components of the power grid. In this situation, local power can be disrupted.
Does your place of employment have sufficient natural lighting to enable you to see so that you and others can safely exit the premises? What if you experienced a power outage while riding in an elevator or while walking in a stairwell or a parking garage with insufficient lighting? Would you be able to see?
Every person that has ever used a firearm should have learned the four rules of gun safety. One of those rules is to know your target and what is behind it. This is especially important in low light situations as they present an increased challenge to identifying our targets. Additionally, using your light to identify the would-be attacker could potentially thwart his plans. Thus, the importance of a flashlight in these circumstances cannot be overstated.
Disorient a Would-be Attacker
Imagine standing in a poorly lit parking lot with a friend after the sun has set. A man wearing a hat and a dark hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up has walked past you on a nearby sidewalk several times. On his fourth time in the area, he enters the parking lot and heads straight toward you and your friend. You and your friend are standing on the passenger side of your vehicle while the man is between you and the driver side of your vehicle and is quickly approaching. What would you do?
The first necessary action that should have already taken place in this situation was to have been aware of your surroundings. Situational awareness will be the topic of another article, but those familiar with Jeff Cooper’s color code of situational awareness would have immediately thought to raise their awareness level from yellow to orange. This means that a potential threat has been identified and the time for decision making is now.
This is also the “D” in OODA Loop. OODA stands for Observe, Orientate, Decide, Act. You have observed and orientated, meaning that it is time to decide on an appropriate course of action. Can you get away without engaging the man? Is deadly force necessary?
Since no weapon has been identified and the man is quickly approaching, you decide to reach for your EDC flashlight. He has lost his element of surprise and you quickly shine the light in the man’s face and expose his identity as you command him to “stop right there”. The bright light disorients him, but also strips him of his advantage of utilizing the shadows. This provides you the upper hand as you can now hide the rest of your actions behind the light. The man takes a step toward you, so you engage your flashlight’s strobe feature and give additional commands to stop. This further disorients the man and causes him to take a few steps back. As you do this, your friend dials 911 and the would-be attacker chooses to retreat.
Weapon of Self Defense
In that previous situation, the would-be attacker chose to flee. What would you do if he continued to advance? Would you use your firearm? Would you have any other options? Carrying a flashlight with a strike bezel provides yet another option.
The man continues to approach, so you strike him on the bridge of his nose when he gets too close. At the same time, the strobe function of your flashlight is still active and you continue to utilize this during the course of your defensive actions. The man either chooses to retreat or continues his assault and you respond accordingly.
What Type of Light For Me?
This is a question that we hear a lot. The answer is, the one that you will carry. If the big flashlight with the aggressive strike bezel will stay in your EDC drawer at home, then have another flashlight that you will carry on your person. Many like pen lights and compact flashlights. However, flashlights with around 1,000 lumen output, strobe function, and strike bezel provide many options and are wonderful tools to include in your EDC. We recommend the Olight M1X Striker.
Regardless of which light you choose to carry, carry it. You will probably find that the more that you carry it, the more useful it will become.