There are many reasons to carry a knife including common practical uses like opening boxes all the way to perhaps having to use one for self-defense. I carry a Benchmade mini-griptilian with me just about everywhere I go. I like it because it’s small but sturdy and doesn’t seem to threaten or alarm anyone yet it still serves its purpose.
Recently I’ve begun carrying a small tactical flashlight as well. When choosing a flashlight for EDC you should try to find one that fits most of the criteria you would look for in a pocketknife. You want something small but sturdy, that can clip easily to the inside of a pocket, and that is good for practical uses as well as self-defense. Of course you’re also looking for something bright. And when I say “bright”, I mean “Blindingly Bright”. For this is where a flashlight can really tip the scales in your favor should you be forced into a physical altercation.
In the past I’ve written about situational awareness and how important it is to keep any eye on your surroundings and not put yourself into a potentially dangerous situation if you can avoid it. This means not parking in dark areas, avoiding locations that have unsavory characters hanging around, and generally only going places where you feel safe. Of course no matter how careful we are occasionally we all end up in a situation we didn’t entirely plan for. Picture a trip to the store that lasts longer than you thought it would and it’s dark by the time you return to your car. You didn’t notice that the parking lot was poorly lit as you arrived while it was still light out and now you’re stuck walking to your car in the dark. A small but powerful flashlight is a great tool to have in a situation like this.
Personally I like the PowerTac line of everyday carry lights. There are several that will get the job done and they all are well made and reliable. Some take CR123A batteries, which while powerful are not all that common and can be pricey. Others take regular AA batteries. I chose one that takes 2 AA’s as I like to stock up on common batteries in the same way I like to keep common calibers of ammunition. It also has a bezeled front for self-defense and packs a whopping 300 lumens at its brightest setting. If used for maximum effect in a confrontation it would be like wielding a combination flashlight/brass knuckles. Ouch.
I like having a flashlight like this with me for a few basic reasons. First of all in a situation like the one described above you can use your flashlight to see what’s in front of you and to identify a dangerous situation before you walk into it and therefore to avoid it altogether. Secondly, if you are surprised and forced into a physical confrontation a powerful beam of light to the eyes will temporarily blind a would be attacker. Don’t think so? Try shining a 300 lumen light in your eyes, you’ll be seeing stars for an hour. (Please don’t try that, just take my word for it) Once an attacker’s vision is taken away you can either make your escape or, if forced to, you can employ that bezeled edge to defend yourself. Your choice. But please, make good choices…