How To Use A Tactical Flashlight

by John Wren

If you’re thinking of carrying a tactical flashlight, you’re probably wondering exactly how to use it, especially in dangerous situations. Tactical flashlights offer features that a typical household flashlights cannot even come close to providing. Below is a list of some of the best ways on how to use a tactical flashlight in different types of situations.

1. As a Self-Defense Weapon

One of the greatest uses of a tactical flashlight is for self-defense. As you already know, not all flashlights are made the same way, and not all of them can be used to defend you in a dangerous situation. In order for a flashlight to function as a self-defense weapon, it must be small enough so you can easily carry it wherever you go. It must also be easy to turn on and blindingly bright, solid, and reliable.

More or less, all existing tactical flashlights are capable of concentrating and narrowing their field of light into a single beam. They are also extremely bright, as they already packed with high lumens, causing the person who might be about to assault or threaten you to be momentarily blinded. This is particularly the case during night time, as the eyes of the attacker will be more adjusted to reduced lighting. Blinding your attacker in this way will help you escape, which is the main goal in any type of self-defense situations.

For Self-Defense

The simplest way to use a tactical flashlight for self-defense is to shine the light straight in your attacker’s eye. Flashlights with distinct modes enable you to increase the brightness of the flashlight. Shining 960 lumens right in someone’s eye is going to blind them momentarily and offer you an opportunity to get away.


Some flashlights that are large enough can be used themselves to hit your opponent. There are also smaller variations of tactical flashlights that you can use to make more powerful punches. What you need to do is to close your hand around the flashlight and then make a fist. This would add more power to the punches that you give your attacker.

Even the bulb of your flashlight can also be used as a weapon. There are flashlights that would allow you to unscrew the lens and expose the bulb inside which you can use to poke your opponent.

How to Hold a Tactical Flashlight

There are different ways on how to hold a flashlight, depending on what kind of self-defense situation you are in. Here are four of the best ways to hold a tactical flashlight while using a handgun:

a) The Harries Technique

Named after a pioneer of contemporary practical combat shooting, the Harries flashlight technique is a very popular method used for small flashlights. In this technique, you are required to hold your handgun with only one hand. Your other hand holds the flashlight under your shooting hand.

You will need to apply isometric pressure between the two backs of your hands enough to hold an imaginary paper. Applying too much pressure will affect your accuracy. If you are using a large flashlight, you can lay the flashlight’s body on the forearm of your shooting hand.

b) The Rogers (SureFire) Method

The Rogers technique requires you to use a specific flashlight that has a combat ring and an on/off switch at the tail cap. It is also known as the SureFire method, since many of the SureFire flashlights are designed specifically to be used for this type of technique.

To employ this method, you need to hold the flashlight between the index finger and the middle finger of your non-shooting hand, the same way as you would hold a cigar. Then you need to press the tail cap against the palm of your hand.
Best used for the two-handed grip, this technique is easy to carry out if you know how to hold your weapon with both hands.

c) The FBI Technique

Used by FBI agents, this method is a flexible and easy way to hold flashlight. Just like the other techniques, you are also required to hold your pistol using one hand. The hand that holds the flashlight should be kept far away from your body, above your head or on your side.

This method is beneficial because when your attacker also has a firearm and sees the light coming from you, he’s going to aim and shoot in the direction of the light. So, if you keep the flashlight away from your body, you will be less likely shot by your attacker.

d) The Neck-Index Technique

This method is best suited to those who use a handgun that is not fitted with night sights. Next to your cheekbone, you will keep the flashlight at the same level as your eye. This will make it easier for you to follow the light beam, and react faster to your opponent’s actions.

Although this technique could give you more accurate results, placing the light source close to the vital areas of your body could potentially put you at risk when your attacker is also armed with a weapon.

2. To Illuminate Your Surroundings

A tactical flashlight, just like all other flashlights, has a primary purpose to provide light in the darkness. But unlike the regular flashlight, a tactical flashlight can be small enough to fit inside your bag or pocket. This makes it easy for you to carry it wherever you go, especially when you are walking alone at night, passing through dark and unsafe streets and alleys. If you feel that you are in danger, you can just easily get it out of your bag or pocket and light it up.

Apart from keeping you safe from possible attackers or thieves, using a tactical flashlight to light up your way can also help you prevent accidents. It will help you see the path you are walking on, so you can easily avoid stepping on rocks or holes in the streets that may bring you harm.

Lumen Levels

Whether you are trying to blind your attacker or just trying to illuminate a space, you must know the right level of brightness that you need for your tactical flashlight.
The brightness of a flashlight is measurable in lumens. Tactical flashlights have different lumens levels, depending on their use.

Less Than 60 Lumens

Tactical flashlights with lumens below 60 have enough brightness to illuminate a tiny space or room indoors. However, they most probably would not disperse so much light when used outdoors. This level of brightness will not be enough to temporarily blind your potential attacker, but if the lumens were higher than 15, it can still mess with your assailant’s night vision.

Between 60 and 150 Lumens

Tactical flashlights within this lumens range are good enough for outdoor use or for lighting up an open room. A lumens level of greater than 100 should probably be sufficient to temporarily blind an aggressor as long as it is dark or there is not much lighting in the area. To momentarily blind your aggressor, you should do it quickly so he or she won’t have enough time to get used to the level of brightness in the room.

Between 150 and 300 Lumens

This range of brightness is much better than the previous ones, and lumens nearer to 150 would be enough to blind an individual momentarily in an illuminated area during night-time. Lumens near 300 would be enough to trigger blindness indoors during the day and. enough to illuminate a big room or a large outdoor area.

More Than 300 Lumens

Bright enough to light up a football field, the amount of the lumens is very big. Tactical flashlights with this level of brightness could cause severe harm to people’s eyes when they shine straight. Many regular flashlights would need to have a burst mode and specialized batteries to achieve this level. Tactical flashlights that are used in rescue operations have a capacity of more than 700 lumens.

The Strobe Mode

There are also some tactical flashlights that are equipped with a strobe mode. Mostly used by police officers, this mode is tactically designed to disorient a prospective aggressor. A tactical flashlight that is in strobe mode casts a quick and very bright flashing light in a variety of patterns that can cause confusion to people.

3. To Search For Something

A tactical flashlight can also be used when looking for objects not only at night, but also during daytime. Even when it’s bright outside, you may still need a source of light to see through a dark storage room or attic to search for stuff. It would also be difficult for you to look for things that have rolled under your bed or behind your furniture without the aid of a flashlight.

There are various types of tactical flashlights and each of them has different modes and modifications that can be very helpful in a variety of situations. Make sure to do your research and choose the best tactical flashlight that would suit your needs.

The Throw and Flood Modes

The light of a flashlight can have two modes of spreading. It could stretch farther vertically, or spread further around you. Each of these modes is designed for a particular purpose. The term “Throw” is used for the longer ray of light that has a well-defined beam, whereas the “flood” is the wider ray of light that illuminates your environment but does not reach too far. Flashlights with excellent flooding are usually great for seeing things close-up.  Those that have a good throw are more helpful for seeing objects that are remote. Tactical flashlights that provide both options have a button or knob to switch between modes.

4. For Emergency and Survival

We never know when an emergency will strike, so it is very important that you are well-prepared in case it happens. Make sure to always have a tactical flashlight at home or in your bag in case of an emergency. Natural disasters like earthquakes, storms, and hurricanes can happen anytime. You don’t want to find yourself stuck in the dark when the electricity goes out in your home or someplace else.

Tactical flashlights nowadays are compact, with led lights and heavy-duty batteries that would last long. They also have modes that are specifically designed for survival purposes.

The S.O.S. and Beacon Modes

There are tactical flashlights that have SOS and Beacon modes allowing them to flash a bright beam of light at certain time intervals.

The SOS repeating patterns are three short bursts, three long bursts, and then again three short bursts of light. A lot of flashlights these days have built-in SOS patterns so you won’t need to do it manually.

Beacons are used to draw people’s attention to a specific location and send signals as well. A tactical flashlight, if set to beacon mode, will produce long flashes of light at slow repeat intervals.

The S.O.S. and Beacon modes are useful in emergency situations where you need to send off a message to your rescuers. Instead of shouting or waving your hands, you could reserve your energy by just signaling for help using your flashlight.

5. To Start A Fire

You can start a fire using a flashlight in three different ways. The first method is by breaking the light bulb, which you would need to do carefully to make sure that you don’t break the inner filament. To start a fire, you can use a little bit of tinder, such as wood or paper, on the top of the light around the filament and then switch the light on.

The second technique is by using the glass lens from the flashlight cap as a magnifier. You can start a fire by positioning the lens so that the sun’s rays can pass through it onto the tinder.

The third one can only be done using tactical flashlights with extremely concentrated lumens. When these flashlights are used to shine on tinder, they are capable of starting a fire and burn flammable materials.

6. As a Useful Tool

Some tactical flashlights have serrated edges that can be used in breaking through a car window when you need to quickly get in or out of your vehicle in case of an emergency situation. These flashlights can also be used in search and rescue operations when rescuers need to break into a glass window to get into a house to save the people trapped inside.

7. In Special Situations

To adapt to specialized situations, tactical flashlights can also be equipped with accessories such as light filters. Light filters come in various colors and are used for different purposes.

Often used by military professionals, red filters can improve your ability to see during night-time. Green filters, on the other hand, provide a soft adjustment to night vision and can be used for hunting since it doesn’t drive animals away.
Blue and yellow filters are great for blood tracking and are often used for investigations.


Tactical flashlights are one of the best innovations ever made that play a very important role not only in law enforcement and search and rescue operations, but also in the everyday lives of civilians who need to defend themselves from the possible dangers that they may encounter. In my over 14 years of experience in self-defense and personal protection, I know how essential it is to have a handy weapon that can be used by people of any level of proficiency.

Not all people can use guns and not all have the license to use one, but anyone has access to a tactical flashlight and it is always available for use anytime, anywhere.

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