The Myth of the EDC Flashlight as a Self Defense Weapon
One of the features commonly found is the crenelated bezel. The pointy and sometimes sharp front of the flashlight is supposedly a good feature to physically defend ourselves in a hand-to-hand entanglement with an attacker.
The other feature that is quite commonly mentioned is the strobe function. Strobe is supposed to have an incapacitating effect on a would-be assailant.
While someone with competent hand-to-hand fighting skills might be able to leverage a crenelated bezel, it’s highly unlikely for those not so trained that having only a small EDC flashlight in-hand is going to make much of a difference. What will make a difference is one’s dedication and practice of unarmed fighting skills.
Disadvantages of a crenelated bezel include potential travel restrictions due to TSA regulations for carry-on bags, and the fact that a crenelated bezel can make quick work of wearing holes in pants pockets.
Strobe is also something that should not be counted on to make much of a difference. In his article How to Use a Strobing Flashlight by Edward M. Santos, he states that in his experience the only time strobe had an observable benefit is when a police officer advanced towards the suspect. As everyday citizens looking to evade and escape, we will not be advancing towards our assailant!
Overall, Mr. Santos does find that if properly used and the limitations are understood, strobe can be useful for a team of police officers apprehending a suspect. I would encourage anyone interested in this subject matter to read Mr. Santos' article.
While the above should give pause about the utility of a crenelated bezel and strobe function on a flashlight intended for self defense, there is one major, overriding issue that must also be considered;
Believing in the utility of these features creates the false sense of security that a small EDC flashlight so equipped can serve as a useful weapon.
That, in our estimation, is simply not the case. The primary role of the EDC self protection flashlight is this;
It’s for the detection and assessment of potential threats to our personal security in low-light environments.
The typical EDC flashlight we would carry in a pocket or purse is not a practical weapon, crenelated bezel and/or strobe notwithstanding. If we feel compelled to carry a weapon and it’s within the law for us to do so, there are plenty of bonafide weapons, lethal and non-lethal to choose from. Of course, getting trained on the physical and legal use of those weapons is an important part of the concealed carry weapon lifestyle.
Where a small, powerful EDC flashlight can play a direct defensive role is using it to temporarily deprive an attacker of their visual accuity with an application of high-intensity light to their eyes. There’s no doubt that such a tactic can create an effective photonic barrier and open an opportunity to evade and escape. If the situation warrants, it can also open opportunity for the use of an actual self defense weapon with the other hand.
There is zero doubt that a small, easy-to-carry EDC flashlight can be used to enhance our personal security in low-light environments. We just need to avoid falling into the false-assumption trap that such a flashlight can serve as an effective weapon by itself. EDC Light BuilderComments? Please feel free to share them with the EDC Light Builder