EDC Flashlight Carry
- Fast and easy access to EDC tools is obviously a major benefit. If the tool is difficult to access, its utility for everyday tasks is greatly diminished.
- Pocket clips are a popular means of keeping EDC items such as flashlights and knives within easy reach. With the clip these items can be carried (mostly) concealed yet remain consistently stationed in a quickly accessible location.
- So what’s not to like about pocket clips?
- Over the years of using pocket clips, I have discovered their drawbacks. Here are the primary reasons I no longer use them;
- Prone to becoming dislodged. Though most items can be held reasonably secure while clipped to the inside of a pocket, those items are not entirely secure. Though I have never lost an item using a pocket clip, I have had them hit the ground if the clip snagged on something. I’ve found this especially true with short items, such as a single-cell EDC flashlight. This is largely avoided with the longer 2-cell lights.
- Snagging and bent clips. This is actually a fairly common issue - snag the clip on a chair or some other object and mangle the clip. I had this happen with a Surefire E-series light and the clip had to be replaced.
- Snagging and property damage. Though not a concern for most, I made the unfortunate discovery that a pocket clip can scratch the finish of my car if I’m not careful. Simply brushing the side of the car in a tight space with the exposed clip can leave deep scratches that don’t “buff out.”
- Not entirely concealed. To those observers “in the know” an exposed pocket clip is a telltale sign of the “EDC culture.” They will naturally wonder what other “EDC items” this individual may be carrying concealed, including weapons. I’ve had this happen to me, which is why I prefer to keep all of my "EDC stuff" fully concealed.
- Gets in the way of a consistent grip. When I grab a flashlight with an icepick grip, not having a clip in the way makes a comfortable and secure grip quick to acquire. Now when I handle a light with a pocket clip, I find myself rotating the light in my hand until the clip is out of the way.
- SureFire® has for many years offered versions of their CombatLight® models which are specifically designed to be used with a syringe grip, and continue to do so with their current flashlight lineup. When attached to a lanyard loop installed under the tailcap, a finger ring is compatible with this technique. The finger ring also aids in the extraction from a pocket while providing hands-free retention. EDCLB Z26 Lanyard Loop & Finger Ring
Carry Alternatives to the Pocket Clip?
Since the light is already being carried in a pocket, all the pocket clip is truly doing is preventing the light from riding in the bottom of the pocket. If there’s not much else in that pocket (and assuming we’re not wearing skin-tight pants), I have not found this to be a major drawback. If it takes a second or two to grab the light and attain a good grip using a pocket clip, it doesn't take much longer to pull the easier-to-grip clip-free light from the bottom of the pocket.
A key consideration is that unlike a knife (or obviously a pistol) that gets drawn and displayed in public, it’s highly unlikely that we’ll be held legally accountable for doing the same with a flashlight. For this reason, a 1.5 second draw of the flashlight is probably not something to be concerned with. If it’s likely a flashlight could be needed (such as when venturing into dark spaces), there’s no downside to pulling it early and having it in-hand for if or when it’s needed. Use of a flashlight retention accessory makes having the light ready in-hand much more convenient.
- My solution to pocket clip carry is deep pocket carry, sans any pocket clip at all. I simply drop the light into a pocket and let it ride at the bottom. Since I’m also an advocate of finger rings, fist bungees and wrist lanyards, these retention accessories also aid in drawing the light from the pocket. The keys to success with this method are (1) limit what is carried in the same pocket and (2) wear pants that have roomy pockets. Most jobsite workwear is suitable for this and does not scream Tactical Timmy like a pair of 5.11 pants. I’m personally a fan of the Duluth Foreman work pants - the right-front zippered pocket is perfect for carrying a 2-cell E-series flashlight where it rides vertically, unnoticed and very comfortably.
- The disadvantages of vertical carry include difficulty of concealment and the discomfort of having the top of the light digging into your side. Additionally most of these use the same attachement method as a holster so they stick out somewhat from the belt.
- The EDCLB HBC Horizontal Belt Carrier addresses these issues. Custom made for the EDCLB Personal Security Pro model flashlights, the 1.0 version fits most lights with a 1-inch diameter head. The HBC comfortably carries the light horizontally close to the body for excellent concealment and ease of access. It includes an elastic belt keeper to keep the back of the light tight to the belt and to securely retain the light during rigorous activity.