Self Defense Flashlight

Using a Flashlight For Self Defense


Mathew R Reed
November 29, 2021

When you think about the most effective self defense tools you could choose from, wielding a flashlight might not be at the top of the list.

However, when chosen carefully and operated the right way, these lights can be extremely successful for defending yourself from a would-be attacker.

Can you use a flashlight for self defense?

Yes, flashlights can be used as a self defense tool, but this doesn’t apply to every kind of light out there. A tactical flashlight is the best option as they’re exceptionally bright and can be used as a blunt force object, but you need to train with them to ensure you’re using them effectively.

If you’re looking for a household item that can double as a line of defense, the flashlight might just be it.

With some pointers, you’ll see how a flashlight can help you defend yourself and some of the best tactics you can learn to keep yourself protected.

Can You Use a Flashlight For Self Defense?

A flashlight can be an effective tool for self defense, but only in the right circumstances and with the right light.

Using a regular household flashlight and hoping to shine it in your attacker’s eyes and run for freedom isn’t exactly the right approach if you want to rely on this tool to protect yourself, so it’s not as simple as that.

The only way to guarantee your flashlight works for self defense is to buy one made for this specific purpose. Once you have the torch, you’ll need to spend time training with it, just as you would any other weapon.

Building up confidence with the flashlight and knowing how to use it effectively will take time and practice, as you don’t want the first time you have to use it to be a real-life self defense situation,

What Is a Tactical Flashlight?

what is tactical flashlight

The self defense moves you make with a flashlight can only be as effective as the flashlight itself.

A tactical flashlight is the type you want to invest in if you’re hoping to use it for self defense, and are looking for a torch that’s high quality and made from the most durable materials.

These flashlights are generally used as a carry companion for a firearm, and can be held or mounted to improve visibility, but are just as effective for self defense.

The biggest pro of tactical flashlights is that they’re brighter than most. You can judge the brightness of a torch by looking at its lumen count which is a measure of the light that comes from it. The higher the lumen, the brighter it will be, and the more effective at having the blinding effect you need in a self defense situation.

Tactical flashlights don’t only need to be bright but also easy to maneuver and carry. If you plan on using it as a striking weapon, being able to get a good grip of the flashlight is critical.

They should have a hefty weight to them too, if you want them to do any damage, and are generally made out of tougher materials like aluminum alloy.

Pros and Cons of Flashlight Self Defense

pros and cons of tactical flashlight

The most important thing to consider when choosing a self defense weapon is how comfortable you are with it.

What some people might find reliable others won’t, so it’s a personal choice to be made. These are some of the good and bad things about using a flashlight for self defense so you can see if it’s the right fit.

The Pros

  • A flashlight is useful for deterring as well as defending, so it covers you on both sides. Having a simple tool that does both increases your chances of escaping a potentially scary situation.
  • Investing in a quality tactical flashlight will only cost around $100 and they’re designed to last for years. You’ll have made a savvy investment
  • Carrying a flashlight around isn’t as confronting as carrying a firearm and some people may feel more comfortable doing so. The risk of someone trying to grab it off you is also less likely.
  • Being able to buy yourself just a few seconds in one of these situations can mean the difference between life and death. By doing something as simple as shining a light into an attacker’s eyes, you can escape them and run to freedom.
  • Even when not used directly on an attacker, having a flashlight comes with other benefits. It illuminates a space, helps you focus on a target if you’re carrying a firearm, and can even signal for help if it has a strobe function.

The Cons

  • As a standalone self defense weapon, a flashlight might not be enough to make a difference. Some people will feel more confident in their level of protection carrying a firearm, depending on the scenario.
  • If you’re untrained with using a flashlight for self defense, you might misjudge how easy it is to get it into someone’s eyes or apply the right amount of force to make an impact. In one of these situations, it might not always be easy to turn on a torch and shine it directly where you want it to go.
  • Tactical flashlights are more designed for use with firearms and not necessarily as a weapon. You’ll need one that’s heavier and longer if you want to use it for self defense, which can be hard to find.
fleshlight selfdefense tactics

Although the most common use of a flashlight is to bring light to a dark space, it’s even more impressive when used as a self defense tool.

There are three main ways you can use a flashlight to defend yourself effectively, including:

Using it as a deterrent

As many attacks occur at nighttime, just having a flashlight with you and turned on when you’re walking on the street at night can help.

With the light around you, an attacker will be less likely and able to make a move on you, so it can be a great deterrent. A flashlight used in conjunction with a firearm will improve visibility, so you’re guaranteed a more precise shot.

Blinding an attacker

blinding attacker with flashlight

The biggest benefit of a tactical flashlight is the higher lumen count and you want to use this to your advantage in a self defense situation.

As the attacker comes close to you, turn on your torch and point it directly into their eyes. The closer you can get to their eyes the better. It should blind them temporarily and disorient them, giving you enough time to run away or call for help.

Striking an attacker

This type of move should only be attempted by someone with training in self defense and who feels comfortable using the flashlight as a weapon or if you aren’t able to run away from an attacker.

Tactical flashlights are capable of delivering a decent blunt force blow to someone when done correctly, allowing you to escape. The strike should be done with the head of the flashlight in a downward stabbing motion, or thrusting forward motion.

Focus on the vulnerable areas of the body like face, ribs, and neck, rather than on the harder parts like the skull, and if your flashlight has sharp edges on the bezel, this can provide further damage.

How to Find a Quality Self Defense Flashlight

features of quality flashlight

If you’re ready to upgrade your household flashlight to something more impressive, a tactical model is the way to go.

These are the features you’ll want to check off when looking for a self defense flashlight to get the job done.

  • Durable materials: The most popular material for a self defense flashlight is aluminum, and this includes adonized and aluminum alloy. Avoid anything made of plastic or cheaper materials as they won’t last as long or be as effective to strike with.
  • Weather resistant: In many self defense situations, you’ll be outside, and that means your torch will be as well. Find one that’s designed to take a beating from the elements and possibly even has water proofing, as it’ll be guaranteed to have a better lifespan.
  • Heavier weight: A tactical flashlight mounted to a weapon should be lightweight but one used specifically for striking with will want some weight to it. Depending on how you plan on using it, you’ll need to decide which end of the scale it needs to be on.
  • Different modes: Look for a flashlight that can switch between different light modes and how easily it is to do so. Most will allow you to choose low, regular, or high beam, and some also feature a strobe mode that can disorient a would-be attacker or allow you to signal for help.
  • Good grip: A textured grip is essential with a tactical flashlight, otherwise, you won’t have the control and precision you need, especially if your palms get sweaty. You’ll want to handle the torches in person and feel the grip, as some people have preferences over what feels most comfortable to them.
  • Textured bezel: Many of the bezels of these flashlights come with sharp edges, and although it’s not a necessity it can be handy in a self defense scenario. Having sharp edges here allows you to break glass in an emergency but it can be another form of defense from someone attacking you.
  • Lumen count: Most flashlights will indicate how many lumens they have, which is their brightness. For a tactical flashlight, you’d expect at least a few hundred, but there are some that span into the few thousand range. The higher the lumen, the more effective it’ll be at temporarily blinding someone.
  • Beam distance: The beam distance of a flashlight is measured in feet and indicates how far the light from the torch can effectively reach. While this might not be as important when you’re up close to an attacker, having something that reaches hundreds of feet can make a world of difference in a larger space.

Fight With a Light

flashlight for fight

Even if the flashlight is the most obvious choice for a self defense weapon that doesn’t make it any less effective.

Whether you need to temporarily blind and the attacker or hit them with blunt force, a quality tactical flashlight that’s been chosen for you specifically will ensure you do it right the first time.

Self defense tools come in all shapes and sizes, but the tactical flashlight is one that’s often overlooked.

If you want to learn more about this illuminating and protective household item, read on for some commonly asked questions about tactical flashlights that could change your mind about them.

How Big Is a Tactical Flashlight?

Tactical flashlights come in all sizes, weights, and lengths, designed as a carry accessory or a larger weapon that’s going to be used for self defense.

The most common size for a full-length tactical flashlight is between eight and 12 inches, and they usually weigh between half a pound to a couple of pounds, depending on their purpose.  

Can A Tactical Flashlight Blind Someone?

Tactical flashlights are designed specifically to be bright enough to temporarily blind someone and put a stop to an approaching attacker.

Most tactical flashlights are upwards of a few hundred lumens and at this amount will produce enough light to blind an attacker temporarily and give you a chance to make your next move.

Can I Mount a Tactical Flashlight?

Many tactical flashlights are designed for the sole purpose of being mounted to a firearm and used as a carry accessory.

However, if you’re choosing a light for this reason, you’ll want to ensure it can be mounted and that it’s compatible with the size and type of firearm that you have.


Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.