What is Tactical Flashlight? Are They Effective Enough?

Last Updated on May, 2024

We’d never know when and how a potential threat would approach us. We must be on red alert when there’s a time when we need to walk alone after a night shift. 

No matter how much we try to avoid it, these circumstances will happen one way or another.

If you’re worried about your safety and looking for a self-defense mechanism for personal protection that is legally accepted for every individual, A TACTICAL FLASHLIGHT would be the answer.

The exciting part is that even though they are specially designed for law enforcement professionals, they are also great as EDC flashlights. 

Let me explain how these Tactical Flashlights can be used as a Self Defense or improvised weapon.

Quick Summary

Tactical flashlights are specifically designed for law enforcement and military personnel and can also be mounted on weapons.

These flashlights are characterized by their durability, bright brightness (over 100 lumens usually), and versatility in both self-defense and everyday use.

In addition to being a light source, tactical flashlights can also be used as a striking or blinding tool in self-defense situations.

What is a Tactical Flashlight?

Tactical Flashlights on the table

The word “TACTICAL” means everything about the Flashlight. To tell it precisely, tactical flashlights are specifically designed for professional use by law enforcement and military and police officers. 

These tactical flashlights are used alongside a firearm to encounter situations like low-light target identification, allowing the marksman to simultaneously aim a weapon and illuminate the pathway to target without using a separate Flashlight.

Tactical flashlights are generally smaller than traditional flashlights and what’s interesting about these devices is they can also be mounted to weapons. 

As mentioned before, since Tactical flashlights are weapon-mounted lights they are made of weapon-grade aluminum for high durability and resistance to damage. 

Speaking of tactical flashlights, the light does have to be used with a law enforcement equipment to be considered tactical. Here’s what you should know about tactical flashlights. 

Features That Make a Tactical Flashlight 


Up next, the design! Tactical flashlights are a lightweight design that is much more portable, and what makes a Tactical Flashlight special is the built materials. 

The device is equipped with a tail cap power switch making it easy for the users to look for the light and operate it in an abusive situation where you need to orient the light as soon as possible. 

On the other hand, the tail cap switch is also ideal when using the Flashlight alongside a weapon. Switches on the shaft of the Flashlight can be a bad break when there’s a stressful situation in the dark. 

What most of us consider is the size. The Flashlight should be no bigger than your palm making it easier for the users to carry it anywhere with them.

Unlike regular flashlights, tactical lights are generally smaller in size since they must be used with a weapon.


Brightness is one of the aspects where the tactical lights shine. One of the main characteristics a “FLASHLIGHT” must possess is powerful brightness. 

And let me tell you about LUMENS. Usually, the brightness of the light is measured using lumens.

On the other hand, a typical tactical flashlight needs to be above 100 lumens for it to be an effective self-defense tool.

In general, the higher the lumens, the brighter the Flashlight. More than 100 lumens will get the job done. 

a human holding a flashlight at night

Nowadays, the flashlights exceed 1000 lumen level, which means tactical flashlights are extremely bright and can be used as a blinding tool. 

Since law enforcement officers use tactical lights, they must be bright enough to disorient or deter a potential attacker.

Tactical lights are also very effective when used in conjunction with a weapon, which helps to identify the target in the dark and temporarily blinds the attacker’s eyes.


Can a tactical flashlight offer much more protection than other tactical tools like Kubotan, a pocket knife, or a tactical pen?

What can a small Tactical Flashlight offer than just being a light source? 

Unlike any other tactical tools, a tactical flashlight is built to be a flashlight first. This is the reason why you get them useful in the most threatening situations.

Firstly these illumination tactical flashlights can be used as a self-defensive equipment, then as a blinding tool, and also as a deterrent (more on these topics in a while).

On the other hand, we all need the user interface of the Flashlight to be straightforward, thus making it easy to use in an emergency. 

The tactical Flashlight should have a momentary-on option in which you need to press the button slightly to turn on the light and release the button to turn off the light. 

While a constant-on option in which you need to press the button completely for a while to keep the flashlight functioning continuously. Both of these options are a must-have for a tactical flashlight.


As mentioned earlier, the need for a tactical light becomes crucial. The tactical flashlights are ruggedly constructed to withstand any harsh conditions. 

As mentioned previously, since the device is used by professional law enforcement, military, and police officers, the tactical lights should be robust and durable enough to stand against any weather conditions; thus, they need to be shockproof, waterproof as well as corrosion proof. 

What’s excellent about tactical flashlights is they use IPX8 or IP68 waterproof rating suitable to withstand any weather conditions be it; rain or snow.

a tactical flashlight inside the snow

Since these flashlights are essential and a source of protection for professionals, the device must be built super tactically.

On the other hand, the device should also be tough enough to withstand being dropped and kicked and be lightweight to carry in any situation. 

Keep in mind that you are looking for anodized aluminum. It’s challenging yet light metal, plus make sure the metal on your Flashlight is machined so that it’s easy to grip.

Even Though Flashlights are small in size, they still stand ideal for self-defense, and tactical Flashlight has a distinctive serrated edge that can be used to strike the attacker nearby. 


The overall performance of your tactical Flashlight can be affected by the type of battery used. Be it the light output or runtime, everything will work depending on the battery operation. 

While several batteries are used for flashlights, lithium-ion batteries are known to be the best and will last longer than any other batteries with long battery life.

On the other hand, as we know, tactical flashlights are used by professional officers, and the battery runtime needs to be quite long. It should make it through 12 hours of runtime. So being able to be recharged is paramount. 

When Does Tactical Flashlight Come in Useful? 


You could be walking in a dark or unsafe area, and you know there are many chances for potential dangers.

This is when the flashlights come in, giving you some powerful light. 

Tactical flashlights are much more convenient, lightweight, and portable and can fit your pocket, purse, or handbag and can give you peace of mind, giving you light whenever needed, whether it’s day or night. 

A tactical flashlight was designed with a minimum of 200 lumens. At the same time, if you narrow the beam, it can cover a decent distance.

tactical flashlights on the floor

What’s great is this will not allow you to feel alone when in unsafe areas and also protect you from any potential harm from enemies or thieves plus also protects you from any unseen barriers.

When There’s Danger Around You

Attackers are highly active during night hours, which is when they’d be comfortable carrying out their activities successfully. This is where tactical flashlights are overlooked and are much more effective. 

The bright light can help you identify the threats and tackle the advantage of the attacker stalking in the shadows. 

You could quickly eliminate the potential harm by simply shining the bright light straight into the attacker’s eyes, momentarily blinding them and disorienting them. 

While your attacker struggles, you have time to flee or defend yourself further.

Emergency Occasions 

Every time there’s a power outage, the first thing you look for is your Flashlight; next, when your car breaks down at night or sometimes when you witness a car accident at night, the first thing you will look for is your Flashlight. 

While a regular flashlight is what you look for, a tactical flashlight is even better and will certainly come in helpful, providing you super bright light in all these situations.

Signaling for help

Again, when you are in danger or in an emergency and need a helping hand, what first comes to your mind is to make sounds by yelling or make movements by waving your hands. 

There are chances for you to miss your way and get lost on a mountain or wilderness, or you need to be rescued after being attacked. Your movement to seek help may be hidden from drivers or individuals at night. 

When that’s the case, a tactical flashlight can help you. If you want to signal someone from a distance using a flashlight, you would put your hand in front of the light and take it back and forth to simulate an on/off for Morse code. 

But now, the strobe mode has got you. This option can be useful for defensive stance. 

How Can the Flashlight Become Tactical and Self Defensive? Here are the Features!

Bright as a New Penny!

A bright light is the most potent weapon to defend oneself in the dark space.

You could promptly flash the tactical light into the attacker’s eye and disorient your attacker.

While a good flashlight can keep the attacker stunned for a short while, the powerful light beam of a suitable tactical flashlight could be much more effective in blinding and deterring the attacker. 

This gives you a chance to either escape or lend a helping hand within the possible time.

a human holding a tactical flashlight

Disorientate the Attackers 

Mostly the chances for robberies or assaults are highly possible during the night. Walking alone would be threatening. When this is the case, a flashlight is a must-have for all the individuals out there.

When a regular flashlight would range from anything between 15-100 lumens, the tactical flashlights can put out somewhere between 200-1000 lumens which would momentarily blind a potential would-be attacker. 

If you need to encounter a potential threat, you could shine the Flashlight into the assailant’s eye. This would make the attacker lose his vision for a while and would likely put their hands up on their face to eliminate the light. 

As I’ve mentioned previously, the brightness of the touch light would disorient and temporarily blind the eye of the attacker, which gives you a chance to counterattack or flee away.

Bezels Being a Secret Weapon 

One of the reasons why these tactical flashlights are called self-defensive is they have a serrated edge or toothed bezel. The design was built in the Flashlight to use in case of emergencies, breaking glasses, or breaking a car window. 

On the other hand, these sharp bezels can also strike when there’s a need to attack the enemy. This would be useful for every individual who has no self-defensive training.

After you’ve flashed the light into the attacker’s eye and thrown him off-guard, you could use the toothed bezel and strike the attacker on his face, neck, collarbones, or hands as hard as you can.

What’s the Difference Between Regular Flashlight and Tactical Flashlight?

Traditional flashlights are large and bulky Lightweight design and portable
Some cheaper models are not resistant to water, corrosion, and weatherweatherproof, shockproof, and waterproof
Made from low-grade aluminum, steel, or plastic Maximum durability and made of aero-grade aluminum 
It can be used only as a flashlight. It can be used as a self-defensive tool for breaking glass or car windows in an emergency situation
Lumens are between 50-100, nearly covering up to 10-15 feet of light plus some everyday carry flashlights can have better light output covering more distance. Can put up to 200-1000 lumens, nearly covering up to 50+ feet of light 

Tactical Flashlight Techniques 

The Harries Technique

This technique was brought into view by the firearm instructor Micheal Harries. This technique helps to aim the Flashlight and shoot the gun simultaneously. 

Here you hold the Flashlight right below the firearm, which gives you more stability as your firing hand will be on the hand aiming the Flashlight. You should keep in mind that your strong hand must be holding the gun.

Next, you should wrap your palms and fingers around the Flashlight’s body and place your thumb on the tail clip. 

When you hold the Flashlight underneath your strong hand, which is holding the gun, then cross your arms at your wrist, press the back of your hands tightly, and bring your strong hand upwards with the help of the supporting hand. 

This is where you gain the stability of the shooting hand to encounter the threat quickly. 

The FBI Technique 

Agents of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation use this popular method of holding the Flashlight in a defensive position. 

As mentioned above, another reason to call the Flashlight a self-defensive tool is when it is used alongside a gun.

This will help you encounter the potential threat in a low-light environment and possibly stun or blind the assailant.

The trick is to hold the Flashlight some distance away from our body, out and up with the other hand. Next, you’d orient the light towards the target.

a tactical flashlight on the army bag

The trick behind these techniques is that when your armed attacker is firing shots, they’ll be firing them at the source of the light instead of you.

As soon as you fire your shots, the gun’s muzzle flash will reveal your position, which would be the best fit for search situations. 

Neck Index Position

There needs to be more stability and accuracy when holding and aiming your gun with one arm and light with another. In that case, you can use the neck index technique. 

All you have to do is, hold the gun with both hands as usual, with your palms and fingers wrapped around the body and hold the light in the natural curve between your chin and neck as you take the shot.


Yes, tactical flashlights are good for self-defense as they can be used to deter a would-be attacker by producing a bright light and optically disorient them, providing time to escape. Additionally, they can be mounted on weapons for more effective results.

At least 120 lumens of light output is necessary to deter a potential attacker. Additional lumens would not provide any additional benefit.

Yes, a tactical flashlight with a brightness of 300 lumens can temporarily flash blind a human eye.


Nobody wants to be a victim of a crime like theft or assault. In today’s world, crime rates are increasing daily; therefore, every individual must take potential moves to protect themselves against dangers better now than never. 

A Tactical Flashlight would be a great alternative. Every night workers, joggers, and hikers would know how flashlights would be helpful. 

Tactical Flashlights can be second to none regarding self-defense tools; the peace of mind they offer hooks, everyone. 

My preference is a Tactical Flashlight. I laid my hands on the tactical Flashlight and felt real peace. Check out our best Tactical Flashlights article herein.

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Dillon Morrison
I have been involved in the flashlight community since 2007. My brother has a flashlight shop from where I have tested and reviewed more than 600+ different types of flashlights. You can find more about me here.

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