Why You Should Always Carry a Tactical Flashlight

Why You Should Always Carry a Tactical Flashlight

I’m not sure when I started carrying a tactical flashlight, but now I won’t travel without one. Why? Protection! Finding lost things! Adventuring! Oh, let me count the ways!

Before I launch into a rhapsody (okay, an enthusiastic listicle) about why I love tactical flashlights, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Tactical flashlights are meant to be used with weapons and in other tactical contexts. They tend to be very bright, water resistant, and tough. (Here’s a brief overview from Art of Manliness.) Lots of preppers (and non-prepper people who like to have more-than-average levels of preparedness) carry them every day.

I’ve carried a Streamlight ProTac 2AA for four or five years now.


Why should you invest in a tactical flashlight? Let me count the reasons:

  1. See human attackers first
    Carrying a flashlight helps diminish the element of surprise that muggers and other no-good characters rely on. If you can see into the dark alleys and grimy corners, they can’t hide there.
  2. See animal attackers first
    This is less relevant in certain parts of the world, but is still a useful bonus.  At the very least you won’t be startled when a hungry, mangy pup approaches you after dark.
  3. Temporarily disrupt attackers’ vision
    Tactical flashlights are usually much brighter than their standard issue cousins. If you’re carrying one, you’ve got a chance to shine the light in any attacker’s eyes, disrupting their vision enough to give you the temporary upper hand.
  4. Can be used as an improvised weapon
    I mean, you’ll be carrying a small but solid tube of metal. It’d hurt to get hit with a tactical flashlight. Plus, they’re pretty much universally legal! (There’s still a slim but real chance they’ll get confiscated if you go through strict security, though.)
  5. You always have a tough flashlight on hand
    Every point in favor of tactical flashlights up to this point has been about self-defense applications. Those are valid, of course, but let’s not lose sight of what flashlights are for: seeing in the dark. If you’re out exploring abandoned buildings or ancient temples or picking your way through a swampy campground to the toilet in the middle of the night, a tough flashlight will make things much easier on you. It’ll probably be tough enough to survive getting dropped in the toilet or knocked off a castle wall, so you’ll be able to use it for future adventures, too!
  6. Improve your night visibility
    Make it easier for cars to see you if you’re out after dark without reflective gear. (Just don’t blind any drivers, please.)
  7. Good for living where electricity is spotty
    Tactical flashlights easily fit in (men’s) pockets and often come with a clip and holster. If you’re spending time somewhere where the electricity isn’t reliable, having a flashlight on hand 24/7 will make your life easier.
  8. Good for finding things
    I thought I was the only one who relies on their tactical flashlight for finding lots items, but I am apparently not the only one! (This writer uses his to find remotes, I use mine to find stuff in the bottom of bags and drawers.) Seriously, this perk is practically worth the ticket price.
  9. Good for exploring ancient ruins before the sun rises
    What do you mean this hasn’t happened to you before?

    The first sunrise of 2015 over Angkor Wat.


    Oh, and I guess you can use them to shoot guns in the dark. That’s a thing, too.

Convinced that you need to add a tactical flashlight to your next packing list? I hope so! If you’ve got questions (or even more uses for tactical flashlights), drop ’em in the comments.

I am not affiliated with Streamlight or any of the sites linked in this article.

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