Do you carry a handgun for self-defense? If so, you may also want to carry a good flashlight. The statistics indicate approximately 60% of all confrontations occur in dim light conditions. That does not necessarily mean complete darkness, but rather diminished lighting to the point where your ability to identify the threat is jeopardized. You are responsible for making sure of your target and every round that leaves the muzzle.
Just like a good blade, there are many other reasons defensive minded folks may want to carry a good light. Defensive strikes, a disorienting strobe or blinding an assailant, navigation, and signaling all come to mind aside from threat identification. High quality pocket carry lights with variable brightness and strobe features are widely available today. No reason not to carry one.
For most, the thought of holding a light and shooting is a daunting task. Yes, there are weapon mounted lights and lasers (lasers do not allow for identification), but there are some distinct advantages of a handheld EDC Flashlight. One is that you can use a handheld light to search and identify without having to muzzle everyone. This would not be the case with a weapon mounted light system. Weapon mounted lights have their place, but carry a handheld as well.
So, what are my picks for the best EDC flashlights? The best EDC flashlights, to me, are as follows, and pictured below:
Keeping the above in mind, let’s examine some common methods for using a handheld light and shooting a pistol at the same time.
My top two picks for hand held flashlight techniques are as follows–
1. Neck Index
This technique requires you to shoot one handed and utilize the light separately. One benefit is that you can use the light to search and identify without muzzling unintentional targets, keeping your handgun in a low ready position. There are several variations of this method: jaw index, ear index, and cheek index. Use a rear pressure switch light in the support hand and utilize the neck, jaw line etc., to lightly rest and aim the light.
2. Harries Technique
Probably one of the better known techniques and used for years by police. The shooter holds a light with a rear or side pressure switch in the support hand, which moves under the gun hand as the weapon is aimed. Back of hands are then pressed together, creating “back of hand to back of hand” isometric tension. This creates a stable platform for shooting.
A potential downside to this technique is that the EDC flashlight is essentially attached to the gun, similar to a weapon mounted light. Thus, the shooter must be cognizant of muzzling anything they’re not willing to destroy while searching with light and gun together.
Three other options for utilizing a light and handgun together;
1. Chapman Technique
A flashlight with a side-mounted pressure switch is most appropriate here. In the support hand, the shooter will hold the light with the thumb already positioned on the pressure switch. The light is then positioned against and parallel to the support side of the pistol. The shooter’s middle, ring, and pinky fingers give nearly full support to the shooting hand. In essence, you can obtain almost a full grip while still utilizing the flashlight. Once again, you must be aware of potential muzzling of unintended targets.
2. Rogers Technique
This method utilizes a rear pressure switch light having a raised ridge or ring around the tubular housing. The light is held in the support hand between the index and middle fingers, akin to holding a cigar. The shooter pulls the light rearward, pressing the switch into the meaty portion of the palm/base of thumb, thereby activating the pressure switch. A full two handed grip on the pistol can be obtained with the proper light and some practice. There are specific lights made for this technique. The best EDC flashlight with a rear-mounted pressure switch that works well with the Rogers method is the Surefire model G2ZX.
3. FBI Technique
The FBI method involves holding the light in the support hand, away from the body. This allows you to keep the light away from your center in case an assailant shoots into the light. It provides mobility of the support hand and arm to use the light for searching the threat area. This is another one handed shooting technique that will require some practice to feel comfortable with.
As with any defensive firearm training method, I recommend the student obtain professional instruction from a credible instructor. Remember that a majority of self-defense encounters occur in dark or at least reduced light conditions. If you choose to be armed, you owe it to yourself and others to become proficient in defensive methods to include shooting with a hand held light.
What do you consider to be the best EDC flashlight? Let us know in the comments below.