majority of the time the tactical use of the handheld
light is discussed the emphasis is on the ability of
the light to blind the opponent. The ability of a light
to blind someone really counts on three things, the
power of the light, and the preexisting ambient light
of the environment and most importantly the probability
of the threat focusing on the light.
When it comes the brightness of the light, which seems
to be the focal point of conversation, I believe that
many times there is too much. Momma always said doesn't
look into the eyes of the sun. This is true since we
instinctually seem to know that you should not look
directly at bright lights whether it is the sun, on
coming headlights or someone welding.
When bright light is shined in someone's eyes
a natural defense mechanism is to shield the face with
the hands and to attempt to look around the light. The
darker the situation the more likely this is to occur.
As far as using a light to blind someone this become
problematic in the environment that the majority of
folks will find themselves in due to the amount of ambient
light that already exists. Most easily explained by
the fact that you don't test the brightness of
you new light during the day. Flashlight work best in
the dark at least for illumination purposes. Illuminating
the threat is only half the use of the light.
Getting the threat to focus on the light is the hard
part, especially if you shine it right in their eyes.
For CQB especially hand-to-hand the greatest benefit
of the handheld light is to disorient and distract.
I have gotten several PHs from folks about only using
he standard Surefire P60 lamp in my 6P. Basically the
three times a policeman uses a light is for car stops,
building searches and street contacts. During car stops
overheads, takedowns, spotlights and high beams already
illuminate the vehicle. What do you think you are going
to add to that with a handheld light? Not much.
At that point the handheld light is to look into nook
and crannies where light does not fill or splash into.
Clearing buildings is usually darkest environment we
operate in, there for the weakest light can appear very
bright proving the P60 most efficient? The last most
common use being street contacts is where I want to
make my major points.
Most street contact or “walk ups” are going
to occur in places that are pretty well lit for the
most part. In and around streets, buildings, parking
lots and businesses. This is the situation where there
is the most propensity for violence for police and civilians
alike. Here the most important parts about having handheld
light is having it with you, being able to deploy it
under stress and reliability. No matter how ultra high
speed your particular EDC light is if any of these three
things are not in order your are phucked.
Due to the ambient light encountered during street contacts,
blinding your adversary is unlikely. What is likely
is being about to disorient or distract him while you
decide to take flight or fight.
When you are driving down the street and a small animal
scurries across the road in front of you, what do you
do? Your predator eyes detect movement and your eyes
track it across the road. The same thing would occur
if you took a ball and rolled it into a room full of
people, they would detect movement and track it.
We can use this to our survival advantage. Also understand
the human eye can only track on thing at a time. This
is where the use of a handheld light is often misunderstood
Next time you train in a nice bright area take the handheld
light of your choice. Have your training partner stand
in front of you and whenever you are ready from a normal
conversation distance with your hands in front of you,
strobe the light on and track it up at a 45 degree angle.
As your partners eyes latch onto the light and begin
to instinctually track it just give him a light slap
on the face with your opposite hand. Don't do
it hard or he won't let you do it again. The point
of the drill is to show that even in the brightest areas
the human eye is predisposed to follow movement and
when you add a nice shiny light it only adds to the
Again this is only one drill but effectively shows the
importance of using he light to mentally and physically
off balance their opponent and at the same time move
the light off their center line.
This technique can be especially effective for policemen
since 90% of the population is right handed, thus the
right handed criminal is predisposed as a right handed
policeman is to respond to a rear threat or run away
by turning to his left first.
A right handed policeman will most likely have his light
in his left hand allowing him to strobe the light to
the bad guys left, there buy off balancing him buy taking
him the in the opposite direction of his normal reaction.
The best way to survive is to keep moving. The best
way to use a flashlight to help you to survive is to
move the light, not count on it to blind but rather
distract and disorient.