Every day carry (EDC) is a phrase that can mean something different to everyone. All of us leave home with a specific set of items. I bet your keys, phone and wallet top your list. I even have a ritual that I follow before I step out the door. Sounding like a chant, I say “Keys, Wallet, Phone” while patting each item’s location to be sure I haven’t forgotten anything.
Beside the first three items, my EDC includes at least 2 more items. My pocket knife and a very high lumen pocket flashlight. Because I work on computers, both of those items I find indispensable. I carry my flashlight for two reasons. The first should be obvious to anyone who has ever tried connecting computer cables under a dimly lit desk. The second reason I carry a flashlight is the real motivation for carrying one. I carry it for self-defense.
In the winter months, when it gets dark so early, how many times have you had to walk to your vehicle in a dark parking lot from the grocery store, the mall, or even work. I am sure everyone has encountered conditions that made the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Having a high lumen flashlight can be one of those non-lethal weapons that might save your life. In the dark, a high intensity flashlight shined directly into someone’s eyes will momentary blind them. If the flashlight has a strobe feature, I can also disorient an attacker. An assailant uses the dark to their advantage. Once you take that advantage away, they may choose not to continue their plans. However, if you have momentarily blinded or disoriented them, you now have an opportunity to run away. If you do need to defend yourself, tactical flashlights are designed to be extremely tough and have a serrated bezel designed to be used as a defensive striking tool.
If you choose to carry a flashlight, become familiar and fluent in controlling it. If you want the strobe, practice until it becomes instinctual to turn on the strobe. When you are walking in a dimly lit parking lot, have your hand one your flashlight while it’s in your coat pocket. Do not toss it into your purse and think you are going to be able to use it when you need it. When you walk to your car and something doesn’t seem right, shine your flashlight around your car and into the back seat or rear hatch.
Another reason, I carry the flashlight is I can take it through nearly any security checkpoint and not worry about having it restricted. I can’t say that about a tiny swiss army knife.
When shopping for a flashlight, make sure it has at least 200 lumens. Some experts recommend 300 or more lumens. Personally, I carry a flashlight that puts out 500 lumens. I want to make sure that if I need to use it in defense that I absolutely ruin someone’s night vision for as long as possible. Another important feature of a good tactical light is size. Make sure it is not too big that it won’t easily fit into your coat pocket or your front pants pocket. What good is it if it’s too big to carry?
Consider adding a flashlight to your EDC. Since this is the Holiday season, they also make good stocking stuffers.
Dave Stroh is the CADD Manager at Hamilton Consulting Engineers.
By default the CADD guy becomes the Network Administrator, and, on occasion, the sidewalk shoveler and office repairman.