In the second episode of season 7 of The Best Defense, we examined the advantages of carrying a flashlight as a personal-defense tool. In addition to providing light to search for potential threats, having the capacity to disrupt an attacker’s vision from a distance, and ensuring proper target identification when using a firearm in low-light conditions, the flashlight is also an outstanding “first line of defense” when it comes to contact-distance fighting skills.
Flashlights fall into the category of improvised weapons commonly called “fist loads.” In simple terms, these include any object that can be gripped firmly in the fist so a portion of it extends from the bottom and/or top of the hand to serve as a striking surface. An aluminum or high-impact plastic flashlight has no nerves, so you can use it to hit harder and with more focused impact than you can with your bare hand alone. This not only makes your strikes more effective; it also makes it much less likely that you’ll injure your own hand when hitting full power—an important consideration if you plan to transition from empty-hand skills to the draw and operation of a purpose-designed weapon like a pistol or a knife.
In addition to a flashlight, one of my favorite fist load weapons is a tactical pen—specifically those made by Tuff-Writer. A tactical pen is nothing more than a high-quality, extremely durable pen that offers an extremely solid grip so it can be used as a striking tool. Well-designed tactical pens are also devoid of any sharp edges or protrusions that could damage your hand when used to strike. Best of all, because they are first and foremost pens, you can walk down the street with one in your hand without raising any eyebrows. You can’t do that with a knife or pistol. With a pen (or flashlight) in hand, you are armed with a very capable “immediate-response” weapon that you can bring into action instantly if confronted by a threat.
Remember, however, that the key to using a “tactical” pen or a “tactical” flashlight effectively is having the skill to put the “tactic” into “tactical.” Simply carrying a tool and hoping that it wards off evil spirits isn’t enough. You need to actually learn and practice the skills to use it effectively. To that end, I have created a very simple curriculum specifically geared toward developing reliable defensive skills with a tactical pen, flashlight, Kubotan, or similar fist-load-style self-defense tool. The hubud skill you saw in The Best Defense is part of this curriculum. The rest can be found in my two-volume DVD set Focused Impact, available exclusively from Stay Safe Media.
I travel a lot, but I am never without my Tuff-Writer pen (and pencil) and a good tactical flashlight (currently a Streamlight ProTac 2L)—or the well-practiced skills to use them effectively.