Do what the UK Law allows you.
As everybody knows, the UK Law is very strict about carrying any tool for self-defence in public places. Where in Poland I can enjoy carrying my CS Gas, lockable knife (any length), baton or my Glock 19 with attached extra light to it to protect myself in the UK situation is way different.
In the UK, any object which is carried on the person on purpose to defend a potential attack is classified as “an offensive weapon.” If you get caught in a public place without reasonable excuse, you may be arrested and prosecuted. The same goes for using such an object in self-defence. The good news is that in Britain the law is enforced contextually and each case is based on individual circumstances, so make sure your circumstances fit your story of defence if you get caught using any object for self-defence of getting caught carrying it in a public place. You always need what it’s called “a good reason”. Some “good reasons” for specific tools are regulated by law, so always seek for a piece of legal advice if you are not sure what you can carry and what’s puts you in trouble with the law.
Even though UK Law is super strict, there is one specific tool that I recommend to carry with you all the time, regardless if it’s night time or a bright summer day. I’m talking about a FLASHLIGHT!
First of all to understand why a flashlight is a brilliant tool for self-defence, we need to understand how the human eye works. Watch the video below:
Benefits of having a flashlight on you all the time:
- It’s Legal in the UK – not only that. You can carry it everywhere you want and can take it eve into the aeroplane. I do it all the time and the only issue I have that sometimes security check it if it has build-in taser as some of the model available for sale for example in Poland have this feature.
- Most of the modern flashlights have a small size and can fit into a pocket without even printing its shape on the clothing. If you choose a proper model, your flashlight can be the size of a pen powered by two AA lithium batteries and give the power of 300 – 400 Lumens easily. The size, functionality and lumens power is an individual choice.
- You can use it on any occasion to illuminate the area in the dark or dusk. I recommend carrying a Flashlight to everyone, but especially for those who are forced to commute during late hours.
- You don’t need a “good reason” to have it on you, and nobody will try to bother you unless you start doing something stupid with it like flashing random people in the faces.
- You can use it to gather information from suspicious strangers during the night. If a stranger approaches you when it is dark, you can put the main light stream on his waist level to check if they carry any weapons in their hands.
- If somebody suspiciously approaches you, you can blast his face and send hundreds of lumens into his eyes, which will create stopping the reaction from the stranger. You’ll get him blinded for a good 20 seconds which will give you enough time to escape or revise your options.
- You can use it as an impact tool. However, flashlights are not impacted tools, they are flashlights, but some of the models are designed to be a good impact tool due to the way they are constructed. Those flashlights have jagged strike bezel fitted around the lens. If you are within very close distance and under attack, you can, and you should use it as an impact tool to get out of the danger. Most of them are solid build and great force multiplier.
Never admit that you carry a flashlight because you intended to use it as a weapon. You carry it because you are afraid the dark – this is an explanation which will not put you in trouble with the Law at least. I think you got the point.
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How to carry?
Now we know why we should carry a flashlight, so let’s talk about where mount it on our clothing. In my personal opinion, first of all, you should carry it in the same place all the time. This will give you confidence that every time you reach for it it’s going to be the same place and the flashlight will be there. If this is your only tool to carry and your primary tool then you should have it in your pocket on your dominant side. For right-handed people, it’s going to be the right front pocket of your trousers. You can also carry it in your back pocket on the dominant side, but this is personal preferences.
Make sure you clip it with a clip to the outside, that means flashlight should be hidden in your pocket with the thumb switch facing up.
For Law Enforcement place for the flashlight would be on the support side as on their dominant side, they usually have their primary weapon. In the UK it can be a baton, taser or firearm.
Which flashlight should I buy?
In general, you should own a few, to be honest. I believe you are familiar with the famous quote: “Two is one, one is none, none is stupid”.
- One low profile that you can take even if you have to obey specific dress code and there is no space for compact size flashlight. (300 – 500 Lumens)
- One compact size flashlight – great to carry outside when your clothing does not restrict the size of it. (800 – 1600 lumens with the possibility to change light intensity)
- One to keep next to your bed all the time – just in case of a home invasion or some troubles going on outside your property at night (300 – 500 lumens)
- One to keep in the car – this is not only good to have in case of some road rage situation, but also very useful when your car breaks down during the night. (800 – 1600 lumens with the possibility to change light intensity). Try to look for a flashlight which also has seat belt cutter build in and hard front around the lens which can break the glass if you get stuck inside the vehicle for some reason.
What manufacture to choose?It depends on your budget! You can buy very cheap NO NAME one from Amazon for £4.99 or it the price can go as high as £1200 for SUREFIRE UDR Cominator.
Here are some manufactures that you can check when choosing a flashlight for you.
If you are a police officer you may also check the ASP a they have all their products designed for LE and Security Personel.
In my personal opinion if you want to spend less than £40 on a flashlight it's probably going to be a good choice for a household use. Anything above you may consider a flashlight that will serve you well when you need it under various weather conditions outside.
I personally use for low profile ASP Acribe AAA and it's brilliant as it fits any clothing and does the job in the dark and for longer outdoor trips KLARUS ST15. In my house I keep ASP XT DF.
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Lumens. How many?
Here is a general rule: The greater the lumens number, the better! It’s true, but for indoor or vehicle use you have to take the possibility of a backsplash into account. Backsplash happens when you flashlight the object which reflects the light from your torch and you receive it back on the face. This can cause some serious issues and gets you blinded instead of the threat. Be aware of that.
For in house use, I do recommend something which gives about 250 – 400 Lumens. When you are checking the room, you can use the technique of directing the light towards the ceiling. The reflected light will come back and illuminate the rest of the room enough that you can scan it and gather data about the possible threat. By using this technique, you can reduce the risk of the backsplash.
For outdoor use, I’d recommend as many lumens as possible. Keeping it in a realistic numbers 1200 – 2000 would do the job for sure. It’s also good to have an additional switch on the front of your torch to change the intensity of the light, but again this depends on user and purpose for the flashlight. If you use it purely for self-defence, this switch may not be necessary as you’ll keep your flashlight always on the maximum lumens option. If you use it however for lighting you way back home from your 2.00pm 10.00pm shift you may consider having this option as 2000 lumens all the way may not only get your own eyes tired but also your flashlight will become hot.
Stay safe and out of trouble.
Bartosz Zukowski – Self Defence Expert