Best Flashlight to Blind Attacker: Now You See Me, Now You Don’t
Being chased in the dark is a nightmare lots of people have. In reality, it’s much worse because you can’t wake up to escape. So, what can you do? Not everyone is a fighter. Even if you are, there are times when getting away is the better choice.
It’s smart to carry a flashlight in the dark regardless, so bring one that’s useful as both a tool and a defensive weapon. You need a minimum of eighty lumens of light to cause temporary blindness in very dark conditions. However, you’re better off with two-hundred lumens or more. At that intensity, you can blind an attacker even in daylight.
What is Flash Blindness and How Does It Work
Eyes are a wonder of nature and evolution. The ability to perceive your surroundings based on the reflection from a small portion of the light spectrum is an incredible advantage. A human eye is incredibly adaptive. Unfortunately, the adaptation isn’t instant.
High & Low
Interestingly, the eye adapts differently depending on how the light changes. When you go from light to dark, it can take up to half an hour to adjust normally. Strangely, this is not the case when the light gets suddenly brighter. If you blind an attacker, you’ll have around thirty seconds to escape. It’s possible that you could have up to three minutes, but you’re only guaranteed a few seconds.
For your safety, you need to practice situational awareness. In an emergency, you can probably get to your car, or out of your home. What if you’re walking in the forest? Have a plan for how and where to go. Plus you’ll want to have a backup defense.
A combination of high powered light and pepper spray could save your life if you need longer to escape. Non-lethal solutions are often the best, but you need to know what you’re dong. Otherwise, in a minute, you could be in more trouble than before with an angry, persistent attacker.
A taser is also a great backup system. While they can be lethal in rare situations, most of the time, they’ll only incapacitate the person (or animal) you’re trying to get away from. Never rely on one defense when you can easily have more.
Is Flash Blindness Dangerous
However much a flash of light might disorient and annoy someone, it’s almost always temporary. Headaches and vertigo are common side effects. There are forms of light that do damage.
- High Powered Lasers- A beam of concentrated laser light can blind an attacker. Unfortunately, you can also be held responsible for ongoing damage if you hurt them. Self-defense is a reasonable argument, but unequal force can get you in trouble.
- Sunlight- Ultraviolet light can cause burns in the retina that have a lasting effect. This is why you shouldn’t stare at the sun. Despite the distance, the light is still powerful enough to blind you, especially over time and with multiple direct exposures. It only takes a few moments to cause permanent damage.
- Fluorescent Lights- Unsurprisingly, fluorescent bulbs have caused problems. They emit UV light just like the sun, albeit less.
- Blue light- Recent studies point to a culprit closer to home. The blue light, such as that from LED home lightbulbs and computer screens, may also harm you. Lower energy doesn’t necessarily mean less danger to you or your aggressor.
- Radiation- As a form of light, radiation like that of x-rays or nuclear explosions can also injure the cells of your retina.
Temporary blindness isn’t a problem on its own. Unhappily, the source can be an issue. Using light for defense is an excellent way to avoid worse trouble. Still, you want to exercise caution in order to prevent other consequences.
What is a Lumen
Once, not so long ago, most people used watts to measure how much light they were getting. Frankly, that is a ridiculous way of looking at light since a watt is a measurement of electrical power to run a bulb, but doesn’t measure the light itself.
A sixty-watt lightbulb (the old kind, not the LED variety) produces about eight hundred lumens or a reasonably bright light. It’s enough to cause you to see spots if you stare at it even in the daytime.
Lumens, or the Lumen Scale, are a way to measure how much light a source puts off. More lumens always means more light. The sun puts out around ten-thousand lumens on a bright summer day. By comparison, one candle power is 12.57 Lumens.
Lumens Vs. Candle Power
Alternately, if it helps, a lumen is how much measurable light there is in one square foot when it is one foot away from a candle. Don’t be confused by the term “candle power aka candelas,” as this measures the concentration of the light. For our purposes, candle power isn’t what we’re looking for. Candelas are more commonly used to describe spotlights and not flashlights, though it is useful to know the meaning of the terms.
How Do I Choose a Good Portable Flashlight
There are thousands of choices. Flashlights are found everywhere, but not every flashlight can protect you. How do you tell them apart, and what should you look for? There are some easy ways to know what to look for when shopping for the right defensive light for your needs.
What You Need Most
- Power Source- Look at batteries and ask questions. Are the batteries integrated or separate? How many batteries and how long do they last? Is there a cord or cable to recharge, and if so is it included?
- Brightness- How many Lumens is your light? Eighty is barely enough at night. Anything over two hundred is enough in the day. Also, learn how far the beam will shine and whether it has other settings. Strobe is good for getting attention in an emergency. Likewise, a beam you can concentrate, or with different light settings is helpful.
- Weight & Size- A flashlight you need a cart to tow is no good. You want something easy to carry. Decide what feels comfortable to your hand.
- Features- Check t see if your flashlight comes with additional features. A holster is always nice, or a belt clip.
Top 5 Best Flashlights to Blind Your Attacker
It may seem like a lot to take in at first. Hopefully, we can clear up the issue with a few judicious options. We’ve gone through and carefully chosen our top five best lights for personal defense.
Each of these lights should help you escape a dangerous situation, but please remember that you still need a plan for what to do next.
1. Creazy® Cree Xpe-r3 Mini Penlight
Any light that can stand up on a table and double as a candle in an emergency is a bonus. The small but powerful Cree Xpe-r3 Mini Penlight is an impressive little tool. You can use it to hunt for things under your front seat, or blind an attacker with its thousand lumens concentrated beam. Moreover, the size and value are exceptional.
This light made the list because it’s simple and effective. You won’t have to fiddle with settings or spend time reading complicated manuals to use this easy, blindingly bright light. Attackers won’t see it coming, and if they do, it will be the last thing they see for a while.
No Muss, No Fuss
Run your Cree Xpe-r3 Mini Penlight on a single AAA battery. The one button, one setting design makes this our top choice for a simple, easy to handle light. It doesn’t have a ton of accessories or parts, so it’s got fewer vulnerabilities than a complex light.
When you just need a simple solution to a common problem, this light does the job. You can flash blind and then escape efficiently without having to think too hard about anything else. Worry later, defend first.
- Recessed Button- The advantage of a recessed button is that it is harder to push accidentally. Resultantly, the accidental power loss is minimal on this model. You don’t want a glowing pocket when you’re trying to escape a mostly blind attacker in the dark.
- Good Quality- The build on this flashlight is solid in your hand. You can feel the difference when you buy a cheaper product that isn’t so well made.
- Super Portable- The clip and size make this ideal for carrying all the time. You may want several of these to place near doors and carry in both your vehicle and pocket.
- Not an Offensive Weapon- A finger-sized flashlight isn’t good for striking back if you have to defend yourself physically. The tradeoff is that you get a fantastic lightweight flashlight that goes anywhere you need it.
- Batteries- If you buy cheap, low powered batteries, then you won’t get as much light. Always get a great, trustworthy battery for your EDC lights.
- Small Switch- Little switches wear out faster. Furthermore, they can be a bit harder to push if you have large fingers.
Pick a perfect protective penlight here.
2. Mag-Tac CR123 Flashlight
Maglite is a well known and trusted name in flashlight technology. The “crowned bezel” option gives you a series of semi-sharp outcroppings around the light. These can be used for self-defense. While you want to avoid violence wherever possible, it’s nice to know you can use this for more than one type of defense.
The CR123 is designed for first responders, but you can have one too. In putting this light together, Maglite asked for extensive input from law enforcement and the military. The detachable clip allows you to carry it on a belt or bag strap as easily as putting it in your pocket, plus it won’t slip off since it’s secured.
Feels Good in Your Hand
The diamond knurl pattern on the body of this light helps improve grip, yet it’s not that scratchy near-sandpaper metal finish used by cheaper lights for traction. The anodized aluminum is a pleasant matte black, so it blends into the shadows when it’s not turned on.
A tail-cap switch allows you to choose between modes quickly. Holding the button down will get you a short-term maximum brightness beam. You can light up an object two football fields away with the 320-lumen beam. Alternately, the high-energy 12 Hz strobe will disorient attackers allowing you to escape or defend.
- Everything Proof- The CR123 has water-resistant seals. In addition to its weatherproofing, it’s also drop proof. The anodized body means corrosion resistance as well.
- National Tactical Officers Association (NTAO) Certified– Your light is approved for multiple uses. More than just blinding an attacker, you can use this mighty light around the house, or when you’re out fishing, camping, or even hunting.
- Made in America- Any product made in the USA means more jobs for people here. That’s something we can all support and feel good about.
- Prop. 65 Warning- This product contains potentially dangerous chemicals, per California specifications. Functionally this may mean the acid in a battery or something in the glass lens. While it’s probably completely harmless, it’s still worth mentioning.
- Switch Can’t Be Locked- There’s a small chance you could turn this on in a backpack or pocket without realizing it.
- Heats Up- If you leave this light on continuously for too long, it may require a cooldown before you turn it back on. Unfortunately, it’s a trade-off, higher power means you have more chance of overheating. Just remember to turn it off now and then.
Support the national economy with an American Made light here.
3. Anker’s Bolder LC90
Six hours of non-diminishing power, on the medium setting, is a pretty intense long lasting light, especially since it’s so small. The Bolder LC90 is designed with heavy rain in mind, so it’s rated IP65-rated water resistant.
An impressive 18-month warranty makes this flashlight worry free. You shouldn’t have any issues, especially with the anti-slip finish. If you do, the customer service is stellar, and it’s easy to get support or repairs as needed.
One of the most helpful things about this incredibly powerful light is the LED bulbs. They have a lifespan of 50000-hours, so you’ll have years of use ahead of you. Long term safety solutions are the best, and knowing you can rely on your defensive light is a weight off your mind.
- Zoom Mode- The zoomable beam allows you to concentrate or disburse your light depending on your needs.
- Five Settings- In addition to the usual, high, medium, and low output settings, this brilliant light has two bonus settings. You can strobe for a disorienting effect, plus you can set the light to flash SOS in case of an emergency. Should you find yourself injured or trapped, this last setting could save your life.
- Wrist Strap- Make sure you never lose your light, even if you lose your grip. The wrist strap makes the light almost like a part of your body, so you always know right where it is.
- Adapter Not Included- While you can fully recharge this light in about six hours, the 1A adapter isn’t included. However, you do get the micro USB cable for regular charging, and you can pick up the adapter easily.
- Wide Beam- When you use the widest setting, there’s a darker spot in the center. Many flashlights have this issue because of the way bulbs are configured.
- Button Stiffness- Some people find the button a little difficult to press. Firmness can be useful, but those with feeble hand strength may not like this light.
Check out the Bolder LC90 right here.
4. Peet Pen Tactical Flashlight
At a thousand lumens, on high, this light should be more than sufficient to temporarily blind any assailant. The smart “low power warning” function helps keep you safe by letting you know before you run out of light. The low power mode is only five lumens, for when you just need a little light, and the SOS function will let people know when you’re in trouble.
The extendable body on this light is an entirely unique feature. You can adapt this to fit different size hands, plus it will fit more easily in whatever space you have for it. Unexpectedly, the body is made of aerospace grade aluminum. With two different (types) of batteries both compatible, you know you’ll always have a spare when you need it.
- Bigger Than a Compact- The size gives this light a decent heft in your hand for defense. It’s bigger than the average small portable flashlight but not as large as the bigger lights, so it’s a happy medium in your hand.
- Batteries Included- With so many products sporting the ‘batteries not included’ labels, this company is not one of them.
- Spare Parts- You’ll get an extra waterproof O-ring and even a battery compartment for an 18650 battery.
- Misspelled Manual- We’re not quite sure what to think of the “Specigication” page.
- It Beeps- Whenever you change the setting the light beeps. While this is nice to let you know it worked, it’s also not very stealthy.
- Tail Switch- While we love the tail switches on tiny lights, a palm-sized or larger flashlight is a little harder to turn on and off while holding it in your hand.
Grab a great mid-size flashlight here.
5. Annan Tactical Flashlight Kit
When you want the whole kit-and-kaboodle, take a look at the Annan Tactical Flashlight Kit. All the standard features you’ve come to expect, plus all the parts and pieces make this our pick for the best all-around deal. As it turns out, you can have it all. This kit comes with all the following:
- Lithium-ion Battery and Sleeve
- AAA Battery Holder (takes three batteries, not included)
- Car Charger
- Plus an excellent percussion proof case in easy-to-find neon green
…And The Features Too
Five light modes, adjustable focus, and spotlight function are just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll get a 30 day 100% satisfaction guarantee in case of any issues on top of the one year warranty. Additionally, the anti-abrasive and skid-proof body gives you a secure hold in your hand or on a surface.
- Push & Pull- The zoom function is different on this model, with a push and pull motion to change the setting.
- Value- With all the bells and whistles included, this kit is outstanding value for money, plus it won’t break the bank. You’ll be surprised that you don’t have to pay more.
- Extremely Bright Light- They aren’t kidding about the lumens. Do not look directly at the beam!
- Shape Changing Light- When you zoom the light changes to a strangely square shape. As cons go, it’s not bad, just odd.
- Batteries- You may want to upgrade from the included batteries to the top-of-the-line version to get the best functionality out of your light.
- Batteries Again- Inexpensive included batteries don’t hold a charge as well as the name brand variation.
Have it all here.
Are you looking for something smaller or larger? There are so many excellent flashlights it’s not hard to pick runners up. Here are massive and mini favorites that almost made the list.
Tiny & Mighty- SdeNow Mini Flashlight Keychain
The SdeNow is an incredible 200 lumens at less than two inches long. When you need a truly surprising weapon, having this bullet sized dynamo with you is a brilliant idea.
Try one on for size here.
Big & Beefy- CSNDICE Romer Handheld Searchlight
At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find the 6000 lumens CSNDICE Romer Handheld Searchlight. This rugged and extreme handheld flashlight weighs over a pound in case you need something hefty to swing after you blind your assailant.
Pick yours up here.
Now that you have a few bright ideas, you can take the next step to protect yourself. Always remember to check your batteries, and carry backup power sources. Extra batteries or a cord to recharge can be a lifesaver literally. Looking into a hand-cranked charger or a solar option makes a good backup as well. However, you may not always have time to stop in a dangerous situation.
Being prepared is the best way to stay out of trouble. There will always be danger on your path, but knowing how to handle them and having the right equipment makes all the difference. Don’t be a statistic; be an inspiration, and light the way.