13 Reasons You Need a Flashlight for EDC

An EDC flashlight provides a person with a range of practical and tactical uses. This is why it is important to have a purpose-built EDC flashlight as part of our EDC gear. This will allow you to have a reliable light source at the ready in a form-factor that is easy to carry. You never know when you will need an EDC flashlight for:

  • Power outages
  • Restricted areas
  • Poor lighting
  • Roadside emergencies
  • Identifying threats
  • Self-defense

This article will expand on the 13 most significant reasons for carrying an EDC flashlight. If you are unsure of your need for one, read on.

Practical Reasons for Carrying an EDC Flashlight

The need to access a reliable light source can happen at any time. This can take place in your home, in your vehicle, at work—anywhere that you happen to be when regular light sources stop functioning or fail to provide adequate illumination.

Responding to a Power Outage

Power outages occur without notice. An electrical blackout can catch you at home, on the road, or in an unfamiliar building. Regardless of where you are, having an EDC flashlight at the ready ensures you can easily guide yourself to a safe location.

Additionally, if the power outage was caused by a tripped circuit breaker or another issue requiring personal inspection, having a flashlight handy will allow you to immediately tend to the problem.

Illuminating Areas Inaccessible to Fixed Lighting Fixtures

Lost car keys, searching for items in a dark closet, looking underneath your car seat, walking down unfamiliar darkened stairs, trying to locate a leak under a sink—if you were to take a mental inventory of the number of times that supplemental lighting would have made a routine task easier, chances are that those occurrences would be numerous.

While a flashlight app on your smartphone can help you out in a pinch, it is not specifically designed to be a source of illumination. Sometimes, you may need it to be talking on your phone while you simultaneously need supplemental lighting. Other times, the task that you are involved in might expose your costly phone to potential damage. This is why an EDC flashlight would be preferable in those routine situations.

Walking Down a Poorly Lit Path

If you’ve ever been hiking or camping and been caught walking on a trail past sunset, you know the feeling of trying to navigate unfamiliar paths in dusky conditions. Having an EDC flashlight or headlamp would allow you to find your way back while avoiding injury from potential trips and falls over unfamiliar terrain.

Of course, poorly lit conditions can also be encountered in urban and suburban settings. Poorly lit underground garages, parking lots, and alleys are a good example of this. So too are those situations when you may be out walking your dog and suddenly the street lights stop working or your transition to a poorly lit area.

An EDC flashlight will allow you to safely navigate any poorly lit setting.

Handling Vehicle and Roadside Emergencies

For many people, the time when they most regret not having a reliable light source at the ready is when they encounter a vehicle or roadside emergency.

Changing a flat tire at night or trying to diagnose a problem under the hood without adequate lighting is not only difficult, but it can also be dangerous. Likewise, if your vehicle strands you on a lonely stretch of road, having access to an adequate light source can help you to signal for help from passers-by.

Even if you carry a dedicated flashlight as part of your vehicle’s emergency gear, sometimes the batteries on that flashlight may not be fully charged. Also, having multiple sources of lighting in roadside emergencies can be very useful. Not to mention that you may encounter the need for lighting when you are traveling in another person’s vehicle that is not carrying a flashlight.

All of these are vehicle-related reasons why having an EDC flashlight can be a time-saver—in some cases, a literal lifesaver.

Tactical Reasons for Carrying an EDC Flashlight

If you have a concealed carry or open carry gun permit or simply own a firearm for the defense of your home and family, there are additional reasons for owning an EDC flashlight.

Identifying Potential Threats

An EDC flashlight provides you with a fast and reliable method to illuminate a large area and identify potential threats.

Imagine it is the middle of the night and you hear unusual noises coming from your backyard or your garage. Could it be a burglar? Could it be hungry raccoons rummaging through your garbage cans? Could it be a family member coming home late at night?

The only way to make that determination is to properly illuminate the area where the sounds of the potential threat are coming from. Being a responsible gun owner, you know that you should not wander blindly pointing your handgun at shadows. Positive identification is mandatory.

By having an EDC flashlight at the ready in immediate proximity to your handgun, you will be able to identify the threat, and if necessary, be able to respond with the assurance that you have full situational awareness. You cannot do that in darkness.

What if You Have a Weapon-Mounted Light on Your Handgun?

If you’re conscious about the importance of the EDC mindset, chances are that you have a weapon-mounted light on your gun. If that is the case, yes, it will provide illumination in the area where you point your gun. However, the key phrase here is, “where you point your gun.”

Weapon-mounted lights are very useful once you have determined that there is a threat present. When you are still in the threat determination phase, walking around using your gun as a flashlight is not always the best option.

This is why it is wiser and safer to rely on an EDC flashlight when you are attempting to ascertain whether or not a threat is present. By using your EDC flashlight in conjunction with your handgun, you are employing prudent tactics. Not to mention, there may be scenarios where you need to holster your weapon, but still need a light handy.

Access to Task-Ready Options

An EDC flashlight is designed to provide you with more than just quick access to illumination. Most will be equipped with additional accessories that can be of great benefit in tactical situations.

EDC flashlights designed for tactical applications come with strike bezels and tactical tail caps. These can be used in emergency situations as well as for self-defense in close combat situations.

Ideally, your EDC flashlight should be seen as an extension of your tactical abilities, not just a source of lighting.

Reasons for Choosing a Purpose-Built EDC Flashlight

It is not unusual for some people to recognize all of the practical and tactical reasons for owning an EDC flashlight—to the point of agreeing with them wholeheartedly— but who still insist that a purpose-built EDC flashlight is not necessary. They argue that all of the tasks of an EDC flashlight could be performed by regular (cheaply made) flashlights or other forms of illumination, such as headlamps or the light on a cell phone.

If one were to focus solely on the function of illumination; yes, there are alternatives to deliver light in a portable manner to a dedicated EDC flashlight. However, if you wish to be prepared, nothing will beat a purpose-built EDC flashlight in that regard. Here are the reasons why.

Constructed for Ruggedness

Unlike regular flashlights, EDC flashlights are built to be tough. They are more resilient to being dropped and many are built to be waterproof or water-resistant.

These are characteristics that you want to have in any EDC tool.

Tough but Easy to Carry

All of your EDC gear should be tough and easy to carry. In the case of EDC flashlights, they accomplish this by being small compared to a traditional flashlight. Most are 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm.) in length.

This makes them very easy to be carried in your pocket or elsewhere on your person. It also makes them well-suited to be carried in personal tool kits kept in your EDC backpack.

Bright Illumination in a Small Form Factor

Streamlight MicroStream,  Kershaw Chive, Fisher Bullet Pen

EDC flashlights, although small, will provide you with illumination that is comparable to standard flashlights. In many cases, they will be brighter. When compared to the light offered by a cell phone, the EDC flashlight will be superior.

Intuitive to Use

Fisher Space Pen Bullet, MARATAC AAA Copper, Syperdo Manix2 Lightweight

Have you ever tried to activate your phone’s light in an urgent situation? If you happened to have other apps open at the time, it might take you several swipes to do so. This can take valuable seconds. In emergencies, time is of the essence.

EDC flashlights are equipped with intuitive control features that allow you to turn them on and off quickly. After practicing with a new model, you can operate the EDC flashlight in darkness.

Most models incorporate one of three types of control mechanisms:

  • The twisting action. This involves turning the head of the flashlight to turn it on or off. If beam variation is offered, this is how it can be adjusted as well.
  • Rear clicker. This consists of a button at the rear of the flashlight. Clicking on it will turn it on or off. Likewise, if variable light modes are offered, such as a “momentary on” feature and a “constantly on” feature, this is where you can alternate between them.
  • Side switch. This is located on the side of the flashlight. It can be a slider or a button.

Beam Profile Options Are Comparable to Full-Size Tactical Flashlights

All flashlights have a beam profile. It is composed of the hotspot and the spill. The hotspot refers to the brightest part of the beam when being shined on a surface. The flood refers to the remaining light that is lower in intensity that surrounds the hotspot.

In standard flashlights, it is characteristic for them to have a highly concentrated hotspot with a significantly reduced flood in brightness. Few allow you to modify the beam profile effectively because they are constructed with a flat lens and simple reflector.

The majority of EDC flashlights are designed incorporating the functionality of larger tactical flashlights. This means that their beam profiles can be adjusted. You can concentrate the hotspot to create a narrower beam but one that is far-reaching. This is well-suited when you need to illuminate things well ahead of you without necessarily having to approach them.

Likewise, most EDC flashlights will allow you to adjust the beam profile to create a flood effect. These beams do not travel too far ahead of you but do bathe a large portion of your immediate surroundings in light.

Designed to Be Carried on Your Person

If you look at the most basic standard flashlights, you will notice that they are designed to fit properly in your hand, but they are not designed to be carried on your person. Sure, you may fit them into a pocket, but they will be uncomfortable and will have a propensity to fall out with the slightest of movements due to their large size.

More expensive flashlights, including full-size tactical flashlights, have the same problem. They cannot be carried on your person in a reliable and comfortable manner. This is why most flashlights end up in toolboxes, drawers, and car glove boxes.

On the other hand, EDC flashlights are designed with the chief purpose of being carried on your person.

To accomplish this—and ensure durability and reliability—EDC flashlights are constructed of light but strong materials. These include aluminum, titanium, and stainless steel for the casing. Couple this with the small form factor required to make them portable and you have a very light flashlight.

This makes it possible to carry your EDC light in your pocket attached by a clip. Some even have attachment points, usually holes at the tail section, to allow you to carry them on a keychain or a neck chain.

Light, small, and powerful, EDC flashlights beat other types of flashlights for being readily accessible to their owners.

Available in Different Power Options

Different models of EDC flashlights can be found on the market that use removable batteries as well as rechargeable models. The latter relying mainly on lithium or nickel-cadmium rechargeable batteries.

To be fair, standard and full-size tactical flashlights are also available with the same power options. However, due to the small size of EDC flashlights, regardless of whether you choose a model reliant on removable batteries or a rechargeable version, the EDC still manages to come out ahead.

EDC Flashlight With Removable Batteries

Most EDC flashlights that use removable batteries rely on either AAA or AA batteries. These batteries being slim, small, and light—just like the EDC flashlight—it is not cumbersome to carry extra batteries with you so that you can have a fresh set on stand by when your flashlight requires them.

With larger flashlights that use removable batteries, they will usually require larger and heavier CR123’s. This makes carrying a fresh set of batteries slightly bulkier.

EDC Rechargeable Flashlights

Again, as in the comparison between regular and EDC flashlights using removable batteries, the EDC version, even though reliant on the same technology as its larger counterparts, still comes out ahead in terms of convenience and practicality.

EDC flashlights can be fully recharged much faster than their larger counterparts. Most are charged using a USB connection. This makes recharging your flashlight when in the field as easy as carrying a charging source in the form of a small power pack.

This brings up frequent criticism from anti-EDC folks who assert that they can recharge their cell phones in a similar manner. Therefore, they can use their cell phone lights instead of an EDC flashlight. This logic, however, is flawed.

First, the brightness of a cell phone light is rarely over 100 lumens. EDC flashlights come with brightness levels commonly in the 400 to 1,000 lumens range. Some models reach brightness levels as high as 4,000 lumens (what the what). There simply is no comparison in the level of brightness offered by the EDC flashlight and that from the light of a cell phone.

A rechargeable EDC flashlight and a cell phone may have similar charging processes, but the cell phone will not produce the level of brightness as the EDC flashlight.

Final Thoughts

As has been presented above, there are many practical and tactical reasons to carry an EDC flashlight with you at all times. Doing so optimizes your level of personal preparedness and functionality. It will allow you to respond to emergency situations in a more effective manner. It will also greatly magnify your situational awareness in tactical situations. Don’t forget the more prevalent day-to-day tasks.

Additionally, in terms of the brightness of the illumination, ease of use, and ruggedness, alternative lighting sources that you have on your person, such as a cell phone light, do not compare.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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