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On The Importance of Trying Things You Don’t Like

A few months ago, I bought a flashlight.

Not because I didn’t have one I liked. If I could have married the Fenix PD32, I would have. It has momentary activation, a cut down tailcap allowing a syringe hold while shooting, and variable brightness. Usable in “moonlight” mode to help you find your keys or “turbo” to blind an attacker while you drew and fired, it was my perfect light. But it was too big.

It took two CR123s and lived clipped to the corner of the pocket of my jeans, so when I switched to wearing shorts because, yo dawg, North Carolina summers, it just didn’t work. A summer sale plus enough membership refund came together for a trip to REI where I walked out with a Fenix E12 in my pocket, with nothing out of pocket, so to speak.

I wanted to hate it. No momentary activation. No pocket clip so you didn’t know whether you had the tailcap or the lens you were pressing on when you pulled it out of your pocket. And the nail in the coffin was the fact that you couldn’t use a syringe grip (which is very tactical, I’ll have you know) because they chose to discard that feature in favor of being able to tailstand the flash.

Oh and did I mention that instead of having a separate brightness control button they multi-tasked the tailcap switch to control on-off AND brightness, which in a Real Life Tactical Incident will lead to doing the wrong thing? When you turn on the light, despite the fact that needing to instantaneously blind an armed attacker being fairly rare, the default brightness is the lowest and it takes two more half-taps of the tailcap to get to “high” mode, which is still a measly 130 lumens.

I wasn’t a happy camper. I was expecting the light to be a turd.

But as a reviewer, I’m not afraid to admit that sometimes, you get surprised. Just like my Glock 17, outfitted with Defoor Ameriglo flat black sights helping me to win my way to IDPA Master class with only one live fire practice session with the gun, sometimes you get surprised. It turns out, for practical purposes, being able to tailstand a light and illuminate a room, instead of searching and assessing your fridge like it’s a threat to national security, is useful. It turns out, with an EDC flashlight, especially a no-clip, single-AAA light, you’re going to spend more time looking for car keys than tangos. It turns out, this is actually a really good flashlight.

I still have my misgivings about being able to manipulate a tactical light with half-presses of the tailcap to select the optimal brightness in a self-defense encounter. But even if I only manage to get the light up to the 8 lumen dim mode and never to the 130 lumen “bright” mode, I’ll be better off for having had SOME light, and SOME ability to ID my target.

Sure you’ve got an LCP in your pocket right now, but what are YOU doing for illumination?

About Ben

Blog contributor. Active in IDPA and USPSA, and he won't flinch if you call him a rules lawyer. Ben is a beard wearing, bacon eating, whiskey drinking, motorcycle riding, coder.

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