Today’s law enforcement officer carries more gear on his belt than Batman. Besides extra ammunition, there are handcuffs, a chemical weapon, a portable radio, flashlight, expandable baton and maybe even a Taser. In addition to this, modern coppers are likely to be wearing soft body armor, packing a folding knife and a cell phone. With several different force options at his/her disposal, an officer can effectively deal with all sorts of resistive behavior.
So where does this leave the off-duty law enforcement officer? In addition to the handgun, one needs to consider what other sort of gear they should be carrying. Obviously, it’s not possible to carry the same equipment as a uniformed patrol officer but there are some basic tools that should be part of the mix.
So what do we really need to carry, in addition to that gun and spare ammunition? Not a great deal really and you’re probably hauling most of it around already. To my thinking, the list of essentials goes something like this: a cell phone, a small flashlight, a knife and a less-lethal tool.
What follows is a run-down on some products that I feel can fill this role very nicely. Your needs may vary slightly, but tools outlined herein can go a long way in keeping you safe.
Brite-Strike Blue Dot
One of the more positive trends in recent years has been the development and evolution of small tactical flashlights. In the not-so-distant past, only large, heavy flashlights put out enough light to be of value in a defensive situation. That’s not the case anymore and the new small, powerful lights can be discreetly carried all day with little inconvenience. High quality pocket torches are available from a variety of sources.
Brite-Strike markets a number of different tactical illuminators suitable for both the armed professional and responsible citizen. For the last several weeks, I have been evaluating the BD-RL198-MH from the Brite-Strike Tactical Blue-Dot Series. The Blue-Dot lights are truly premium grade illuminators designed specifically for the law enforcement mission.
The BD-RL198-MH is a flashlight crafted from aerospace grade aluminum. Although this light measures only 5 inches long, light output exceeds that of much larger units. A faceted-machined reflector and a 3-watt Luxeon LED combine to generate up to 198 lumens of intense white light.
Tactical Blue-Dot lights are shockproof and waterproof. Unlike incandescent lamps, LEDs are not prone to mechanical failure. I’m reluctant to pronounce anything as 100 percent cop proof, but the Tactical Blue-Dot flashlights come close. In fact, one Brite-Strike unit was purposely run over by a 12,000-pound front-end loader and still functioned.
So what makes the Blue-Dot special? I’m pretty particular about switches on any light used for self-defense, but the setup on the Tactical Blue-Dot is one of the best. The signature blue dot foil cap is slightly recessed to prevent accidental activation. A light press will yield momentary activation while pressing firmly delivers constant-on illumination. As a mater of preference, I much prefer this simple arrangement to rotary dials or switches that may be difficult to execute under extreme stress. The retention clip positions the light bezel down in the pocket where it can be most efficiently drawn and brought into play.
Other Tactical Blue-Dot models include units with high/low strobe capability or even more compact one-cell units. Remote switches are available to facilitate weapons mounting. In addition to the Blue-Dot line, Brite-Strike also offers the Protector Series designed for responsible citizens.
Lights give us the ability to make informed decisions. They provide a means to safely navigate unfamiliar terrain, locate and assess potential danger and can be used as an effective measure of force. When used in concert with the handgun, a small flashlight can be the ultimate measure of control. Don’t get caught in the dark without a plan. The Brite-Strike Tactical Blue-Dot Series stands as one of the best of the breed and can compete very favorably with competitive brands.