Light Him Up! A Video Guide to the Tactical Flashlight in Self-Defense
By Steve Materkowski

There was a memorable moment in a college-level law enforcement program I went through many years ago when the instructor held up a four D-cell MagLite flashlight and proclaimed “what we have here is the electric blackjack!” Using large flashlights as impact weapons has since fallen out of favor with law enforcement because of the potential damage they can do. In many ways, this really isn’t an issue because a new generation of compact, high-intensity, tactical flashlights have replaced most of the old D-cell models in professional circles. While these tactical lights lack the weight needed for use as a club, they have been found to make excellent substitutes for a kubotan. Not only that, but their extremely bright lights are quite capable of stunning an attacker in a night encounter.

Materkowski first demonstrates “tactical movement” with the light to fool and confuse an attacker. He then goes into the best ways to carry, deploy and strike with the flashlight. Finally, he teaches a series of combat principles and techniques with the tactical light that combine striking, locking and throwing.

Since instructors at Gunsite pointed out in a recent class I took, that there was really no valid reason not to carry a tactical flashlight in any and all situations, I have had a SureFire on me 24/7. Materkowski’s training video has given me more realistic ways I can utilize that tool.

DVD or VHS, 65 minutes, $29.95 • Paladin Press, Gunbarrel Tech Center, 7077 Winchester Circle, Dept. TW, Boulder, Colorado 80301; (303) 443-7250,

book2.gifKiller Elite: The Inside Story of America’s Most Secret Special Operations Team
By Michael Smith

Probably the place to start is by saying I don’t really understand the title of this book, Killer Elite. The unit under discussion was created back in 1980 after the Desert One hostage rescue disaster in Iran. Called the “Intelligence Support Activity,” (also known in some circles as the “Secret Army of Northern Virginia”), its primary function is to provide on-the-ground recon and site preparation for the real shooters from units like “Delta,” the Rangers and SEALs. The “Activity” went on to carry out intelligence activities in advance of about every special operation mission that has been conducted in the last 25+ years.

The rumor in spec ops circles is that the Activitiy’s selection program is the roughest in the military so it would have been interesting if the author could have given more detail in that area.

The unit’s operations during the Lebanese civil war, the cocaine wars of Columbia, Serbia, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, the first Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq are all discussed in a fair amount of detail.

Like all books on classified units and military activities, it is hard to determine if the author’s facts are 100% accurate. From what little I do know about the Activitiy’s missions, he seems to have come fairly close to the truth.

Hardcover, 342 pages, $24.95 • St. Martins Press, 175 Fifth Ave., Dept. TW
NY, New York 10010; (212) 674-5151,

book3.gifBattle Rattle: The Stuff a Soldier Carries
By Hans Halberstadt

“Battle Rattle” is the modern infantryman’s slang for the total package of web gear, weapons, pack, ammo, and equipment carried into combat. As most Nam’ vets will tell you, there was a time when this pretty much meant exactly what the military issued and nothing else. Privately purchased gear was generally discouraged and/or prohibited. Times have changed. Troops are now allowed to buy and use a much wider variety of personal equipment according to their needs in combat. Naturally, this has led to a degree of competition for who has the coolest, “CDI” (chicks dig it). New reference “Gucci Gear.”

The author realistically divides a soldier’s equipment up into his “approach to battle” load and his true assault load. This is one of the first books I’ve read where the writer fully understands just how much weight a real infantryman carries. It almost goes without saying he will have more personal ammo and grenades on him than recommended. He will also need to pack spare ammo for the SAWs, extra mortar rounds, various types of anti-armor rockets, batteries for communication equipment and bandoleers of 40mm rounds for 203’s. In a hot environment, there will probably never be enough H2O and it’s heavy stuff.

Chapters include “First Line Gear,” “Vests, Packs and Snivel Gear,” “Armor, Tools, and Other Gear,” “Weapons,” and “Packing for War in Southeast Asia.” The last section was written by troops that had already been there/done that. This is a great book that should be mandatory reading for anyone getting ready to deploy for the first time to a combat zone.

Hardcover, 127 pages, $24.95 • Zenith Press, 729 Prospect Ave., Dept. TW, Oscoela,
Wisconsin 54020; (800) 766-2388,

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Light Him Up! A Video Guide to the Tactical Flashlight in Self-Defense By Steve…