I have to admit this: When the TASER Strikelight was introduced a few years back, I was underwhelmed.

After all, I have been certified as an M26/X26 TASER instructor since 2002. The M26/X26 TASERs were so effective in subduing combative arrestees because they did not work like other contact stun guns in use by law enforcement at the time.

Taking the “five-second TASER ride” when I was certified as a TASER instructor (plus using the TASER during a SWAT deployment and exposing 100 or more police academy cadets to the same ride over several years) convinced me of the effectiveness of the TASER probe system. Because of this, I was a bit perplexed and underwhelmed when TASER introduced the Strikelight.

The TASER Strikelight does not use the probe system. It is a contact-only device, which means that you have to touch an aggressor with the device in order to deliver the electrical current. Why was TASER introducing a product that seemed to run contrary to its time-proven, conducted-energy formula? I understood after I got my hands on one.

The Strikelight is a combination of an 80-lumen flashlight and a contact stun device. It is 8.2 inches long and 1.4 inches in diameter. Weight is 0.6 pounds. It seems to be constructed of aluminum. The size is very similar to the Streamlight Stinger flashlight.

The lens and base ends are heavily crenelated. They are so prominent that looking at them from the side makes you think of a castle turret. The beveled edges are almost sharp. A blow delivered from either end without the electrical current would also deliver a great deal of pain, which is likely how the folks at TASER came up with the “Strikelight” name.

Activating the flashlight and the stun gun requires the use of two separate switches. It is one of the safest yet efficient switch designs for a device like this that I know of.

The dual-function, gray primary switch slides forward to turn the 80-lumen light on, and it automatically enables the stun gun. There is no momentary-on flashlight capability. While 80 lumens is not bright in today’s world of 1,000-lumen lights, it is bright enough for most day-to-day tasks. Remember that the Strikelight is not a tactical light. Its primary mission is self-defense.

When fully charged, the flashlight will run for a total of five hours and deliver up to 100 five-second stun charges. If a higher-lumen LED lamp were used, the run time for the light and power output for the stun gun would be greatly reduced since the flashlight remains on during activation of the stun gun.

Once the gray primary switch is activated, the stun gun portion is ready to go. There is a bright yellow push-button switch on the Strikelight exactly 180 degrees opposite the flashlight switch. Just above the yellow stun switch is the covered USB charging port (a charging cable is included). In order to activate the stun gun, simply push in the yellow button with your trigger finger. The stun switch is a momentary switch and deactivates as soon as the finger pressure is released. I could not find the actual output of the stun device, but I am guessing that it is 50,000 volts just like all of TASER’s other law enforcement and civilian electrical weapons.

The stun is delivered to the aggressor by an electrical current that runs across the metal contact points set between the flashlight’s crenelated tips. Touching the aggressor with the crenelated tips delivers the shock to him or her. A light touch anywhere should be all that is needed to redirect his or her aggression.

Here is the funny part: I thought it might be good to test the stun gun on myself just to feel how effective it was in terms of pain generation. But before I did that, I had to test-fire it a few times.

Holy smokes, is this thing loud! TASER’s technical info says, “Loud stun arc. Scare away animals and attackers.” They were not joking. Observing and hearing the electrical stun arc immediately convinced me to modify my initial plan. I did not need to try it firsthand to realize it would be effective. In fact, I just attended a TASER instructor recertification class a few days after I got the Strikelight. We spent a lot of time firing cartridges and sparking X-26P and C2 TASERs. Even though their arc path is longer than that of the Strikelight, they were not as loud or as ominous. However, I was now convinced of the Strikelight’s viability as a less-lethal self-defense device when used for its intended mission.

The Strikelight’s mission is not to capture criminal attackers. Its job, as the description says, is to “scare away animals and attackers” — to get them to leave you alone and look for easier pickings. No one wants to touch 50,000 volts of visible, loud electricity.

I realize the difference in missions between the Strikelight and the other TASER products. I am fully confident that the Strikelight is a great less-lethal defensive tool for concealed carry permit holders or folks who choose not to carry a firearm but who still want an effective way to stop an attacker.

The Strikelight comes with a wrist lanyard. I recommend using the lanyard when carrying it to maintain control. I wish that TASER had a carry holster available to protect the Strikelight while traveling or when stored. You might be able to find a universal nylon holder for a Streamlight Stinger flashlight that might work. The Stinger is 1/8 inch narrower in diameter than the Strikelight.

MSRP of the Strikelight is $129.99, which puts TASER quality in the reach of more civilian users. By way of comparison, the TASER Bolt and Pulse (which fire the TASER probes) have an MSRP of $399.99. While the Strikelight may cost more than some of the other stun devices of dubious quality out there, you know it is backed by TASER, the most prominent name in the electrical weapon self-defense industry. Check your local laws before ordering.

More info at: buy.taser.com