A hand-held flashlight is one of the most versatile and effective tools you can add to your everyday carry kit. You can search with it or use it for physical self-defense, and it comes in handy for nonemergency operations as well.

There are three distinct ways to hold a flashlight: the Harries method, the FBI method and the syringe method. I prefer the FBI method, but you need to try them all and figure out which works best for you. It can be tough to manipulate the light and the gun at the same time, especially when you cross your hands. Trust me, under stress, you will get confused if you have your right hand on the left side of your body or vice versa.

Even with the drawbacks of a hand-held light, I prefer to carry one at all times and use it instead of a weapon-mounted light for almost everything. With the hand-held light, I resist the urge to search with a flashlight on a loaded gun. A weapon-mounted light is great for illuminating the target once you have found it, but not so safe for searching.

Follow the Safety Rules

Carry a hand-held light for searching or to use for physical self-defense. Remember muzzle management and trigger-finger discipline. With a weapon-mounted light, the gun is pointed at everything the light shines on, so use that weapon-mounted light only when you have acquired a target and are getting ready to shoot.

About Kevin Michalowski

Kevin Michalowski is executive editor of Concealed Carry Magazine and a fully certified law enforcement officer working part time in rural Wisconsin. He is a USCCA- and NRA-Certified Trainer. Kevin has participated in training across the U.S. as both a student and an instructor in multiple disciplines. These specialties include pistol, rifle, shotgun, empty-hand defense and rapid response to the active shooter. Kevin is passionate about the concealed carry lifestyle, studying the legal, ethical and moral aspects of the use of force in self-defense. He is a graduate of the Force Science Institute Certification Course and has worked as a professional witness and consultant on matters concerning the judicious use of deadly force and deadly force decision-making.