How to Hold a Tactical Flashlight


Utilized primarily by military and law enforcement professionals, the tactical flashlight is a self-defense tool for situations with little or no light for locating a target. Most often accompanied by a handgun or other small firearm, tactical flashlights are compact, durable and incredibly bright--a feature that allows the defender to temporarily stun or disable a would-be attacker. By testing and exploring a variety of holding techniques, you can better prepare yourself for a real combat situation.

Things You'll Need

  • Pistol or handgun
  • Tactical flashlight
  • Mirror
  • Position the mirror so that you are clearly able to see your upper torso and face in the reflection. Ensure that your pistol or handgun is empty and unloaded for practice.

  • Wield your handgun in your desired hand and grip the tactical flashlight in the other. Grip the tactical flashlight in a full-palm grip with your thumb immediately over the activation button. Extend both arms forward until the barrel of the gun and flashlight are parallel to each other, with hands clasped together. This holding technique is called "Surefire."

  • Lower the hand holding the tactical flashlight and cross it beneath your hand holding the firearm so that your wrists touch. Practice this basic technique, called the "Harries," in the mirror by aligning your wrists and keeping them firm as you pivot your hips and arms.

  • Raise your hand holding the tactical flashlight until your elbow forms a 90-degree angle. The arm holding the tactical flashlight should be fully extended, while the forearm raises perpendicular to it. Hold the flashlight with your fingers so that the middle finger of the hand rests on the activation button. This is called the "Modified FBI" grip, and is a method for holding the light above and away from the center of your body while keeping your gun-hand fully extended and ready to fire.

  • Turn out the lights in the room and practice the three holding techniques. Explore holding options with your palm and fingers and distinguish which technique you favor, or which provides the most maneuverability and visibility. Practice quickly turning the flashlight on and off as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some shooting ranges will allow you to practice in low or limited light to develop skill and accuracy of shooting with a tactical flashlight.
  • The use of a flashlight to stun or momentarily disable and reveal a target can be a useful advantage for military and police professionals in combat situations. A tactical flashlight should never be used in illegal situations, or in situations not requiring self-defense.
  • Never use a loaded firearm when practicing these exercises--always ensure that your pistol or handgun is empty and unloaded during practice.

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  • Photo Credit flashlight image by Aleksandr Lobanov from
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