Let there be light… LOTS OF LIGHT!

You grab your gun, a spare mag, pepper spray, and knives… and you should have a flashlight as part of your EDC (every day carry) too. There are the obvious reasons for having it like a power outage, finding your keyhole on a dark night, or reconnecting that USB plug under your desk in poor lighting… but there are other reasons for carrying a tactical light that you may or may not have considered.

Before we get into the true tactical applications, however, let’s discuss what to look for in a tactical light. First, you’re going to want something small that can tuck into a pocket easily, and you may need more than one based upon the various clothing requirements you have for work, recreation, etc. You may be able to fit a larger one in your jeans on the weekend that doesn’t fit with your Monday morning skirt and blouse. Next it needs to be easy to use, typically with a single on-off button on the back or end of the light. Lumens (how bright it is) are important too. You need more than 200 lumens to have sufficient brightness and range. The light should also be an LED which is more durable and dependable than conventional bulbs, though most lights produced anymore are almost all LED anyway. Finally, the light needs to be durable, resistant to shock and water. Just as with finding an LED, most of the tactical lights on the market now are constructed for hard-use and water resistance.

Tactical uses for the light start with movement. For tactical movement, use the light momentarily while moving instead of leaving it on the whole time. This allows you to move without giving away your position constantly while still being able to quickly scan for threats or obstacles. Many InSights students use their lights on a daily basis from checking on sleeping kids, to taking out the dog, to chasing a bear away from the neighbor’s garbage while taking out the dog.

Another tactical use for a light is to deter a threat. The answer to someone asking you for anything on the street is “NO”… even if they ask you what time it is, the answer is “NO.” If pressed, or if you feel that the situation may call for it, “NO” can be combined with 360 lumens in their face to help you convincingly fail the victim interview. The light can also just simply be turned on as you approach a potential threat to suggest that there may be easier targets tonight than you. It’s rather uncommon for people to suddenly have a high powered flashlight appear so use it to your advantage.

Your light can also be used with your firearm to help illuminate the space, the threat, and/or your sights. Grips and how you use the light may differ based on the situation… this could be a topic for its own blog and course all together. The key, as with anything, is getting professional training and keeping up your proficiency with those tactics and skills.

Finally, where you carry your light is important too. Ideally, the light is carried on your support-hand side so that it can be accessed at the same time you access your firearm or pepper spray. If “NO” with a few hundred lumens isn’t enough, a face-full of pepper spray will certainly help further convey your message. A pocket clip on the light can be very helpful in carrying it comfortably and keeping it in-position as well. As with all of your gear, test your light and ensure you change the batteries more often than you need to. If your light takes common AA batteries the half-spent cells make excellent options to put in kids toys or other non-critical devices whenever you rotate in fresh ones.

In sum, a tactical flashlight is a very important piece of EDC. Your light, quite possibly, may become the single piece of gear you use the most. As with all your gear, make sure is of good quality, test it regularly to ensure it is functioning properly… and remember, as always, that it doesn’t do you a bit of good if you don’t have it when you need it.

Content by Greg Hamilton
Written by Doug Marcoux

Disaster Preparedness Introduction

It’s Tuesday morning at 2am when ground begins shaking. It continues violently shaking for several minutes. Furniture begins moving, shelves fall over, and then the power goes out. When the shaking stops and you look around, you realize you’re probably not headed to the office today. You’re going to be stuck in your house for a while.

Don’t be “that guy” or “that gal.” You know, the one who “was thinking about putting together a kit, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet.”

The first paradigm of survival is the securing of your basic needs. Most survival situations call for the same basics so we suggest beginning your preparations, or evaluating what you’ve got already, using the “Rule of 3.”

For example, you can last:

  • 3 seconds without self defense
  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food

Obviously the number 3 is a bit arbitrary, but the concept is important and serves as a road map of sorts to get you started. We’re really focusing on the basics of survival along with the tools and skills to be successful. Recognize that this is not a “one-size-fits-all” concept either.

That comprehensive survival kit you’ve assembled in your garage doesn’t do you any good if you’re not at home when a disaster occurs. So as you’re considering your preparations, you must ask yourself questions about your individual daily routine. Do you work in a high-rise building where you may be stuck for a while, or are you in a small building where you could go out a window or door to reach your vehicle? Are you walking home or will you stay where you are? Ideally, you will have a kit in each of your common locations so you’re never without the basic tools for survival. These small kits should include a full 3-day kit in your car including overnight capability and medical equipment. If you’re car is at home, so are you so keeping the equipment in the car is the most convenient. If your car is such that you might not be able to reach it at work, due to distance or because your car is in an area like a parking garage which could become compromised, be sure to have a similar 3-day kit with overnight capability in your office.

Common sense, however, says that we can’t prepare for every possible circumstance because the “what if” list is endless. “Prepping” television shows tell the story of people preparing for one disaster or another. EMP, earthquakes, civil unrest, biological attack, pandemic, F5 tornados, and it goes on and on. This makes great TV, and there are plenty of creative ideas to be learned, but what should we really be preparing for?

To determine exactly what we should be preparing for we need to use a threat matrix. The matrix evaluates how catastrophic the risks are against how likely they are to happen. Ideally we prepare for the most likely and most catastrophic, and we do so in a manner which will be flexible enough to apply to other circumstances should they arise. For example, getting stuck on the freeway in a snow storm is more likely than a rogue meteor striking the earth and being in an earthquake is more likely than a zombie apocalypse. Use your own threat matrix to determine what you should prepare for most and then use the “Rule of 3” to address what the basic needs are in that situation.

Finally, remember that there is a difference between basic survival and “making it look good.” Once you’ve got your survival preparations assembled, consider adding some “creature comforts” to help pass the time a little easier. Some ideas could be adding something like a book you’ve not read, a new board game, maybe an art project, or a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. Spoil yourself by indulging a bit with a bottle of your favorite beverage, a fancy cigar sealed in a glass test tube, or a favorite candy bar (king size of course!). If you have children consider stashing away a couple brand new toys they don’t know about and some of their favorite treats and, of course, don’t forget about your pets! The idea is that if you’re going to be stuck somewhere for a time, you might as well “make it look good” and enjoy it.

Content by Greg Hamilton
Written by Doug Marcoux

Tactical Quick Tips – Indexing Pepper Spray and “Cover for Action”

Pepper spray is a wonderful alternative (or addition) to a firearm and provides a potent means of stunning and/or disabling an attacker. The key is having it readily available when you need it, which means it must be immediately accessible and able to be indexed without looking. The time it takes to dig through a purse, briefcase, or glove box locating your pepper spray not only may make the difference in your ability to deploy it, but it is also time you aren’t watching the threat.

You must be able to immediately access, index, and deploy your pepper spray while monitoring the threat and your surroundings.

Some smaller cans of pepper spray have finger grooves that allow proper indexing by touch. Larger cans, however, are often smooth all the way around so we need to add something to allow for us to properly index it without looking. One of the options we recommend is using a strip of Velcro with the soft “loops” side on the can. This allows us to know exactly what direction the can is pointed so we can deploy it effectively without needing to look.

We use Velcro because it’s simple and readily available, but also because of the virtually limitless mounting options it gives us. In a vehicle, for example, the can could be mounted under the armrest where it is out of view. Similarly, the “hooks” side of Velcro can be sewn in a purse or briefcase, adhered under a desk, or put anywhere you would want to mount your pepper spray. Doing this in a purse, for example, keeps the can in the same position all the time so there is no digging for it when you need it.

Location, location, location.

Where you mount your pepper spray is key too, which brings the concept of “cover for action” into the discussion. Cover for action is the concept of not having to deviate from normal or common movements to access your gear. If the pepper spray was mounted under the steering wheel it would require an uncommon movement to access it. In contrast, having it mounted near the door handle allows access to the can with the same movement as it would take to open the door. Another example would be having a pepper spray can in a jacket pocket. Putting your hand into a pocket is a common and normal movement, and yet you’re able to fully-index the can without anyone noticing.

To Summarize:
– Be sure your pepper spray has something on it as a guide to properly index the can without looking so you can keep your eyes on the threat and surroundings.
– Mount and carry your pepper spray such that you can access it with common movements using cover for action.

Stay safe,
The InSights Team

Content by Greg Hamilton, written by Doug Marcoux

InSights Training 2013 Blog Series

It’s been a while since our blog has seen much action, but as we head into 2013 we’re excited to share our new content series with you.  We’ll be covering topics in several subject areas which we hope you will find interesting, entertaining, and hopefully useful enough to pass on.  We look forward to hearing your feedback and, as we progress, if there are any particular topics you’d like us to address, we hope you’ll let us know.

The subject areas we’ll be rotating are:

  • “The Tactical Moment” – our video series produced by Guns & Tactics
  • “What’s your next move?” – scenario based mental training
  • “Tactical Quick Tips” – tricks and pointers from Greg Hamilton, John Holschen, and other InSights instructors
  • “The Prepared Parent” – self defense tips for parents, grandparents, and children
  • “The Big One” – disaster preparedness
  • “Gear Talk” – what to look for in the gear you count on

We’re grateful for your continued support and look forward to an exciting 2013.  We hope you enjoy our new content series and will share it with others you know who will enjoy it too.

Stay safe,
The InSights Team

Tactical Moment Video Series

Have you been keeping up with our new Tactical Moment video series? Here’s the 5th episode where John shows the value of movement. We’ll be posting the other previous 4 episodes here soon, or you can visit our YouTube channel to catch them. Be sure to share the video on your Facebook page if you like it!

Tactical Moment 5