I’ve recently become aware that I was violating one of Alton Brown’s rules: No Unitaskers. And, I’m happy to say, I have remedied that.

Let me explain.

I’ve carried a flashlight as part of my every day carry for over 20 years. I’m a chemical engineer, and I’ve found them handy more than once, for looking at equipment in buildings or under things. Even in an office setting, you would be surprised how many times you would need to check something plugged into the computer under your desk, or hidden behind the ceiling panels overhead.

I’ve usually carried a small, cheap flashlight like the blue one on the right in the picture above. I bought that one as part of a “2 for $2.99” pack at the local hardware store. In fact, there are five more just like it in various places around the house.

But, I was reading somewhere after the recent theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado, and the writer reminded us that, even in a Gun-Free Victim Zone, a flashlight with high output can be shined in an attacker’s eyes, temporarily blinding them and allowing us to escape.

I then realized that the flashlight I carried wouldn’t disorient a mouse. It was a unitasker – a device that served only one task. Except for a fire extinguisher, I want no unitaskers.

Now, I admit I have been aware of the vast array of “Tactical” flashlights on the market, but that part of my brain imply ignored them, since, duh, I already had a flashlight. But, after considering the lessons to be learned from the Aurora shooting, I decided to get a new flashlight that could deliver enough light to be a serious defensive tool.

I settled on the flashlight on the left above, the Smith & Wesson branded Galaxy Elite model. It delivers 120 lumens from a CREE LED bulb, uses AA batteries, and has a twist-on, or momentary push button control. I used it in the dark back yard last night, and the difference between it and the old light was astonishing.

I know there are several brands of tactical flashlight out there, and I’m sure I will stir up the usual discussion. I wish I could say I researched the subject exhaustively, but in truth I bought the flashlight that gave me the most lumens for the  best price, with a design I thought fit how I carry.


So, now, what other unitaskers am I harboring . . . . . ?