When there is noise in the middle of the night and you intend to investigate you will need to have some choices on illuminating the problem, especially if you go with your firearm. Clearing your house for potential problems is difficult during daylight hours, but at night without proper illumination can be downright dangerous. Unintended consequences can lead to litigation. Before we talk about the options for lighting, we need to go rehash low-light tactics, light discipline and key training objectives.

The first objective is to understand your lighting; silhouettes make targets for both defender and aggressor. It also matters how long you might be in a particular spot or pass by a window that could illuminate your movement or position. Windows in your house can be used as an advantage or as a disadvantage giving away your movement.

The second objective is the minimal use of light. During a rapid use of your light, you should be looking for obstacles, and the direction of your movement. It is not good to keep the light always illuminated while making progress to find that noise; it’s a dead giveaway that your coming. You know your house better than anyone, so use that to your advantage and keep the light off.

The third objective is to stay in the lowest light; see first objective. Keep yourself in the darkest areas, of course if you must illuminate those before you enter as the “noise” maybe also hiding there, but use what we discussed in the second objective and use a minimal amount of illumination.

The fourth objective is the objective of all three, understand the light, illuminate quickly and move. You will need to train for this last one, as it requires you to remember what you saw in that flash of light; in cases of stress, remember to keep the light off until you need to engage, move with purpose, and keep yourself from silhouetting.

Fifth objective is to have power, get the brightest light to penetrate the darkest area of your home. Think about it, if you have a seriously bright light, and you mistakenly silhouetted yourself, the radiant light blocks that visual by overpowering their sense of vision.

The sixth and final objective is a collaboration of our minimal use, but with a twist; Intermittent light, use it like a strobe to disorient and hide your movements. Think about when you are in a lightning storm, the flash is so bright you are unable to see for seconds; this aids you, when you own the light. You can temporarily reduce their night vision and move to another location. Even if the “noise” took a shot at your light, you would be moving because you recall objective two and three.

Need to train for this? Easy, have your buddy or significant other be the “noise.” Keep your firearm locked up, and during the night have them hide in the house, and you go investigate. Have them observe and tell you immediately when they noticed you or could have hurt you.

Ok now with the refresher out-of-the-way, let’s talk about what we need for a light and three options I have tested for you. What do you need for a good light?

  • Power – lumens matter
  • Intermittent Light – must have an easy on and off switch
  • Understand your light and move – multiple level of illumination might be valuable
  • Size – must be something handy, that allows you to carry a firearm (or other defensive tool) without hindering its use

Olight M1X Striker

  • The M1X Striker is a dual-switch tactical LED flashlight featuring a high-intensity output with a compact form factor
  • Power = Lumens – 0.5 – 1000
  • Intermittent light = YES – Strobe Mode & Momentary-On
    Size = 5.35 inches. With a strike bezel and a dual-switch for tactical application
  • Weight = 2.8 oz
  • Water Resistance = IPX8

Opinion – One of the slimmest flashlight heads out of the three I compared, which means you can easily slip into a pocket without a large bulbous head sticking out of your pocket. Additionally, I really liked the side switch as it allowed programming of six different lighting options. Turbo gives the 1000 lumens, High 350 lumens, Mid 60 lumens, Low 10 lumens, and Moonlight at .05 lumens. The strobe provided 10Hz at 1000 lumens, plenty to disorient and can be immediately deployed with the side switch when the light is on, so you can go from Moonlight (.05 lumens) to Strobe (1000 lumens) in a second and return the state you were in. This light has a Strike bezel and a pocket clip that is obtrusive and sits low in the pocket for a good EDC/Utility light. Another nice feature is the battery options; 1 x 18650, 2 x CR123A, or 2 x RCR123A.

Handheld Flashlights | When There is a “Bump in the Night” 

5.11 TMT L2X Flashlight

Engineered to provide a quick, smooth, and powerful lighting solution for patrol and tactical environments, the tough and powerful TMT® L2x Duty Torch offers high and low lighting modes, a momentary on toggle, and an intelligent switching feature that allows you to adjust your lighting preferences on the fly.

  • Power = lumens – 52 – 638
  • Intermittent Light = YES – Momentary-On mode
  • Size = 5.3 inches
  • Weight = 3.8 oz
  • Water Resistance = IPX4

Opinion – A solid duty utility light for patrol or as part of your gear (the MOLLE accessory). It is lightweight is rugged and has multiple lighting options for variable environments. One key-note is that it does come with a safety, so if you are in a hurry to deploy make sure you have practiced enough with the on-switch safety, or just ride with it hot, but you might find the button being depressed as it protrudes a bit more than the other two I compared. This light also comes with the option of a Strike bezel and as mentioned the pocket clip can be used by itself or with the MOLLE or belt clip accessory. This allows you to carry the flashlight on your duty belt or MOLLE gear and quickly deploy it without worrying about the clip becoming stuck on another piece of gear. Due to the size of the flashlight head it does not make for a good EDC light if you carry it in your pocket; the MOLLE/belt clip accessory can be used to hide it on your belt. This light has only one battery option (2 x CR123), so make sure you have a few on hand for extended duty times.

Handheld Flashlights | When There is a “Bump in the Night” 

Streamlight ProTac®HL-X: Dual Fuel, High Lumen Tactical Light

  • Features TEN-TAP® Programming – Choose from three user selectable programs: 1.) high/strobe/low; 2.) high only; 3.) low/medium/high
  • Power = lumens – 65 – 1000
  • Intermittent Light = YES – Strobe Mode
  • Size = 5.430 inches
  • Weight = 5.7 oz
  • Water Resistance = IPX7

Opinions – I really liked the smoothness of how the TEN-TAP programming worked; it was not as complicated as the other two and the strobe deployed the quickest for me. It also had 1000 lumens, which was great for disorienting and reaching into those dark corners as mentioned above. I found the clip to be very different from the other two due to its design, but held the light tight. Again, at the size of the flashlight head, I found this to be more of a duty/operational light than as an EDC loudout. The dual battery type options; 2x CR123A or the 18650 rechargeable, was also great as the batteries could be switched out with my Olight if moving from EDC to gear light or vice versa.

Handheld Flashlights | When There is a “Bump in the Night” 


In closing, there are many types of flashlights available to choose for your loadout, we have provided you with a highlight of training (go get more), and three really good options for EDC and Duty/MOLLE configurations. I will continue to rock the Olight due to its twofold purpose, multi-fuel options, and double switching capabilities. The ProTac is my second and will continue to carry this as a backup utility light.