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View Full Version : The Weaponized Flashlight and the Law?


Glenn E. Meyer
January 5, 2006, 11:28 AM
Several manufacturers are now adding toothed caps on their lights so that you can do some more damage if you have to use the light as a weapon.

Flashlights are well known as impact instruments. I read a study a few years ago that the big maglite was one of the most used police instruments of force.

In some states, there are explicit laws against carrying impact weapons. TX has a club law. Some gang folks have been stopped for carrying short baseball bats when clearly they weren't on the way to the game.

So if you carry a flashlight that has a weapon end, do you start to violate such laws? Will the TSA pick it up?

On the Insights list, it has been argued that the toothed end really doesn't add that much to the utility of the light when used as an impact weapons.

exoduster16
January 5, 2006, 12:31 PM
They can argue about it all they want. But when you add something that semi-sharp or in some way, shape, form that acts as a focusing point for the energy/momentum behind the strike, you're going to cause more damage/pain to the area where the point of focus hit.

Take the Surefire E2D Defender light for example as opposed to its brother the E2E. Not only does the E2D look a bit more like a weapon but the toothed end on the light is going to cause quite a bit more damage than the E2E will. The reason for this is that you are focusing the same amount of force on a much smaller impact area. Whereas with the E2E it is spread out. Either one is going to hurt if stuck hard enough with it, but the E2D will tend to break the skin and punch through the skin. It's going to cause some damage.

281 Quad Cam
January 5, 2006, 12:33 PM
My Surefire E2d has a scalloped front face to allow it to cool when placed on its face. Otherwise my flashlight could start fires if placed down while on, furthermore, it allows me to see if it is turned on, even when placed down on its face.

The rear of the Surefire E2d is also scalloped to allow it to be stood up on its rear, and to act as a sort of guard against it accidently turning on. An ability few of the other Surefires have! :) :cool:

Avizpls
January 5, 2006, 01:38 PM
Took the words right from my mouth ;-)

Ive used those lines, too!

Capt Charlie
January 5, 2006, 02:13 PM
So if you carry a flashlight that has a weapon end, do you start to violate such laws? Will the TSA pick it up?
Good question Glenn. The determining factor will be its primary purpose. A flashlight is a flashlight. It can be used as a weapon, but that's not its primary purpose. If it's modified to where it's clearly intended to be a weapon, you'll probably have problems, unless you can demonstrate that the modifications have other purposes.

I read a study a few years ago that the big maglite was one of the most used police instruments of force.
That's an old study. Actually, today the use of a maglight as a weapon is strongly discouraged by most law enforcement agencies, except for exigent circumstances, and some departments list its use as deadly force.

Doug.38PR
January 5, 2006, 03:46 PM
Have police essentially replaced night sticks and billy clubs by blending them with flashlights? I was walking into Barnes and Nobles a few weeks ago. A policemen walked into the door ahead of me. I noticed hanging from his belt was a flashlight that went down to his knee. All I could figure it was a club/flashlight combined

k9lwt
January 5, 2006, 06:04 PM
Doug,

Many departments/officers use a collapsible baton AND lights. There are devices that are both (as one), but haven't really caught on as far as I know. Expandable batons are standard around here as well as small back-up lights on the duty belt. We also have a large light that is typically stored in the cruiser, then taken with you when you get out. The smaller (on the duty belt) is used as a backup by some, or in emergency if necessary. I don't know of many officers using those large Maglites anymore, but I am sure some still do.

choochboost
January 5, 2006, 06:48 PM
Using big maglights as "weapons" is exactly why they are getting replaced in the LAPD. The cop-haters complained too much and Chief Bratton caved in to the pressure.

OneInTheChamber
January 5, 2006, 06:49 PM
I forget where I saw it, but it was a picture of a BG with a big red circle on his forhead from a surefire he got hit with. It wasn't the E2Defender, but just one with a regular, wavy end.

If it was me, I could just throw my surefire at him. It's small, but solid and heavy enough to hurt :D

Chase

Hard Ball
January 6, 2006, 11:38 AM
"My Surefire E2d has a scalloped front face to allow it to cool when placed on its face. Otherwise my flashlight could start fires if placed down while on, furthermore, it allows me to see if it is turned on, even when placed down on its face."

That's an excellent story. Stick to iy!

Glenn E. Meyer
January 6, 2006, 12:03 PM
Unfortunately that wouldn't work as the scallops are advertised as a weapon. I was reading an Outdoor Life magazine and they were talking gear and suggested a Surefire for the light and that it could act as a weapon.

About the cut - I'm no trauma surgeon but is it really that useful. It's an impact weapon. The cuts aren't that deep to really generate significant blood loss. So you make some relatively shallow cuts in a person's scalp, so what?

Personally, given the crude in the blood nowadays, I would prefer not to be at contact distance with lots of blood on me - it really doesn't add to the bopping effect to have an ineffective edge.

azurefly
January 7, 2006, 01:22 AM
I think it's a mistake -- possibly a BIG mistake -- that manufacturers have started, as you say, "weaponizing" flashlights.

There is no need. Flashlights, some of them, are already heavy enough to be used as impact weapons, and the weight of the flashlight is justifiable -- "Hey, what can we do, a good flashlight has to be made out of aircraft aluminum."

To put those flanges on the light end of them is to make our plausible deniability about them not being weapons disappear up in smoke.

In the end, flashlights will be banned from airline flights, federal buildings, etc. because some people didn't know where to stop. It will be easier for the authorities to simply say "NO flashlights" rather than try to spend the time to discern if the one you are trying to bring through the metal detector is a "weapon" or not.

It ****** me off that people are crossing this particular line just to make a buck off the wannabe-tactical-elites (read: mall ninjas) at what I know in my gut will be the expense of those who carry much more moderate, benign-seeming "tactical" flashlights that no one raises an eyebrow about.


-azurefly

azurefly
January 7, 2006, 01:35 AM
For those who think that no matter what you add to a flashlight, the authorities will still believe you when you look at them mock-quizzically and say, "What?? It's just a simple flashlight..."

why not try installing an LCD clock in your ASP baton and see if they allow you to carry that on the airliner with you. :rolleyes:

After all, it's just an everyday clock with a little extra metal around it... :rolleyes:


-azurefly