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Thread: RFI: Defensive Use of Light

  1. #11
    Marginally Relevant NH Shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCM View Post
    More light is better but I find the use of the term flash blindness and incapacitation in this context disingenuous.
    Based only research and not firsthand experience, I think historically that is true. But over the last decade, particularly the last three to five years, the output of LED flashlights have made quantum leaps, to the point that any experience with using light for this purpose from more than five years ago may be irrelevant.

    To be clear, I am referring to specifically to modern, high luminous intensity (20k candela and greater) flashlights that are now available. If someone is deprived of vision for a period of time after a dose of high-intensity light I would certainly refer to that as "incapacitation" in the context of being to fight effectively. So far the two examples cited seem to fit that definition.

    According to another recent first-hand account using such a high-intensity light, a suspect remained combative, covered their eyes and charged in the direction of the light. That person was unable to attack effectively and was quickly subdued. Yes, the mindset of the suspect/assailant remained unchanged but their ability to deliver the attack was greatly impeded.

    IMO, if the use of high-intensity light can impede or even prevent an attack, then its worth exploring.

  2. #12
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    Back when I carried a plastic SL-20 I incapacitated numerous suspects by hitting them with the light. I didn't hit them in the eyes due weak bone structures, but brachial stuns were magical. I imagine a higher powered light like a Kel Light or SL25 had better capacity to incapacitate. Despite the grumblings about the plastic not being as good as metal, the plastic light could still knock someone out easily but not fracture their skull, not that I know anything about that, because he was already unconscious when I found him.

    As part of a team tactic, I've found getting a drunks attention by shining a bright light in his eyes, is an excellent diversion while other officers move in for the takedown from the flanks or rear. Drunks have a tendency to shield their eyes with their hands or yell at you to not shine the light in their eyes, but usually they won't turn away or move.
    Last edited by txdpd; 01-01-2020 at 05:46 PM.
    Whether you think you can or you can't, you're probably right.

  3. #13
    Marginally Relevant NH Shooter's Avatar
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    My thanks to all who provided the requested feedback, much appreciated!

    As stated in my OP, I am in the process of conducting an informal study on the use of light for defensive purposes. I'm doing this as a matter of personal interest, so I will take as much time as needed to produce results worthy of consideration.

    The hypothesis is that while light has traditionally been used for situational awareness and positive target identification, the evolution of high-output LED lights has brought a greater potential to induce temporary flash blindness, thus providing another facet in the use of a hand-held light for civilian self-defense purposes.

    The study will include anecdotal evidence of light being used for suspect compliance purposes by LEOs. All anecdotal evidence collected on the effect of bright light on a suspect or assailant will be backed to the greatest extend possible by existing scientific study on the physiology of flash blindness. The goal of the study will be to establish a baseline of luminous intensity (candela) required to reliably induce temporary flash blindness in the typical low-light conditions many assaults take place in.

    If anyone is interested in contributing to this study please contact me via PM. Thanks again to all for your time and consideration.
    Last edited by NH Shooter; 01-07-2020 at 08:00 AM.

  4. #14
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    Anecdotal evidence doesn’t belong in anything that is truly scientific in nature. Smells likes something is driving this “study”.

  5. #15
    I'd like to figure out the wavelength and lumens in the old Kodak flashbulbs. I remember the 20-30 seconds after taking an indoor picture with those. If you could re-create that effect and have it repeat every 5-10 seconds, you might have a viable tool.
    -All views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect those of the author's employer-

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bravo7 View Post
    Anecdotal evidence doesn’t belong in anything that is truly scientific in nature. Smells likes something is driving this “study”.
    Nothing is driving the study other than a personal desire to better understand the topic.

    I don't work for nor am I paid by any manufacturer who would have an interest in this information. I am doing this 100% on my own time and on my own dime.

    Short of controlled laboratory testing (or randomly blasting the unsuspecting in the eyes with powerful lights), anecdotal information is likely the best I will get for "field testing." If it comes from reliable sources with first-hand experience using light in this way, I believe it will provide valuable insight.

    Oddly enough, my prime motivation is simply that I enjoy doing this kind of stuff and my belief (perhaps mistakenly) that there may be an interest in it here on P-F.com.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by FNFAN View Post
    I'd like to figure out the wavelength and lumens in the old Kodak flashbulbs.
    There is something to this. The color temperature of light definitely has an effect on our tolerance to observe it. This effect can be experienced driving at night and noting the difference between HID or LED headlights vs. lower color temp halogen headlights of oncoming traffic: the HID/LED headlights are generally found to be more distracting, and causing discomfort in some.

    I have also observed this effect with reflections off snow-covered ground; light with a color temp of around 6,000 K seems more difficult to look at than warmer light (4,000 K).

    Thanks for the link you sent. Though the information may be dated and the product discussed never produced, it is relevant to this discussion. If anything it illustrates that there may be merit to taking another look - 120 lumens from a flashlight was considering "retina searing" back in 2007.

  8. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by NH Shooter View Post
    There is something to this. The color temperature of light definitely has an effect on our tolerance to observe it. This effect can be experienced driving at night and noting the difference between HID or LED headlights vs. lower color temp halogen headlights of oncoming traffic: the HID/LED headlights are generally found to be more distracting, and causing discomfort in some.

    I have also observed this effect with reflections off snow-covered ground; light with a color temp of around 6,000 K seems more difficult to look at than warmer light (4,000 K).

    Thanks for the link you sent. Though the information may be dated and the product discussed never produced, it is relevant to this discussion. If anything it illustrates that there may be merit to taking another look - 120 lumens from a flashlight was considering "retina searing" back in 2007.
    I'll look for the modern version of the device tonight. I believe the newer version was about the size of the portable searchlights some manufacturers are offering . For general out-hunting folks use I have one of the Protac HL5-X that throws 3200 lumens.
    -All views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect those of the author's employer-

  9. #19
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    Does anybody really believe a bright light will deter a determined attacker? Flash blindness? Incapacitate a suspect? I would not expect any light to incapacitate a suspect. Affect their vision? Yes. Stop a assault? No!! Twenty years ago a bright flash light would make street rats run for cover, not because of the bright light but because a flashlight that bright meant ”Police”. I did a range drill at night once with flashlights pointing back towards the shooters. Did it stop my firing? No. It slowed it down some. Before white lights mounted weapons were a thing we were trained to illuminate, identify, fire if needed , light off then move. Nobody wanted a mounted light because they felt that the light made them a target. (The bad guy will shoot at the light) everybody ignored that the bad guy can see you in the day time. Don’t forget that a super bright light will splash back indoors affecting you own vision but so do muzzle flashes. Today I want a light on everything but I would never rely on a light to stop an attack.

  10. #20
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    Unless the attacker is of the right mindset, I don't expect temporarily depriving them of their vision will stop their attack. What it will do is buy time for evasive action or counter-attack. How much time is the question.

    The higher the luminous intensity, the greater the flash blindness.

    The greater the flash blindness, the greater the opportunity for evasion/counter-attack.

    This is nothing new, nor are the tactics used. What is new is the availability of pocketable lights that have levels of luminous intensity never before available. The goal is to determine the relationship between luminous intensity and the degree of flash blindness, with the hypothesis that with the luminous intensity now available the use of light for defensive purpose is more viable than ever.

    To place this in perspective let's not forget there are documented cases of a magazine worth of 9mm not stopping an attack, but that has not stopped anyone from carrying a 9mm for defensive purposes.

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