When it comes to defending oneself there are a few vital areas you should focus on: sight, sound, and air. A flashlight won't be as effective against an attacker's ability to hear and breath, unless you know how to use it, but it can be useful at interfering with sight. And, you don't have to have years of martial arts training to use one. Anybody can do it.
Sudden exposure to bright light causes someone to flinch and instinctively adjust to the change. These few moments of distraction gives a person time to create distance and potentially escape a harmful situation.
Flashlights can also be good at detouring violent acts in the first place. When you think about it, attackers want to keep their identity anonymous. A bright light can be like a big spotlight on the attacker's face.
Plus, who carries flashlights regularly? Police do. It might be enough to cause hesitation in your attacker, which could be enough to help you out of the jam.
CHOOSING A FLASHLIGHT
When selecting a flashlight think small and durable. You want the flashlight to be quickly accessible and easy to operate.
Jumbo flashlights, though great as potential weapons, are hard to carry in your pocket. Cheap flashlights are not reliable and might not be bright enough to have any real effect.
There are many flashlight manufacturers out there, but most flashlights designed for safety and survival are more expensive that standard flashlights.
A FEW OPTIONS
Surefire is one of the more popular (and expensive) brands on the market. Their flashlights can be found in a variety of distribution outlets.
Surefire makes all their products in the United States, hence the price tag, and they are a superior company due to their high quality, durable products.
Fenix Tactical is another quality flashlight maker, though their products are made in China. They are a bit cheaper than Surefire yet still offer the same level of quality and durability.
No matter the brand you choose, make sure your flashlight is powerful enough to shine a bright light, easy enough to operate, and durable enough to take a beating. Remember it can act as a very short metal pipe in your hand, if need be. You don't want it to be so fragile it breaks under the stress of your own grip.
If you don't already carry a flashlight on your persons, or at least in your purse, start now. It's such such a simple, smart, easy, and effective weapon to use. It just doesn't make sense not to.