I am a flashlight fanatic: perhaps not in collecting lights (though I have quite a few) but as a devotee to their usefulness in a defensive use and overall preparedness. For myself, the three most important tools a prepared individual can carry is a pistol, a blade (primarily as an emergency cutting tool) and certainly a powerful handheld light. I prefer handheld lights that are bright and have a good hot spot, with adequate spill as well. I also prefer my lights to have only one function; bright. I don’t like clicking through menus of high, low, strobe, etc…, I want just “bright,” and I want only that at the push of a tail cap button. For a dim light I carry an administrative keychain light or just use the light on my phone.
I also prefer a light that protrudes beyond the palm of the hand when held in the typical hammer fist grip. These tools can be used quite effectively to strike with. More than one scumbag has had his teeth knocked out with a handheld light. Such “pocket stick” type devices, and a good handheld light proves to be just such a tool, can be game changers when in a clinch or on the ground, tussling with someone. Striking someone with the bezel of a light, or digging it into their soft parts, has a far greater effect than doing so with only your hand. Also, do not underestimate the usefulness of having a smashing tool. A good handheld light can be used to break glass and rescue yourself of others. For these reasons, the handheld light is my priority support hand tool. It can do a lot.
I have come to love rechargeable battery solutions. There are some lights that can re-charge via USB, and some of these are nice. However, I prefer a light that can take a rechargeable battery or regular batteries. In the field, it is preferred to be able to put a fresh battery in the light when needed. My most used lights, even though they are not the newest, brightest, or fanciest as of now, remain the Streamlight Protacs. I carry either a Protac 2Lx or the HLx. These lights are 500 and 1000 lumens respectively. There are now brighter lights, but these still compete, and they take the excellent rechargeable Streamlight batteries.
The rechargeable battery system allows you to change batteries immediately, when needed, and the batteries can be kept charged in the field with a simple solar charger. Both lights can also take two CR123 batteries as well, so they have great versatility. A bright handheld light should be a constant companion, even in daylight. You may find yourself indoors in a dark environment in which you need a light. With the excellent, powerful, and almost indestructible lights now on the market, you have no excuse not to be carrying one at all times. They are essential preparedness and self-defense tools.