One of the most significant issues facing law enforcement is the development of non-lethal measures when facing dangerous suspects. Although this issue has been highlighted in the past couple of years, the movement toward non-lethal devices has been decades in the making.

While TASERS are arguably the most well-known non-lethal devices, the tactical flashlight is also becoming more popular. Thanks to technological advances that include the development of LCDs replacing incandescent bulbs, such flashlights can now use strobe lighting to disorient suspects.

What is a Strobe Light?

Strobe Function in a FlashlightThis light flashes so quickly that it looks like freezing or staggering motion. Strobe lights were first developed after World War II and primarily used for photography. Over the years, strobe lights have expanded to include the entertainment world, mostly stage shows. The perfection of the light emitting diode (LED) allowed for the practical use of strobes in flashlights.

In addition to their photographic and artistic use, it was observed that strobe lights have a very disorienting effect when flashed at a person. This is because it disrupts the images from the eyes to the brain, which causes confusion and disorientation. Thus, the disorienting strobe flashlight became a non-lethal weapon for self-defense purposes.

How Police Use Strobe Lights?

In law enforcement, the strobe flashlight for self-defense is used on potential suspects who may present a danger but are not lethally armed. The strobe light is disorienting to the person it is aimed at, making it difficult for them to concentrate. Also, they avert their eyes away from the strobing effect. This means it is easier for the police to subdue successfully and control the suspect.

Another advantage is that the strobe light function can attract attention.

Because of its distinctive appearance, a strobe light may draw the attention of other law enforcement agents in helicopters or police cars that are a considerable distance away.

There are limitations, as the strobe effect does not work in bright daylight. This means you can only use this at night or in dark environments. Still, the strobe is just one of the functions of a tactical flashlight. Other features include the standard light for navigating in shaded areas and a bright, blinding light to blind a potential attacker temporarily.

This means that even if law enforcement agency does not use the strobe function, they may still use the other features of the tactical flashlight frequently.

Uses Outside of Law Enforcement

In addition to law enforcement, others can use this particular function.

  • Military: A non-lethal means of dealing with a foe
  • Self-Defense: Used to disorient an attacker
  • Hikers, Campers, & Hunters: Can be used to attract attention at night or disorient dangerous animals

The tactical flashlight with strobe function provides several options for law enforcement. This is especially in terms of using non-lethal means to disorient and subdue suspects safely.


My name is John Winger, I was born and raised in Virginia. I spent a good part of my early adult life in the US military, namely the Army and served in Iraq. I saw my fair share of combat missions and thanks to that experience I have a better understanding and appreciate for what my country means to me and the world.


  1. Hi
    I’m looking for vehicle mount with Pan Tilt. The serarch light needs to have strobe function as well as beam angle from 1deg to approx 40deg.
    I intend to mount a zoom camera too

  2. Hello,
    In 2004, I found that high intensity strobe lights would force wildlife to vacate attics. Squirrels, bobcats, opossums, roof rats, Norway rats, and raccoons leave within 3 days, taking babies with them. High Intensity Strobe Lights (ie: Evictor Strobe Lights) are not effective on bats.

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