Nighttime Companion II: The Streamlight Stylus

[I am going to discuss more than the Streamlight Stylus in this small article, I tend to drift when I write and I usually feel the need to dump more information into an article. This is distracting to some people and for that I apologize. It is just the way I am, I like to see ideas in one place as they become important instead of compartmentalizing dozens of tiny, sub-articles that deal with such things. Sometimes, you will see the same ideas running through a few articles of mine. That is not for lack of material, it is to connect the dots. Sometimes for the reader and sometimes for me as well.]

So, am I the only person who, as a child, marveled at the Doctorís penlight and always wanted one? Then, when you found them, you whined and begged your parents for one? That was me. I loved the whole idea of a flashlight that was a pocket flashlight shaped like a fat pen.

So, when I finally whined enough and scored one, the thing was a disposable unit! What a disappointment...when the batteries died. Then, the search shifted to finding one that you could replace the batteries in, yeah!

Well, after a search and another round of childish nagging, I scored one! What a find! What a treasure! Iím lighting everything up. Iím making tents in the living room...just to use the light all the time. Iím definitely Joe Cool with my penlight...

After the batteries were replaced a few times, the plastic case split and you could no longer put it back together. The crack eventually made a path through the plastic threads.

The L.E.D.

 

Bright LEDs have changed flashlights forever. There is nothing as handy as a good flashlight using an LED for a bulb. They sip power and they have increased in brightness, bulb and battery longevity (as well as features, switching, etc.) as more companies have developed these types of flashlights. Competition promotes innovation, always.

If you have already read the other article "Nighttime Companions," you will know that I think LED-type flashlights like the Photon II and PAL are must-have items. The Streamlight Stylus 3 has now been added to that list. The Stylus is an instant Classic in my opinion.

With the continued research and development of LED Flashlights, the day of the "regular" flashlight/bulb combination might be drawing to a close. The more you read about LED "bulbs" the more you realize that a 100,000 hour bulb life is an incredibly attractive feature for a flashlight that you want to have for an emergency or every day use.

Redundancy

I try to leave nothing to chance. No matter how high the quality, if I carry something that I feel is important, I tend to carry multiples of the same (or similar) device. If I had a Concealed Carry Permit for Handguns, for example, I would probably carry two handguns. If it is enough bother to carry one, best to carry two. Without making this a, "Tactical Handgun/Edged Weapons" Article, there is no faster reload than a second weapon, the infamous, practical and tactical, "New York City Reload." With edged weapons, people can speak of "disarming" in "Classical Martial Arts," but that becomes meaningless on one level when you are carrying multiple edged weapons. Scenario Fixation and Weapon Fixation should never be the norm when it comes to your Tactical/Survival Mindset, however, you want to exploit Weapon Fixation in an attacker. In other words, if you become engaged in a struggle, trying to retain your knife, the attacker may become so engrossed in trying to disarm you that you can draw another weapon and eliminate the threat.

One of the great things about LED Flashlights is, you can carry three or four of them with NO problem whatsoever. If you carry multiples, you are almost guaranteed to have light when you need it. Less of a chance of hitting the button and having no light when you need it from dead batteries, damaged bulbs and switches if you are carrying multiples.

Four Basic Carries

These are what I consider to be the best positions, especially for people that carry defensive weapons.

1. Keychain. This is obvious. Your keys are in your hand, possibly a weapon like a Koppo Stick, Comtech Stinger or Kubotan as well. Very handy.

2. Pocket. Yes, pockets were designed for things like this. I like vests year round with a heavy shirt under it in the winter time. I try to have a multi-pocket vest instead of a jacket. I hate sitting on a wallet constantly which is only one reason why I like the so-called, "Photojournalist" Vest. A vest with multiple pockets allows you to carry a good, mini-street survival kit consisting of edged weapons, lights, secure money in several areas, the list is endless. The vest allows you to carry these things in the summer when a jacket would be far too hot to wear.

3. Neck Carry. Excellent combination, a small, effective neck knife and an LED Flashlight to match, carried on a ball chain necklace.

4. Zipper Pull. Use one as a Zipper Pull, or at least have one attached to a zipper. This only works with LED Flashlights that have the option of carrying on a keyring. The PAL Light and Stylus would not be suitable for this type of carry. The Zipper Pull/Tab can be on a jacket or vest, on a portfolio of some type, gear bag or fanny pack. I have a Photon II MicroLight on my Medic Bag as well.

The Streamlight Stylus 3

So, the Stylus is best suited to pocket, briefcase (or laptop), and/or daily planner carry. It can easily adapt to what you normally carry. A Stylus can be carried in the pocket and can be carried along with a combination of Photo IIs or PAL Lights...versatility and redundancy.

The Stylus can ride next to a good writing pen like a Fisher Space Pen, you can have a PAL Light in another vest/jacket pocket, a Photon II on the keyring and another Photon II on a ball chain with a small neck knife like an Perrin/Emerson LaGriffe or a Masters of Defense Scorpion neck knife. [Pic.1]

In order to tell you why I like this LED Light so much, I think I have to tell you about the lights that I donít like.

The Lithium MicroLightô is a cool, little light. You can place it on a keyring and it has a small strip of metal that allows it to be removed from the keyring without removing the small splitring on the end of the aforementioned metal strip. It suffers from having a switch that must be depressed in order to stay activated, much like the First Generation Photons [Photon I]. For that reason alone, I think people should pass on this light. The Photon I and Lithium MicroLight are already antiquated when compared to what else is available now. The Lithium MicroLight was pretty neat, I donít think itís as bright as a Photon, but that is another issue.

The ASP LED Lights. PASS THEM BY. Instead of just making a good light that is User-Friendly, they tried to make it look high-tech. They should have spent the money on a double action switch and to make the power source friendly. Why they still sell at Gun and Knife Shows when placed next to superior products is beyond me.

OK, so far, we have two good lights, the ASP LED Light is NOT one of them. The Photon I is out of date now because of the single action switch, the same goes for the Lithium MicroLight. The batteries could be obtained in most Pharmacies or Radio Shacks, etc., but this leads us into the next series of lights...

The PAL Light is a really neat light. It has a rubber-like protective shell that I believe is Santoprene and seems tough enough to protect the circuitry and LED. It has a constant ON feature on a low power setting which makes it easy to find but does burn the battery and bulb eventually. I could do without this feature. There is then a medium and high power setting, which are very good. Then there is the strobe feature which could have some application during emergencies.

What made the PAL attractive to me was the fact that it used a common, 9-Volt battery. I happen to think this is a BIG PLUS. No searching for a special watch or hearing aid battery, almost every gas station in this country has a 9-Volt battery for sale. I like being pragmatic, thank you.

The PAL uses a magnifying lens inside the housing to amplify/focus the light which is another great idea. It is very User friendly and the 9-Volt battery is a snap to replace. A metal band circles the rubberized case and all you have to do is remove that and you are halfway done. Simple.

The PAL is about the size of a Zippo Lighter, but twice as thick as a Zippo. This turns some people off to the light but I think this light has a definite place in your kit.

Enter The Stylus [Finally!]

The Stylus is a very neat penlight to say the least. [Have I said the words, "neat, cool and great" enough for you yet?] While it cannot be used as a Zipper Pull or placed on a keyring, it is still one of the best LED Flashlights out on the market! This light is incredibly bright for what it is. When you look at it and realize that it is a single LED bulb that is powered by three, diminutive "AAAA" Batteries, you might be in awe at the amount of light it produces. I am.

If you want to know what might be in and/or around your vehicle in the dark, the Stylus will most certainly light the area well. At approximately 30 feet, it casts more than enough illumination to eliminate an attackerís cover. You could possibly see someone with this light at about 45 feet, depending on ambient light, etc.

In bright sunlight with the LED bulb about 12 inches from your eyes, it will make you see spots. That is a good indicator, in my opinion, of power. It is the brightest LED Flashlight out of any discussed in this article. That is an amazing amount of power when you consider this light basically has the same power source as your average television remote control! [Pic. 2 & 3]

[Pic. #2 was NOT taken in broad daylight but in room light at night, I still think you will get the idea though.]

The Streamlight Stylus has a black-anodized, aluminum body. Knurled on the tailcap and the main length of the body for improved grip. A removable pocket clip is included that is really no different from a pocket clip on many pens or on say, a Mini-Maglite. It serves the intended purpose. [Pic.4 & 5]

The light is activated by depressing the tailcap, much like on a SureFire Flashlight and then, for constant ON, the tailcap is rotated until the light comes on and it will remain on until the tailcap is rotated back. If you want the momentary [flash] feature to be more sensitive, you simply screw the tailcap down a tad bit more, for less sensitivity, screw it out a bit. Again, just like the SureFire.

The design is solid and not Earth-shattering by any means [why fix it if it is not broke!]. Unscrewing the tailcap gives you access to the battery compartment.

I would love to see one that has slightly thicker walls, but there is no doubt that this penlight is rigid enough to be used as an improvised weapon if need be. I love these lights. I think the Photon II, PAL Light and the Streamlight Stylus ALL have their rightful place.

Three Possible Improvements...

To the Streamlight Stylus would be;

1. Increasing the thickness of the walls of the flashlight by about 1 or 2 millimeters, just to make it even stronger. With the same batteries used ["AAAA"], this would not be a terrible increase in outside diameter or make it more cumbersome. The increase in strength would be great though.

2. Encasing the LED Bulb in aluminum instead of having it exposed the way it currently is which leaves it vulnerable to damage. An LED is tougher than a bulb with regular filament, but this could be tougher. [Pic.6]

3. Using a magnifying lens like the PAL Light uses in the end of the body [in front of the bulb] to increase and focus the beam.

The Pikal Light

"Pikal" or "Pickal" is reverse or "icepick" grip in some Filipino Martial Arts[1]. Sak-sak is forward, Pikal is reverse. This penlight, when carried in the breast pocket and easily accessible, could be used in Pikal grip, in a last ditch defense or, as a "startle" defense.

The way I have taught people how to instantly deploy pens, pencils, Tekna Pens[2] and Guardfather Auto-Scribes in icepick grip is like this:

If the weapon, improvised [pen, pencil or Stylus] or dedicated [Tekna Pen or Guardfather] is carried in the left pocket as most pens/pencils usually are, Comtechís Drawpoint Vol. 1 [3] is the way to go.

The left hand would parry/deflect or check any incoming, weapon-bearing limb and simultaneously, the right hand slaps the pocket and grasps the flashlight [pen, spike, etc.]. Immediately, the defender goes to point on the attacker in icepick grip. This can be done on horizontal, vertical or diagonal [backhand or forehand] lines of attack/defense. It is incredibly fast and Filipino Trapping [Hubud] can be done as well. Hubud is very fast and a very effective way of dealing with armed hostiles at bad breath distance.

This movement can be performed in less than half of one second when practiced a bit. It is a very simple, yet brutally effective draw and strike combination.

If this movement is done with something like one of the vintage Tekna Pens or a Guardfather, there is another movement in there, that of deploying the blade or spike by pushing the button. Unless you have placed a pen in your pocket and done some drills, you donít really have an idea of just how fast you can "slap" the left side of the chest [gross motor movement] and access a pen and go to point. Try it on a pumpkin [Itís October, I have pumpkins on my mind] or some other target for yourself with a pencil or Bic pen! The Streamlight Stylus is clearly not pointy, but it will severely damage someone if the eye or trachea is struck violently.

The rattan hoop is an invaluable training aid for knives in general and reverse grip knife use in particular. I use the hoop alot for training, it gives feedback that other solo training methods do not and has built-in resistance training that something like a "Man-Dummy" does not have. Working a knife in forward or reverse grip with the tension applied with the other hand gives a good workout, keeps you very tight in your movements which leads to blinding speed via fluidity. As you probably already know, the best way to become fast with any weapon, sticks, knives or guns, is to NOT concentrate on being fast, but focusing on fluidity instead. Speed will happen after you are fluid. Economy of motion. That is what the hoop can give you. It makes your circular movements incredibly tight and fast. Well worth the ten dollars or so that they cost. Almost anything you can do with a knife can be done with a knife and a hoop. This leads to everything I just described and the all-important element of muscle memory, youíre training your muscles to do what you want, given a certain input from an attacker, etc. The hoop can become the limbs and neck of an attacker, one of the greatest training devices you can have and hardly anyone outside of The Keating Realm uses them [as far as I know]. And for Pocket Stick practice, the Hoop is AWESOME.

So, if you are carrying your Stylus Light in the left breast pocket, and you are attacked and you use this light to defend yourself...there is one primary target. The eyes. The Stylus is NOT as powerful as a SureFire, you might get a startle response from the attacker in that instant that you activate the Stylus with your thumb, but the affect will not be as great [obviously] as the SureFire Flashlight, weíre talking about the light itself and not the physical body of the light in this instance.

Flash the attacker as the light is approaching the eyes! It sure wonít hurt to have a little bit more of a distraction added to your defense[4].

So, here are the targets;

1. Eyes, primary.

2. Throat/Trachea, secondary.

3. Tertiary-Anti-Grappling Counters. Sticking the light into the "Jugular Notch" which is the area of the trachea not protected, located between the collarbones in the front. Sometimes referred to as, "The hollow of the throat." Direct pressure there will damage an attacker. Other considerations would be sticking [insertion] of the light into a nostril or an ear and prying, etc. I know it is gross, but thatís life. As we used to say when I was younger and much more stupid, "Better thee than me."

The eyes are the primary target and the basic idea is, even if you do not strike an eye, you are going to hit their face. The goal is to get them to turn away from your counterassault and maybe to cover up. When they concentrate high on defending themselves, you go low. Standard High-Low/Low-High Principle and keys into, "The head and the hands tend to follow the pain..." Well, if they turn their upper body away from you to escape the facial assault, you ground them with your foot [foot trapping] and you continue that turn for them, torquing them and pushing them to throw them while their foot is grounded [ankle broken, knee damage, spiral torque. Like in FMAs and Silat]. If they just cover up, you foot trap them, grounding their foot and you oblique [Sipa-Sipa] kick them and disable the leg and go from there, escape, counter further, etc.

Some people tend to view pens and pencils in the improvised weapons mode as being suitable for joint locking and whatnot. Yes, sure they can, but due to the very real possibility of breakage, they will always be strikers first and foremost. Chances are if you have to draw your pen, it is because you need to do so in the quickest and most ruthless manner possible anyway.

All of this discussion is NOT to say that you should purchase and carry a Streamlight Stylus as a weapon per se, but just to expand your defensive horizons, so to speak. In other words, if the capability is there, destroy your $20.00 Stylus and save your life. Even if that movement is the segue to drawing something far more superior like an edged weapon or a firearm.

Discovered Something Else...

I found these little gems in a Wal-Mart and they are cool little retractable line leashes that you can use on Photon IIs, one has a pin back and the other has a clip. They are pretty cool for about $3.00 [Pic.7]

Final Picture

To show the various LED Lights discussed. [Pic.8]

A. A pair of Streamlight Stylus Lights.

B. A pair of PAL Lights.

C. Photon II MicroLight and JSP Ti-Koppo Keychain [Stick].

D. Lithium MicroLight.

[1] I believe "Pikal" is from the Visayan dialect and not Tagalog.

[2] The Tekna Pen was a neat item. To skirt Switchblade Laws, the blade was encased in a plastic, integral sheath that was retracted when the button was activated. Sheath activation instead of blade activation made it legal. It is now discontinued along with the Tekna Security [Credit] Card Knife which was another edged weapon that was very unique when it was introduced.

[3] Comtechís Drawpoint Volume One is 90% [or more] Picking, meaning, point work. There is some edge work as well, but the bulk of the material on that tape is point work in icepick grip.

[4] See the online article on Japanese Metsubushi Concepts on this site, as well as the first "Nighttime Companions" article. Almost all of the material discussed in The Koppo Stick article on this site can be applied to pens, pencils and a sturdy flashlight like a Streamlight Stylus or Mini-Maglite, etc. Remember, I want this site to be like a Connect-The-Dots exercise. One article leads into many and back again. Geometric growth. Some other "exotic" edged weapons are in the article, "Covert Weapons." You might want to check that out as well!

Don Rearic

DonRearic.com

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