Rule The Night (Retreat security lighting supplemental)

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by SurvivorDan

I cut out several sections out of “Retreat Security” as I was a mite long (okay…very long) with the article. But I think this section needs inclusion. I always carry powerful compact tactical lights and they have given me an advantage in several serious social situations.


While the grid is up or generators are running, I suggest layers of lighting. Security lights around the residence are the norm. They should be aimed out and be annoyingly blindingly bright.
I have two sets on separate circuits so if one set has malfunctioned or is taken out I can turn on the other and still illuminate the same area.

I like automatic motion sensors coupled with the ability to manually control the lights. If you have outbuildings, have lights mounted both motion-sensor activated and manually controlled from your residence. I also like some low/medium wattage lights on my perimeters as back-lighting intruders may be useful. If the perimeter lights are disabled then you will know that there could be some mischief coming.

Preserving your natural night vision:

Simple idea, but reducing your exposure to artificial lighting (including the flare of your match) preserves your night vision. The use of low-level red/amber LED lights for map reading and locating supplies and weapons during a confrontation will also help preserve your night vision. After thirty minutes in the darkness your eyes are capable of detecting much more than you would expect them to be able to discern.

Also there are more light receptor rods (used for scotopic or low light vision) 15 to 20 degrees out from the focal point of your retina, so turning your head slightly from side to side provides better discernment of objects in extreme low light than staring directly at them. If you are thusly barely able to detect your assailants (but you are certain they are your attackers) when you look directly through your sights you will only see blackness but as you know they are likely there, fire at the center of the darkness.

I know this flies in the face of the old axiom to always being absolutely sure of your targets. Anyone who has been in a firefight and fired at the muzzle flashes and into the darkness knows there are exigent circumstances where the positives of such tactics outweigh the negatives.

Speaking of muzzle flashes I have demonstrated to students at night fire training that the flash image target (a muzzle flash ora momentarily illuminated target) moves as you move and thus you miss. You turn your head slightly or move your entire body and when firing you are firing at a ghost retinal image that is not where it was generated.

So keep your head still when firing at flash-retinal / ghost images. If your immediate zone is too hot then just fire for effect while moving. Movement is life and that same slight side to side head movement as you move to a new firing position through uneven terrain will aid you in seeing where you are bugging out to.

Not light related per say, but when all is dark your ears may be your only way of ‘seeing’ what your attackers are doing and where. Protecting your hearing will help in the darkness. Those with electronic shooting hearing protection will have an advantage over unequipped attackers as they will be deafened by gunfire while you are not. Also the adjustable sound amplification capabilities of most electronic ears can provide you with an edge. Some makes of electronic ears offer directional discernment capability.


Bright tactical flashlights (strobe preferred) should always be on your person and pre-positioned throughout the property. There are many, low power consumption (LED) but high lumen output handheld tactical lights available on the market today. {I am currently in the process of converting my old incandescent (power-hungry) Surefires to the new LED lamps.}

I have used such lights to temporarily blind, disorient and often discourage a would-be attacker. So bright hand-held pulsing lights can be a non-violent deterrent and if not, he who can see what he is shooting at has the advantage. But, don’t forget that they can see your light too. Still, given my druthers, I would rather be the fellow blinding an assailant with my tactical light’s strobe setting whilst applying all necessary counter-measures.

Long guns should be equipped with mounted tactical lights with on/off momentary touch switches. Hand guns not rail equipped can be used in conjunction with techniques (see Harries Technique, et al) to direct the light in your support hand while simultaneously providing additional control to your dominant hand-held the weapon. There are off-set or oblique tactical lighting techniques that make it more difficult for your attackers to know where you are at.

Try moving through your house with your tactical light off to the side, away from your body and being pulsed momentarily aimed off the ceiling or a wall at an angle away from your path. Much harder for someone concealing themselves to know where you are at any exact moment. Many gun shops and ranges offer tactical light classes and I heartily recommend such training. Invaluable.

Pre-arranged light based codes will serve you well if other communications systems fail. When the grid is down you will need flashlights that can be recharged with solar panels or other means. Sure you can have hurricane lamps and torches but then you are mostly illuminating the wrong target……yourself. There was good reason that many battles in bygone times were fought in the daylight.

Night Vision Devices:

Night-glasses are telescopes or binoculars with a large diameter objectives. Large lenses can gather and concentrate light, thus intensifying light with purely optical means and enabling the user to see better in the dark than with the naked eye alone. Such binoculars are useful but their obvious advantage is reduced by the limited dilation capabilities of the human pupil. Still good to have a set handy.

The best and most widely available type of night vision devices are the NVDs. Few have good NVDs and have familiarity with them. But if you have either night vision goggles or night vision binoculars and can maintain them grid down, then you rule the night. They have drawbacks too as those that incorporate active illuminators can be detected by counter-snipers. Most commercially available NVDs are passive image intensifiers but even those maybe temporarily incapacitated by a blinding light directed at you.

Fortunately, most devices will adjust quickly. No night vision device is perfect but in the absence of adequate tactical lights and NVDs amongst your attackers….you will rule the night. Looking out with night vision devices at a field full of exposed crawling tangos, who think they’re unseen, is a confidence builder and a game changer. Combine your night vision superiority with suppressed weapons and it becomes a lop-sided firefight. Your side has a high probability of prevailing.


Bullets coated with or built with a basefilled with a pyrotechnic chemical composition (typically strontium nitrate compounds combined with magnesium or phosphorus) which start burning immediately after exiting the muzzle of the weapon providing a visual guide as to the trajectory of the bullets fired, allowing for quick adjustment if off target. Tracers would have an obvious advantage particularly during a low-lightor nighttime gunfight, allowing a gunner to ‘walk’ his rounds in on anattacker’s position. The down side is that the attackers can ‘trace’ back the path of the bullets to the gunner, thus targeting him. Still…would could come in handy if applied judiciously.

Flash bang devices:

(Purchased – think cherry bombs, or home-made – sodium chlorate/antimony,charcoal/aluminum or magnesium powder, etc.) Blinding flash bang devices may be deployed against attackers in order to blind and deafen them while you shield yourselves from their brief but intense light and sound. Your vision may be limited in the darkness but you can help blind your attackers.


If you need to suppress night-time infiltrators, flares are a good tool. Tube launched parachute flares would be nice. I’d settle for some pistol launched maritime flares. Fiery arrows (lit road flare bearing?) have been used in the past to illuminate and even immolate foes and would still prove useful.

I’m sure some of the talented WolfPack could come up with a lot of homemade flare recipes. Strategically pre-positioned firewood piles with a remotely triggered ignition set-up  could come in handy if you have attackers whom you need to illuminate.

(Remember that any booby traps may make you subject to arrest and/or civil liability. This is for information only.)

For those surprised that I appear a bit more militant and hard-core than usual, I might point out that many of these measures may discourage would be attackers from attempting or continuing an assault on your retreat. Violence is my least favorite solution to a problem. Avoiding a fight is always my first choice.

But failing that……rule the night and apply sufficient violence to end the threat.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

First Prize) Winner will receive a Nomad – 1 Person Standard Survival Package courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply, a One Month Food Pack courtesy of Augason Farms, a $150 gift certificate for Remington Ammo courtesy of and a EcoZoom’s Versa Stove courtesy of EcoZoom stoves. A total prize value of over $875.

Second Prize) Winner will receive two (2) Rothco Sure Paks With Heater courtesy of Camping Survival, a Wise Food Vegetable bucket courtesy of LPC Survival and a Wonder Junior hand grain mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $509.

Third Prize) Winner will receive 3 – 27 Variety of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds, 2 – Fruit Pack of Non Hybrid, Heirloom Non GMO Survival Seeds and 2- First Aid Kit with Sutures in a Waterproof Resealable Bag courtesy of Be Prepared Now. A total prize value of over $215.

Contest ends on March 30 2012.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. SD…..
    I apologize for being “off subject” here, but just came on a Fox News Business article that Ruger (Largest US gun manufacturer) has announced a temporarty suspension of order taking. They are swamped and can’t meet demand! Interesting. Now on to finishing your “Take The Night” post.

  2. While darkness is sometimes our friend i movement and concealment, around the home I much prefer bright addequate lighting as it exposes those who would infiltrate in the dark. It wards of most prey in that the chances of getting caught go way up. I like the solar self contained security lights that you can get at Harbor Freight and Lowes. They are right, self contained have no need to be wired into the homes system and are motion activated. A great addition to home security especially in areas that are normally dark and would be good avenues of approach for bad guys.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Having bright adequate lighting (with back-ups) is usually a good deterrent to intruders. Might as well hit that dimly lit home down the road.

  3. Flashpowder for flashbangs… Potassium Perchlorate and aluminum powder, 70/30 by weight. Crush or grind the KClO4, sift or strain the AL. Then mix thoroughly (outdoors, in 20 gram or less sized batches, with heavy gloves and eye/face protection – it’s very stable, but just in case) by diapering. Plastic or paper containers, elmers glue, and some visco fuse. Don’t store the mixture, make it as you need it. A little goes a long way. 1 gram is a big firecracker, 20 grams is a stump buster. State level pyrotechnic license may be required.

  4. Rich Muszynski says:

    Greetings. good ideas. but one thing i note in them. all of them would advertise to a huge local area that you are there and exactly where you are. as well as the fact that you must be heavily armed and have things to protect that you feel are worth the risks of advertising possession of. point example. I lived in Detroit Michigan and worked at Chevrolet gear and axle on the second shift. getting out after midnight. I had a classic Lincoln 4 door convertible. which i never left anything in. one night i accidentally locked the car up when i got home. when i came out in the morning I found my top had been slit open so someone could open the doors to get into whatever i was trying to protect by locking the vehicle up. was nothing in the vehicle. but the locked doors signaled to them that there must be something valuable being protected. they cut the top to get in and were disappointed. and i ended up with over a $500 bill for replacing my convertible top. active and highly visible security works like my locked doors on my car did. instead of protecting, it advertised that there must be something worth stealing in there. and certainly would be a blazing flag that the owner of this property must be rich because he could afford all this security.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Good point Rich. As has been said before here and other places, low profile is best but each of us will have to weigh the pros and cons. During different stages of a Collapse it may be more prudent to be utterly low profile and during another phase hardening up and deterring may be the better strategy and later – back to total low profile. We’ll each have to make our individual calls as we see them. Sorry about your ragtop. happened to me once and come to think of it, I had it locked up tight that time. Lol.

  5. Nice article.
    Some I knew, some I didn’t, and others with a different perspective than mine.

  6. charlie (NC) says:

    If I could set up a defense around a retreat just the way I wanted it I would have barrier that would funnel intruders to approach paths of my choosing. I’d have my perimeter lights for my retreat out a ways from the building and aimed away from it. They would be close enough to the structure so as to provide some ambient light between the lights and the structure that would allow me to see the ground and anyone close up but the strong beam of the light would be aimed outward toward the approach paths. That would render my structure to the shadows as seen from anyone approaching. Along those paths I’d have strong stobes that would be triggered by motion detectors. The strobes would be between the trigger sensor and the retreat and aimed back at the trail so that they would blind and confuse anyone approaching on the trails. I’d also have alarms in the structure to tell me when one of those strobes fired in case I didn’t see it.

    That would discourage the average intruder. Someone trained in military tactics would immediately move off the trail and try to find another approach. I would try to anticipate that and create more barriers to funnel the intruder into a line of fire with more strobes and sensors.

    It’s important that the barriers look natural. Beds of blackberry bushes or similar plantings would be my choice. Within those beds would be other surprises for those who were brave or dumb enough to try to move through them.

    My secondary approach trails would not connect out to the boundaries of the property. That way I would know that anyone on that trail had gone there to avoid the detection of his approach. I would consider that are to be a free fire zone.

    • SarcasticSam says:

      Sounds like a plan Charlie. After one skirmish with you and your ‘barriers’, killing zones and strobes, I think folks might look for softer prey.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Ditto what SS said. Good plan Charlie. Good layering.

        • Charlie (NC) says:

          Well guys it’s easy to do on paper but having the right terrain and the finances to put it all together is another story. I’m pretty good at bench tactics and engineering. Getting it all in place is another problem. Thanks for the kind words.

  7. charlie (NC) says:

    I failed to say your’s was a very good article. I enjoyed reading it
    and just wanted to add my take on it.

    • Old Hillbilly says:

      All good points, Charlie….and an excellent article…lots of food for thought here.

      If I were given the luxury and checkbook to build a retreat of my own design, it would have one long vehicle drive which contained at least two sharp curves in it….curves that would slow down approaching vehicular traffic right in front of concealed ambush points. The sides of the road would contain seemingly innocent objects like rail fences, shrubbery, decorative boulders, etc….all there for the purpose of preventing any unwanted vehicle veering off the road to continue it’s unwanted approach. Another option is to place just prior to these choke points an exit road of sorts right beside an electronic call box. This would allow those approaching the option of exercising good judgement and leaving the property when verbally challenged. If they choose to continue forward after being warned, they are “paid for” as we say here in the hills.

      As far as perimeter lighting…don’t forget the use of vehicle headlights scavenged from junked vehicles. These along with a car battery can be placed at perimeter locations and activated by a trip wire hooked to an improvised electrical switch made from a mouse trap. One battery could supply several lights, at least for a short time. Aim the lights toward the approach points and away from you….blinding the intruders but giving you a clear view. Another inexpensive setup is the use of trip wires that activate spring poles (saplings) that have strings of cowbells (store bought or made from tin cans and rocks) tied to them. Stumble on one of those in the middle of the night and see what your pulse rate does!

      There are some excellent Army Field Manuals available online that contain a wealth of information about topics like this. The best advice I could give is THINK. Look at your surroundings….identify your weak and strong points on your property and build from there. Think what you would do if you were some zombie attacking YOUR property. It may not help a bit but it is good thought exercise and who knows….it might help. It sure couldn’t hurt! Watch your back and keep your powder dry.

      • Old Hillbilly says:

        I forgot to add…..all of the ideas I gave are centered around warning you of approaching threats or ways to slow those threats down. How you react to those threats is up to you. Any mention of ambushes and such are given assuming the rule of law is gone and we are living in a totally lawless society. There….hopefully that gets me by the lawyers and big brother. Actually I am a crippled old man who will be one of the first to go should the balloon go up. I just like to come up with theoretical ideas. LOL

      • SurvivorDan says:

        I mentioned tension poles/traps rigged with bells in the original Retreat Security but it bears repeating. I like your car battery powered lights triggered by a trip wire. Nice. I will make use of that. Thanks O.H.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          You say you will be one of the first to go O.H. but I rather doubt that any tangos will find you ‘going’ quietly. Besides I am getting longer in the tooth too and I am not as hi-speed-low-drag as I once was but younger folks might find our experience and advice useful if TEOTWAKI arrives sooner than later.

          • Old Hillbilly says:

            Thanks a bunch for those kind words SD. Also, thank you for that idea about the spring poles and bells. I knew I read that somewhere and it stuck in my mind….sorry for not remembering where it came from. Another sign of aging I guess. After reading your post I found a good source of small cow bells online that I am going to order “just in case”. As far as going quietly….nope…not if I can help it. My problem is that I was recently diagnosed with an incurable disease that they say will soon put me in a wheelchair. Well…the Lord is not done with me yet and if He wants me healed I will be healed and if He wants me in a wheelchair then I will have wheels! I will try to be a witness for Him wherever I end up. I might add that Charlie (NC) here is a long time buddy of mine and he told me up front that even if I could no longer walk that my knowledge would be valuable to my kids. Funny…those were the exact words my wife said the day I was diagnosed ! I guess I need to always remember that! I wonder how hard it is to fit a grenade launcher to a power wheelchair? LOL Thanks again and watch you back and always keep that powder dry.

            • riverrider says:

              hillbilly, mount you a .50 on that chair and call it a fast attack vehicle.

            • Old Hillbilly…so sorry about the disease. 🙁 But I am imagining a whole new prepper subject: outfitting a wheelchair!

              And that’s dead-on about your valuable knowledge. I think of Stephen Hawking and how he has done so much from a wheelchair and with speech impediment.

            • Old Hillbilly says:

              Don’t think I haven’t thought about that RiverRider! LOL I might get a couple rounds off before the recoil shook it apart!

              And thank you MountainWoman. I appreciate your concern. It is certainly not something I look forward to but it is what it is. I am not giving in and won’t. I keep expecting a miracle. They tell me it won’t kill me and I will still have use of my arms (although they will be weakened) and my mind will be good. That is the amazing part because it have never been much good up to this point! LOL

              Thanks again for all the encouragement and kind words from everyone. Maybe there will be other threads here where an old knotheat like me can offer a few ideas.

            • recoveringidiot says:

              Hillbilly, I found what we call around here redneck wheelchairs, a used Kawasaki mule. My spine ain’t what it used to be and I live alone so I decided to get some mechanical help.

            • Old Hillbilly says:

              Thanks “recoveringidiot” …. I just happen to have one of them rigs myself…at least a Chinese copy. It runs fine….it is my “legs” during the summer. I had a power wheelchair given to me this week also. I am going to stay off of it as long as I can as it will become a necessity soon enough.

          • Old Hillbilly, my mentor and friend had a mount for his wheel chair where he could put an AR, 10/22, remington 1100 and had a T&E for adjusting the weapon left/right and up/down.

            We joked about mounting an M240G on it, and joining the fight in Afghanistan and even proposed it to the assistant commandant of the Marine Corps lol.

            If I can help come up with any ideas let me know

            • Old Hillbilly says:

              Thanks Jarhead….I truly appreciate that offer. Where I live is quite mountainous so I don’t know what I will end up with….probably just using shoulder fired stuff….but a mount might be the ticket depending on how long I last. I’m curious….what did the Assistant Commandant think of the idea?

      • I can personally attest to the old car battery and high powered strobe light being an effective method of confusing attackers, especially when the area was previously pitch black. Toss in a couple of flash bangs and large caliber automatics (loud shotguns if you don’t have auto capability) and the fight goes right out of them.
        Psyops can really mess with tired, hungry minds.

        • Old Hillbilly says:

          Spot on Mex! Keeping a low profile is definitely advantageous but in the right time and setting, loud noises, bright lights and anything else we can do to put instant terror and confusion into the minds of the “zombies” should definitely take a lot of the fight out of them….and let them know that there might be easier pickings on down the road…..then we can resume our low profile until the next time….if there is one. I failed to mention that another cheap noise maker is an old car horn…or several car horns….salvaged from a junkyard along with the lights. Take care and watch your back.


      • Wow, this is the best info on the web! Im so glad I unplugged from Fasebook and started utilizing my time on the Internet for info! I really like the mouse trap, old battery & junkyard headlights idea, thanks Mr Hillbilly!

        • Old Hillbilly says:

          Mike, just call me Hillbilly…I ain’t use to the “Mr.” part. LOL

          You’re quite welcome but SurvivorDan is the one due the thanks for this great thread. I thoroughly enjoy the gardening and preserving and medicine threads but I sure do like to see a thread like this from time to time also. I imagine all of us hope our security precautions never come into play but it is nice to have them “just in case”. As far as mouse traps….they make great electrical switches. Rat traps make good ones also along with a few other things they can be used for but I’ll not get into that here. LOL Just use your imagination. You would not believe how many scenarios and warning devices I build and rebuild in my head when I have nothing better to do! Watch your back and take care.

          • SurvivorDan says:

            ” I imagine all of us hope our security precautions never come into play …” Amen to that brother.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I hope I didn’t post a response twice but I don’t know where it went? God….I am a computer age dinosaur. Anyway…
      I like your layered defenses charlie. The funneling of tangos into kill zones smacks of an ex-grunt. If I were an intruder running into your layers, I think I would leave and look for a softer target.

  8. riverrider says:

    awesome post! might add that tracers can be used to guide team member’s fire to the target, using “fire on my tracer” command. particularly useful when the rest of the team was sleeping prior to the contact….also, i’m in process of setting up cheap security cams all around. they have IR night vision providing very clear veiws. if run off of a solar system, should be sustainable….a guy on gunbroker sells nice little boobytrap devices, non-lethal, that set off 12ga. flares or .38 blank rounds. again, great post, got me refocused.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Thanks and good point riverrider,
      “tracers can be used to guide team member’s fire to the target, using “fire on my tracer” command.”
      Lot of sources for those 12 gauge traps but you know of a commercial source for those cheap security cameras (with IR) or are you acquiring them privately?

      • riverrider says:

        sd, i’m getting mine from harbor freight and/or northern tool. i have 2, but want at least 8 to cover 360. i’m still sifting thru whether 8 individual cams/8monitors(power costly) or an 8 cams/1 monitor(high intial cost,lower power use)system. with the 8/8, i can watch all 8 from a cozy control room, but my batteries will be tested. if i go 8/1, i won’t be able to see all angles at once.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Got a Harbor Freight nearby thanks riverrider. Keep us posted on what works for you.

        • charlie (NC) says:

          Riverrider, I had a friend that was a private detective. He died last year, he was getting on up in years. He was a page right out of a Mickie Spillane novel. Smelled of Cigarettes and cheap wiskey all the time. He was one of the very first older folks I know of that messed with home computers and it wasn’t long until he had figured out how to do home survelance on them. He had little cameras all over his house and property and could watch them on split screen from his computer monitor. Some of what he used were nothing more than cheap web cams but they worked fine for him.
          I sure miss that old goat and wish he was around now. He’s the kind of fellow that can help folks through a crisis. He didn’t get rattled and had an angle on everything.

      • tommy2rs says: has IR camera systems every so often. Of course you have to be ready to buy then and there because of that whole only one product a day thing. Which also means you have to check the site everyday.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Great site tommy2rs! Didn’t see any surv. cameras but a lot of camping and trekking gear. Thanks for the tip.

    • River and SD, we would always throw 3 tracers in the magazines before loading ball ammo so we knew when we had three rounds to change magazines. It helped because as soon as you saw tracers you knew to change magazines.

      As soon as we seen tracers coming out of a barrel we knew they were changing especially when shooting on the move.

  9. CountryGirl says:

    I have to tell you that wearing an eye patch over one eye improves your night vision by a factor of 100. It is amazing how much you can see in pitch black when you lift the patch that you have worn for over 24 hours. This could be a viable strategy in a SHTF situation with no power. You might laugh at this but until you have experienced it you just don’t know how well it works.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Never tried that but it would work of course. May try that on my next day off. Already have a patch from the last time I fired a return spring into my eye. Lol.

    • Aaaarrrgghhh, I may do it just for affect matey. Them’s that trespass know they be headed straight to Davey Jones locker.
      (Parrot on shoulder while slurring this and downing copious amounts of rum optional)

    • Country Girl, we would just keep our dominant eye closed which is essentially the same process.

      We would do this in urban warfare where indoors could be dark, low light or pitch black such as below ground/basement rooms. This way your dominant eye can focus on targets faster. Especially since back in the day not everyone had night vision scopes or goggles.

      • It also works going from dark to sunlight where one eye is exposed to sun with the closed eye opening as your out it adjusts a bit easier.

      • CountryGirl says:

        You are correct that technique works. I use it while driving at night; close one eye until the oncoming car passes. But please don’t underestimate what I described. It takes 24 hours or longer and you won’t simply have night vision you will have super night vision. I can’t explain why but with the unpatched eye you could be in pitch black conditions and be able to see nothing and when you lift the patch you could read. It is a dramatic difference. Now I haven’t tried it in many years since I injured my eye but the effect was real and I see no reason it wouldn’t work no that I am 55 years older. I just might try it again.

        Also regarding the pirate jokes I did read just recently that in fact the pirates used this very trick to improve their night vision so they would be more effective when fighting on a ship they boarded. So just maybe those pirate eye patches were not all because of injured eyes.

  10. Okay, here’s the dumb girl question: What makes a flashlight a tactical flashlight?

    • Old Hillbilly says:

      Black paint and a bayonet lug? (sorry….just kidding). I assume it would be a reliable, durable flashlight that can be mounted to a weapon or worn in a hip holster and most probably made of machined aluminum to make it extremely strong….at least that is what I see in most of the more common “tactical” lights I see advertised. Maybe someone else knows more….in fact I am sure of it. 😎

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Not a dumb question at all. These are lights designed for LEOs and grunts. People who can not tolerate failure of their lights during serious social situations. Usually aircraft aluminum with water proof (resistant) o rings. Typically very bright, often strobing option and very dependable and shock resistant. I always carry a Surefire with those features on my person and it has strike bezels on both ends so can be used as kubaton for CQB. I have many lights but I also keep a three D cell Maglight handy in my vehicle as it can double as a club.

    • Lantana, a tactical flashlight is one that can be operated with one hand/finger while manipulating a firearm, knife or other functions. Some weapon mounted, rechargeable or long lasting light life, light weight aluminum or plastic that can take shock and impact be it dropping or even striking someone with it. Many now come with ridges on the cap over the lens that could cut or cause bodily damage when striking someone with it.

  11. charlie (NC) says:

    Lantana, there is no one specific answer to that. Generally speaking it is a well built, light weight, powerful flashlight that is capable of attachment to the accessory rail of a pistol, rifle or shotgun. However a particular flashlight might be missing one or more of those features and still be called a tactical flashlight depending on the kind of “tactics” the user is employing. Also they often have a strob light built in as well.
    A big 4 or 6 D Cell mag light could be considered a tactical light by a game warden or deputy sheriff. A small LED mini-mag light with a thumb switch on the butt end of it might meet that definition for a traffic cop. Hopefully you get the idea. Best idea is to seach on line for “tactical flashlight” and look at the pictures.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I could have skipped my answer to Lantana if I had read charlie’s spot-on reply. It’s great that there is so much help available on this site.

  12. Good article. Started my brain cells working. Hopefully, we will have a new location to harden in the near future.

  13. Uncle Charlie says:

    I guess I’m in deep do do. My BOP has no electricity and is strictly a 19th century set up except for the firearms but it is small and remote on a large tract. Sometimes even I can’t find it in the dark. It’s difficult enough to get there in the day time even in my ’95 Bronco. I’m counting on stealth. I could never do anything as elaborate as what has has been presented so I guess I will have to hope for the best.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      ” Sometimes even I can’t find it in the dark. It’s difficult enough to get there in the day time even in my ’95 Bronco. ”

      Remote location. Hard to get to and find and off the grid. I think that’s a keeper Uncle Charlie. I’m envious.

    • Charlie (NC) says:

      Uncle Charlie, I have the same problem. I might know how to do it right but having the resources to get it done is another issue. Your comment about stealth made me remember something I saw last week while riding through a back road north of Charleston SC. I came opon what looked like a broken down cabin. As I got closer I saw that it was only front wall and porch of a broken down cabin then as I passed by it I realized it was never a broken down cabin but just a facade that was built to look like a broken down cabin. My guess is that it was a sign for a business that hadn’t been kept up for years. It got me to thinking, what if you built a false facade for your retreat such that from a distance it looked like an old run down and abandoned shack that is not even worthy of scavenging. Something that an intruder would walk away from. However the owner would walk across what looked like a dangerous old front porch that could fall in any second, pass through what looked like a partially opened door that might fall any second only to have his well built retreat behind it. Use your imagination folks, what do you think?

      • SurvivorDan says:

        In my original retreat security article (archived) I took a little heat for suggesting that one’s retreat look abandoned and I think the critics were right.
        Might attract folks looking for an abandoned property. I think the suggestion by some of the WolfPack that the place should look occupied but not very appealing/attractive was the best idea.
        Of course remote and totally hidden would be the best but I can’t move now and I can’t grow trees and bramble tall enough to hide what I got. So I am prepared to make it look ‘grungier’ with pre-cut plywood and such.

        • charlie (NC) says:

          I agree with that take Dan but this facade looked damaged beyond anything anyone, even a homeless kid, would want to hide out in. It litterally looked as if it would fall any moment but when I saw the back of it I realized it was built on a steel frame. I guess you’d need to see it to understand what I’m thinking and it wouldn’t be easy or necessarily cheap to pull it off but I think it could work.

          • SurvivorDan says:

            So decrepit it looks dangerous and burned out, huh?
            Maybe so. Whatever works.
            An idea to file for possible use – best to keep an open mind.

            • CountryGirl says:

              I would love to take credit for this idea but I read it on another blog. Print up a quarantine sign (do a google search) and post it on your front door and if you have a front gate post it there. That should scare away those who can read.

            • charlie (NC) says:

              Dan, with a little bit of effort it could actually be rigged so if you tried to walk on the floor it would fall through UNLESS you knew exactly where to step. A bit extreme and only useful for a particular site that lent it’s self to that kind of disguise but it’s worth keeping in mind.

    • tommy2rs says:

      With your off the grid situation you might look at some chemical light trip flares like the ones here:

      I’m sure there are others, those were just first ones I hit while looking.

      And for locating your BOP easier at night try some reflective tacks ( like the Lewis and Lewis Bright Eyes) set high in a tree every so often. Most humans, unless trained to do so, fail to look up very often. But if you know where to look they make good guideposts

      You can also get some motion sensitive solar recharged spot lights. Just be prepared to change out the rechargeable batteries once a year or so. I use these in my garden to chase off the veggie eatin’ critters when I don’t feel like getting up and bagging them for the stew pot. I like the motion sensitive ones as they switch off after a bit.

      And if any of you use solar yard lights, the little panels on the broken or seemingly worn out ones can be recycled into cell phone chargers rather easily with a bit of soldering, some photo album plastic sleeves and other bits and parts.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Tommy2rs: That looks like a much better alternative to combustible flares on a trip wire. Gets awful dry most of the year in these parts. Much safer visual alarm.

  14. HQ5thMar says:

    A few good things brought up in this article. That being said I am more of the OpSec kinda guy. So I am more interested in the night vision goggles (NVGs). I do not have the money for any of this mentioned except the natrual night vision which is what we used most in the marines. NVGs were more of a hassel most of the time because we were training and did not need to identify our targets.

    What was not mentioned were cameras with night vision. I would like to put motion sensors around my place that let off an audible sound inside the house when activated. I could then check my cameras and see what is going on. Now I know if I need to arm up or if it is just an animal which might be good depending if I need the food. No need to tell everyone I have power, money or preps. Just because they came to my place.

    I have had questionable people come to my place before and when they knocked at my door I would greet them from behind. I would rather get the drop on the bad guy when he still thinks he has the element of suprise.

    • HQ, look at sales at Big 5, I’ve picked up a couple for as cheap as $125 to $150 for Russian manufactured night vision monocular. Its not ANPVS 4/5/7/14 etc but does provide some eyes in the dark and where most won’t have it, it provides eyes and can be modified to mount on a low recoil weapon.

      • Folks should keep in mind though that 1st Gen monoculars and other inexpensive NV devices usually incorporate an IR illuminator. The illuminator is like tracers, maybe worse in that anyone out there, with a similiar device, can see your (and you his, if he has it on) IR beam making you as visible as someone walking around with a flashlight. I think that, in a bad situation, turning the IR illuminator on should be an absolute last resort. And that without it, these things usually have a limited (very limited) range. You can make out a human form in the 40-50 yard range but are hard pressed to make out basic details…like – who are they.

        • Hawkeye, true I’m not sure how many people out there have night vision. I have my Gen III but keep that home in the safe and the Gen I has been mostly for camping and power outages. When I hear actual noises the ANPVS-7 gets some use.

          I wonder the odds of the average person or criminal having night vision.

        • SurvivorDan says:

          Yeah I mentioned illuminators and they are my least favorite.
          Still…better than nuttin’ but know their Achilles heel. Good warning.

  15. recoveringidiot says:

    I’ll call before I drop by to chat……

    Good read!

  16. Really good article. I have researched and/or used quite a few of the options presented here as I am police officer who works primarily 3rd shift. The freaks do come out at night just as the old 80’s song stated and that’s just another reason that I love my job.

    One of the keys to working at night and prevailing during volatile/violent situations is using the darkness to your advantage. Many times I have used the cover of shadows to disguise my presence. A lot of LE uniforms have shiny badges, buttons and nameplates that easily reflect light so keep in mind that your personal OPSEC needs to include eliminating all reflective material.

    Another consideration is using a large amount of bright light and then coming in to the unknown person/threat from the side. We do this on traffic stops all of the time. We use most, if not all, of our lights for our protection. This protection is from passing motorists and so that those in the car that we stop do not know exactly how we approach. This is because traffic stops are the 2nd most dangerous situations that LE are in on a regular basis due to the unpredictability of the vehicle occupants and our exposure.

    SurvivorDan also wrote about operating your flashlight intermittently. This is an awesome technique that I use on a regular basis, especially when doing building searches. When I first learned this technique and brought it back to my department, I had officers tell me that cycling my flashlight unpredictably and intermittently was actually causing them to get sick. My response to them was if it was making them sick, then think of what it was doing to the bad guy who was already amped up because he knew he was where he was not supposed to be. Now, several of our officers have adopted this technique as well.

    Finally, SurvivorDan wrote about keeping your hand-held flashlight away from your body when using it. That is awesome advise! Due to a debate within my department, I sent a question via a LE email tree. The debate was whether or not a bad guy would target an officer’s light if that was all that he could see. I said yes, he would and another training officer told me that it has never happened. Within 48 hours of the email, I received at least 7 responses of incidents where the officer’s lights were target by bad guys who attacked the officers. Later I found out the same thing happened to our FOP president when he was a patrol officer and also to the partner of a well-known LE instructor (at least in our area) when he was a patrol officer.

    I apologize for the length of my response to SurvivorDan’s article but this is a subject I am very passionate about. SurvivorDan did an excellent job of providing viable options and considerations in area that doesn’t get much press.

    • JD, I have taken several gun fighting courses in both the Marines, and private by LE tactical instructors and the technique having the light offside especially if you shoot right handed and the light is offside to the left increases your odds of surviving a shooting from everything I was taught.

      1. If they aim for the light they may miss you
      2. If they hit you it may be your hand/wrist/arm (not a vital area)
      3. If hit in the shoulder at least its not on the side of your heart.
      4. If you get hit in the vest by a heavy caliber, it reduces the chance of your heart stopping.
      5. If a suspect comes up on you, the light temporarily blinding them can be used as an impact device, block an edged weapon or push into the suspects sternum, face or throat as putting distance between you as you bring the pistol back tight into your side and fire into their chest or abdomen.

  17. SurvivorDan says:

    Thanks for the positive remarks JD. I was a reserve deputy until Dec 2011 and have used many of these hand held lighting techniques over the years in various scenarios so I have seen their effectiveness in real life situations. I hope folks take it to heart and practice them. Ideally taking a class in their use would be the best thing. Stay safe brother.

  18. SurDan…great article. I haven’t the means to outfit our homestead here in the ways you put forth, but some of what you laid out can be applied to personal and vehicle ‘lighting’…not that I’ll be wearing any motion sensor strobes, or mounting them on my truck….hmmmmm….well maybe on the truck. 🙂 But the flashlights section and the preserving night vision section really informed me of things I CAN do. I spent 30 years living in the wilderness away from towns, and my night vision was excellent then. I hiked at night a lot. Star-shine, moonshine, ocean reflected light, luminescent plants all were aids

    THAT would make a great post…using natural light present in the “dark”, cause it’s rare that it’s truly, deeply completely dark…except maybe underground.

    When wandering through an Academy store in The Big City last year, I came across some “pocket flares” in the boating section.

    I always wander through the aisles, and usually find something in one that I wouldn’t think to look for there. They were on sale, and I bought the pack. It’s now in my bug-out bag.

    Thanks again for a great article…well-written and informative.

  19. SurvivorDan says:

    Looks like a modified pin flare as used by the military. I am going on a trek up in the white Mountains with just my pit in May. I’m going to order a set of these. Mrs. SurvivorDan will like that I have them. Thanks MtWoman.

  20. Uncle Charlie says:

    When I used to look at farm land for a living, I ran across a farmer who had nailed up a couple of official looking radioactive signs on a gate on a remote part of his farm to keep the curious at bay. I questioned it’s effectiveness and he had said that he had never had any problems on that part of his farm.

  21. Uncle Charlie says:

    Well apparently my attachments don’t work, sorry. But you get the picture.

  22. SD, great article, missed it when it first posted and just saw it. I agree on many points and I have the Streamlight TLR-1S light with strobe light and on the Surefire X400 Long Gun Light with Laser. I also have a Streamlight ProTac 2L that stays with me at work and the car. I just picked up the Streamlight TLR-5 today.

    With tracers, I have enjoyed using them and like in a prior post prefer having the last 3 rounds in the mag so I know its time to transition as soon as I see a tracers. I remember the SAWs and M60s firing on the enemy and when they saw tracers locking in on them and everyone else zeroing in on them, they got the F out of there because it became a kill zone by overwhelming force of fire.

    Night Vision I own an ANPVS-7 and two hand held monoculars that I picked up for between $125 and $150 at Big 5. Its nice to be able to own the dark. If an actual scope can not be afforded, it is possible to modify and mount the monocular to a rail. While its not perfect you can get a field view of your target.
    I’ve considered trying to mount it to the M4 and see if I can trace a target with the laser on the target without it interrupting the optics vision.

    I have some chemlight trip wire set ups that I can use standard chemlights or use IR chemlights so while they can’t see what they tripped and with use of night vision they are well lit. If they are wearing night vision goggles it provides a great sense of insecurity to them be it regular or IR chemlights because they
    know they are “lit up”

    On the subject of flare guns I have seen mousetrap booby traps. Both homemade and manufactured discharging flares into the sky lighting up the area exposing them. I’ve also seen them designed to dispense pepper spray (not recommending as it may be illegal)

    Another tool is 12 Gauge pepper rounds that can disperse pepper spray on an area. 12 Gauge “bIrd bombs” I forget what they are called but they have been used to scare birds away at airports as well as scare bears. It would equally terrify an attacker initially as explosives are popping around them not being used to it.

    For lighting if you can go solar with a battery it could provide the lighting you need. I’ve seen them matching colors of grass or trees as well as you can paint them (minus the panels) in the color of the area they are in. Lights placed facing away from the house in the directions of possible attackers would best be set in inconspicuous ares if possible such as bushes, rocks and bedding as they won’t be apparently visible during the day. Motion detectors work well in a sense that it may cause them to withdraw for fear of being seen. If you have lights out in the home and they are lit up, they are easy targets.

  23. Hi SD-
    All of your reasons and ideas are very, very reasonable and well grounded. It is by far better to deter via non-lethal force and defensive measures than to have to take a life or in other ways expend your energies building and maintaining traps that have the potential to injure others who might not serve any real threat to you or your family.
    Unfortunately… I don’t see me using this intelligent and efficient plan any time soon, other than the basic ‘leave the porch light on’ from dusk till dawn every evening in a less dramatic attempt to deter the local teens from doing mischief to the front of my home from the road.
    The reason for my reluctance to employ the well-lit tactics comes from personal experiences that have made me question that particular choice. My family owns a retreat house about an hour from our primary residence. I won’t go into great detail, but suffice it to say that everything we might ever need to survive relatively comfortably for a few months is stored there in one form or another, along with hunting, trapping, camping, and plenty of gear and supplies to keep us alive, if not completely comfortable for a long time. It will be our primary bug-out destination in the event that bad things happen that keeps bugging-in from being the best course to follow. It is surrounded by 300+ acres of family-owned farm property, so the majority of immediate neighbors are well-known and friendly.
    Unfortunately, just after the towers fell in 2011, one of those family members had some medical emergencies with one of his daughters, and sold half a dozen small parcels of land to terrified families from NYC who wanted to get as far away from that ill-fated place as they could. Four out of those 6 come infrequently now, and have upgraded little of the land from what it was when they originally purchased it. Two, however, have invested heavily, and perhaps foolishly, in ways that are anything but low-key and are offensive on many levels. In our quiet little farming community where people live much like their grandparents and great-grandparents did, and a new television is something celebrated only once every decade or so and trucks are driven until they disintegrate into a pile of rust, the citiot fortresses built just across the dirt road from our retreat home are lit up like napalm in a stainless steel drum of electrified fencing, gates, and security systems. One is worse than the next. The noise from their huge gas-powered generators scares all of the game away for miles around, and creates an uneasy sub-sonic drone that interferes with the peace and tranquility that we once treasured about our completely off-grid, low-tech hideaway. When we go up to the mountain for a weekend, if one of the gates to these monstrosities is open, we will often just stop in for a few minutes, then turn around and find something else to do for the weekend.
    There is something to be said for blending in, as well… or at least, there has to be a happy medium. The owners of these retreat houses may be safe from intruders and anything else out there, but the locals resent their presence, and that is not a small thing to consider, especially when one realizes that probably 300 days out of the year, there is no one occupying them.
    I have come to value quiet, low-key, and under the radar. There is safety there, as well.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Very valid points and I agree with the low profile.Be low profile. But better to have the personal and structure mounted lighting system set up and not use it or need it than to need it and not have it.
      I’m just a sweet little harmless old guy with a cane. But I usually walk about with enough weapons concealed on me to scare the horse but no one ever notices.
      Low profile……but I have them if I need them.

      • Hi SD-
        “sweet little harmless old guy with a cane” my foot! Love it.
        No, our camp house is not helpless, either. But without electricity, the lighting would have to be done in a more subtle way, no matter what. We are off-grid up there, and remote enough that the major cell carriers don’t get signal, either. And I really hate noisy generators…
        maybe solar could be made to work in a way that wouldn’t be visible from the driveway? Hmmmm… hadn’t though about that. Might solve a number of challenges, and potentially power some creature comforts to keep the kinder happy(er) in addition to some motion-sensored security lighting.
        Thank you for posting this and giving me cause to reconsider some things I would otherwise never have thought of.

  24. Correction…Towers fell in 2001… really need to read what I post before it goes up!

  25. Great informative article!

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