Blinded by the light of my A25

 

I have owned a Coast A25 for more than a year, purchased from Lights & Knives in Portland, OR via mail.

Coast A25

Coast A25

The A25 is my EDC portable torch, holstered on the waist strap of a fanny pack style tech tool bag.  The A25 gives me a *true* white light, not “yellowish,” not “blued,” but the next best thing to actual daylight.

The A25′s true white light makes it very fast and easy for me to correctly discern insulation/sheathing colored stripes and other markings on wire strands in complex cable bundles.  I also prefer how the A25′s light performs over the lifespan of a set of Duracell alkaline AAA batteries, such that I’ve never even considered using rechargeable AAAs in my A25.

I use the A25 many times a day, such that a fast, smooth draw and positioning of my thumb over the tail
cap switch is a well-conditioned reflex.  I really enjoy the heft and feel of the stainless steel in hand.  It feels real.  Other people never fail to notice it, when I use it.  I’ve dropped mine, unintentionally, a few times onto cement floors and sidewalks, without any dents or scratches that a 3M pad can’t buff out..

I routinely use the strobe to illuminate myself when crossing busy streets at night, to increase the odds that motorists who are prone to making rolling right turns on red will see me, rather than hit me in the crosswalk.

But for all of my familiarity with the A25, I never thought about the sequence of light triggered by the tailcap switch, until a couple of nights ago, when the A25 saved me from bodily harm.

In my town, robbers looking to steal tech stuff up close and personal are known to severely beat their victim, even when the victim offered no resistance whatsoever. Beat you as in put you in the hospital. Gladly handing all of your possessions over doesn’t buy you a damn thing.

I was leaving a client site, late at night, making my way to my car with a carry bag containing expensive test equipment.  Not much street lighting, not much traffic and no other decent souls around.  I try to keep my head on a swivel in situations like that, but no one is perfectly vigilant all of the time.  There are just too many shadows, unavoidable bottlenecks in a given path and places of concealment.

Seemingly out of no where, and without warning or explanation, someone grabbed my upper arm from behind me.  As I turned to look and prepared to duck, I also reflexively reached for my A25.

The guy was significantly taller than me and was, in my estimation, going to use force, rather than persuasion, to relieve me of my possessions.

I blinded him with the steady bright first press of the A25, which caused him to let go of me.  Then I tapped the A25 into bright strobe, still in his face, to try to create confusion, then I ran the rest of the way to my car and got the hell out of there.

There were several factors of dumb luck that played a role in my escape.  What if he had grabbed my other arm (on the side where I carry the A25)?  What if he had struck me from behind, rather than grabbed me, first?  I consider myself extremely fortunate to have gotten away unharmed.  I will thank dumb luck, in the real world, every time it breaks my way.

The one thing that wasn’t a matter of luck, though, was the sequence of light triggered by the A25′s tailcap switch.

Full bright, to stun/blind.  Bright strobe, to confuse/buy more time.  Lower light, to run away without falling or attracting even more unwelcomed attention.  That sequence of light finally made perfect sense to me and I will look for that specific sequence of light as a feature in any multi-function, strobing, “tactical” flashlight from now on.  That much makes perfectly good sense to me, now.

And, if the A25′s light alone hadn’t caused the thug to let go of me, the mass of the A25′s stainless steel body would have let me get in as many good, solid strikes as necessary to break his grip, so that I could get away.  I really do appreciate the heft and feel of the A25.

Thank you, Coast, for the A25.  It performed better than I ever thought to expect.

I’m sorry to learn that the A25′s been discontinued in its original form.

It’s the best flashlight that I have ever owned and, although I’m always looking for the next great thing in flashlights, I have yet to see any torch, tactical or otherwise, that surpasses the A25 for the things that I need it to do, in that overall form factor.

-W.T.

*Note:  The A25 is being replaced by the A25R rechargeable.

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