Flash attack: Massachusetts company designs flashlights for self-defense

Kristen Walsh

When Whitney Bushee walks around her college campus in Rhode Island, she feels a little safer because of something her father designed.

Glenn Bushee is the president of Kingston-based Brite Strike Tactical Illumination Products, which designs flashlights for police and military use.

In recent months, Brite Strike has branched out into the civilian market, making smaller, more user-friendly flashlights for women. It’s also offering free self-defense classes.

‘‘I just use it as a flashlight, but you have it as a precaution just in case,’’ Whitney Bushee said. ‘‘It’s a confidence thing.’’

Bushee and his partner Jon Neal started their company in 2006 after they heard from fellow police officers that the tactical lights on the market weren’t cutting it for their SWAT team training.

Neal is a police officer in Kingston, and Bushee has been a part-time Kingston officer for more than 20 years. Another member of the Brite Strike staff is Todd Bailey, a police officer in Duxbury. Their respective police departments aren’t involved with the company.

‘‘There are certain things tactical lights need to be: powerful, bright and small, but police also have to be able to use them with one hand so they can have the other hand free,’’ Bushee said.

After getting input from other officers, it took a year for Bushee and Neal to obtain a patent for their new design. They began selling their lights to police departments, military units, the Secret Service and the FBI.

Women began telling them that they liked the idea of carrying a flashlight for safety, but they thought the tactical lights were a little too big and not very convenient for them.

Bushee and Neal got to work on a new light, called the Lightning Strike, designed specifically for women.

Bushee and Neal also are offering free self-defense classes to show women how to use the flashlights, along with a few simple moves, to help them get out of dangerous situations.

In the class, women are given the chance to apply their techniques on training dummies, other class members and, eventually, in real-life scenarios against their instructors.

‘‘A lot of the methods used for women’s self-defense, whether it be martial arts or a weapon of some kind, require practice or else the skills are perishable,’’ Bailey said. ‘‘We wanted something that would be simple, intuitive, and work on gross motor skills.’’

The result is what the company calls ‘‘Flash, Bash and Dash.’’ The simple saying describes how the light can be used to get a person out of a situation where they are being followed or attacked.

The light is made of a hard metal, and can also be used to hit a person during a physical encounter.

The flashlights range from $79.99 for the Lightning Strike kit, which comes with a personal alarm and some accessories, up to $200 for the brightest tactical light with a strobe light feature.

Instructors can visit an employer’s office to show women ways to use the flashlight, or they can come to the Brite Strike offices in Kingston’s Jones River Industrial Park for classes.

‘‘We’re a small company in a small town, and giving something back to the community and to be able to prevent violence against women is great,’’ Bailey said.

Kristen Walsh may be reached at

The Patriot Ledger