Skip to comments.Requesting Advice On Tactical Flashlights
Posted on 07/23/2012 11:05:49 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler
If you have experience and/or knowledge of tactical flashlights please share with us.
Some discussion going on on this thread: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2909641/posts
What’s a tactical flashlight? Are you going into combat? At home, abroad?
Need more information.
Are you talking a flashlight to put in a pocket or pouch? A headlamp? A helmet-mounted light? A taclight for mounting to a rifle? To a pistol?
Unless you are LEO or military, many of the Fenix flashlights will do quite nicely.
I have several 180+ lumen 2 - AA powered led lights from them. Very impressive, and affordable.
Heh. You posted that link before I did.
Good info there.
The SureFire 6V (2 x cr123A) handheld line used to dominate this field, but many other manufacturers have stepped in.
The biggest change is the move to LED emitters, which are more durable, brighter and offer significant battery life. SureFire has converted most of their line to LED.
Other manufacturers offer similar models with a huge variety of features. Many of those features are nothing but liabilities. When your life depends on it, you want to push a tailcap and get bright, dependable light. You don’t want to be messing with twising bezels, multiple clicks of the tailcap to select brightness, etc.
My favorites are the SureFire G2 lights with LED conversions. They’re cheap ($35 before the conversion module), lightweight polymer lights that just work. No extra bezels and switches.
Streamlight offers similar models without too many gimmicks, but others like Jetfire have models with over ten brightness settings, strobes, SOS flashes, etc. Those are utility lights, not something you want to use when you’ve got a pistol in your other hand and you’re shaking with fear and adrenaline.
I've got about 8 different kinds of Streamlight lights. From pencil thin to this
Sidewinder which is, by far, the best flashlight I've ever used in my job - industrial maintenance. It's sold as a military light.
Ditto on Fenix, but the TK series makes the most sense for a tactical light. I’ve got three of their AA and AAA models and I like them for utility lights, but the TK series makes it a no-brainer for stressful tactical situations.
BTT. The big improvement was by Cree, Inc, in 2010 - a high-efficiency LED that knocked everything else on the market out of the water. I have a half-dozen cheap flashlights with these and they’re better than anything I’ve ever used before. And did I mention cheap?
All of my original surefires, including my old 6Z, have CREE modules in them. www.dealextreme.com is a great place for emitters and modules.
I started googling around after reading the thread raybr referenced.
I found the same thing SJSAMPLE noted - most of the “features” seem like they would be dangerous in any sort of crisis.
I’ve bought a few cheapo LED lights, and every one of them died after I dropped them.
I’d like to find a small (preferably pocket sized) durable light that is simple to operate, reliable under normal use, bright enough to be useful per the referenced thread, and cheap enough that I could get a few and not take a big financial hit if one gets lost.
Anything like that out there? Most lights I’ve found don’t list lumens, and have questionably useful features.
Made in USA would be a bonus.
I have a UTG tactical that is attached to one of my home defense guns and I swear by it. Here is a newer version.
In light of the other conversation, I would look for a few things.
1. High lumens (200 plus recommended but even my 90 is extremely bright)
2. Strobe feature, very disorienting to an attacker.
3. Heavy steel construction and defense protrusions around the light (see the image in the link above). These are great if it gets down to you smashing the attacker’s face with the flashlight to cause even more damage. A small feature like that is one you hope you never need but glad you had it in the very off chance you need it.
4. Option to mount on your gun if you see fit. Look for one that fits or comes with weaver mounts or whatever system your primary home defense weapon has.
5. Comfort in carrying. Does it fit easily in your pocket? Will it fall out?
I’m sure there are a lot more features others will bring up.
—The biggest change is the move to LED emitters—
It’s made ALL lightbulb flashlights obsolete. When I see them even being offered for sale it cracks me up.
I used to use a $150 6v headlight system for my bicycle. 25W bulb and a very heavy battery that looks like a water bottle and slops into your water bottle holder. Now, I use one of the lights from the 200 lumen three flashlight set at Costco ($19.99). It is brighter, is five inches long, made of machined aluminum and takes 3 AAA batteries. 3 watts.
Frankly, I’m seriously thinking of getting two of these three packs and using the six as auxiliary lights for my car. that’s 18 watts vs the normal 70-210 watts and much more brightness. And three per side is about 1.5” x 4.5” of frontal area.
I’m thinking of turning my 2001 300M into a Rat Rod with a really nice interior. These lights would be really cool instead of the old big ones. Hmmm.
Strobe and brightness both indicate and electronic light. There is no reason to buy a nonelectronic light anymore (one where the on/off switch simply connects the battery to bulb with maybe a current limiting resistor aka passive electronics).
Active electronics allow the light to amplify the meager current from a "dead" battery. I've got a supply of dead AA batteries (from other gadgets) that I can't possibly use up. My light (Maratac) just keeps going and going with those dead batteries.
This right here:
I’ve had the same problem you’ve had regarding listing light output and durability. But these lights will blow you away, especially at the price. It is stupid cheap and I’ve dropped them on concrete with maybe a slight scratch.
Surefire or Streamlight. 200+ lumens, prefer strobe capability.
As for cost, you need to look at it as for any piece of gear that you’re using when you’re putting your life on the line - you look for quality, durability, company reputation, made in USA, etc.
The bottom line is: how much is your life “worth” to you?
Are you going to trust your life with a “proven” tactical light, or are you going to carry the 3-pack of flashlights you can buy from Costco for $20?
5 D-cell Mag Lite. It is heavy and hits like a club. Runs about $40.
Pelican 8060 LED. Bright light. Dependable. EMS/LEOs use them. I like mine. 12 months old. Holds charge a pretty long time depending on usage. Has base for charger. Lt. weight. Check ‘em out.
Thanks for the tip.
Now that you mentioned it, I can't remember where I put this one...
—Are you going to trust your life with a proven tactical light, or are you going to carry the 3-pack of flashlights you can buy from Costco for $20?—
I bought the old three pack of these a couple of years ago. They were slightly larger and, I believe, only about 100 lumens. They had a serious flaw: They would suddenly stop working, even with fresh batteries, and I’d have to unscrew, twist the batteries in place and retighten. It was a major pain and, as you say, I could not trust them.
So far, one of the reasons I love the new ones is that that problem has completely vanished. I love these things and use them all the time and they have simply NEVER let me down.
Frankly, because of the low battery use, I use them a lot more than I ever used my old flashlight. I’d trust my life to these. Yes. At any price.
I like this one. One for the wife and one for me. Won’t roll off the table when you’re working on something!
$26 at Amazon
TerraLUX TLF-3C2AAEX LightStar220 3-Watt LED Aluminum Flashlight
Features two light modes: high and low
Operates on 2 AA batteries, which are included
Includes wrist strap, pocket clip, and nylon holster
Has a six-hour run time
Features bright white three-watt LED light and 220 lumens
Fenix TK series has a lot to offer. I have used my TK-11 on a daily basis for over two years. I use rechargeable Tenergy batteries that last ten hours in bright mode(255 lumens). IIRC it set me back about seventy dollars.
My girls would steal my SureFire G2s to go “tunnel rat” for their ferrets under their beds, and they’d leave them on, wasting $5 worth of Surefire 123 batteries every time. I picked up a dozen of the Tenergy rechargeables and they work great.
Considiering that the 3 watt flashlights can be had for six bucks or so and are pretty much as bright as many car headlights, why don’t any of the “auxuliary light” companies sell a light with three or four of these bundled into a high power driving or fog light? I don’t get it. They use much less wattage than halogens and could flood everything in front of you or all be used as a multi light “pencil beam”.
Imagine a row of 20 of these as a single bar, each one with an adjustable beam width.
Not so fast there, CL. Where LEDs still lag behind is the CRI (Color Rendition Index). One of the main reasons LEDs are still 'not there yet' in residential lighting applications. Overall brightness is a good thing but if that bright light does not allow you to discern colors (that unnatural look), a less bright light with a better CRI (i.e. the incandescent light) may be better suited.
Yes. I was talking specifically about flashlights.
That being said, we have some under counter LED strips in our kitchen that give the same color temperature as the LED’s they use in Jewelry stores now. They are absolutely awesome.
I understand that LEDs can give you the ability (or soon will) in home lighting to not only adjust brightness, but also color temperature.
Just off the top of the head, if the light is 1” in diameter, a single weaver (picatinny) scope ring will do the job.
Flashlight anyone? I have one for daily carry and take it everywhere with me. Its become another extension of me and has diffused at least two potentially violent confrontations in a non-lethal way. I recommend 200+ lumens./i>
How to use it in this situation?
I would have pulled my high lumens pocket flashlight and blinded this guy. The high powered beam would have taken away his vision for 3-4 seconds, which is an eternity and enough time to flight or fight. Theres also no shame in surviving and getting you and your loved ones out of harm especially little ones. Be a Hero to your kids and family for surviving, nobody can expect more of you than that. Like we say in Survival Escape Evasion Resistance (SERE) school, Survive with Honor.
Cabela's Limited Fall Edition 2012 catalog lists a particularly ferocious model at page 907, a "ProTac L Series," model number (003) HL, with a maximum output of 600 lumens, 400 more than the one mentioned in the quote. It weighs 5.5 oz.and is 5.25" long, just about the length of a pen. The price is $99.99.
A zap from that could do a good job of stoping a lot of people, especial at night. The big advantage is one could shoot on suspicion, without waiting for reasonable fear of death or great bodily harm, stop the target, leave no visible marks or residue on the target, and get away, all in all a lot better than shooting the target, especially since sooting would still remain an option. Right now George Zimmerman is probably wishing he had just such a weapon. Traynon's ghost might even agree.
Is it intended to be an auxiliary weapon as well as a light source? Are you trained in the proper use?
That’s true of course - progress will continue to improve the light quality of LEDs. But so far all the LED flashlights I own or have seen don’t have a particularly great light quality. OK for general purpose use though!
You might also want to check out candlepowerforums.com. Best resource out there.
Tons of in-depth reviews of ‘tactical’ LED flashlights.
—But so far all the LED flashlights I own or have seen dont have a particularly great light quality.—
I used to feel that way. They seemed to have a “purple flair” around the edges. The ones I have been raving about (the Costco three pack) eliminated that. They are a higher quality light in every way. In fact, even the old ones that were similar, slightly longer, and only 100 lumens kicked the sh** out of my four D cell Mag Lite. In fact, I replaced the batteries thinking they were going dead. They weren’t. The LED’s are so bright that the beam from mag light looked like the beam of a $1.99 flashlight with the batteries failing.
Yes. The difference is that big. I’m checking on the LED conversion for the mag lite, otherwise it is just an ugly paperweight.
Surefire is my first choice, and my EDC is a Nitecore Infinity single 3v lithium battery.
I designed LED flashlights and had my own business making them almost ten years ago. The Cree emitters is the hot item lately.
For a pistol the Veridian green laser and 100 lumen LED under barrel tactical light.
For a rifle I suggest two lights, one of no less than 500 lumens for intense searing light and another that is low level and or with red.
I was one of the founding members there, worked on many designes of early LED and even HID flashlights, that is until China flooded the market.
Piece of advice, don’t bet your life on something cheap, if your EDC (every day carry) doesn’t cost at least $100 then its subject to poor performance. And a good Surefire may cost several times that.
I like the Nitecore brand, among the top ten rated high output vs. size flashlights available and with outstanding quality control.
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