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.