View Full Version : Tactical Flashlights

August 2, 2009, 08:34 PM
I hope this is in the right forum. If not, I hope a mod can move it.

Can anyone share with me some info on tactical flashlights? Proper use? Minimum lumens? Appropriate price? (Whoa!)

August 2, 2009, 08:41 PM
Depends on what you're using it for. If you are just needing a flashlight then I wouldn't spend too much on it. I use a maglight with rechargeable batteries. Works great and is reliable. If you need/want a real tac light then I have a Surefire 6p l.e.d., I think it's 85 lumens and was about $80.

August 2, 2009, 08:45 PM
I'm looking to use it as a layer of SD in my home. So, no, not looking for a regular flashlight! Can those things even be used like a regular flashlight??

August 2, 2009, 08:47 PM
My husband carries a Sportsman's Warehouse brand 12-volt xenon flashlight he got for around $40.00. It's bright enough to blind an attacker temporarily, and is rechargeable. This is the type of flashlight that is usually sold as "tactical".

Be careful with the term "tactical" when used about guns and self-defense equipment, by the way. I've learned that it's usually used to make things sound military grade and "sexy", and to jack up the price. :/ It doesn't usually mean anything specific when applied to equipment for sale; tactics isn't in a piece of equipment, but in how you use it.

August 2, 2009, 09:12 PM
A "tactical" flashlight has two purposes:

1. To illuminate a defender's surroundings (this is obvious) and

2. As mentioned above, to blind an attacker. Assuming the attack comes in the night, the criminal's eyes will be adjusted to the darkness. A quick burst of high lumins will cause all of the cells in the BG's eyes to activate, causing temporary blindness and a bit of surprise.

The tactics for this come in 3 main flavors:

1. Keep the light on at all times. This has one advantage: you can see all the time and you wont "miss" the BG's head with it. But the BG will see you coming and know your location.

2. Switch on an off. This is good for those times when you don't want the BG to know your location. It is also a very effective blinder when the BG, straining to see into a shadow, suddenly gets the power of the sun into his pupils. (but you obviously can't see with it off)

3. "wiggling" the light. You see cops to this to drunks/belligerent people sometimes. They aim the light, which is on, at the person's eyes, and "wiggle" the light really fast back and forth across their face. The quick "strobe" effect of the light confuses the person's eyes, usually causing them to cringe away from it (have a friend try it on you to see what it's like). This is best used when it is not totally dark (the sun isn't fully down, streetlight, light in the room etc etc).

August 2, 2009, 09:15 PM
Sorry Kayla, I didn't realize you were brand new to shooting. I just finished reading your other thread about where to start so I will clarify what I said before.
Tactical lights are usually very bright lights, mostly upwards of 60 lumens, and are usually intended to be used in conjunction with your handgun. Most of them have rear switches so that you can hold them in your hand and turn them on with your thumb. The reason that they are so bright is so that you can disorient your attacker, trust me my surefire is 85 lumens and is PAINFULLY bright:D
This isn't to say that you NEED a surefire or a tactical light. I bought a cheap knock off at walmart for less than $20 and it is very bright as well. The reason I bought the surefire is because I will be attending a police academy in january and the agency I will be working for doesn't issue squat to it's new officers....ok...that's all true but lets be honest I really just wanted the name brand...lol.
Truthfully, IMHO if you are just getting started and are not independently wealthy I would suggest that you buy a cheap knock off from walmart and spend the remainder on practice ammo and good quality sd ammo for your new gun when you buy it.
If you do have plenty of extra cash laying around buy a surefire or 2 and while you're at it..I could use some cash:D

August 2, 2009, 09:26 PM
I bought two Solarforce's from the classifieds section for $30 each . I love them. Better than my Surefire 6P and less than half the cost.

Here is the link to the ad:


August 2, 2009, 09:26 PM
As Trashcan man said, alot depends on what you'll be using it for. Will you be carrying it around with you? If so, will size be an issue? Is it to be used just for general illumination or for more serious social encounters in conjunction with a defensive firearm?

Personally, I have two older model Surfires that I've carried for years. One is a standard 2 cell (a 6P I believe) and the other is a dedicated shooting light (also a 2 cell). While Surefires are expensive you generally get what you pay for (in my experience). They are bright, well made and stand up to lots of abuse. Batteries are reasonable if you look around and buy in bulk. If you go to Wal mart or any drug store, expect to pay a premium for the 3 volt lithiums. The only drawback to them is that they suck batteries. I have heard that the LED versions give better battery life and are just as bright but I don't have any experience with them.

Due to the battery drain, I use the Surefires only for shooting or as back up lights at work. For general looking around or for when I need a light on for an extended period, I've started using a Pelican Model 2360. It runs on AA batteries and is probably the brightest factory AA light I've ever used. I just stared using it at work so only time will tell if it will last. If it handles the abuse I'm cabable of dishing out, it'll be a winner and I'll get a few more. I also picked up a Pelican 3330 LED (2 3 volt lithiums) which is a basic polymer light with a push button end cap. So far, it's working well but does get hot with extended use (anything longer then 10 - 15 minutes). Botach has them on sale for $20 so I figured I'd live one a try

The PD issues rechargable Stingers which are pretty good all around lights but even if you charge them religiously, they always seem to die when you need them. Sometimes it's easier to just drop fresh batteries into a regular light.

As a cop, I carry 3 or 4 lights on me at work. One is a dedicated weapons mounted light, one is a back up shooting light, one is a general use light and one is a micro light for finding stuff in the car. For this, I'm currently using a Maratec AAA which, so far, is working out great. Off duty, I generally carry one of the Surefires and a small pocket light. For pocket or keyring lights, I have two of the Gerber Infinity lights (both are one cell AA) with are about as basic as they come but have served me well over the years. The Maratec is rapidly finding a place in my heart though.

Candlepower forums is a good place to go as those guys live, eat and sleep flashlights and you'll learn more then you really wanted to about lumens and candlepower:D

I've tried a couple of the chinese knock offs that you see on ebay and while they worked ok for a short time, they usually stopped after the first time I dropped them so I gave up on them. What you save in money you'll pay for in aggravation.

On a safety note, I did have one of Surefires blow up on me a few months back. I have to admit breaking a cardinal rule and mixing battery brands. Luckily for me, it was at night and the light was on the dresser. The batteries shorted out and it exploded with such force that it vaporized the plexiglass lens and the case got way too hot to touch. I shudder to think what would have happened if it had been in my pocket or on my gear when it went critical mass. I now stick with good brand name batteries and don't mix and match but it's always in the back of my mind

August 2, 2009, 10:09 PM
Sorry, maybe there is a better term, but I mean a flashlight that is used for SD in contrast to one that helps me plug my HDMI cable into my tv! :D

The real question is, would it make any sense to depend on a tactical flashlight to blind someone to give me time to get out of my house?

I don't have a firearm yet. And even if I had one, I don't know how to use it yet.

Meanwhile, I don't feel safe in my own home.

Maybe the real question is, how do you use a tactical flashlight? And if I'm blinding someone else, am I blinding myself too?

Sefner, what is a BG?

August 2, 2009, 10:50 PM
No. A tactical flashlight works the same as any other flashlight does. It shines light in one direction, the only difference is how bright. Think of the halogen headlights that are on new luxury cars....stare into the brights and you get the idea...lol. It is not really going to "stun" anybody, it's more going to blind them, reduce their night vision to 0 and if they stare into the light it will really hurt after a few seconds. This is not a tazer that will physically incapacitate someone but rather will take away one of their senses. It is meant to be used in conjunction with a handgun, not in place of one. If you cannot get a gun right away and you need something for the interim get a baseball bat or even a tazer in the mean time, something is better than nothing.

edit: I realize now that my last sentence repeats myself from the other thread. You don't have to reply 2x. My only point is that something like a baseball bat, tazer or rock...lol is better than nothing at all.

August 2, 2009, 11:18 PM
A "BG" is a bad guy. :-)

For an interim measure, I'd suggest getting a can or two of pepper spray. They run about $15.00 each, and are quite effective against most attackers that are armed with something other than a firearm. I carry one as an option if I'm dealing with an unarmed attacker or to slow down an armed attacker if the situation warrants. It isn't guaranteed to work, but my brother in law is a police officer and he carries pepper spray in addition to his service pistol, so I figured it was worth adding to the arsenal.

If you do get pepper spray, you might want to get an extra or (even better) a couple of practice canisters that are like the real thing except minus the capcasin, which makes pepper spray burn. Then, get some training on how to use it effectively. Training is important, and not just with guns.

August 2, 2009, 11:23 PM
Just keep in mind, when you pepper spray someone...you're gonna get the effects too. If you're ready for it you can deal with it, but it still hurts and can cause you as much problems as your assailant.

August 2, 2009, 11:37 PM
Good point, Trashcan-man. If you're outside and the wind isn't blowing at you, I'm told that you will usually escape the effects, but inside that's bound to be a problem. Might be better to try something else for home defense, and carry the pepper spray when you're out and about.

August 2, 2009, 11:47 PM
Streamlight also makes good lights. For home defense purposes, I generally get the most lumens I can possibly get. The brighter the better. I have a vertical foregrip that kicks out 300 lumens. only lasts about 20 minutes though. Trust me, a burst from a 300 lumen light is cripplingly painful.

August 2, 2009, 11:51 PM
Great Googly Moogly!!! 300 lumens!!! I looked into my 85 lumen surefire and won't make that mistake again. I cannot even imagine what a 300 lumen flashlight would look like...wait, that's not a flashlight do you have a death-ray permit? Did you go to mad scientist university?

August 3, 2009, 12:13 AM
Sorry, I goofed. It's only 225 lumens. Here's a pic of my vertical foregrip light. The one below it is one with 500 lumens. We also had 1 surefire light on our browning M2, stryker mounted, that was-get this- 1000 lumens! We called it the God Light.

August 3, 2009, 12:29 AM
I've had a Surefire 6P for a long time, upgraded with CREE 290 Lumen LED bulb. Yep, they are *instantly* blinding.

Last week I picked up a 2 pack of "TechLites" from Costco for $20 (batteries included). They claim 160 Lumens and take 3 standard AAA batteries. They seem pretty well made, with nice aluminum bodies. They have pretty bright LED's, but not as painfully bright as the 290 Lumen models. The adjustable focus leaves a lot to be desired and you have to cycle through all of the options on the tailcap to turn it off (maybe that can be modified to on/off). Ooops, just discovered that if you hold the button down for about 1 second, it will come on at full power & turn off when the button is released. For 10 bucks batteries included, you can't beat them.

I just got up the 'nads to point one at my face & turn it on for an *instant*. They are pretty dang bright. It took away my center focal area for about a minute & left a bright green bullseye in the center of my vision when I closed my eyes for about 5 minutes. (Aint gonna do THAT again, LOL)

From the package: Costco number 406343, (can't get it to come up on a site search though).

CREE XRE LED 160 lumen
3xAAA (6 provided in blister pack)
Water Resistant - 30 minutes at 1 meter
Vacuum plated reflector.
Polycarbonate lens
Adjustable Focus ring - spotlight to flood.
Aircraft Grade Anodized Aluminum
Shockproof to 1 Meter
Wrist Lanyard

MultiFuntion cap switch
- Constant Current
- 50% & 100% output modes
- Emergency Strobe mode
- Cap light indicator at 20% battery life.
- Momentary switch for immediate light

August 3, 2009, 12:51 AM
In reality, how much worse is 260 vs 180 lumens?

August 3, 2009, 01:26 AM
Well, after their eyes scorch out, it's basically the same! But seriously, any exceptionally bright LED is going to disorient the heck out of someone, if their eyes are adjusted to dark. I feel more comfortable with LOTS of lumens. If I could conveniently carry a 1000 lumen light, I would. 260 lumens would probably blind someone in broad daylight! That's a pretty powerful light, run off CR123 batteries. You get short life light though, probably only 15-20 minutes.

August 3, 2009, 03:24 AM
I carry a surefire E2D Execuctive Defender from Surefire. Not sure of the lumens (100 I think), but it has a crenulated strike bezel, so it can be a last ditch striking weapon as well. FWIW, while a "tactical" light may blind the bad guy, it will not affect his trigger finger.

August 3, 2009, 03:28 AM
Can't hit what you can't see! :p But you can see him just fine....... All he can do after he is blinded is shoot in approximately your direction. Maybe he gets lucky, but I like my odds of hitting him first better.

August 3, 2009, 07:52 AM
wouldn't a tac lite not only be bright but also able to handle the recoil of whatever gun it was mounted too? so far in the conversation it seems people would use it as a flashlite but often they are mounted to handguns, rifles and shotguns. i would think besides brightness a tac light would have to hold up to 12 ga stogun blasts as well. do some of the cheaper tac lites people have recomended hold up well when mounted to a shotgun?

August 3, 2009, 09:33 AM
Some tac lights attach to weapons. Most of the ones mentioned here do not. The 6p led from surefire that I have will not attach to a weapon, I think they sell a mount for a shotgun for it but am not sure. What you are thinking of are weapon mounted tac lights which is a whole other ball of wax. Personally I do not like stuff hanging off the end of my pistols, I would rather hold a flashlight in my support hand. If you are interested surefire has a few, but they are wayyyyyy more expensive then the ones we are talking about.

August 3, 2009, 10:33 AM
The most thorough review of "tactical" flashlights can actually be found on TFL in the Gears & Accessories forum. There is a sticky thread that a fellow member, black bear 84, keeps adding to. His reviews are very helpful. He takes pictures to let you see the difference between the different lights.

I also think his BOREALIS with a retna scorching 1050 lumens is something worth looking at if you have the extra cash lying around :D.

Check it out!


August 4, 2009, 11:33 AM
I have a Surefire 9p as part of my self-defense package, along with a 1911, extra mag and a 4-inch folding knife ... the 9p will absolutely blind the BG, especially in the dark but even in subdued light ... however, without an offensive weapon -- like a gun -- you need to be prepared to take advantage of that period of blindness and disorientation to get out of Dodge fast, and that requires planning and practice ... also, as others have mentioned, the 123 lithium batteries that many tactical lights use fail -- at least in my experience -- with little or no warning, unlike AAs, where the light will dim as the power is used. so I don't use the 9p for anything but nightstand standby .. I have a 6p for routine uses, like walking the dog in the dark, etc. change the batteries once or twice a year if you don't use the light, just to be safe ..

August 4, 2009, 11:43 AM
I've drunk the Surefire kool-aid three times, two flashlights, and a weapon light for my XD. If its anything to ya, one of my instructors from Marine Combat Training (a former scout/sniper) complimented me on my C2 LED for its brightness at dark and its battery life. Alot of military, law enforcement, and civilians like using super-bright lights in general for their handiness and deterrent options.
You might enjoy the lights with crenelated bezels- what looks like a cookie cutter on top.
I bring a light with when I walk the dog at night, honestly much more handy than a pistol.

August 4, 2009, 02:02 PM
I carry a flashlight everywhere.well if I have pants on:eek:

just like a knife or a gun.

I've been carrying a surefire L2 for the last 2 yrs.

also heard good things about fenix,but never tried any(I'll stick w\surefire).


August 4, 2009, 06:29 PM
I use the Streamlight Polystinger DS LED
•Light output: High – up to 24,000 candela (peak beam intensity), 185 lumens; Medium – up to 12,000 candela (peak beam intensity), 95 lumens; Low – 6,000 candela (peak beam intensity), 50 lumens
•Runtime: High – up to 2 hrs.; Medium – up to 3.75 hrs.; Low – up to 7.5 hrs.; Strobe – up to 5.5 hrs.
•C4® LED Technology. Shock-proof with a 50,000 hr. lifetime

I also have a Surefire 6P and a S&W Surefire clone as well as my old Streamlight ultrastinger and 2 SL-20's

Bill DeShivs
August 7, 2009, 02:01 AM
If you just want a super bright flashlight for home/defensive use, my DeLights work great. They aren't waterproof, and shouldn't be weapon-mounted-but they are darned bright (brighter than most Surefires,) have a focusable beam, and run forever on 3 AAA batteries. Small, easy to operate, and will blind anyone that comes in your house. They only cost $43.00 shipped, and are all the flashlight most people will ever need.

August 7, 2009, 11:05 AM
Bat, pepper spray, tazer... or...

when friends come over:

when BG shows up:

In other words, a big loud dog is a very good deterrent, and in some breeds if necessary their bark can be followed up with devastating effects for the BG, with that said I would never suggest a pit bull (or any other big aggressive breed) for someone who wasn't properly prepared for the responsibilities. I recommend big dogs for single women especially for a couple reasons. First breeds like labs and shephards are big and loud and will usually protect if they have to but are also very obedient (assuming proper owner). They cannot be turned against you in a struggle (at least not as easily as a gun could), it doesn't require practice on your part (obedience training and a good relationship with the dog help though), and if you are scared out of your mind your dog is still going to do its job.

I know that not everyone can or will own these big breed dogs but I thought I would throw it out as an alternative. This might be a bit off topic but we were discussing other alternatives to the gun.

August 7, 2009, 11:49 AM
seriously unless you are swat or something you don't need a 200 dollar flashlight...
this is what I have at my house. I bought it at a gun show for 6 bucks. I really don't need anything else. Its bright enough and will blind anyone who looks at it.

August 7, 2009, 12:03 PM
lots of tactical flashlites are "brite" how many can withstand a regular pounding mounted to a 12 ga shotgun. what are best brands and what cost?

Evan Thomas
August 7, 2009, 12:56 PM
There may be such a thing as "too much flashlight: the very powerful ones can blind you as well as an attacker, even from behind the light. See the post by Glenn E. Meyer (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showpost.php?p=3622348&postcount=80) in the "When would a shotgun..." thread in this forum. Just because something can be manufactured and marketed doesn't mean it's actually going to work well in practice...

August 7, 2009, 11:12 PM
The magcharger system is hard to beat. I have two, in fact. REALLY bright, rechargable and heavy enough to be used as an impact weapon. Won't work well as a purse light, though, too heavy! I aslo have a streamlight Stinger for when I need a smaller light. Might make a good purse light, too.

August 9, 2009, 10:05 AM
I would recommend a Streamlight tactical flashlight for your pistol, fair price.
85 Lumens would be the least to start out with in my opinion. By the way, my eyes hurt for awhile after looking directly at this light (at night in my bedroom) just to see how bright it was, (when I first mounted it on my Glock 21). Stupid I know, but wanted to make sure it was bright enough!
IT SURE WAS........:o

August 9, 2009, 07:35 PM
For me Surefire 6P, 65 lumens of blinding light. IMO you will never go wrong with a Surefire.

August 10, 2009, 04:35 PM
Surefire Executive Defender. This was recommended to me years ago while doing some covert ops. Not only a very bright light, but the bezel can be used as a weapon and will do serious damage to a scalp or face. Two uses for the price of one. I now carry it with me practically all the time as I bought a flashlight holster to wear on my belt. Be prepared to shell out some pesos. Well worth the investment.

August 14, 2009, 02:41 PM
Feniz TK 10: https://www.4sevens.com/product_info.php?cPath=22_85&products_id=517

Jet Beam JetIII Milatary/Law Enforcement: http://www.bugoutgearusa.com/jemi.html

August 14, 2009, 04:22 PM
Any "tactical" flashlight you buy should be nearly 100% reliable and you should have complete control of it. Depending on your frequency of use, you may want extended runtime on it as well.

That being said, you'd want a tailcap like this: http://www.surefire.com/Click-On-Lock-out-Tailcap-Z59 . The purpose of that is to be able to turn your light on or off with ease at a moment's notice. Twist tailcaps can be manipulated quickly with enough practice but chances are you'll always be faster with a push tailcap. If you've paired a handgun with a flashlight, you'll know exactly what I am talking about.

Tactical flashlights should be 60+ lumens; I find 80~120 to be just about right for searching rooms and blinding someone. Depending on your task, there are instances where you want 200+ lumens or 40- lumens. But 80~120 is fine for most tasks.

If this is your first tactical flashlight, I would go with a surefire 6P LED defender. It comes with everything mentioned above (80 lumens, 11 hour runtime, push tail cap, and as a bonus, a bezel that can be used as an impact tool). Also, it is a good base for a customized flashlight.

$100 may sound expensive, but many people that buy the regular 6P end up spend more than $100 because they want the tailcap and bezel found on the 6P LED defender.

If you really don't want to spend that much, you can look around for other alternatives such as jetbeam, fenix, streamlight, etc.

Wolfammoman offers great deals often, so visit the buy, sell, and trade section and see if you can find what you want.

August 14, 2009, 05:18 PM

The one on the left is my "newest" light. It's made by Olight. I like it because of the multiple power cell configurations. Without the extender, it uses 3 x CR123, 2 x 18500 or with the extender you get 4 x CR123 2 x 18650's. The 18500 and 18650 batteries are LI-Ion Rechargeables.

It is not a TIGHT thrower, but it will light up a room. On Low (moonlight) it puts out some 8 Lumens, then Medium 120 Lumens, and then HIGH 700 Lumens. It also has a strobe function for disorientation purposes also at 700 Lumens.

I leave it on 120 Lumens for inside the house work, and reserve the 700 Lumen setting for outdoor work.

It also has a removable clip, lanyard hole, Strike bezel, tactical tail switch, as well as 1" body that is weapons mountable.

This is Water Proof to the IP68 Standard. It's a pretty good design and the price is nowhere near what the Surefire Family of lights goes for. The machining is every bit as good, and unlike the single o-ring design of the surefire, this one has dual o-rings on the tail cap as well as on the extender tube.


Did I mention it comes with a Diffuser for utility work, as well as a really neat case to keep it all in?


Anyway, I was so impressed, I bought one for my dad and brother as well.

August 14, 2009, 05:34 PM
My neighborhood does this. We have a phone tree and many dogs.:D

August 14, 2009, 08:20 PM
Phone tree?

To the dog people -- I have a great dane and a lab/pit/whatever/x and they were both pretty worthless. The only dog that has been helpful is the 10lb wonderdog terrier mutt who is scared to death of everything. And his name is Skippy. And when a BG tries to come in, little Skippy knows something is seriously wrong and will bark his head off!

Go Skippy!!

August 15, 2009, 09:20 PM

Quark AA²
My latest light in a drawer full of em. Goes from .2 to 170 lumens. Is programmable w/ 8 different choices of brightness, SOS, strobe, etc...
Uses 2 AA batteries (cheap to run). Great light, $59.

August 17, 2009, 05:34 PM
On a different train of thought: if a BG is breaking into your home at night and you are trying to get OUT or sneak to your HD room-of-choice unnoticed, a red-gelled flashlight will give you minimal illumination without (1) drawing more attention to yourself by turning on lights or bumping into furniture, or (2) losing your own night-vision as your eyes adjust.

August 17, 2009, 06:03 PM
Probably not too practical, but on a Mythbusters show they used eye patches to retain night vision while outside in the sunshine before entering a dark room. The same principle can be used in home defense.

Go to bed with one eye covered, hear BG come in, switch on really really bright lights, then turn them off and remove your patch, the BG is now blind and you can see to evade or attack as needed.:D

Yankee Traveler
August 17, 2009, 08:22 PM
If you are truly distressed about your home/neighborhood and cannot afford a firearm, pepperspay is a good start. Beyond that, as verti89 stated, Dobermans, German Shepherd Dog, or Rottwiellers are very loyal and protective. And many more. There are also a number of rescue leagues that can help you out as well as your local spca. Most intruders will avoid a house with even a medium size dog out of fear of a bite, as well as a house with a small dog for fear of getting caught (That annoying YIP YIP YIP!!!).

And they make good freinds too...

August 19, 2009, 04:15 AM
Tac lights are a great. And since you mentioned you don't have a gun, and the downside of OC spray has already been mentioned, I think you could fair quite well with a reasonably priced tac light, and perhaps an expandable baton (of the ASP variety). Anyone can swing a stick! You can get a lot of force behind one of these... So, blind w/ light, hit with stick, get the H out! :cool:

August 23, 2009, 10:13 PM
Kayla I bought a couple of different "tactical" lights recently. One from Cheaper Than Dirt for $30 that runs at 85 lumens, and a pair in the same pack from Sam's Club that are both 150 lumens. Both make my kids run for cover and my wife pretty mad when I light them up with them. My advice is to look for something above 85 lumens that you can hold comfortably and don't worry about words like "tactical" or what the brand name is. Both are just there to increase the retail price.

August 23, 2009, 10:18 PM
Might have already mentioned this elsewhere, but when I heard a noise the other night, I happily found my SureFire knock-off lights up my entire backyard! I was happily impressed.

Bedside has alarm keyfob, pepper spray, tactical flashlight, XD9 and stun gun. I can grab whatever I might think I need.

I am sleeping better these days. :D

BTW, have you all seen this?

I wonder if it would fit my flashlight?

August 23, 2009, 10:28 PM
... but they are very different.

One is a SureFire, which is normally in nightstand mode. I also carry it with me sometimes, when I think I might need a really bright light to look at something for a very short time (most uses) - SureFires will burn through batteries pretty quickly if left on - or when I think the ability to temporarily blind somebody might be a reasonable option (handy for looking at things that bump in the night).

One is a Mag-Lite, which isn't nearly as bright as a SureFire, but is pretty bright and compensates by being able to sustain its illumination for extended periods of time. Useful for conducting night-time external preflights and postflights, and for letting support equipment drivers see you and not run over you at night; also potentially useful as a makeshift club, in its D-Cell incarnations.

One is a little-bitty light I bought from REI, that has four color options (white, green, red and blue) and a pretty low intensity. It's great for use in the cockpit, either to read gauges and instruments in the event of an internal lighting failure or to read a checklist or map when the other guy is flying, and use of a brighter light would cost us both our night vision. (This one is also good for reading after lights out, when in a barracks type setting; it's also handy for avoiding trip hazards when trying to navigate to the latrine without tripping into a generator power line trench - while not putting out enough light to make one stand out to distant observers).

There are a staggering variety of lights out there; in some cases you can find a one-size fits all solution, but you may find that if you identify your specific needs, you may need more than one light so you can choose the right one for your purpose at any given time.

357 Python
August 30, 2009, 06:48 PM
The tactical light that I carry on my duty belt I got from the NRA Store. It is a Hell Fighter X-8. It is said to have 130 lumens all I know is that it sure is bright.

August 30, 2009, 07:45 PM
Here's what I have beside the bed. It is bright enough to blind (temporarily, of course!), has a strobe function to disorient, and is pretty economical.

Fenix P3D Q5 (http://www.fenixgear.com/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=6&gclid=CPqPn4TVzJwCFQZinAodPTn8Jw#catalog/img/P3DQ5.jpg)

September 3, 2009, 10:48 AM
As a note, I prefer lights that run on AA or AAA batteries, because those little lithium CR123s are EXPENSIVE.

An LED one is a good idea, too. A little more expensive sometimes, but the xenon bulbs have run times measured in minutes at high power, and if CR123s stretch the wallet, replacing the bulbs a lot will break the bank.

Ohio Rusty
September 12, 2009, 02:44 PM
A person can get the CR 123's on the 'net for a dollar a piece if you buy them in bulk ...like a 12 or 15 pack. Buying them at the store individually is too expensive, I agree ....
Ohio Rusty ><>

September 12, 2009, 02:51 PM
As a note, I prefer lights that run on AA or AAA batteries, because those little lithium CR123s are EXPENSIVE.

An LED one is a good idea, too. A little more expensive sometimes, but the xenon bulbs have run times measured in minutes at high power, and if CR123s stretch the wallet, replacing the bulbs a lot will break the bank.

I perfer a light with multiple battery configurations. I like the rechargeable 18500's or 18650's because you can use your light for anything and just charge the li-Ion batteries again and again.

The CR123's last 10 years on the shelf and make good backups for when you need them.

Part of the reason the Olight M30 just made it into my collection.

Bill DeShivs
September 12, 2009, 04:13 PM
Lithium AA and AAA batteries are available. They are good for long term storage, and operation in cold weather. They can also be readily replaced with alkaline batteries from any store. Not so with 123s.

September 14, 2009, 12:08 AM
I have a 140 lumen 14v xenon I keep around for HD, but this is what I really want...4100 frickin lumens of blinding power.


I'd love to see what happens after a BG gets a 1-2 second light-blasting from that.

September 14, 2009, 03:13 AM
I have a number of SureFires. I like the Aviator A2 (one of their best concepts), the Z-2 is a good one, also, and the 9P. My 870's fore end has a modified 6P of some sort.

Since my Bladetech mag pouches were made for the 6P I carry it and it works as well as it ever did. One with standard bulb, the other with the Zenon and Crennelated strike bezel. One aluminum body, and one polymer.

Zenon bulb more expensive, battery life much longer.

123 batteries? Not a problem, I just order them from SureFire by the box. 12 for $21 doesn't break the bank.

You can buy a 72 pack for $126, and as mentioned the Zenon has much better battery. Surefire also has good customer service. They sent me a new bulb assembly nc on my word that it burned out prematurely.

I agree that we can sometimes get carried away worrying about all them there lumens.

The 6P has stopped people in their tracks who approached me when walking after dark. Also great for crosswalks at night. SureFire's site even has a story about a guy who used his strike bezel to save himself on ice.

Was just looking at their site like a kid in a candy store. They keep developing more and more models all the time--and my 6P still works jus fine--oops, said that already.:D

September 14, 2009, 07:43 AM
Get 1 of the build your own with the high out put flood lamp.