Whether it’s for a night patrol, checking a dark room for threats or keeping someone disoriented in self-defense, a flashlight is a key tool for any modern day hero to get the job done. However, it’s important to make sure that, like any tool, your flashlight is best suited for your individual needs. Here are five features to look out for when purchasing a new tactical flashlight, as well as a few recommendations that stand out.
Most flashlights can do a fine job of illuminating a room, but it’s important to keep in mind that tactical flashlights need a bit more power behind them than the average flashlight gives off. For a flashlight to be an effective self-defense tool, it needs to be bright enough to disorient attackers, so look for lights with more than 120 lumens. Lower than that and you lose the disorientation the light provides in a tactical scenarios. Many tactical lights also come with multiple light output modes, which you can use depending on your particular need for the flashlight at the moment. These settings usually include varying lumens output modes of High, Medium, and Low with an additional strobe setting, with some High modes reaching over 1000 lumens.
Check out this video below for more information about the various light beams tactical flashlights are capable of:
Your flashlight will likely see a lot of action, so you’ll want one that will withstand a lot of use. If you’re using a metal flashlight make sure it’s made from hard anodized aluminum. The metal is light, but also tough enough to handle the typical drops, bumps, and bruises that happen on the job. Additionally look for one that’s waterproof. Your flashlight needs to be operational in all weather conditions, including rain or wet areas.
Flashlights come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but from a tactical perspective it’s important to go small. A smaller flashlight gives you the ability to carry it in your pocket or duty belt every day. Ideally, you’ll want your flashlight to be no bigger than the size of your palm. Additionally smaller lights weigh less and are much more versatile to handle with a firearm, so make sure your flashlight is light enough in weight that it doesn’t get in the way.
The lifespan on your flashlight depends on both the type of bulb and battery used. High power LED bulbs are the definite choice in comparison to other bulbs. LED bulbs offer longer battery life and are up to five times brighter than the older xenon bulbs which replaced the older standard filament bulb. Additionally, LED bulbs will not break due to the shot recoil of a firearm in the way that older bulbs would. A lithium battery can be a bit more expensive than a traditional battery, but will provide you with longer illumination. If you’re willing to spend a bit more upfront you can save money in the long term by choosing rechargeable batteries, as well.
The best way to make sure your flashlight has a good grip is to check if it’s textured so that it’s easy to grip with grooves, bumps, and indents on the handle of the flashlight. If your flashlight is made of plastic, then it may contain a rubber layer on the handle that will also act as a grip.
Obviously your own flashlight should be purchased to fit your own particular needs, but hopefully this brief guide gave some insight into the features to keep in mind while making that purchase. Here are a few recommendations that can be found at Galls.com:
This flashlight is made of aircraft aluminum and is water resistant. Its anti-roll head prevents the light from rolling away if dropped, multi-mode tail switch for one handed operation of High, Low and Strobe modes, with the high mode producing up to 600 lumens! It runs on two CR123 lithium batteries for more powerful lumens output, making this an excellent tactical flashlight.
Made of a aircraft aluminum body and is weather and shock resistant. Uses a High powered CREE LED with a 100,000 lifespan. Similar to the Streamlight ProTac above, it contains three light intensity modes and a strobe function as well.