Tell about hand held "tactical lights"


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mmike87
January 20, 2006, 09:08 PM
I am taking a pistol shooting course (3 day) in April, and I need a handheld tac light for the "shooting in the dark" portion of the class.

What do I need to look for? Are these things simply $100 flashlights that look cool? Are they worth it? Are they REALLY better than something like a small maglite?

I understand the recoil protection of weapon mounted lights justify the extra cost ... but what gives with the handheld lights?

Thanks for any insight you can provide.

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gunsmith
January 21, 2006, 03:23 AM
I love my sure fires (I have two) my little one is as bright as my five cell mag.
they are really worrth the $

VWTim
January 21, 2006, 03:45 AM
If you've never worked with a 2x123 lithium light you'll be amazed at the output. You can have a spotlight of power in you pocket at all times. There are many really good lights out there now. Anything from Surefire, Streamlight, Inova, and many others. Check out www.candlepowerforums.com sometime if you have time to kill. Also www.flashlightreviews.com is great.

FWIW, I carry a Streamlight TL-2 daily in a pouch I had made by Wild Bill's Concealment.

mrtgbnkr
January 21, 2006, 04:29 AM
Grab a Surefire G2 Nitrolon for $40 and have a ball. You'll be amazed at the amount of light and the beam quality (no dead spots in the center) and at around $40 it's definately Surefire's best value.

kage genin
January 21, 2006, 05:37 AM
+1 for the Surefire G2 nitrolons.

For the cost, they're a great bang for the buck. The polymer construction lets them save on costs, but IMHO they're actually better than the aluminum-bodied Surefire 6p because they are easier to grip when hands are cold/wet/gloved, and they don't get as hot like the 6p will if the light is on for too long. Oh, they don't get ice-cold in cold weather like the aluminum-bodied 6p will.

I've heard good things about the Brinkman two-123a-cell flashlights sold by WalMart... namely their rubber-covered bodies and remarkably bright beams... and they're supposedly only $25. Can't speak for the Brinkman as I haven't tried it myself yet (only because I'm not able to get to Walmart to pick one up)

Kingcreek
January 21, 2006, 08:42 AM
I know there are some companies giving surefire some competition, but I have to also recomend the G2 Nitrolon.
I bought 3 of these just to have around and they are excellent. I also have other surefires but I keep a G2 (with the optional 120 lumen lamp) and my Glock 23 next to the bed.
Whatever you get, make sure it has the tail switch- essential for defensive shooting techniques.
Your small maglight is not adequate light or durable enough in this application.

neoncowboy
January 21, 2006, 09:11 AM
+1 on the Surefire. It really is all that and more.

Durable, bright as he**, compact.

I have an E2D, it's on me whenever I'm wearing pants and is about the most useful thing I carry (second only to my swiss army knife). It doesn't work for all pistol/light grip methods, but I like the FBI/high FBI and the one where you cross light hand under weapon hand and put both hands back to back (forget the name of that technique...lol, training was several months ago!) and it works perfect for both applications.

Get one, you won't be disappointed.

Phantom Warrior
January 21, 2006, 09:26 AM
If you've never worked with a 2x123 lithium light you'll be amazed at the output. You can have a spotlight of power in you pocket at all times.


I was a committed cynic on the subject of "tac lights" for many years. I just couldn't understand why someone would pay $100+ for a FLASHLIGHT. I was quite content w/ my $10-20 Maglites. Someone summarized my position on Surefires et. al. quite well when they posted in a thread "What, are they made out of titanium w/ platinum bushings? Why so expensive?"

But I thought they were kind of cool. So after I graduated from basic this summer I held my nose and dropped $95 on a hard anodized Surefire E2e (http://www.surefire.com/maxexp/main/co_disp/displ/prrfnbr/888/sesent/00#).

And it was worth every penny. It's BRIGHT. Like having a 4 D-cell Maglite in a flashlight the size of my index finger. With the pocket clip and tail cap switch it's so simple to whip it out, look at something, and put it away quickly and one handed. I use it every day in the arms room and people are always asking me to borrow it. One of my battle buddies was ragging one me the other day for spending that much on a flashlight, but I'd gladly do it all over again.

Tac lights do have their down sides. They are expensive. Lithium batteries are not cheap. And the astonishing brightness runs those batteries down in about an hour of continuous use (I've done it.)

I would compare the difference between say, a Surefire and a Maglite to the difference between a Benchmade knife and a Swiss Army knife. The former is expensive, but top quality. The latter is VERY servicable, but not in the same weight class. Either will serve you well for every day use. I still use my Maglites and Swiss Army knife all the time, despite carrying a Surefire and a Benchmade all the time.

That said, for a tactical handgun class I would recommend getting a tac light. I've never been to one, so I can't say with authority, but I doubt a Maglite would be enough. You will probably appreciate the extra light and tail cap switch for tactical applications. Look into the Surefire G2 Nitrolon (http://www.surefire.com/maxexp/main/co_disp/displ/prrfnbr/878/sesent/00) that everyone has been recommending. I bought my brother one for $34 for Christmas PLUS half a dozen free batteries (which is like another $15 value). For $30-40 you can afford to take the plunge.

mmike87
January 21, 2006, 10:46 AM
Grab a Surefire G2 Nitrolon for $40 and have a ball. You'll be amazed at the amount of light and the beam quality (no dead spots in the center) and at around $40 it's definately Surefire's best value.

That sounds like a good deal.

mmike87
January 21, 2006, 10:48 AM
OK, the essentially the brightness and beam quality are the real factors that seperate tac lights from mag lights.

Kingcreek
January 21, 2006, 11:12 AM
not just beam brightness and quality, but also hardware
durability and reliability.

MDG1976
January 21, 2006, 01:57 PM
Are these things simply $100 flashlights that look cool? Are they worth it? Are they REALLY better than something like a small maglite?

Heck yes. Get your self a Surefire G2 (I've got one on eBay right now). You should be able to find one under $40. It's just as bright (65 lumes) as some of their much more expensive models.

mmike87
January 21, 2006, 05:09 PM
I like the Aluminum lights. The surefire-6p looks nice for not too much more.

mmike87
January 21, 2006, 05:38 PM
Any opinion on the lights from Laser Devices? In the same price range, and for $70 this model:

http://www.flashlightzone.com/opovtabl.html

claims 95 lumens output for 1.5 hours.

Kingcreek
January 21, 2006, 08:13 PM
don't know about the Laser Devices but I see it has a "limited one year warranty"
Surefire has a lifetime warranty except batteries and lamp.
BTW, I don't work for Surefire or own stock in them either.
I carry an E2L everyday, very useful and efficient LED but not enough throw for your purposes. I use an A2 Aviator when hunting and guiding- excellent light but at $180, not everyone's choice.
For around a hundred bucks, I would get a G2, a Spare Carrier (holds 6 batteries and a spare lamp), and a spare lamp- P60(65 lumens) or P61(120 lumens), and a dozen CR123s.
candlepowerforums.com has the superbright flashlight folks with all the high-tech answers.

modifiedbrowning
January 21, 2006, 08:51 PM
I would buy two Brinkmann Maxfires (in case of trouble) at Target for $16.99 each and go from there. I have Surefire G2 in addition to a Maxfire and have not seen much difference in performance, but I am not high speed low drag.
YMMV.

neoncowboy
January 21, 2006, 08:55 PM
YMMV.
Yup, I had that Brinkman. What a piece of crap (well, of course, I bought it at America's favorite piece of crap store. 40,000sq. ft. of cheap pieces of crap!).

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