Defensive Flashlights- What is bright enough?


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Ben86
March 22, 2009, 12:58 AM
I'm looking to buy a compact defensive flashlight for daily carry/ home usage and I want to know how many lumens should I be looking for? Is 75 decent? What brands are recommended?

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ThrottleJockey
March 22, 2009, 01:01 AM
make sure it is bright enough to cook whatever you point it at.

Cannonball888
March 22, 2009, 01:06 AM
I'd say at least 150-300 Lumens. Oh, and I define a defensive flashlight as one that can be used as a bludgeon and/or has a sharp bezel.

http://photonfanatic.com/images/conquistador/BezelCloseup.jpg

I got a Solarforce (http://cgi.ebay.com/Solarforce-L2-300-Lms-Cree-R2-T-Head-18650-CR123-Torch_W0QQitemZ270357533922QQihZ017QQcategoryZ106987QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) last week. Very good quality and blindingly bright at 300 Lumens.

TehK1w1
March 22, 2009, 01:10 AM
Lumens, Lux, etc can be very deceptive as every company seems to have a different way of measuring the light output. Additionally, it does not tell you anything about the shape of the beam, which is much more important than sheer output. A 120 lumen light that only has a 10 degree cone of usable output is useless except for throw, for example. As for brands, Surefire and Streamlight are 2 of the "name brands" Inova and Fenix are examples of brands that are less expensive but very good as well. Check out candlepowerforums.com for really in-depth info.

D-Day
March 22, 2009, 01:22 AM
I carry a Surefire L4 Digital Lumamax. Handy size, bright as hell.

Sunray
March 22, 2009, 01:28 AM
"...defensive flashlight..." What do you plan on defending against with a flashlight?

freakshow10mm
March 22, 2009, 01:31 AM
Keep it simple. Shine it in your eyes. If you can't see very well, buy that one.

10-Ring
March 22, 2009, 02:48 AM
I have found 100 lumens a minimum to blind -- and the effects of the light extend past removal of light source for a few precious moments

Ben86
March 22, 2009, 02:57 AM
I have to check those brands out. I was thinking about buying a coleman at my local walmart, but I'd better not. Not if I want a flashlight for serious use. I didn't think about the size of the usable beam, good point.

What do I want it to defend against? The dark of course, and all the creatures therein.

Wow, those are some mean spikes on that light cannonball!

Hoppy590
March 22, 2009, 02:58 AM
120+ Lumens.

Otis
March 22, 2009, 03:31 AM
Anything less than 4000 lumens is just plain wimpy.

Check this out!!

http://www.wickedlasers.com/lasers/Wicked_Lights-74-0.html

Otis

Boba Fett
March 22, 2009, 03:58 AM
Watch the reviews by Nutnfancy on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/nutnfancy

Very very informative, sometimes very long videos, but he doesn't just give good reviews. If there is something he doesn't like about a knife, gun, flashlight, etc., he'll say it.


I've found a number of his vids very helpful in making decisions and knowing what to look for.


Watcher beware...there are a lot of videos...your entire day can spontaneously disappear. :D

heron
March 22, 2009, 03:12 PM
You want the one that recoils in your hand when you turn it on.

Defense Minister
March 22, 2009, 03:33 PM
I have a Fenix PD30 that puts out 220 lumens, and has a strobe mode as well as three lower output modes for non "defensive" use. It is small and light, has a strike bezel, and can be had for about $60 on eBay. And, you're right, for serious defensive use, you don't want a Coleman.

This is a great place to start:

http://flashlightreviews.com/index1.html

Duke of Doubt
March 22, 2009, 03:40 PM
At least we wont have any throw-weight versus velocity debates.

But capacity can be an issue. If it can take four "D" cells, you've pretty much got a lighthouse in your hands; a single "AA" cell? Good for peeking into the eaves and ceiling tiles or for picking your way back to your car in a pitch black moonless, starless night, but not for serious carry.

Now, a spotlight for coyote hunting will handle just about any emergency situation. Throws a boatload of photons downrange.

benEzra
March 22, 2009, 04:20 PM
I have a Surefire G3 LED (80 lumens) and I'm not sure I'd want anything much brighter for indoor use. Any brighter and it would start dazzling me (my house has white walls). Mine is weapon mounted, though, so I'm not using it as a standalone defensive tool.

Geneseo1911
March 22, 2009, 05:17 PM
I would suggest a Surefire 6P or G2 to start out. I have the standard lamp which is only rated at 65 Lumens, but it will blind you for a few seconds if shined in your eyes. They aren't terribly expensive and are very handy. I keep mine with my HD gun, but I go get it & use it about every day.

They run on 2 CR123A lithium batteries, which makes for a very nice size to use in conjunction with a handgun or on its own. The LED version costs a little more, but they throw a slightly whiter light and batteries last much longer.

The thing that amazed me the most when I got my first SF light was the beam pattern. It is perfect. Perfectly round, perfectly even, with the perfect balance of the bright spot in the center and the slightly less bright fringe. After using Maglights for years, I couldn't believe the difference in brightness and pattern, and that such a superior light could come in so much a smaller package. Well worth the money.

Gamera
March 22, 2009, 06:40 PM
You want the one that recoils in your hand when you turn it on.
:eek: :p

I have one of those giant maglights that takes four D batteries. It's bright and heavy enough to crack a skull, but it's not really practical for carrying around. (It's my bedside light)

fireman 9731
March 22, 2009, 07:04 PM
When I buy a light, I usually look for runtime and then lumens. But then again I dont plan on trying to blind somebody with my flashlight either.

Surefire makes some great lights, and I have a few, but when the power goes out, I am doing a search and rescue, or turning on the light on my fire helmet, I prefer a light that will stay on for at least several hours, if not all night.

As far as a defensive flashlight goes though, if Im to the point that I need to defend myself with a flashlight then I have bigger things to worry about...

Jim K
March 22, 2009, 08:15 PM
Somehow, some folks have gotten the idea that a bright enough light will blind an opponent and save the day. Just throw away your guns, a flashlight is all you need for self defence, it says here.

Maybe, if you are lucky enough to know where a BG is and to be able to direct the beam in his eyes first try.

If you don't, then the nice bright light makes a nice bright target and anyone holding the light directly in front of his body is dumb - dead dumb.

Jim

Walkalong
March 22, 2009, 08:52 PM
I have this Nuwai light (http://flashlightreviews.com/reviews/nuwai_tm301x5.htm). It is very bright and floods a room. It will light a place up big time. Bright enough to make someone hesitate a bit, or more, which is all you should need to neutralize them. It was much cheaper back when I bought it.

XD9WBT
March 22, 2009, 08:52 PM
Somehow, some folks have gotten the idea that a bright enough light will blind an opponent and save the day. Just throw away your guns, a flashlight is all you need for self defence, it says here.

Maybe, if you are lucky enough to know where a BG is and to be able to direct the beam in his eyes first try.

If you don't, then the nice bright light makes a nice bright target and anyone holding the light directly in front of his body is dumb - dead dumb.

Jim
A lot of us have pocket size flashlignhts that can be used to blind and then be used as a bludgeon, to harden the fist, or to cut. In fact there is an entire martial arts developed around using a flashlight as a fghting weapon.
So as you see they can be useful.
On having one on your gun. If you go to a sight called lightfighters and ask them about having a light on your gun you might change your mind. I did.

Geneseo1911
March 22, 2009, 08:56 PM
I'll tell you this. I've had my wife shine my SF into my eyes to see what it'd be like, and with a light that bright, it's hard to tell where it's coming from, let alone aim at it. That little 6P throws a beam large enough to cover the entire wall at 5 ft., with the most intense portion being 2 ft. in diameter. Assuming I'm not being robbed by Verne Troyer or Yao Ming, I'll be close enough.

My plan isn't to blind someone into submission, it's to flash the light at them to identify them, and if they are ID'd as a threat, disorient them long enough to take the shot. I really see no need to have a pointy light, my gun is a better bludgeon if things go that bad.

It is foolish to have an HD gun without some kind of white light, be it handheld or weapon mounted. The brighter the better IMO, so long as it's small enough to have handy and not be encumbering when handling the weapon.

fireman- the SF I have with an LED head has probably 5 hours of runtime on the original batteries (still going), although not all at one time. They claim 11 hours.

I know I sound like a SF salesman here, but once you try one, you never go back. I would assume any of the major brands like Streamlight would be equally good, but I haven't used their products outside of the big lanterns and 4AA helmet lights we have at the FD.

Walkalong
March 22, 2009, 08:56 PM
If you don't, then the nice bright light makes a nice bright target and anyone holding the light directly in front of his body is dumb - dead dumb.Yep, gotta know when to use it. :)

kb2zya
March 22, 2009, 10:02 PM
i seen on TV "the best defense " the right and wrong way to use a light.the main thing is you need a on/off at the end of the light.never keep the light on.use non direct light .. lots of cool point's maybe some one will put it on youtube

Floppy_D
March 22, 2009, 10:14 PM
I keep an ASP light bedside. A buddy of mine stayed over one night, he slept on the couch. (He has a key, close family friend). He left early, I noticed this when I got up to let the dog out around 5am. I set the alarm and went back to bed. He forgot his wallet or something, so he came back to get it shortly after I had gone back to sleep. In other words, the alarm went off. I ran down the hallway with the light off, until I saw a dark figure wearing a hoodie in the dim glow of moonlight. At 120 lumens, I was a quarter blind, and he was all the way blind. He couldn't look directly at me, he covered his face up to hide from the light. He was hollering to let me know who it was, though. Later I asked him about it, and he told me that he couldn't see a thing, the light made him dizzy.

So, I personally don't have a need for anything over 120 lumens, especially with white walls.

supernac
March 22, 2009, 10:19 PM
http://www.dealextreme.com/

highorder
March 22, 2009, 10:50 PM
If it can take four "D" cells, you've pretty much got a lighthouse in your hands; a single "AA" cell? Good for peeking into the eaves and ceiling tiles or for picking your way back to your car in a pitch black moonless, starless night, but not for serious carry.

Sorry to say, most of this has been obsolete for 10 years.

I have a single AA light (Nitecore) that is 6X brighter than a 4xD Mag incan.

As for light choices?

Surefire, Fenix, Jet-beam, Nitecore, DX, Orb, Wolf eyes... the list goes on.

www.lighthound.com
www.fenix-store.com
www.surefire.com
www.dealextreme.com

Javelin
March 22, 2009, 11:35 PM
Xenonics NightHunter (http://www.xenonics.com/NightHunter/). If you want some serious light. Problem is the darn thing costs more than the Colt 6920 and is seemingly as heavy. But it will shed a little light on any situation :D

http://img18.imageshack.us/img18/9687/editednighthunterfloor.jpg

PRE 64 JOE
March 22, 2009, 11:46 PM
I love my Fenix, it takes 2 AA batteries and since i'm a photographer that uses AA batteries ni cad or nmh rechargables it's perfect and bright, about $60.00 ;)

NWdude83
March 23, 2009, 04:46 AM
They say 65 lumens is the minimum you need. But I like 100+ myself.

Geneseo1911
March 23, 2009, 10:56 AM
good grief, Javelin! I think we found the cause of global warming!

RichardInFlorida
April 2, 2009, 01:50 PM
I've have or had a lot of different lights from the major players (Streamlight, MagLight, Surefire, etc.). I've found that the Fenix lights are pretty good bang for the buck. I currently carry the Fenix L2D (http://www.bluesheepdog.com/2009/04/02/fenix-l2d-tactical-flashlight-review/) as my concealed carry flashlight.

--Richard

JImbothefiveth
April 2, 2009, 04:11 PM
. I ran down the hallway with the light off,
That's a cool story, of course, this being the interwebz, I have to tell you that you shouldn't go house clearing.

Jason_G
April 2, 2009, 08:33 PM
I have noticed the "more is better" mentality when it comes to HD lights, and I feel a little differently:

Has anyone here ever actually turned on their HD flashlight in their house after being awoken by a "bump in the night"?

I can tell you first hand that my 120 lumen Streamlight would not only blind an invader, but me as well! Reflected light from a powerful flashlight is enough to really blind you if your eyes are fully accustomed to the dark. Especially if you have close walls and/or light colored walls.

I can't imagine a 200+ lumen light, as some folks have suggested, inside a house after being woken up from a deep sleep.

I think a much better strategy is to have a decently bright light, around 100 lumens or so, and have your rooms backlit as much as possible so an attacker's silhouette would be easy to see. If you own a handgun, make sure it has some decent night sights, and practice with them in low light, in conjunction with your light.

JMHO. To each their own.

Jason

LAK
April 4, 2009, 09:27 AM
Anything along the lines of the Streamlight Scorpion or similar 2-cell SureFires.

There are diminishing returns to extremely bright lights. The brighter the light the greater the impact on your night vision; you may have to switch your light off now and then - perhaps often. Also the more reflected light on you marking your position and profile.

--------------------------------------------

http://gt5.com
http://ssunitedstates.org

krs
April 5, 2009, 08:46 PM
There are diminishing returns to extremely bright lights. The brighter the light the greater the impact on your night vision; you may have to switch your light off now and then - perhaps often. Also the more reflected light on you marking your position and profile.



That's the reason for light output adjustability. The Fenix's and several others that use Cree emitters have several settings that are expressed in Lumens. For example, my Fenix L2D goes like this:

General Mode: 12 lumens (55hrs)
53 lumens (10.5hrs)
107 lumens (4hrs)
Turbo Mode: 180 lumens (2.4hrs)

and it'll strobe at, I'm pretty sure, max 180 lumens.

leadcounsel
April 5, 2009, 09:01 PM
Get something bright and handy with a thumb press switch, that uses commonly available inexpensive batteries.

I made the mistake of buying a flashlight that uses only rare pricey batteries and I was spending a fortune.

LAK
April 6, 2009, 08:49 AM
Krs,

Yes I have a couple of lights that adjust too. I do however stick with one light with two switch settings for a general combat light; on - and off.

If I am going to search for something outside on a very open piece of ground I would bring along a stronger lamp as well.

JShirley
April 6, 2009, 12:01 PM
I've owned a variety of good lights. I think I still own three SureFires, though one (L4) needs to return to the factory for repair again.

My suggestions:

Car or house light: Black Bear Borealis (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=183952).

Daily carry: Fenix L2P (http://www.batteryjunction.com/fenix-2p.html). AA battery, regulated LED in a MiniMag-sized package (useful for kubaton tactics), $30 delivered.

Pocket carry: Fenix L1P (http://www.batteryjunction.com/fenix-1p.html). AA battery, bright enough for close-range shooting but dim enough to use as a task light, 27$ delivered.

You should be able to get all three of these lights and some extra rechargeable AA batteries for just over three hundred dollars, and this will include an excellent charger from Black Bear.

I have used the Borealis in inclement weather and on the job doing security and in the combat zone*. It will illuminate small predators in poor light transmission conditions (heavy dust in air, snow and rain) at 200 meters, and will light up reflective targets to at least 500...


*before white lights stopped being SOP at the little fire base I was attached to.

John

Mak92fs
April 7, 2009, 04:29 AM
Honestly i carry a fully rechargeable Energizer 3 watt 90 lumen aprox all aluminum flashlight and i love it. its tough as nails and i dont have to keep buying batterys for it like i do my G2 the only thing i dont like about it is the fact that it doesnt have a tailend switch on it. I have mounted it on a remington 870 norincomak-90 and a taurus pt-92 and it has worked perfectly on all of them.

LAK
April 7, 2009, 07:01 AM
I carry a standard rechargeable Streamlight Stinger at work - it is however alittle large for pocket carry. Rechargeable lights make good sense though, and I would recommend Streamlight's Strion as an alternative to the cr123 cell Streamlight and SureFires. They may initially seem pricey; however they will recharge a minimum of about 300 times.

auschip
April 7, 2009, 10:06 AM
I have an Olight T20 that puts out 220 lumens. I saw that Fenix will be releasing a 630 Lumen light, but it only has 1 hour of burn time on 8AA.

Impureclient
April 10, 2009, 01:41 AM
Any thoughts on any of the lights from dealextreme.com? There are a whole bunch of 900 lumen ones
for $25-30 like this one : http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.22567

Why are they so much cheaper than any of the brands mentioned in here?

tacweapon
April 17, 2009, 05:05 AM
My carry light is a Fenix P3D it is a great light with a range of I believe 60-250 Lumen. I had it attached to my XCR and I was able to see and engage targets with it, but now I use it as a daily carry light and it is great,fairly light weight and good output.

Any thoughts on any of the lights from dealextreme.com? There are a whole bunch of 900 lumen ones
for $25-30 like this one : http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.22567

Why are they so much cheaper than any of the brands mentioned in here?

they are cheap for a reason. I ordered one after dealextreme failed to ship the Tiabl A9 I ordered and I could not get my refund. The light is not very bright my Tiablo A9 and Fenix P3D is a much brighter and more versitle light.

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