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Tactical Flashlights?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Unclesam1776, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Unclesam1776

    Unclesam1776 New Member

    Aug 1, 2008
    What do you guys carry for tactical or self-defensive flashlights, or for sweeping a dark room, any SureFire carriers out there?
  2. Jason_G

    Jason_G Participating Member

    Jun 13, 2007
    Streamlight NightFighter TL-2. I can't imagine a better light for under $50. 120 Lumens, which is way brighter than you think indoors. Honestly, if it were any brighter, it'd be too bright for indoors. Don't assume that brighter is better. For indoors, brighter is better up to a point, then it's just detrimental. That's something that a lot of people including myself don't think about when purchasing a light for home defense purposes the first time. When you wake up and your eyes are not adjusted to light, the glare of the light reflecting off the walls can be as blinding to you as it is to an attacker if it's too bright. Especially if you have glossy and/or light colored walls. I'd look for something between 100-150 lumens personally, but you'll probably hear different answers on here. Also, I'm not a fan of the LEDs. They have great run times and are getting to be almost as bright as conventional bulbs, but they usually can't compete in terms of their throw.

  3. JTW Jr.

    JTW Jr. Participating Member

    Jul 29, 2006
    Henderson NV
    Surefire E1L
    Surefire e2e
    Surefire 6p
    Surefire 6z
    Fenix 1LT
    Fenix P1D
    Nuwaii 3 Watt

    of all , the E1L is my fav....at least until I get a Fenix P2D Cree Q5 :)
  4. gb6491

    gb6491 Participating Member

    Apr 17, 2006
    Yuma County, Arizona
    Nuwaii QIII or Surefire E2 for carry
    Tiger Light, SL Ultra Stinger, or a Elecktro Lumens Tri-Star Phazer to check out things that go bump in the night.
    We also have several pretty decent Brinkman 3watt LED 2 "D" cells lights from Wal-Mart ($15) around for handy use.

    Ordering a Fenix T1 Cree Q5 is on the "things to do" list.

  5. acmax95

    acmax95 Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    Western KY
    I keep an Inova T5 next to my 1911 in the bedroom. I really like this light, it is light and extremely bright, it also has a strobing function that would be very disorienting to someone if shined in their face.

    I also have a streamlight led scorpion and multiple mag lights of various sizes.
  6. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 19, 2006
    I carried a Surefire E1e in my front pocket in Iraq for 5 months (USAF comm-electronics technician, worked night shift). I still carry it as a civilian now. I upgraded it to an E1L earlier this year when the new higher output KX series LED head units were released. The light body is nearing two years of literally everyday carry in my front pocket banging against my keys. It shows only minimal finish wear.

    If I didn't already have the E1e body to upgrade I would have bought the little E1b Backup.

    I also own an L1 Lumamax and a 6P. Both have been excellent lights, and the 6P, now upgraded with LED replacement lamp, is mounted on my AR-15. I've had the 6P for nearly 4 years now, and it's also exhibited excellent durability and finish wear resistance. I've had the Lumamax for about 8 months and it lives either in my laptop bag or my truck console.

    Be careful with Streamlight. Some of their lights are hard anodized, but others are not. For just a little more money I'll skip the Chinese made Streamlights and buy US Made Surefires.
  7. Pax Jordana

    Pax Jordana Active Member

    Jun 11, 2006
    Near Philadelphia.
    I have a surefire e1e and a G2.

    I had misgivings about plastic versus metal, but a buddy of mine (marine infantry) has carried his G2 through Iraq and vouched for its durability.

    Now for lights that are not necessarily paired with handguns, I have many many more. But these are not considered 'tactical'.

    And as far as the strobe goes, I have an inova microlight and I have to say that the strobe's just as hard on my own equilibrium as it would be on any theoretical BG's.
  8. ray_ray

    ray_ray New Member

    Nov 9, 2006
    For me a simple Streamlight Baton-Lite with a Maglight pocket clip so i can clip it to my pocket. Bright light slim studry for me perfect
  9. Gunz

    Gunz New Member

    Feb 7, 2004
    While the tactical lights are so cool, and are really great to clip to the rails of a firearm, I found that they are too expensive for a regular guy like me to use regularly, beat up , and maybe lose a $60-200 light.

    I am so please to see the recent regular-Joe offerings from maglite and some other makers like Brinkman for short, stubby, cheap battery, 3-Watt LED technology. They are still water proof, and very bright, but cannot clip to the gun rails.

    For $24, I bought a 3-AA Maglight, and it is a longer handle. Still, it is a solid light, that looks so common, and harmless, and has such a great name to prove it is harmless. Even Brinkmann implies some kind of common security usage. I can walk through an airport with one of these things, and all they do is twist it on to check the light. Bright, too. Lasts a long time.

    The 3AA is a nicer yawara stick, and the extra length helps me see thngs in deep corners if I have to duct tape it to my helmet or to a roof rafter, suport brace, etc.

    I would wager I get more daily usage of my LED Mag Lite than any of the Surefires I own. IN fact, they seem to be permanently mounted on my shorgun, or bedside gun than being in my pocket or my hand.......

    Again, I am not a tactical operator guy; just a working stiff.
  10. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    I use

    BlackBear (do a search here on THR)

    among others. For microlights, I've had the best results from Photon. Almost all others have been broken, especially Inovas. I've had three of them...all broken.
  11. Derek Zeanah

    Derek Zeanah System Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 20, 2002
    Statesboro, GA
    The Fenix TK11 looks pretty cool to me. I like the idea of LED lights that can operate at low-power or really bright levels.
  12. conw

    conw Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    Fenix T10 Q5, 1 cr123a batt, 180 lumens max down to about 30 with 5 total settings, plus strobe, plus sos (2 settings on that)...digital memory, easy to learn/use, SMALL, "tailstandable", great throw $50

    Got my mom a LumaPower LM31 for about $30, runs off 1xAA, I'd guess 70-90 lumens high, 20 lumens low. Good fit/finish, comes with holster, surprisingly bright, less throw but nice large beam...great for indoors

    Getting a friend a Romisen Rc-G2 1xAA LED, $10 light from dealextreme with free shipping...

    review thingey here: http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/archive/index.php/t-186776.html

    Ordered 10 microlights ("fauxton" style) that are supposed to be the bee's knees, also from DX, 50 cents apiece

    No need to spend over $50 ever IMO
  13. conw

    conw Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2007
  14. Carl Levitian

    Carl Levitian member

    Jun 3, 2008
    I'm with Gunz. No real high dollar stuff for me as I'm not just a working stiff, I'm a retired working stiff. I've got a few Maglights around the place, with a little LED Gerber in my pocket for emergencys like blackouts.

    Besides, I don't like tactical looking stuff. I want a low level looking piece of gear that will fly under radar. My LED converted AA minimag in the belt pouch does that.
  15. Souris

    Souris Member

    Jul 17, 2005
    South of Canada
    Brinkman Maxfire.
    Similar to a Surefire G2 Nitrolon but supposedly brighter and definitely cheaper at 20.00 from Academy Sports and Walmart.

    I keep meaning to do a comparison between the Mini Mag light standard, first Gen LED, second gen LED and the Maxfire. I just have not made the time yet. I will say that;
    Mini mag light ok
    Mini Mag 1st gen LED not as good as a regular mini mag light
    Mini Mag 2nd gen LED OK better than the regular mini mag light
    Brinkmann MaxFire Better than my 4 D cell mag light and no comparison to a mini mag light of any configuration that I have seen.
  16. Bennett Prescott

    Bennett Prescott New Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Central CT

    I carry the (relatively) new Surefire E2D LED Defender. So far I have been absolutely blown away by its performance. Extraordinarily bright with a quick tap of the button, great beam focus (tight central beam with wide peripheral illumination), compact and lightweight enough that I forget I've got it in my pocket, and of course fits great it a fist and the crenelated bezel should make for a great self defense tool, if it ever comes to that.

    I use it for work a lot, but of course the real reason I spent $140 on it is to illuminate potential threats in the dark, so I can decide if I need to shoot them or not. Certainly more than bright enough to temporarily blind an opponent.

    I used to carry an Inova X5, which was plenty bright, but had a tendency to turn on in my pocket and burn through its batteries without me noticing. When I'd go for it later, no juice (or very low). It also had a noticeably bluish beam, while the Surefire is bright white. Finally I lost it and replaced it with the excellent Surefire, I'll be buying their flashlights for the rest of my life now.

    My only complaint about the Surefire E2D LED Defender is that, while the 5 lumen "dim" mode is fantastic (about as bright as a "normal" flashlight, great for basic in the dark navigation), it means you can't strobe the flashlight effectively by tapping the rear button, as tapping it alternates 5/120 lumens. Not a huge deal, and I can't think of a way around it that wouldn't cause other interface problems, so I'll forgive them. The alternative is to buy one of Surefire's lights with a rotating ring by the reflector that allows you to "dial-a-brightness", but those start in the $200 range and I wasn't up to it. Plus, of course, when you turn the flashlight on it won't default to maximum output like the E2D, so I'm happy with the one I bought.

    Another note is that the crenelated "muzzle" end of the flashlight, while excellent for its intended purpose (hurting people trying to hurt you), is sharp enough to gouge most plastics, etc. I stored the light in my pocket, clipped in place with the reflector end protruding, for a day and have four long gouges in the plastic by my driver's side door to prove it. Now I store it all the way in the pocket, "muzzle" down.
  17. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

    Nov 14, 2007
    For the home and vehicle, you can not beat the value of Black Bear Flashlights:


    with the Borealis being the most powerful traditional type flashlight in the world.

    For a smaller light for carry, the higher expense (and much higher battery expense) of the Surfires, Fenix's, etc., becomes justified. The Fenix T1 is a strong choice:


    In my experience Streamlight products are fair to mostly crappy, relative to Fenix, Surefire, and Black Bear.
  18. conw

    conw Senior Member

    Aug 17, 2007
    How do you mean that exactly? What other lights are in that arena?

    I have heard good stuff about black bears. Just curious how you meant that.

    To the original poster...it's all about a tradeoff. Brightness (as measured in lumens) is a good place to start, but some lights "throw" farther than others...will you be inside or outside more? Throw really shines (pun intended) outside.

    Past that, pocketability is a must for me but not for some others. The Fenix T1 and that ilk are way too big for comfy pocket carry, IMO. But that doesn't mean you can't carry it on your belt.

    Re: different battery types, it kind of comes down (to some extent) to the same issue as size. Obviously a 3xCR123a light is going to offer better brightness, runtime, and throw, but the tradeoff is that it will be kind of tougher to carry. I like my 1-battery light because I can carry it and also carry a spare battery in a keychain container.

    Fit and finish differ from maker to maker too. I decided right off the bat I wanted a glass lens, centered beam, nicely anodized, shockproof, and waterproof body, not to mention one that looked good...without being too flashy.

    There are also other special considerations, like how many modes you want. I personally don't see much use for "strobe" or "SOS" but they came with my light anyway. I do like the idea of having at least 3 different brightnesses to cycle through, from "map reading" to "temporarily blinding."

    Think this over.
  19. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

    Apr 15, 2005
    Greeley, CO
    For my "Holy Balls, what was that noise" light, I use a Surefire G2 Nitrolon. For most other flashlight occasions, I use a Ray-O-Vac Sportsman Extreme 1 watt LED light, which I really like.

    Past that, I have a D-Cell Maglite, a couple of keychain LED's and a crank operated light/radio for emergency situations. I am not in love with the crank light, but it does work OK. In a true emergency, it would be better than nothing, although the radio function is probably more useful than the light function. A keychain Photon probably throws out as much light as the crank-light does, and photons are cheap enough to stockpile a few of them.
  20. Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow

    Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow member

    Nov 14, 2007
    What I mean is (the way I understand it), there are other lights or torches which are not "instant-on", but which take a little bit to warm up, but they are quite a bit more powerful. And there are instant-on giant spotlights more powerful. But as for 'straight'-shaped, traditionally-styled, instant on lights, I believe the Borealis is the brightest. Edit: Upon further research: Or possibly, WAS the most powerful until bested by the likes of this one:


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