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Flashlights sure have changed a lot in twenty years.

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by frogfurr, Jul 25, 2019.

  1. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    Have various brands of flashlights around the house and in our cars. Found all of these were undependable for walking to and from a tree stand in the dark. So about 20 years ago I paid big big bucks (for me anyway) and bought a Surefire 6P. Money well spent. Never failed me and I still have and use it.

    6P takes 123 batteries which are a little hard to find around here and a little expensive. And I wanted something more powerful, rechargeable, better battery life, and smaller for pocket carry. The 6P is only 65 Lumens and 123 the battery life about an hour.

    About a month ago I purchased a flashlight less than half the size of the 6P that is rechargeable from the USB port in my car. Battery life was increased 4x and has 1600 Lumens verses the 6P's 65 Lumens. For about the same money I paid for the 6P years ago. And it will power itself down if it gets too hot.

    Flashlights are pretty impressive these days if you have been living under a rock like me.
     
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  2. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Member

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    I concur! Maglite was the deal back when and I spent a lot of money on them. Carried the little ones in the field and the 6D in the truck. Now, a $5 light outperforms both of them.

    Same for Surefire (great products), prices keeps coming down while performance goes up. That world has changed a lot in 30yrs!
     
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  3. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    20 years ago, LED flashlights were largely pathetic and emitted a bizarre, hazy beam that had poor throw. Xenon bulbs were the way to go. If your flashlight got turned on in your pocket by mistake, your first realizations of this matter could be the sensation of being burned or seeing smoke coming through the fabric.

    A $14 LED flashlight today can have better capability than a $200 flashlight of 20 years ago and have a longer run time along with running longer without thermal shutdown.
     
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  4. Valkman

    Valkman Member

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    I have expensive lights too and they have never failed me but my go to light now is a $10 Coast HP-1. Small, powerful enough and I don't have to buy CR123 batteries all the time. It takes one AA battery.
     
  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Maglites have been upgraded to use much brighter LED bulbs. I've recently re-discovered them. Like a lot of people I had one back in the day, but moved on. But I'm really liking this small light with 272 Lumens. For what I do much more isn't needed.

    https://www.amazon.com/Maglite-2-Cell-Flashlight-Holster-Black/dp/B005UUSAAM/ref=sr_1_5?crid=1UFH61DQ20XAS&keywords=maglite+led+flashlight&qid=1564114689&s=gateway&sprefix=maglite,aps,147&sr=8-5

    Walmart had these in blister packs on sale at Christmas for $25. They bought more than they could sell and by February reduced the price to $15 on the ones left. I bought 2 at that price to keep in the vehicles. 600+ lumens and with a push button instead of having to twist the lens.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00FVC2ZPK/ref=emc_b_5_t

    If you still have an old one laying around they sell LED conversion kits to upgrade the old one.

    https://www.amazon.com/LITT-Maglite-Upgrade-Lens-Model/dp/B073MRGFYZ/ref=sr_1_6?crid=TUIYMHTL9Y31&keywords=maglite+led+conversion+kit&qid=1564115432&s=gateway&sprefix=maglite,aps,150&sr=8-6
     
  6. Kookla

    Kookla Member

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    I've had a few of the Coast HP-1's One I gave to my ex wife when she moved into her new (at the time) place. My replacement for that one has been riding daily in my pocket for nearly four years. It's gone through the wash twice and has been overseas to the UK with me. It's always worked when needed. Very happy with it.
     
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  7. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I have a couple of high end flashlights, but I find I use the free with coupon blue Harbor Freight LED ones the most. While they won’t reach out like the expensive ones, they’re handy for close work, tire changes, working under a car, etc. with a hang loop and a magnetic back.

    Very bright broad beam, especially with the latest version, and their unknown brand batteries last. Cheap enough (free) to throw one in each of my cars and motorcycles. Good for camping too, no guilt if you lose one.
     
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  8. MihiT

    MihiT Member

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    Yes but a modern flashlight doesn't double as a bludgeon if required... 6 D batteries have a fair heft to them!

    I find the LED lights spook animals less (when spotlighting) but also that they don't light things up as well (could be my broke old eyes) So I still prefer a halogen when given the choice.
     
  9. grter

    grter Member

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    That depends on which flashlight you get. Some of the new ones have all aluminum bodies and take C or D cell batteries. They still make large maglites (3 D Cell batteries) the same way with the exception of having an led bulb.

    I wonder if an LED bulb can popped into an old 6 D Cell maglite or the top from a newer 3 D Cell model screwed on if need be.
     
  10. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Look into lights the flashaholics call "Mules" - they have the LED (or LEDs in some cases) mounted at the front of the body, no reflector, specifically to get that wide beam with little throw. Also look at quad and triples LED models, frosted optics, diffusion films, diffuser caps, etc.
    That just depends on the LED. Color temperature is a factor - neutral and warm white cuts through fog and haze better than the more blue tinted cool white that even most high end lights use. Also, there are different LEDs. Smaller diodes tend to throw further. Even with lower total light output (less lumens) they're often higher intensity (more candela) because the light is emitted from a smaller, more concentrated surface area. Most LEDs, the actual emitter that is, are domed. The dome starts diffusing light right at the emitter. There are some domeless LEDs, which actually are made from throw. Any Cree LED with HI as a model number suffix is dome-less. A neutral white, dome-less LED in a deep in a deep reflectoor, or with a focused optic, will make for a better spotter than most of the more widely known models.
    See JMR40's post about the LED conversion kits for older incan bulb Mags. The from the factory LED Mag lights have the LED essentially built into the body.
     
  11. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Last edited: Jul 27, 2019
  12. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    I had an old 3D Maglite from when I worked in LE. Popped in one of the LED conversion units and it’s a bright new world. Batteries also seem to last forever.

    It’s what I carry when I walk the dog late at night, nice reassuring heft to it.
     
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  13. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Just replaced my EDC light as well. Working in corrections my EDC light was 500 lumens with adjustable brightness. It was also large enough to use as a blunt weapon in a self defense situation at about 5.5" long. Little large for pocket carry in plain clothes. For about $15 I replaced it with a Thorfire VG-15S that has an incredible run time on a 18650 battery and much brighter. My last EDC light now has a second life sitting on my AR as a weapon light.
     
  14. WrongHanded
    • Contributing Member

    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Surefire G2X Pro is my go-to flashlight for work and play.

    The CR123 batteries keep a constant output until they suddenly die. Fortunately, the dual outputs on this light mean that even if the batteries are too low to make the 600 lumen setting work, I can still get some time at the 15 lumen setting.

    I have one G2X Pro that I've had on my belt at work every day for 6 years, building tanks and vessels, crawling in and out of dark places, bumping it and dropping it. It's still working, but has gone through more than a few sets of batteries.
     
  15. NMPOPS

    NMPOPS Member

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    I have 2 Mini-Maglite that are LED and use 2 AAA batteries that are brighter that the 5 D cell Kel-Lite I carried back in the 70's.I keep a LED Solitare in myu pocket that give plenty of light and cost less than $20/
     
  16. Double_J

    Double_J Member

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    I have a couple no name $15 lights in my truck, car and desk. I have my old surefire on my nightstand for bump in the night as it has a good spread, but the cheap LED models have more throw and have crazy battery life. it is amazing how far the tech has come in just a few years.
     
  17. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Moderator Staff Member

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    My current EDC is less than 3.75" long, less than 1" in diameter, puts out around 550 lumens and runs off a single battery.

    The battery can be recharged without a recharger--it has a micro-usb socket on the side and I can charge it with any USB port. There's an LED built into the battery that turns blue when it's fully charged.

    The light has different brightness settings--on the lowest setting it will run for more than 2 days solid. At 150 lumens, it will run about 2.5 hours, and at 50 lumens it will run for over 7 hours.

    If you told me such a light was possible 15 years ago, I'd have laughed at you.
     
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  18. shoobe01

    shoobe01 Member

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    Well, a few things:

    Depends on how much you are dissatisfied with things. I never owned a Maglite because I had used a few and they were pretty awful. Large, heavy (no matter the size, heavy compared to anythinng else), not well designed (battery bounce), poor materials (too many rotten switch covers), and more. I had Tekna dive lights in the 80s, some Pelican stuff, then Surefire by the mid 90s. One of my 6Ps is a Laser Products, Fountain Valley marked one.

    Walmart grade lights put out a lot of power, and have comical runtimes, compared to the pre-LED era. But... will it work in a few months? When it gets dropped? After sitting off charge for a while? When it's humid? Coast (et al) are pretty low quality. Hard to use (bad design, heavy...). Will fail when you need them. Have thrown away a lot of low-cost lights.

    If you won't buy the top quality, then DO mid-grade instead of cheapest thing that looks good. Energizer lights are also china made, but seem to have some additional design input and QC, so work better. One I have is really very, very good. A few are brilliant, top tier products like this one. Everready still makes the sort of old school cheap plastic things but put on no airs, so just make those. Bright red plastic lights with screws. But... you know what you are getting, and the price is right. Plus, they upgraded to LED, and they have been doing it forever, so they work great. But... very few are "tactical" or even tactical-adjacent.
     
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  19. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    Maglite Mini Mags were the reason I went to Surefire. The Maglites kept failing while I was a couple of miles from the truck. Not to say that the Maglites made these days aren't better it's just that I grew tired of being Maglite's test platform.

    I am willing to pay a little more for a good flashlight.
     
    shoobe01 likes this.
  20. RA40

    RA40 Member

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    The technology certainly has brought us some very fine lights over the years. Plenty fall in the sub $50 range that are quite nice performers. I've been pretty happy with the older Streamlight Protac 1L. Have an HDS Ultimate 60 that has been modified but I seldom carry it. The technology has changed that it is from a past era of lights. Nice machining on that USA made HDS though. I have a few Peak Solutions Eiger keychain lights but again, lights from a past era. The Maglite AAA LED at $9 does the job.
     
  21. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    I like the 6P.
     
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  22. milemaker13

    milemaker13 Member

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    I agree. The free HF lights always seem to be one i find first. I want to buy expensive flashlights but just can't justify it anymore... especially when you consider how many get lost/broken/"borrowed".
     
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  23. il_10

    il_10 Member

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    I've lost so many nice flashlights that other than a couple surefire mounted weapon lights I don't have any anymore. I've been buying the cheap AA LED flashlights that are all over amazon like these;

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FTNY3ZK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    $12 for a 5-pack, and they hold up surprisingly well. They're all over with all different brand names on the side, but I'm pretty sure they're the same flashlight, so I just buy whatever is the cheapest. I've got them clipped to my car's visors and console, in kitchen and living room drawers, backpacks, camping bags... you really can't open a compartment in my house without finding one of these guys.

    Not something I'd use as a defensive tool, but way better than the mini maglites from years ago.
     
  24. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    If you haven't already, you might want to invest in Energizer lithium or Panasonic NiMH AAs to put in them for reliability. Alkalines will eventually leak, simply because of their chemistry. Twist switch lights tend to be more reliable because they don't have contacts to wear out, which click type switches do. Then again, you're probably not turning them on and off enough to wear out even a cheap click switch.
     
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  25. dh1633pm

    dh1633pm Member

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    I have changed a lot in my requirements for a good light. Now I want LED, with a re charger port right on the light or a least on the battery. I have a small steamlight that I take with me when I travel. Its good for carrying in your pocket for lighting up the inside of IT Equipment Racks and such. I also have a high powered LED light that I keep in the truck with a 110 and 12 volt charger. My truck has two 110 outlets. I would guess that I have about five LED flash lights from big to small. Can't use them as weapons anymore.
     
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