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Weapon Light Too Bright?

Discussion in 'Long Gun Accessories and Optics' started by HGM22, Jul 10, 2015.

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  1. HGM22

    HGM22 Member

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    Playing around with my 600 lumen light and it seems able to nicely light up a whole room (white paint) at night. My 400 lumen light doesn't seem to really light the corners of the room nearly as well. However, some people say that some weapon lights are too bright. Would you agree, and why?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    No.

    Lighting up a whole room is more a matter of beam side spill then lumens.

    I have a Surefire 6P with about 165 lumen.
    It lights up a room just great.

    But it has almost a 180 degree side spill matching your peripheral vision, with a wide bright spot in the middle.

    I also have a 615 lumen Streamlight Strion HPL that is brighter then the sun out to 250-300 yards.

    It will burn the paint off a wall indoors.
    But it has very little side spill to light up all corners of a room.

    My little Pelican 1920 shirt pocket pin light is only 120 or less, (probably way less when the battery's lose their initial high voltage), but it lights a whole room up good enough to tell the bad guys from the good guys.

    Maybe a better example of different beam patterns here.

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/9e/35/05/9e3505b914afdc583204cbec413409c3.jpg

    As you can see one is better for lighting up a room, and another is better for long distance.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2015
  3. Inebriated

    Inebriated Member

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    Beam has a lot to do with it. But you don't really need a lot of light, or even a ton of spill, to ID a person. Have a loved one stand in a pitch black room, and take your lowly 3D Maglite (I know you have one, we all do) room to room to find them. You'll find that even it, with it's awful beam and low output, can ID the person adequately. You won't be able to check them for ticks or anything, but you can tell who they are. With a modern light with a quality reflector that offers good spill and a moderate hotspot, and a 150-350 lumen output, you've got all you need to get the job done.
     
  4. Miky

    Miky Member

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    Some lights can definitely be too bright for indoor tactical use. Im aware of two problems with an overly bright light:

    Most importantly, you want to use your light only when needed because it often gives away your position before it reveals the position of your target. You should use your night vision as much as possible and use your light only when you cannot see what you need to see or when you've located your target and want them to know it.

    Every time you turn on that light to search an area, you reduce the effectiveness of your night vision. If you have a 400 lumen light that is bouncing 200 lumens off the walls back into your face, your night vision will be damaged more than if you have a 150 lumen light that bounces 75.

    Less important but worth mentioning, as pointed out earlier, you dont really need a 600 lumen light to search a house. There are plenty of lights in the 150 to 200 lumen range that will do just fine. When you purchase a 600 lumen light for indoor use, you are paying more for a light that burns through batteries faster and damages your night vision more than it needs to. I think you would be better off spending the money on several 150 lumen lights that can be kept in multiple places.

    And dont forget tactical rule #1 of searching a dark house - turn the lights on!
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  5. Steve in PA

    Steve in PA Member

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    Yes, definitely.

    You can have a light that rivals the sun and inside a light colored room you'll get blasted by the light. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

    A 600 lumen light is definitely more than enough (and close to overkill) for searching a room/house.

    But yes, the beam can play a big factor in the amount of light that is splashing back on you.
     
  6. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    I carry two lights, one weapon and one hand. My weapon light is 100 lumens, which is plenty for dark rooms. It has very little beam and is more of a spill light to see out the corner of your eye. However, low spill and 100 lumens is next to useless at range, outside on a dark night. Weapon lights have really come into their own lately and I prefer using lights in the 180-300 range for room clearing. As you note my current light is not in the range, something I may end up remedying in the near future.

    My pocket light is 260 lumens with a great blend of beam and spread. It can light up the length of the non-wooded area of my property (about half acre) to identify stray dogs and animals with ease.
     
  7. Driftertank

    Driftertank Member

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    The Fenix TK15 I have on my dual-purpose carbine puts out about 25 lumens on low, which means if I use it indoors to investigate a noise in the middle of the night, I wont be dazzled or blinded when I switch it on and it hits the the white paint on my walls. The 2 middle settings are useful for point illumination in varying light, and the highest setting is rated at 400 lumens, but the beam pattern has a tight enough hotspot to spot and identify animals at night out to about 200 yards. It also has a memory circuit, so it comes on at whatever setting you left it on when turned off. And a strobe setting of course.
     
  8. OpticsPlanet

    OpticsPlanet Member

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    I've been getting by with my TLR-1, and 100 lumens. For me, it's more than enough indoors. there are lights that reach further, but claiming self-defense at 100 yards sounds like a hard sell.

    Where will it end? This is a handheld unit with 8 CR123A cells, that puts out 4200 lumens on high:

    opplanet-fenix-fllt-cree-xm-l2-u2-fenix-ld75c-xml2-main.jpg

    I wouldn't turn one down as a gift, but I couldn't afford to feed it.

    I have a 200 lumen Inforce WML on one of the ARs, but I'm not using the AR indoors - neighbors and such.

    anet-inforce-multifunction-weapon-mounted-light-white-led-125-lumens-flat-dark-earth-body-w-main.jpg

    Mark H.
     
  9. JDMorris

    JDMorris Member

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    I have a 630 Lumen TLR-1 HL (same size as the original TLR-1, newer, brighter model) on my Glock 22.
    Bright as the sun indoors at night, but if I were to shine that light into an intruders face he would absolutely be blinded by it, and I would be able to decide whether or not to light him up with something else while he's blinded / stunned. It's seriously that bright.
    Essentially, I like high lumen lights, and personally I think 200 lumens is not very much, especially for outdoors use on a rifle.
     
  10. DeepSouth

    DeepSouth Member

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    I've never seen one that I thought was to bright. But I suppose it is possible.
     
  11. hamp sandwich

    hamp sandwich Member

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    For outdoor use, I like bright, but for indoor, it doesn't need to blind from both ends. Also, the lights that I use are not weapon mounted, so perhaps that makes a difference?? It might be irrelevant, but I avoid using my muzzle in conjunction with searching.
     
  12. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    IMHO it sure can, i have experimented with lights from 50 to 1100 lumens and if you're eyes are 100% dark adjusted too much light on a light wall will adversely effect your sight. 50-100 lumens is plenty for the nightstand.
     
  13. OpticsPlanet

    OpticsPlanet Member

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    In general, I will take more lumens over less until it begins to significantly affect my run time (not very useful having 1000 lumens if it runs for 1 hour vs 600 lumens that will run for several).

    Conditions, as always, are a large determining factor. In general it seems anything over 100 seems to be sufficient and anything over 630 (because i have a TLR-1HL and love it) is overkill. Outdoor applications will benefit more from high lumens than indoor applications, and other factors such as beam pattern become more important than lumens in terms of "flooding" a room.

    Elzetta makes excellent flashlights, but even better is the educational information they distribute regarding flashlights. They give detailed breakdowns with visual examples to show you how different tech aspects that go into a flashlight and how each one affects the final output. Very cool stuff.

    -Matt S.
     
  14. LiquidTension

    LiquidTension Member

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    As always, mission drives the gear train. If your only use for a flashlight is inside your house at night after your eyes have adjusted then sure, 200 lumens will suffice.

    My weapon lights are all 500 lumens. My handhelds are 600 and 1100 with a backup of 110 just because it doesn't take up much space. Not once have I ever said, "wow LT, you brought too much light into the darkness." Not when the walls are white or even when my eyes are adjusted to the dark. What I can say with certainty is that going from a bright summer sun into a trailer with boarded up windows and no electricity, 200 doesn't cut it and 500 is the absolute minimum. I've also not heard any reports of tac teams stumbling out of shoot houses in need of white canes or guide dogs due to their lights being too bright.

    Could you flash yourself in a mirror during a search? I guess. But you'd have to win the lottery of just happening to turn your light on when it's pointed directly at a mirror for that to happen. Otherwise the spill will show that there's a mirror there you should avoid.
     
  15. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    One night when I couldn't sleep I got out the new 500 lumen surefire (was about two years ago) and went through my home. My eyes were fully adjusted to the dark prior to the test. It was too much for me inside but excellent outside. Inside my home I've been happier with around 100-200 lumens.
     
  16. basicblur

    basicblur Member

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    I'm seeing a number of trainers now recommending indoor lights not exceed 120 lumens due to all the downsides of having "too much" light indoors.

    Most of my lights are in that range - I do have some that put out much more light than that, but they are for checking the back yard (from my bedroom / kitchen windows) - I'd really hate to have to use my ProTac HL3 (1,100 lumens) inside my house!
     
  17. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    I've never needed more than a couple hundred lumen light when doing building clearing at night. Have searched some pretty big industrial buildings in the dark without needing more than a conventional Streamlight TLR-4, Surefire Mini-Scout or even a little G2 LED. For my house, my old, old TLR-1 is fine.
     
  18. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    Who? Because I want to know who I am in agreement with. Many trainers I have paid attention to advocate lights similar in brightness to the Surefire X300, which is a 500 lumen light. That is fine if you are shooting at a prairie dog in an open field, but a bit too much indoors if your walls are painted even a remote light color. 100 lumens is enough for indoors but I would say just barely. 200-300 is a much better range based on the lights I have used over the years.
     
  19. basicblur

    basicblur Member

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    Heck...I can't tell ya - I think Rob Pincus is one, and I've heard Tom Gresham (not a trainer, but he's probably getting his info from them) also broach the subject / recommend to callers to avoid "too much light".

    I listen to way too many podcasts these days, and remember hearing a number of trainers as guests on various shows finally get around to why too much light can be a bad thing.

    BTW - the next crack in "conventional wisdom" I expect to see (and it is creeping in) is the "focus on the front sight" mantra.
     
  20. Jeff White

    Jeff White Moderator Staff Member

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    You need to train to use light, just like every other tool. Surefire used to be associated with Strategos International. It was run by a former SEAL named Ken Good. Strategos International still exists but I don't find Good's name associated with it any longer.

    Surefire operates it's own training entity now, the Surefire Institute. Both offer low light courses.

    Ken Good wrote a manual; The Strategies of Low Light Engagements if you can find a copy (Amazon shows it as unavailable) it's a good primer on the use of light. The book recommends lights of 60 to 225 lumens for indoor use and cautions about self blinding if used improperly.

    There is a lot that goes into the proper use of white light illumination. It's not as simple as mounting a light or your weapon or having a small bright handheld light and lighting up the room.
     
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