Wednesday, July 25, 2012

BAD Gear: Tactical Flashlights

It seems these days that as soon as somebody attaches the word "Tactical" to anything, it jacks up the price of an otherwise utilitarian tool. For example, Flashlights. They use to be 50 bucks or so for a decent hard use one, add the word "Tactical" and BLAM you got yourself a 100 dollar flashlight that does the same thing as a 50 dollar one. I do have a few tactical flashlights, some good, most shit.

Nowadays I don't use my tac lights too often anymore, but the ones I do have, I expect them to work and endure all sorts of shit, like recoil or being smashed up against one's face, or more mundane environmental conditions such as rain, sleet, cold, heat. They also should have positive grip and and a style that won't slip my hands. Some I have mounted as weapons lights, some I can dismount for Harries hold, or Ayoob hold, or neck index hold, or just plain "shove it in my mouth cause I need to look at my map" hold.

All my lights have a tail clicky. I like that, more than I like the Costco/Walmart/ side clicky you find these days. It's not ergonomically correct. Some lights also have a crenelated bezel, probably for making nice marks on badguy's forehead. I've never used it that way, but I'm sure it would hurt.

Other considerations include the type of battery (because in some shit hole third world countries, CR123A are not found easily, whereas AA batts are easier to find). So unless you have a logistics supply chain that can stock you with a steady supply of 123A's you may want to stay away from them. I didn't follow this rule, as I have rechargeables! haha.

Another consideration is the life of the battery with respect to the output in terms of hours and lumens. For me, batteries are a sacrificial part, and I stock up on batteries, so it doesn't really matter how many hours it will last as long as it will last days instead of minutes. Lumens, or how bright it is, is a big consideration along with the pattern it throws - whether its a dispersed or focused beam. A dispersed beam would give a very good wide area lighting, whereas a focused beam is really good for blinding somebody. It also tends to whiteout anything it is focused on.

Definitely there can be different lights for different uses. I have two dedicated white lights for weapons: Surefire Millennium M951 with LED conversion, and a Streamlight TLR-1. Both are LED, as I will very rarely ever use NVG anymore. Plus, I do like that they have better power consumption. Both have protected circuitry, and both throw extremely bright and powerful focused beams. Exactly what is needed on weapons mounted white light.

For an EDC I prefer something small, light, and can use my teeth to hold if necessary. Enter the Sunwayman R5. It uses AA batts, and has 4 modes. This comes with me overseas and on trips.

Some people ask me, "Why do you have a dedicated Surefire weaponslight, but EDC a Sunwayman, isn't Surefire better?" The short answer is, IF the sunwayman screws the pooch for whatever reason, they are cheap and replaceable. It is also a nondescript light that attracts zero attention at the airport. I do believe that there are better and cheaper alternatives to Surefire. This being one.

A very cheap general purpose LED light that I like to keep around the house is the nexxtech 3-watt light. It takes CR123A, but I have a metric tonne of those as rechargeables. This is by no means a tactical light, it's a "Holy shit, where that spider go?" light. I have a few of these kicking around the house in locations where its easily accessible in event of a power failure. This light is no longer for sale, but similar cheap lights can be had from Sunwayman or Fenix

Which brings me to the Fenix. This is by far my most versatile light. I have the TK11R5, Holy shit this is the brightest light I've seen in a long time 258 lumens. Although it is slightly larger for EDC, I have used it as such for a while. I put this into an offset light mount and have had it on my weapon. This is actually my home defence light and it sits in my bedside drawer beside a full mag of badguy bullets and a G17. When things go bump in the night (and they have), just having a light that can virtually stun and blind somebody and can be used an an instrument of force can give you that few extra seconds that get you into a better defensible position.

Ok, something that really isn't all that tactical, but is seeing tactical use is my Petzl Tikka. There isn't a need to buy the TacTikka unless you need the different filters like red eyes.  IMHO, if you plan on going up into your attic, or crawling around in the crawlspace, or through tunnels, or sewers, or just camping, you need one of these. Don't buy the blackdiamond brand - its shit. Get a Petzl. I totally wished LED Petzls were kicking around when I was sewer crawling. My jaws wouldn't have had such a workout.

These lights range the gamut from $25 - $400 plus all the accessories you can do. By no means spend 400 if you don't need it. But know that there are a few different options.


  1. You should check out a Nitecore P25 this thing is amazingly bright at 860 lumens! Only thing is that I wish the bezel had crenelations...but other than that this is my favorite home defense flashlight

  2. Few days ago I've bought one tactical atac plx flashlight and it is very difference with high quality between others any tactical tech devices. I hope most of the people also like this concept.

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  4. This flashlight is very important for any people.Many people overlook how effective a flashlight can be.If you get stuck in the back of Home Depot and the power goes out it's a great tool,but a lot of the more tactical flashlights can be quite useful in a self-defense situation.I think you should be use. Please tell me How many design of this light?

  5. I am thinking to buy this one but now confused with Shadowhawk x800 , any review for that

  6. I have been using a traditional battery torch for a while now. I am planning to buy a tactical flashlight to replace the old one. With the help of this guide, I am certain I will be able to buy the best model. Personally, I prefer something small and lightweight. I also checked out some resourceful products here:



Full Disclosure: Unless noted, Bad Ass Dad has not been compensated in any means to review this gear. It is all his own, procured through pro-channels, retail, or issuance.