If you want to purchase a tactical flashlight, you need to get as much insight into the overall concept as you can. By knowing what to look for and what to avoid, allows you to make a detailed selection of the models that are worth checking out. Therefore, you’ll save a lot of time, effort, and most importantly – money. Instead of searching the Internet and buying the first model you stumble upon, read this article, and you’ll make a much better choice.
Before you even start searching for one, you need to know the definition of tactical flashlights.
These flashlights are usually much brighter than the other models. People like hunters, law officers, survival experts, and security guards need super-bright units for their jobs. A tactical flashlight can also be used in self-defense thanks to the abnormal brightness it emits. Because it can temporarily blind a person, it serves as a perfect self-defense tool apart from being used as an illumination tool.
The level of brightness is measured in lumens, and most LED flashlights have around 500-1200 lumens. There are some incandescent models on the market, but they aren’t worth checking out because they are obsolete. The Xenon models are pretty hard to find, and most of them have a hefty price. Therefore, the LED technology is the right choice.
The first thing you need to do is set and determine how much money are you willing to spend. Due to the massiveness of the market, the prices go from as low as $10 up to a hundred. The basic rule is – you get what you paid for. Therefore, don’t expect any miracles from keychain models that cost a few bucks, it won’t happen.
The starting price of a decent flashlight is around $20-$30. Everything below that price is either of poor quality or a miniature version of other models. As you can see, these units are quite affordable, and you shouldn’t spare money on them. Instead, pick one of the top-quality models, pay the price, and you won’t get any headaches.
Most people think the smaller the unit is, the worse it performs. However, it’s an entirely wrong assumption. In fact, some small models can easily outperform a bigger one. It’s all about the number of lumens and the amount of power it gets from the batteries.
If you’re looking to use a flashlight for home use, the size is pretty irrelevant. On the other hand, if you’re a professional, getting a compact model should be the priority. Needless to say, no one wants to carry a large and cumbersome tool, especially not the military personnel.
The battery type is arguably the most important element of a tactical flashlight. It’s important that you determine whether you want rechargeable or disposable batteries. Furthermore, you need to decide if you want a standard-size battery which is easy to find or a special battery which is more powerful but harder to find.
The best universal solution is to go with Li-Ion ones. They have enough power to provide well over a thousand lumens. The lifespan of Li-Ion batteries is also quite impressive. However, don’t confuse lithium disposable and Li-Ion batteries, they are not the same.
The user’s favorites are the rechargeable models. They are the easiest to handle and maintain. For example, you never have to go to the store and buy another pair. Instead, all you have to do is hook them up to your household grid via a charger, and wait a couple of hours. After charging, they are good as new. The only downsides of these are the price and accessibility. In simpler words, they tend to be expensive and hard to find.
Models made of plastic are usually low quality. It’s not necessarily the case, but it’s the most common outcome. Although plastic models are frowned upon, they can come in handy if you’re not looking for a professional tool.
The ones that are considered as good are the ones made of aluminum alloys. Aluminum is one of the lightest commercial metals, but it’s durable enough to withstand bumps, drops, and shocks. Therefore, flashlights that are made of aluminum are usually more durable and resistant to harsh conditions.
Most modern flashlights have a set of different light modes. The five most common are – low, medium, high, strobe, and SOS.
The strobe mode is ideal for self-defense. The principle is pretty simple, all you have to do is point the flashlight into the attacker’s eyes, and they will be temporarily blinded. It gives you more than enough time to react accordingly.
The SOS function comes in handy if you’re, for example, stuck on a desert road with no one in sight. By switching the SOS mode on, you will be able to send “SOS” signals via Morse code.
The low, medium and high modes are pretty self-explanatory. Needless to say, the high mode drains the most battery power, while the low mode offers the least amount of lumens.
Many models have some resistance ratings. The most important ones are water and shock resistance. A tactical flashlight is a perfect tool for people who live in areas susceptible to rough weather. The waterproof aspect comes in handy if you’re trying to find your way while it’s raining or snowing. Some units can even be submerged in water for half an hour without a single issue.
The resistance rating is usually determined by the price of the product. In simpler words, the unit that is cheaper is less resistant. If you’re not looking for a professional model, any rating is fine. A vast majority of modern flashlights can withstand humid conditions. However, if you’re looking for a top-quality professional model, pay special attention to the resistance ratings. The IPX8 is usually the most reliable water resistance rating. Needless to say, the IPX8 rated devices tend to have a hefty price.
If you’re looking for versatility, it would be a good idea to inform yourself about the general capabilities of the model you’re interested in. The list of potential special features is borderline endless.
Light filters can be applied over the top of the lens and change to color of the light beam. Although it sounds pretty redundant and irrelevant, changing the color of your light can come in handy in many situations. For example, red filters are great for night vision. Hunters like to use the yellow and blue light filters to track an animal by following the blood trail. As you can see, people who use light filters are usually professional soldiers, hunters, and law officers.
Many people oversee the fact that they need a belt or pocket clip on their flashlight. You might think it’s easy to carry a flashlight around, but it’s a great burden if it doesn’t have a built-in mechanism to alleviate the use. The two most common things are belt and pocket clips. Furthermore, if you want to put the unit away, you don’t have to hassle with putting it in an over-packed rucksack or pocket. Instead, simply clip it onto your belt, and that’s it.
An increasing number of flashlights are being designed for self-defense. Apart from integrating the strobe mode, companies also design a bezel with serrated edges which can be used in self-defense. The concept is quite simple, all you have to do is hit the attacker with the jagged edges and run away. The strobe mode will give you more than enough time to react according to the situation.
The one last thing you should do is check the country of origin. As you might assume, units that are manufactured on the Asian market are usually of less quality than the ones produced in western markets. However, the ideal solution is to look for models made in the United States. Apart from being the best quality ones, they also have more favorable warranty conditions than the ones from eastern markets.
If you pay attention to these factors, you should be able to find a perfectly suiting flashlight for yourself. Apart from paying attention to our advice, use common sense, and you should have no problems with finding a quality and cost-efficient model.