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Thread: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

  1. #31

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Everything depends on what your tacticool mission requirements are. Tactical doesn't define a single requirement. Some might need NVG's, some might need a momentary 15 lumen low.

    Personally, I use a SF A2 with blue LED's for minimal illumination sneaking around, with the ability to immediately transition to full white light if necessary without switching lights/hands. The ability for immediate white light is more important to my mission than an accidental light discharge.

    Others may need it for something as simple as walking the dog with the ability to illuminate a patch of lawn to avoid stinky surprises.

    Figure out what you are trying to do and find tools that you can use to accomplish your goals.

    Dennis.

  2. #32
    Flashaholic* Outdoors Fanatic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnB View Post
    I think we will see more improvements with the interface of the lights. Something where you can program your digital camera for different settings lights will have some type of interface where you can change settings.
    Maybe there will be some integration with other devices like GPS.
    Way too many things to fail. No thanks. Current manufacturers already have enough problems getting a simple tailcap and a set of screws to work properly...

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marduke View Post
    That's a twist momentary...

    Quite common.
    Quite common where? Most chinese lights are either reverse click (99% of them) or click-on with momentary function (chinese premium lights). The only other quality brand with a Surefire-like tailcap is the old Inova X series.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Rayovac, Nitecore, Terralux all have twist-momentary models, just to name a few off the top of my head,

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    I totally agree that a Tactical light should be just that - something simple to use to blind other people and nothing else. I personally don't really need to blind other people - except for fun - but I do go camping and love to walk at night. For that reason, I make sure I have something that will put out blinding light without fumbling, as soon as I turn it on, in case I come across a bear or something infuriated that is bigger than me (even a wild turkey can scare you into a lower than monkey I.Q.)

    However, I see and feel the need for something that is similarily strong and efficient, that can be used for sock hunting and reading (0.5 lumen) and keep the fun alive with the car headlight type of power and has the same quality throw a good tactical light has (250 lumen up, with everything in between for normal activities). Most lights that come close to this only come close : they only started recently offering the low low, but most still don't have the nice throwing power tactical lights offer. They still are fun lights to play with (I won't throw away my LD20 or my PD30 anytime soon), but I think it wouldn't be a big stretch to make a slightly bigger reflector and put a brand new LED in them.

    What I think people are looking for now is something that is somewhat a hybrid in between Tactical and EDC. This IS a flashaholic passion, right?

    While we're at it, I would also throw in red and green colored filters and why not offer both tailstand and tactical type switches? I think it's all about the ultimate flashlight, but chances are none of us will stop there... there will always be stronger and more options to add to it... In my case, I'm trying not to have to carry dozens with me all the time anymore... 2 flashlights should be able to cover all types of eventualities...
    Cataract, Shiny things specialist.
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  6. #36

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    I would like to see the lumens ramped WAAAAAAY up, and the strobe brightness ramped up as well. 1000+ lumens for the HIGH, 300 for low, and 3000- - 5000 lumens for the Strobe.

    This would fill my needs perfectly.
    MY EDC: JETBEAM M1X - it replaced 8 other lights.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post
    I strongly disagree.
    Hmm... you seem to be making quite a habit of strongly disagreeing with people...
    Resistance is futile...

  8. #38

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis View Post
    Everything depends on what your tacticool mission requirements are. Tactical doesn't define a single requirement. . .

    Figure out what you are trying to do and find tools that you can use to accomplish your goals.
    I agree and initially wrote a much longer post about this. I have about 6 low light tactics I've gradually developed and each has it's own different light.

    Unarmed search--Wolf Eyes Boxer 24W HID
    Unarmed ambush/sudden contact (vehicle or pedestrian stop, for example)--Surefire M6 (due to the Boxer's 20 second warm up time)
    Armed ambush/sudden contact (high risk vehicle or pedestrian stop, respond to officer under attack)--Surefire X-300
    Long range search/spot and coordination with other assets--Costco HID and Greatland green laser pointer
    Low observable stealth--Novatac 120 low low
    Off duty and all other on duty tasks like handcuffing--Nightcore Extreme

    In very dark areas, I use NVG's for everything except the last one in concert with all of these lights, lasers, IR illuminator, or no lights as the situation dictates. I don't actually use terms like "unarmed ambush/sudden contact" in my own mind. I just think, "Here they come, no weapons, Surefire M6, lockout disabled, check. IR illuminator on." Or, "Bravo 4 has some problem children. Get the X-300 on the gun and contact them."

    These are just specific to my job and situation. They don't necessarily translate to Afghanistan or even South Central Los Angeles.

  9. #39
    Flashaholic* M@elstrom's Avatar
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    Popcorn Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaywalk3r View Post
    I strongly disagree.

    Have you overlooked the necessity for tactical lights to be reliably simple to use?

    Multi-modes are great and very handy for general use but when the chips are down you don't want to be 'thinking' about which mode the light was ON last, trying to cycle through modes to achieve the level you require OR needing to use 2 hands to reconfigure the light
    My modest collection HERE & 55w HID spotlight project HERE

  10. #40

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lightraven View Post
    I agree and initially wrote a much longer post about this. I have about 6 low light tactics I've gradually developed and each has it's own different light.

    .....

    These are just specific to my job and situation. They don't necessarily translate to Afghanistan or even South Central Los Angeles.
    Sounds like you have your Mission defined! You are correct that it doesn't translate to LE work in South Central LA as unfortunately I can't carry all that stuff on me...

    I use the blue LEDs on an A2 for sneaking around buildings so I can look inside for bad guys. Instant white light is nice for if I actually run into one. Even more tactical white light is available on the X300 attached to my Glock. A quiglite on my body armor is good for tactical note taking.

    As a true flashaholic, I have more lights and NVG in the car, but usually just go with what I got on me.

    Dennis.

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by M@elstrom View Post
    Multi-modes are great and very handy for general use but when the chips are down you don't want to be 'thinking' about which mode the light was ON last, trying to cycle through modes to achieve the level you require OR needing to use 2 hands to reconfigure the light
    A well designed multi-mode light will never make you guess what mode it will turn on. You will KNOW which mode it will turn on when you hit the switch.

    Hence the beauty of the two-position head. Set it and forget it, and it works exactly like a single mode KISS light. But if you ever need it, that second mode is always there, just a 1/4 twist away...

  12. #42
    Flashaholic* M@elstrom's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marduke View Post
    A well designed multi-mode light will never make you guess what mode it will turn on. You will KNOW which mode it will turn on when you hit the switch.

    Hence the beauty of the two-position head. Set it and forget it, and it works exactly like a single mode KISS light. But if you ever need it, that second mode is always there, just a 1/4 twist away...
    You're talking about a UI memory mode feature? with a multitude of events taking place the last thing you want to waste though processes on was what did you have it on last (unless you set it up prior to entering the scenario), as for the twist head/switch feature how easy do you propse it would be to change the setting whilst holding that light overhand style without requiring the second hand momentarily?

    1 mode = less potential for user operation error
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  13. #43
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by M@elstrom View Post
    You're talking about a UI memory mode feature? with a multitude of events taking place the last thing you want to waste though processes on was what did you have it on last (unless you set it up prior to entering the scenario), as for the twist head/switch feature how easy do you propse it would be to change the setting whilst holding that light overhand style without requiring the second hand momentarily?

    1 mode = less potential for user operation error
    No, I'm talking specifically about lights without memory.

    If you leave the head of a 2-mode light in one position, how is it any different than a single mode light?? No confusion, it's set how you want to carry it. If it's not in the right mode when you need it, you would have also chosen the wrong brightness single mode light going into the same situation.

  14. #44
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marduke View Post
    No, I'm talking specifically about lights without memory

    Like the Jetbeam Jet-III M? thanks for clearing that up
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  15. #45
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post
    Ha ha! That's freaking hilarious!

    Then again, if you're being serious instead of sarcastic; this post is going to make me look like an @$$!
    haha, no, i wasnt trying to make you look like an @$$ nor was i being serious, i have no experience with tactics and the use of lights in a tactical situation (all knowledge comes from movies, books, documentaries etc) but i was just thinking that in a situation where one does not have an IR light and NVG/IR goggles and moving over forested floors, terrain, whatever, wouldnt a really low output light (properly shielded of course) be of use to prevent twigs snapping, getting snagged on branches etc?
    Why are all the contestants in Miss Universe only from Earth?

  16. #46
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by hyperloop View Post
    haha, no, i wasnt trying to make you look like an @$$ nor was i being serious, i have no experience with tactics and the use of lights in a tactical situation (all knowledge comes from movies, books, documentaries etc) but i was just thinking that in a situation where one does not have an IR light and NVG/IR goggles and moving over forested floors, terrain, whatever, wouldnt a really low output light (properly shielded of course) be of use to prevent twigs snapping, getting snagged on branches etc?
    Another option is to just nuke the whole area. One really bright light, and all the problems in a given area are taken care of.
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  17. #47
    Flashaholic* Crenshaw's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    Hmm... you seem to be making quite a habit of strongly disagreeing with people...
    haha......

    I would agree that this topic is dangerously close to another one about tactical lights.

    Crenshaw

  18. #48
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cataract View Post
    While we're at it, I would also throw in red and green colored filters and why not offer both tailstand and tactical type switches?
    I quoted this to tell you that if it can tailstand, it's no longer tactical as the tailcap can't be recessed. Then I realized what you were saying.

    Now I just want to tell you to go get an E2DL and when it's dark and your sock hunting, just press the bezel against your shirt and cycle the modes to save some night vision.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bushman5 View Post
    I would like to see the lumens ramped WAAAAAAY up, and the strobe brightness ramped up as well. 1000+ lumens for the HIGH, 300 for low, and 3000- - 5000 lumens for the Strobe.

    This would fill my needs perfectly.
    That's a beast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Marduke View Post
    A well designed multi-mode light will never make you guess what mode it will turn on. You will KNOW which mode it will turn on when you hit the switch.

    Hence the beauty of the two-position head. Set it and forget it, and it works exactly like a single mode KISS light. But if you ever need it, that second mode is always there, just a 1/4 twist away...
    Exactly.

    Multi-modes are EXTREMELY tactical... as long as you can't cycle the modes through the tailcap.

    The TK10 is one of the best examples I've ever seen. The beam is perfect for clearing rooms and then clearing something a bit larger. It can blind someone and still show you everything around them. It has two modes but I can press that tailcap as many times as I want in a half minutes and it's still going to be in the same mode.

    Has a strobe? Cool, but you can't cycle the modes to get to it so how are you going to use it? Using the selector ring?

    One thing people overlook is that ever though a flashlight has a selector ring, or you can twist the bezel to change modes, when and how are you going to change the mode with a handgun under stress? Have a weapon mounted light that you plan on twisting the bezel would be a lot easier for obvious reasons.

    Strobe for instance. It has a selector ring that put's it in a momentary and constant mode by pressing or clicking the tailcap. Great.

    In Law Enforcement when you pull a gun you have to be in the mindset your going to shoot it. You are, unless the subject changes whatever set you off real quick.

    If you have a flashlight and a gun pointed at someone, it will get you killed to be strobing them if they are that big of a threat. How are you going to accurately see what they are doing? If you shoot and try to articulate your use of force, I hope you knew exactly what they were doing while everything was blinking.

    If it's a drunk however, then it would be hilarious and beneficial.

    You can have a strobe but don't expect you use it if you're paired with a handgun. It's not only stupid but impractical.

    Even with a weapon-mounted light on a rifle. If you are aimed at someone, then why would you take attention away just to strobe them? Even if you can do it without looking. It's a serious situation where you need to be able to see exactly what they are doing.

    And if the bullets fly and you're stuck in a strobe mode, good luck trying to see what's happening or change back to get a fix on things.


    It would however be smart to change from a high to a lower mode (by ring or twist of the bezel) if you went from outdoors to indoors. It's taught in some low-light schools that there can be too much light indoors.

    Having a selector ring would be beneficial. High mode for outdoors, slightly lower indoors, very low for searching a car or something. It's really all how it's setup.

    Strobe has a use on a tactical light by use of a twist of the bezel or selector ring. Changing modes also does. You just have to know when to use them and when to just use the light for what it is designed to do originally.

    Now, good luck trying to find anyone sensible in Law Enforcement who wouldn't slap you silly for having a strobe on a tactical light. Many would expect you to get people killed.


  19. #49
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    This thread was started pricipally to discuss the way many lights are now being given the designation "tactical", asking whether that remained a useful designation or if it had now become rather over-used.

    The thread was NOT started to discuss the actual "tactical" situations in which these lights might be used by LEOs or others in violent circumstances.

    Another such thread was closed only yesterday due to trollish contributions, and this thread will suffer the same fate if the pattern is repeated.
    Resistance is futile...

  20. #50
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    There are several major players entering the market with technology and cost allowing many to own a high end light these days. I believe that some lights have the financial backing, and following ,to do well in todays market however some of these makers tend to simply "over think" their product.

    It seems the trend is to offer more features and functions and the one with the most is said to be the most "tactical". These whiz bang lights will surely sale well to the hobby type or collector or even campers and cavers however most police and military types kind of see through all the marketing hype.

    Some makers in their rush to get the attention of those who mostly use a light in the "tactical" sense often go overboard with what could be a very good product. It is like a master painter preparing a beautiful artwork.....you have to know when to stop or it could look overdone.

    As far as mentioned earlier about the very low setting on some lights. I have several lights with multi levels and features and do use them. I mostly use them camping or doing other stuff however on duty I personally dont need that feature. I carry a simple Photon on a belt keeper should I need to use low for maybe writing a report in the patrol car or finding my dropped keys.

    I am not sure how such a feature could be truly considered a "tactical" advantage. I have never had to just barely see someone or barely need just a very low level of light to clear a room. I throw as much light towards a situation as possible so again not sure how the low setting could be put to use.

    I believe that for a maker to move ahead these days they will have to come up with something that will truly be very useful and original. It could be something simple but again hard to improve on such a basic design. Look at the simple addition of the rubber finger grip allowing cigar style carry on smaller lights. This was simple and effective and sold like crazy on just about any light that had such a feature....plus it worked well and was hard to mess up due to its simple nature.....great addition to revive the tactical light market I believe.

    Right now it seems as if most officers are moving towards smaller main carry lights. I have seen a problem over my career with officers forced to carry more equipment on an already crowded duty belt. Long gone are the days where you would see older officers with a big mag charger dangling loosely on their belt. With the addition of taser guns to our belts I know officers who had to go to the carry of only one cuff case vs the normal carry of two. I believe battery technology will help this to improve due to more powerful lights in smaller packages.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  21. #51
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    I believe I was typing my above reply just as DM51 prepared his warning and as such I did not see that post before posting mine. I do hope my reply is not viewed as off topic as again I was attempting to say how and why the market appears stale to some.....plus I tend to simply talk way too much at times....
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  22. #52
    Flashaholic* sORe-EyEz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    tiny lights = tactical lights?

  23. #53

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    On the original topic, I think manufacturers tend to move in a large pack. If something sells well if made and advertised in a particular way it only makes sense to stick with that particular "winning formula". Doing something entirely different means taking a risk - your product may be better, but you run a risk of failing to sell it. If you want to maximize profits and minimize risk, it makes sense to move with the flock.


    Currently, the trend is to have multi-mode flashlight with a strobe and possible an SOS mode and give it the nickname "tactical", possibly with some spikes ("tactical bezel"). The lights are all in the ~200 lumens range just because that's about the limit of todays single die emitters, and the light needs to be at least as strong as the competition, right?


    Things appearing stale is just the relative slow progress of current LED single die technology AND the inertia of manufacturers competing with their version of essentially the same product.


    I could wish for more invention, such as low low, different UI and the like. I try to avoid anything "tacticool": Don't need it, don't want it. But "tactical" seems to be a magical buzz word for any teenager or mall ninja wanting a cool light, so they are hard to avoid...

  24. #54

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    Look at some of SureFires forward grip lights. Squeeze pressure pads for momentary on which is for tactical use. Then you press the back of the light for momentary on like when a threat is netralized (not killed, but the threat has ceased). Then a button on the top of the grip that is low level navigation lights like what you are refering too.

    It would be hard to have a tactical light that was handheld that could do anything similar unless you can do hand tricks I'm not aware of.
    See the First Light USA Tomahawk.

  25. #55

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    One thing people overlook is that ever though a flashlight has a selector ring, or you can twist the bezel to change modes, when and how are you going to change the mode with a handgun under stress? Have a weapon mounted light that you plan on twisting the bezel would be a lot easier for obvious reasons.
    The function of a flashlight for handgun usage is to illuminate a subject to determine if the person is a threat or not. You wouldn't be using anything except standard lighting -- certainly not a strobe.

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    In Law Enforcement when you pull a gun you have to be in the mindset your going to shoot it.
    A mindset of when your gun is out, "your (sic) going to shoot it" is not a good mindset. That's how the wrong people get shot. "Willing" or "prepared" to shoot is probably better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    Now, good luck trying to find anyone sensible in Law Enforcement who wouldn't slap you silly for having a strobe on a tactical light. Many would expect you to get people killed.
    I know many experienced, skilled LEOs and military operators who have a strobe function built into their "tactical" light. Having is one thing. Knowing how and when to use is completely different. They know how and when to use.
    Last edited by Justin Case; 06-24-2009 at 08:11 AM.

  26. #56

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    IMO, the reason why many tactical flashlights seem quite similar is because the functions are designed to fit specific mission statements (e.g., LEO, military, and personal self-defense applications). Within the constraints of the given package size/weight, handheld usage, and carryability, the answers are all similar. There are some incremental advancements such as the First Light Tomahawk form factor and the OpticsHQ and Olight tailcap side button.

    A thought-controlled, servo-driven aiming, instantaneous level changing, 0-10000 lumen light will just have to wait.

    In the meantime, it seems that the manufacturers are seeking to optimize the combination of price, size, lumens output, beam pattern/quality, UI/lighting modes, construction quality/strength/reliabilty, battery choice flexibility, electronics, run time, and thermal management. Depending on which factors have priority, you get somewhat different product answers.
    Last edited by Justin Case; 06-24-2009 at 09:17 AM.

  27. #57
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by SupremeEye View Post
    It seems as if all the tac lights out now are all some what of the same. They tend to stay in the same 225-250 lumen range with a strobe or not.

    The low seems to be a consistent 60 lumens (M20 Warrior permium with the low low of 7) but generall 60 lumens.

    Strike bezel: Check

    I have the TK11 R2 and I've thought about other lights but then when I look at a M20 Premium, T100 and others I end up at the conclusion of

    "Well no use is spending money for virtually damn near the same light, ok 10 lumens more with a strobe and a low low"

    Thats not enough to make me spend money.

    Just not alot of real difference between the lights.
    Stick with the TK11 you won´t find any better!

  28. #58
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    This thread was started pricipally to discuss the way many lights are now being given the designation "tactical", asking whether that remained a useful designation or if it had now become rather over-used.

    The thread was NOT started to discuss the actual "tactical" situations in which these lights might be used by LEOs or others in violent circumstances.

    Another such thread was closed only yesterday due to trollish contributions, and this thread will suffer the same fate if the pattern is repeated.
    My mistake. Good intent, bad way of stating it. Let me clarify.

    It's been discussed a lot on here what makes a good tactical light.

    It's also been discussed a lot what makes a not so good tacti-cool light.

    Because it's an argument I can't win and am tired of arguing, I'll just leave it at this:

    When using a "Tactical" in a situation where your life is on the line, it needs to do one thing: Turns on and isn't going to fail. Everything else is just extra that could very easily get in the way.

    Yes, in some circumstances a "tactical" light can have other options that are beneficial.

    Selector rings, twist of the bezel, button for strobe, etc are all features that one could find on a true tactical light. The end user had better know how to use them and when to use them.

    If the design of these extra commodities takes away from the original purpose of a flashlight, by getting in the way or adding to things that can go wrong, that design is no longer tactical.

    A plasma ray can be implemented into a tactical light, as long as that light can be trusted to still do what it is made to do.

    If it's going to be called "Tactical" it should have been designed to be tactical and be a rock hard light. It shouldn't be marketed towards civilians, because they don't do tactical things (I too am guilty of sneaking up on my socks). It should be bought by civilians.

    There are a lot of lights out there that are general purpose lights aimed at civilian with a tactical name and this is misleading and plain wrong. If it wears the name, it should play the game.

    In the end, if every company vowed to only put "Tactical" on a light that truly was, it would have to fit a guideline that would make them all seem the same. There is only one way to do it.

    They are stale, and thank god for that.


  29. #59

    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by Search View Post
    ...When using a "Tactical" in a situation where your life is on the line, it needs to do one thing: Turns on and isn't going to fail. Everything else is just extra that could very easily get in the way.

    ...They are stale, and thank god for that.
    I agree completely. Regardless of your mission or use, putting out the white light you expect is the primary goal of any tactical light.

    Dennis.

  30. #60
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    Default Re: Tactical Flashlights becoming stale?

    Quote Originally Posted by M@elstrom View Post
    Like the Jetbeam Jet-III M? thanks for clearing that up
    I like my Jet-IIIM - if the head is tight I get full-power when I press the forward clickie, if the head is loose I get minimum power which would work well for not being observed by others or protecting my night vision if I am in a situation where it is best to not use a flashlight most of the time. It also tailstands, which has its uses too. I also have the option for setting the 'head loose' setting to strobe if that was useful to me - I am sure there are people that have it set that way.

    I kinda think that if a light is called a 'tactical light' it means that the manufacturer decided to call it that because of certain features (let's call the version with a forward clickie 'tactical') and for the marketing benefit. The purchaser should take the tactical designation with a grain of salt and actually read up on the features and decide if it meets their tactical requirements. Personally I don't let the guys in marketing decide if their light is right for me!
    So many lights, so little money (cause I spent it on lights). I'm not afraid of the dark, the dark is afraid of ME!

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