Extreme distance flashlights, what their use?

Wits' End

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My first thought when I saw the thread...
I have a mile long driveway (or lane), running next to pasture or hay fields. If I happen to notice a vehicle driving back, then its lights turn off partway back. It disappears. A long range light will let the driver know that we are aware of their presence. They will probably move on. Or come back to see our light :)
Same thing spotting or discouraging dark loving, people or animals.
Just my thoughts 💭
 

Blooglo

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They are useful for art projects where intense beams are used. Like an installation with layers of dichroic glass or multiple bounce mirrors. They are also useful or going out on a foggy night, pointing it straight up, and saying WOW!
 

3_gun

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The thing is the spec, as said that max is a light level that isn't really useful. But a light that will do 2500yds as a max with useless light; that same light could light up 200yds like noon for hours. I have a pop can light that will hit 18000L at peak for about 3min before it gets to hot & you notice dimming. Silly but fun. Same light ran 8hrs a day at around 150L for a week & when I checked the batteries they were at 3.3V. I'd guess I could've gotten another night or two.
A bigger issue is how much farther your light can be seen by people who you may not wants to see your light. So if your light had a max of 2500 for you that would be 7500 or more yards that your light could be seen from, depending on environment. Also floody lights were easier to see than a tight [LEP] beam as the area you lit up was more visible than the source of that light at light ranges.

For a SHTF situation you should plan on using the lowest level & tightest beam that lets you get the job done.
 

letschat7

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Here is a thought that during the whole duration of CPF the only SHTF situation that happened was hurricane Katrina and all we have to show for it is Surefire V85.

Inb4 someone says 9/11 counts because some MagLites were involved.

20-100 lumens is a great amount of light in a bad situation....
 

desert.snake

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Long-range flashlights are very useful for inspecting equipment in dirty workshops, where soot and soot cover the equipment and absorb light, and you need to follow the path of a cable or inspect something at a height of 30-40 meters while on the ground. Also, in wet weather, additional power helps to see something on the wet ground. Once I had a flashlight with a stated 600 thousand lux, my friend and I were looking for his fallen keys on the lawn, the grass had not yet grown, that is, the ground was black and it had rained. Even this amount of light was absorbed by the earth very easily. The new LEPs are great. A friend gave me a Acebeam Terminator, a very nice little flashlight. Focusing on LEP was helpful
 

RCantor

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I use my LEP for inspection of dark areas in broad daylight. I either have to walk right up to each one with an ordinary flashlight, crouch down, and shine it with my head and the light inside (so I can dark adapt a bit), or I can walk between them all and from 50 feet away with daylight adapted eyes shine my 1600 meter LEP in there and see everything. I can get a lot more done in an hour with a lot less work with the LEP.

I can't imagine that the "cool" market is big enough to support multiple brands of LEP lights for very long if there weren't good uses for those cool lights. My use may be rare but there are probably many people using them for a large variety of things who don't show up on flashlight forums. I wish they would because I'd love to learn about their uses.

One other use would be for light painting in photography.
 
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I use my LEP for inspection of dark areas in broad daylight. I either have to walk right up to each one with an ordinary flashlight, crouch down, and shine it with my head and the light inside (so I can dark adapt a bit), or I can walk between them all and from 50 feet away with daylight adapted eyes shine my 1600 meter LEP in there and see everything. I can get a lot more done in an hour with a lot less work with the LEP.

I can't imagine that the "cool" market is big enough to support multiple brands of LEP lights for very long if there weren't good uses for those cool lights. My use may be rare but there are probably many people using them for a large variety of things who don't show up on flashlight forums. I wish they would because I'd love to learn about their uses.

One other use would be for light painting in photography.
I know an active duty Navy Chief Petty Officer who uses his LEP to illuminate remote areas of his ships engine spaces. Naval vessels are notoriously cramped for space, with lots of gear and pipes going every which-way. The tight beam and high lux of the LEP allows him to clearly see into spaces that are difficult to access. He says it's also useful in helping to train younger sailors by showing them exactly how tab A fits into slot B (figuratively speaking).
 

divine

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I was with a friend and his neighbors when it was relatively dark outside and they were trying to communicate which tree branches they wanted to have trimmed, being able to point with a flashlight is sometimes useful.
 

Bob A

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I was walking the dogs in a big field the other nigh, and there was a lot of ground fog. Shone the light vertically, and it was very interesting: bright shaft of light going up about 9-10 feet, then it seemed to disappear, as the beam passed beyond the fog zone.

Relatively useless, but interesting and visually exciting.

Be ugly trying to land a plane at night, and have the runway disappear just as you got into ground effect.
 

Masterinspector

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I seem some here talking about lights they like that are advertised as shining to 1200, 1500, even 2500 yards.

I would say that about 100 or 200 yards or so would be as far as I could identify what the light is illuminating.
2500 yards is about 1.5 miles.
Other than signalling to a rescue team what would the use be for a light that shines so far?

1. I inspect large industrial buildings and use 'flood' to light up dark-warehouses that don't have the electricity turned on (no interior lighting) and I use the 'spot' to inspect beam/column connections 25'-35' above slab (grade).
2. For 35 years we've had a hobby horse ranch on the outskirts of the city and there are nights that horses get out and run into the desert...and I need a lot of light to find and retrieve them either from my motorcycle or horse-back.
3. We get coyotes and mountain lions on our property at night and I need a healthy amount of lumens to 'light-em-up' and chase them off. I initially use 'flood' to find them and then 'spot' to chase them out as far as I can see. They don't like 'spot'.
4. I've got a neighbor who likes to fly his drone over my property at night and I use my most powerful 'spot' to blind his POV-cam and chase him back to his property.
5. More????
6. An old Coast HP21 (used for 13-14+ years now), a couple of old Cree Sky-Ray (S99's?) handle most of it... with a smattering of smaller 18650's as back-up.
 
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The post above by brother Masterinspector reminded me of a project I worked on in 2011. This isn't exactly a "thrower" story, more of a semi-thrower thing, but you'll understand the analogy.

Back then my project team was evaluating a church steeple for its suitability as a host for a concealed cell tower antenna installation. The steeple itself was ample in volume, but there were no lights inside the steeple at all, and you need to see the structure up close to determine if the antenna cables and cable brackets can be attached without causing structural damage. (Many steeples are not robustly built in that regard, especially those built before building codes were revised in the early 2000's. Also, few if any have installed lighting.) The base of the steeple rose up from the "roof" of the church building, and extended to a height of 105 feet above ground level. My construction engineer started to climb the steeple's interior ladder to start his inspection. He was required by company safety rules to use both hands and maintain three-point contact when climbing ladders. His headlamp batteries were dead, and all he had for illumination was a 2D Maglite incan (67 lumens! Count 'em!). I felt a bit sorry for him - climbing a ladder essentially in the dark - and took out my Download Pocket Rocket (600 lumens on high), and illuminated his climb up the ladder to the top of the structure. Upon returning from the inspection, he was amazed that my little 18650 light could pack such a punch.

Remember, 600 lumens was quite impressive for a pocket light back then. Today, there is no shortage of high-output pocket torches available at stupidly low prices; the Lumintop Tool for example; when using a 14500 cell, version 2.0 puts out 650 lumens, and version 3.0 clocks in at 900 lumens. Runtime at that level isn't great, but the WOW factor is still there, at least for such a tiny package, either of which can be had for US$20-$30.

But under the circumstances those 600 lumens were still impressive...
 

letschat7

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I enjoy reading stories like this, especially with a happy ending. The German Polizei says 500 lumens from an 18650 light is really all you need and I get along fine with those lights such as Securiled or some modded Surefire 9Ps.
 

Monocrom

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Love it when others tell folks, what the folks need.
I'll stick with my current Eagtac P200LR rated at 2100 lumens.
Realistically the output is likely closer to 1200 lumens out the front.
But, decent Throw from one of the most compact 18650 lights out there.
Great Flood, thanks to the optic. Checkering could definitely be better.

This light really surprised me at just how good it is, overall.
And yes, for my needs; 500 rated lumens won't cut it.
 

divine

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You know, in use, I find something that is more of a thrower to be much more useful. I don't know if I clearly said this in my last post.

I don't need to use as much power to see something. I don't want to run my light on max output all the time.
I can see things that are further away if I need to.

At work I use a flashlight to inspect things in dark areas inside buildings, sometimes if something is 20 feet or 30 feet away from me, even a 1,000 lumen light has a tough time lighting it up. That isn't at night, that's during the day when the sun is out and sometimes when the interior lights are on, when my eyes aren't adjusted to see dimly lit stuff.
 
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