Historical Question: Flashlights in Use by the FBI Circa 1992

ebuchner

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I'm looking for details on what lights might have been in an FBI agent or patrol officer's kit circa 1992. I'm basically certain that Surefire P-series lights would have been in use since they were available from 1988 or so, but what offerings would Streamlight have had at the time and what other lights may have seen use in the field prior to the high-pressure xenon/halogen incandescent revolution of the late eighties? Reference photos would be appreciated.
 

ABTOMAT

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Not sure what the FBI was being issued in '92. For a patrol officer it would have most likely been a Streamlight SL-20X or Mag-Lite Magcharger if they kept up with the times. As far as police-style lights in production then, off the top of my head:

-The Surefire 6/6P/6R and I presume 9P would have been available. Someone with more SF info could say if some of their other models like the 8X or 6Z were around that early.
-I believe ASP had the Triad going by then but someone correct me if I'm wrong. That was a lithium xenon light along the lines of the SF 6P.
-Streamlight at the time was making the SL-15X/20X/35X for rechargeable duty lights, plus the models remaining from their D/C-cell adventures in the 1980s, and at least the Streamlight Jr AA pocket light. They were a couple years away from introducing the Stinger at this point. I'm not counting their flashlights for other markets like the Litebox and Survivor.
-Mag-Lite had their full line of incandescent products that people today would recognize. Their lineup didn't really change at all until the mid 2000s.
-Legend (later Brinkmann Legend) would have been in production. These were incandescent lights similar in basic operation to Mag-Lites.
-Brinkmann had one or two police-style D-cell lights of their own, like the 5-3-2. Not sure how much luck they were having actually marketing to law enforcement. They also had a few AA/AAA pocket lights that were modified versions of their original Mini Mag-Lite clone.
-GT Price made an AA pocket flashlight (Code 4 Jr.) that looked like a Mini-Mag but with a clickie side button. I think their full size light had turned into a Brinkmann property by then.

what other lights may have seen use in the field prior to the high-pressure xenon/halogen incandescent revolution of the late eighties? Reference photos would be appreciated.

There was a whole constellation of aluminum D/C-cell police flashlight brands that disappeared in the mid '80s. The industry started with the Kel-Lite in 1968. The other main players that followed were Pro-Light/B-Lite, LA Screw family, Streamlight, and later Mag-Lite, plus a few smaller brands that didn't get as much traction. Mag-Lite and Streamlight came out as the top dogs and everyone else died or went into "oh they still sell these?" levels of production by 1985.

Anything specific you want a photo of?
 
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ABTOMAT

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Streamlight Scorpion, TL-2, Nightfighter and TL-3

Was the Scorpion available in 1992? Streamlight applied for the trademark at the end of '93; I'm not sure when the light was introduced. The TL and Nightfighter series didn't hit the catalog until 2002 or so.
 

ABTOMAT

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Photos of the AA/AAA mentioned earlier would be nice
These are most of the American AA size lights from the late '80s and early '90s. Some like Sigmalite flamed out pretty quickly, others like Brinkmann had to change their designs because Mag-Lite sued for copying the Mini-Mag. Streamlight gets press for being sued for their Excalibre lights but I'd be shocked if the "Mini-Mitelite" wasn't another point of contention.

Top row: Early Brinkmann, early Code 4 Jr., Kershaw by Sigmalite
Bottom row: c.1990 Mini-Mag, c.1984 Mini-Mag, Streamlight Mini-Mitelite, Streamlight Jr., later Code 4 Jr., Sigmalite, Legend Eddie Bauer edition

PXL_20240129_160136304.jpg

PXL_20240129_160215510.jpg

PXL_20240129_160224646.jpg
 
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bykfixer

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John 3:16
SureFire products didn't really catch on yet in the early 90's. PK went to work there in 93 and said they were still hardly known outside a small niche of customers. So lights carried by FBI were likely not SureFire (yet). Most likely Streamlight SL20's and the like or MagChargers like Abtomat said for primary and could have still been Rayovac Sportsman or Eveready Captains in some divisions. It wasn't until a big crime bill was signed by Clinton in (94?) that the US gubment started keeping up with the crooks in many departments.


Here's a bulletin from back then.
 

sween1911

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Love it! Great layout as always @ABTOMAT !
I had that early Brinkmann Black Max. Bought in the mid 80's at a K-mart in South Jersey. Carried it all the time. It was right around that law-suit era. It had the same exact head profile as the Maglite, but there was a split ring down in the body that prevented the head from coming off completely for "candle mode". I always had to remove the bezel, lens, and reflector to change the bulb.
 

Dave D

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Didn't they get issued some Surefire Z2 type light?
The Surefire sales literature used to say 'The Z2 Combatlight® is the standard issue flashlight for the FBI, U.S. Air Marshals, and numerous police departments worldwide.' However Surefire didn't start producing the 6Z until 1997, which was replaced by the Z2 in 1991.
 

ABTOMAT

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Missing a Lumalite AA.
You're right, forgot about them. The company was owned/made by "Burns Bros" and they had a strong Hong Kong connection but the lights were made in the US. I think from the late '80s to the late '90s. I remember seeing them in Radio Shack catalogs when I was younger. Here's one that sold on eBay (not my auction): https://www.ebay.com/itm/116015435504
 

Monocrom

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Let's face it, issued or not, willing to bet that quite a few agents back then spent their own money on 2AA incandescent black Mini-Mag. models.
 
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