If you were headed to Iraq, why the L4?

JNewell

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If you were headed to Iraq or Afganistan, why would you select an L4 rather than an L2 or an L5? The L2 offers the flexibility of dual levels and longer runtime...the L5 offers the advantages of the combat grip. Neither is enough bigger than an L4 to make much difference. Yet the L4 seems to be in short supply and a popular choice for deployment to combat areas. What makes the L4 more popular than the L2 or L5?
 

ront

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IMHO, the popularity of the L4 is that it produces a wall of light. If you go into a dimly light room and turn the L4 on, it will light up the whole room! I also have 2 stages on my L4.

Ron
 

ACMarina

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Personally, I think the L4 is one of the best all-around lights out there. Sure, it's not *as* bright as some of the other lights out there, but I'd guess that I pick it up over any of my other lights 75% of the time..
 

JNewell

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greenLED said:
Any idea what this light will be used for exactly?

Thankfully, this is an entirely hypothetical post - but let's say a combination of general/utility illumination and "tactical" illumination.

Unless there's a big difference in output, I'd choose either the L5 for the combat grip or the L2 for the two-level output...would not choose the L4 just because it's a half inch or so shorter...but curious to hear if I've missed something...
 

VWTim

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I'd either go for an L2, or what I prefer an L4 w/ a 2 stage McE2S switch. That way you can have a semi customizable low.
 

pilou

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Lights with wide beams are ideal for indoor applications, which is probably often needed in Iraq. The nuwai TM-301X-5 seems like cheaper version of the L4.

As always, one needs the appropriate light for the application. For instance, it makes no sense to use a TIROS Inova for room searches
 

Ty_Bower

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JNewell said:
...L2 is rated the same output on high and puts out a very impressive wall of light. Is the L4 different/better?
I think many people recognize the output of the two is similar, but prefer the clicky switch of the L4. They don't feel they have a need for the low level available on the L2. Isn't the L4 a little less expensive than the L2?

Oh, and if you have access to an ExE bezel, you can put an MN03 lamp on the body of the L4. You can't do that with the L2.
 

Gypsy

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Well I guess I have some input that may or may not be valuable here. I am sitting in Baghdad right now as I write this. I have been in South West Asia maybe 85% of the time since 9-11. So I do have some experience to draw on.

I think the biggest consideration, which has been mentioned above, is the mission you will be on. There are so many things that a person can do here that you can not make the general "going to Iraq" statement. For example the first time I was in Egypt I was doing a more tech oriented job. I used a light for looking in commo equipment and filling the generator at night. The third trip, to Iraq, I was doing a more hands on job. I needed the light I believe you are discussing. But when you are clearing buildings or rooms you are doing it with the weapon light the vast majority of the time. Sometimes you will use a hand held to search the premises once the area is cleared.

This trip I am working on a completely different mission and I am outdoors nearly all of the time. I need a spot that can illuminate targets at distance for most of what I do. I have also found a great use for the strobe on my hand held. I can shine a light at someone 100m out and they will not see me at all. They will not respond to commands because they do not see me. When this happens the situation gets tense. But with the strobe they nearly always notice me. I can honestly say based purely on my experience this trip that the strobe on my Gladius has kept me from pulling the trigger several times, which in turn means people who are presumably innocent are alive because of it.

I guess in the end I would say if you are headed to the sandbox you need to take several things:

1) A general utility light: I prefer a AA for this. I want something that is reliable and has decent run time. I am currently using a Fenix L1P. This light is on me 247 no matter where I go or what I do. I am about to replace this light with a Jet MK IIx.

2) A proven weapon light: I want a light that is dead reliable for this. I am not going to take chances on anything new to the market. I want a solid spot with some flood. This could be different with the mission. If I was still kicking in doors I would want more flood. You will go CR123 on this one, be it 6v or 9v. I go to a Surefire 9v in a LaRue Tactical QR with the pressure pad in a TangoDown Vertical Grip.

3) A proven "tactical" light: For this I want an LED. I currently carry a Gladius. This light has a dead simple interface, is bright enough, and is versatile. Here is the strobe I have used to successfully get noticed and I believe save lives. The light has a momentary full bright as well as a continuously variable brightness on the on position. I am in the process of finding a Gladius donor to get the Cree or Seoul upgrade. I want all the features and more output. This light is on my kit and if I am in kit the light is always on me and attached via lanyard with QR.

4) A reading light: I know it sounds crazy but you are going to have down time. I have an old CMG Infinity that has been around the world literately dozens of time and has never failed me.

5) "One Is None" : When I am on base I have a light always on me and a second very close by. When I am on mission I have one on my belt, one on my weapon, one on my kit, and at least one in my go to bag. I have a couple of backups always laying around and are in rotation in the bag depending on what I am doing. I have the Surefire EL1 and KL4, a couple more Fenix, and an old MiniMag LED conversion. These are also the lights I will hand to a fellow soldier when they need one. I know there is a 50-50 chance of getting it back so these are the ones that get handed out!

So I guess that the real answer is "it depends." It depends not only on the mission but also on your role in the mission.

I believe there are two difficult obstacles that a soldier deploying faces in terms of lights. The first is that your particular mission will not be clear until you are boots on the ground. The second is that the Army supply system is slow and will not always get you what you need. I have learned from experience. I pack a box of all my goodies and leave it home. The first day in country that I know I have a decent mailing address I have it shipped. This means I am not going to have to rely on the Army to get me the things I need to survive. This box has thousands of dollars worth of stuff from HK M4 mags, EO Tech, ACOG, lights, knives, and weapons accessories. The only problem is that most soldiers can not afford this luxury. I found out a long time ago getting this stuff in country is easy. Getting it out is a pain in the ***. So when I leave I will either sell at 25 cents on the dollar or simply give the stuff to an incoming soldier who seems to appreciate the necessity and will use the stuff.

I hope some of this may have helped a little. I am by no means an expert on lights and have not tried every light out there but these are just my observations.

Gypsy
 
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luminari

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Wow, one of the best reads ever for me. Thanks for sharing, Gypsy. It never amazes me what you guys have to go through. It sounds like you had to procure a lot of your own gear, as well. Man.
 

Gypsy

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luminari said:
Wow, one of the best reads ever for me. Thanks for sharing, Gypsy. It never amazes me what you guys have to go through. It sounds like you had to procure a lot of your own gear, as well. Man.

Thank you. I hope a few people can take something from the little write up. Baghdad has gotten interesting in the last couple of years.

I have purchased a lot of my own gear. The only up side to it is that I have mostly taken the gear out of my personal stash when I am ready to deploy. Then I get to get new or better when I get home! I also am fortunate enough to make a decent living on the side with computers so I have some discretionary income that most soldiers do not have. I really feel the Army could spend money on better gear and training for the soldiers on the ground and vastly improve our force.

Gypsy
 
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RemingtonBPD

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Gypsy said:
Thank you. I hope a few people can take something from the little write up. Baghdad has gotten interesting in the last couple of years.

I have purchased a lot of my own gear. The only up side to it is that I have mostly taken the gear out of my personal stash when I am ready to deploy. Then I get to get new or better when I get home! I also am fortunate enough to make a decent living on the side with computers so I have some discretionary income that most soldiers do not have. I really feel the Army could spend money on better gear and training for the soldiers on the ground and vastly improve our force.

SGT GypsyM

As they should! When you are out there putting your a$$ on the line for your country no penny should go unspent on you guys. And that means putting it towards you guys before the Iraqis. Stay safe!
 

s.duff

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i wonder if the l4 and the l2 wouldn't be as good a choice as the l5 because of ergonomics. the l5 has that rubber ring and body shape that allow for combat grip.
 

VWTim

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s.duff said:
i wonder if the l4 and the l2 wouldn't be as good a choice as the l5 because of ergonomics. the l5 has that rubber ring and body shape that allow for combat grip.

Sure it has a "combat grip" But for most in country, if they need a light and weapon they'll have a surefire on their carbine.
 

Raptor#

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Thanks for your informative post Gypsy!

One question thought.
Gypsy said:
2) A proven weapon light: I want a light that is dead reliable for this. I am not going to take chances on anything new to the market. I want a solid spot with some flood. This could be different with the mission. If I was still kicking in doors I would want more flood. You will go CR123 on this one, be it 6v or 9v. I go to a Surefire 9v in a LaRue Tactical QR with the pressure pad in a TangoDown Vertical Grip.
Why 2 or 3 CR123's? Wouldn't a 18650 be better, cuz its easier to change and store a single bigger battery instead of 2 or 3 smaller ones?
I mean i don't believe you would have to change batterys during combat (i'll guess going with the backup light would be the normal reaction), but i could imagine it being less complicated overall.
Might the the problem be a lack of high-quality lights that can use 18650s and CR123's?
 
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