LEO looking for a new duty light

Bronco1

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Aug 31, 2014
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I've been lurking on this site for quite a bit now, but finally decided to make an account to seek help in getting my next duty light. Currently I am using an old, beatup SureFire G2X. It's lasted a good while now but only has a 200 lumen output, so it's time to step things up. There are a LOT of flashlight companies, so it's a little confusing as to which route I should go. I'm not sure if I should stick with SureFire, or possibly try another brand out. To aid you all in helping me find my next light, I've completed the form below. Price is NOT a concern, as my budget is loose. My job entails the normal LEO tasks. The area I patrol has large, dark fields (up by Yosemite area). This is important because I need a light that has good throw and flood (combination of the two, if possible), but also has a low output I can use to write documents, etc. So far, lights that have stuck out to me is the SureFire P3X, SureFire P1R Peacekeeper, Nitecore P20, Nitecore P25, and the ArmyTek Predator/Viking Pro. I've seen these lights get recommended to other LEO/Military personnel on here. My only gripe/concern about SureFire, and this could be illogical, is that SureFire doesn't state that their lights are water resistant when FULLY submerged in water. This is a concern for me because there are a lot of creeks, ponds, and lakes where I work/live. Would a newer gen SureFire have sealed protection if fully submerged? One other thing to note is that I'd like to have quick access to strobe and the highest output. Anyways, thanks for any help I receive. Feel free to recommend any light that fits the below questionnaire.

1) How would you prefer to purchase the light?

____I would like to purchase the light in person from a brick and mortar store. I am located in ______________.
_x_This will be mail-order or Online (location doesn't matter).


2) Budget: An easy question, but you may change your mind after answering the rest! :)

____I don't know yet
____Up to $25.
____Up to $50.
____Up to $100.
____Up to $200.
____Up to $300.
_x__Essentially unlimited.


3) Format:

____I am not sure, please help me decide.
_x_I want a flashlight (hand held/self contained).
____I want a self-contained headlamp.
____I want a headlamp with an external pack/power source.
____I want a mounted light (typically for a bicycle or vehicle)
____I want a lantern/area light.
____I want a portable spotlight (it may have an external power source).
____Other ____________________________________________


4) Size:

____MICRO - Keychain size.
____TINY - Every day carry (2-4 inches).
____SMALL - Every day carry (4-7 inches).
_x_MEDIUM - Holster/belt ring carry. (>7 inches)
____LARGE - Big enough to need its own travel case.
____I don't know/I don't care.


5) Emitter/Light source:

_x_LED (known for efficiency, longevity, and compactness)
____Incandescent (known for superior color rendition)
____HID (known for max output, but often at the expense of size)
____I don't know.


6) Manufacturer:

__x_I want to buy a light from a large/traditional manufacturer that is ready to go out of the box.
____I would like a light from a specialty manufacturer (Possibly limited run/Custom).
____I am interested in assembling my own components. (for example a "host" or flashlight body from one manufacturer, and a "drop-in" emitter from another source).


7) What power source do you want to use?

____I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Alkaline batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
_x_I intend to use "Primary"/Disposable Lithium batteries based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D and CR123 sized cells common to most stores (often a cold weather or long storage choice).
____I intend to use Rechargeable cells (NiMH or NiCD) based on the usual AAA/AA/C/D sized cells common to most stores.
_x_I intend to use Rechargeable cells based on less common formats (18500 or 18650 Li-Ion, RCR123, et-al).
____I want a light with an integrated rechargeable battery pack.
____I don't know/I need more information on power sources.

7a) If you have selected a rechargeable option
____I want a light that plugs directly into the wall (literally with prongs built into the light)
____I want a light that has a recharging adapter (your typical "wall wart")
____I want a light that snaps into a cradle (usually mounted on a wall)
____I want a separate/stand-alone charger (this involves removing the batteries to charge)
_x_I don't care


8) How much genuine out the front (OTF) light do you want/need? Sometimes you can have too much light (trying to read up close up with a 100 lumen light is not a happy experience).

____I want to navigate a dark room or read a map (1-10 lumens).
____I want an indoor "blackout" light (15-50 lumens)
____I want to confidently walk around an unlit/unpaved rural area (60-150 lumens).
____I want to illuminate my entire backyard or a campsite (150-300 lumens).
_x_I want to illuminate an entire field, the neighbor's front yard several houses down, impress my friends and neighbors, etc. (300-700 lumens).
____I want search and rescue type illumination (800+ lumens).

____SPECIAL NOTE: Burst/Turbo mode Category - There are several lights that will run at a super bright maximum for a very limited period (usually 5-10 minutes) and then will "step-down" to a lower level for thermal control. Check here if this is acceptable.


9) Flood vs Throw: Flood covers an area, Throw reaches out to a distance.

____All Flood: I am doing "arms length" tasks like reading and campsite cooking.
____Wide Flood: I want a defined flood area for semi-close tasks like after-dark campsite tasks or working on a car.
_x_Narrow Flood: I want a sharply defined flood area that will project some distance for tasks like trail walking.
_x_Wide Throw: I want a beam with a noticeable hot-center for distance throw and a significant amount of "side-spill". Good for rough trail hiking, search and rescue, and general distance work.
____Narrow Throw: I want a beam with a very tight "hot center" and minimal "side-spill". Good for distance viewing, fog, and looking through dense undergrowth.
____Turbohead: I want a far-distance projector with a sharply focused spot of light and minimal or zero side-spill. Good for extreme distance and impressing your friends.

9a) Distance: How far away will you typically need to see with this light (check all that apply)
____Less than 1 yard/meter (reading, other close work)
____Less than 5 yards/meters (looking for something inside a dark shed/garage/basement)
____5-20 yards/meters (check out a noise in the backyard)
____30-50 yards/meters (I have a big backyard)
_x__50-150 yards/meters (I live in a very rural area/farm with wide open spaces)
____150+ yards (I am searching from a helicopter)

10) Runtime: Not over-inflated manufacturer runtime claims, but usable brightness measured from first activation to 50% with new batteries (Measured on maximum continuous output).

____Up to 30 minutes (I want the brightest [and potentially smallest] light for brief periods)
_x_30-60 minutes (I have plenty of batteries just ready to be changed)
____90-120 minutes (Runtime is moderately important, but still not critical)
____3 hours + (I critically need this light to run on max for extended periods in between battery changes/charges).




11) Durability/Usage: Generally the old phrase "you get what you pay for" is very accurate for flashlights.

____Not Important (A "night-stand" light).
____Slightly Important (Walks around the neighborhood).
____Very Important (Camping, Backpacking, Car Glove-box).
_x_Critical (Police, Fire, Search & Rescue, Caving, Survival).
____I don't know.


12) Switch Size, Type, and location (choose all that apply):

____Any size switch will do.
_x_I need a BIG switch (I'll be using gloves or have very large hands or coordination issues).
____I want a forward clicky (Helpful for momentary activation and signaling).
____I want a reverse clicky (For use with multi-mode/level lights).
____I want a momentary switch (Predominantly for use with signaling and short bursts of momentary light only).
____I want a twisty switch (Tighten the head/tailcap to activate, and the light will stay on until the head/tailcap is loosened).
____I want a body mounted switch (near the head, like on a Maglite).
____I want a tail mounted switch (found on the majority of today's high end lights).
____I want a remote switch (usually found on high-end bicycle headlights)
____I don't care.
____I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________________.


13) User Interface (UI) and mode selection. Select all that apply.

____A simple on-off with only one output level is fine for me.
_x_I want 2 light levels. (Brighter/short runtime and Dimmer/long runtime.)
____I want multiple light levels. (Some lights have 5-16 light levels.)
____I want a programmable light.
____I want a selector ring.
_x__I want a strobe mode. (Oscillating pattern to confuse/blind aka "Police Mode")
____I want SOS mode. (blinks in ---...--- emergency pattern)
____I want a beacon mode. (Regular flashes at full power to show location.)
____I don't care.
____I don't know.


14)Material/Finish/Coating

____Plastic/composite body (this may limit your choices significantly).
____Anodized Aluminum – either type II or III (Hard Anodized) (Aluminum, specifically HA, is the most common material/finish for today's higher end flashlights).
____Stainless steel (durable, but much heavier than aluminum)
____Titanium (durable and nearly as lightweight as aluminum, but can be moderately to significantly more expensive).
_x__I don't care.
____I don't know.
____Other, please specify____________.

15) Water resistance
____None needed
____IPX4 (Splash resistant)
_x__IPX7 (Waterproof to 1 meter/30min)
_x_IPX8 (Submersible to greater than 1 meter for 4 hours)

16) Storage conditions
_x__In house (temperature/climate controlled environment)
____Emergency kit (long standby periods)
____Automobile glove-box (wide temperature swings, long standby periods, critical reliability)
____Other_________________________________________ ____


17) Special Needs/extras: Is there anything else you want or need that hasn't been mentioned? Select any/all below.

____Red filter (for preserving night vision).
____Other filter colors (Amber, Green, Blue, _________).
____Dedicated R/G/B secondary LEDs.
____"Hybrid" light (bright incandescent combined with long running LEDs)
____Pocket/belt clip
____Holster
____Wrist/Neck Lanyard
_x__Crenulated bezel
____Non-sparking, Intrinsically Safe (IS) for use in explosive environments
*Crenulated bezel not important, just preferred.

 

NoNotAgain

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Jan 25, 2014
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Blue Ridge Mountains, VA
The Surefire website is clearly lacking useable information on the water resistance/water proof abilities of their lights, however another website up-dated a test of a current Surefire model and Surefire's answer to the water proof question. http://www.flashlightreviews.com/reviews/surefire_g2.htm

I own a Nitecore P20, and am somewhat under whelmed with the light. It's nice that it uses 18650 batteries, but run-time at high lumens will probably only yield an hour or so of use. The P20 does come with a Nitecore 2300 mAh battery.

My every day carry light is a Surefire 6P with a three mode Solarforce drop-in. I like the compactness of the light, but don't care for the tail button.

If you can live with a larger and heavier light, the Fenix TK41 IMO has a better user interface (side mounted buttons), throws better than the P20 and uses common AA batteries or Eneloops.
 

CDP930

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Dec 1, 2009
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I bought the newest Maglite Magcharger the end of last year and it still impresses me. Awesome flood or dial it down for really good throw (still with decent spill). I'd be using on duty but got switched to day shift. The only thing is the button is not so pronounced. I though about gluing another piece of rubber over it to find it better. Great full size duty light over all.
 

Dave D

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Mar 30, 2013
Messages
1,279
Location
Andalusia, España
The Surefire P1R looks a nice package, considering that it includes a battery and charger. I would upgrade the supplied battery to a 3400mah one to provide greater run time, and then carry the supplied one as a back up.

Similar threads below that may be of interest to you:-

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...l-duty-light&p=4477958&highlight=#post4477958

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...l-amp-Medium&p=4468614&highlight=#post4468614

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/showthread.php?386446-New-light-for-Police-Patrol

http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb...-Enforcement&p=4445560&highlight=#post4445560
 

Bronco1

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Joined
Aug 31, 2014
Messages
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NoNotAgain, thanks for that helpful article. From what I've gathered from that website, I don't have to worry about dropping a SureFire light in water, as long as the o-rings and seals are properly maintained. The low run-times for the P20 is kind of a let down. On the occasion that I am using my flashlight for extended periods of time, I'd need more than a 1 hour run time. Looks like I'll be looking at SureFire. And honestly I've rarely hear of SureFire lights failing on the job, I can't say the same about NiteCore or other brands. That's not to say they do fail, but I'm going to just stick with what I know. Plenty of my coworkers have SF lights and that's all they use. Perhaps in the future I'll buy a Nitecore or other overseas brand to try it out. For now I just need something I can depend on.

Dave D, thanks for the useful links. Looks like I'm not the only LEO looking for a good duty light. After further research, I've found the P3X Fury and P1R Peacekeeper to best fit my needs. Now that I don't need to worry about the water resistance issue, it boils down to WHICH SureFire I want to get. Whereas the P1R has better run-times, and can accommodate a 18650, the P3X has a higher output which would come in handy. Fortunately, I have no shortage of CR123A's. Lots of boxes laying around. I'm hoping that SelfBuilt will make a review on the P3X or P1R sometime soon to help my predicament. I may end up buying both...


Again thanks for the useful info all!
 

NotRegulated

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Nov 2, 2004
Messages
1,358
P3X and P1R are both good choices.

Also take a look at the Elzetta Charlie 3-cell light with the AVS 900 lumen head. You can get different tailcaps. The high/low tailcap or the high/strobe tailcap would be most appropriate based on what you have talked about. It runs on CR123's. Being all modular, you could outfit your light with the tailcap of choice for different work activities.
[h=1][/h]
 

Bronco1

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Aug 31, 2014
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Based on that review is appears the P3X overall is a very good light. The two output version is optimal for LEO work, as a lower setting would be used for paperwork and general tasks. Looks like I'll be getting both the P3X and P1R. I've also heard good things about Elzetta and Malkoff, so I may give them some of my money later here too. Looks like I already have a few symptoms of a flashaholic...

Thanks for the input guys. I'll let you all know how I like the P3X and P1R.
 

radiopej

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Jun 17, 2013
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Sydney, Australia
You may want to consider the Olight Warrior series. Especially the M22 or M20.

Great UI, reliability and price.

The M20 probably has my favourite UI - a tailswitch and a mode-selecting switch mounted on the tail. From off, the mode switch gives instant strobe. A single push on tailcap activates whatever mode you memories (I keep it on low). A double push puts it onto instant high. Triple push gives you instant strobe (so 2 strobe mechanisms from off).

The M22 does away with the mode switch. Instead, you loosen and tighten the head to change modes. However, it still maintains that same 1, 2 and 3 press UI of the M20. So all you're losing is the 1 button strobe. All the modes you want are easily accessible from off.

If it sounds complicated, it really isn't. They're a breeze to use. It's a perfect UI to me.

The M20 does 550 lumens, the M22 does 950 lumens. Both use the XM-L2 T6 bin. I really like the beam. Both have crenelated bezels, though the M22 can come with a stainless steel one. Not sure if you can do the same for M20.

At least for the M20, the diffuser I got with it was awesome. Best one I've ever used.

I'd easily recommend this over my 6P with any dropin.
 

Bronco1

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Aug 31, 2014
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Yes I've also heard good things about Olight. I've never owned one but I know they are popular here on CPF. The M22 definitely caught my eye, and I like the easy access to strobe. One thing I wish SF lights had was strobe. I've never used it, but I know it's becoming increasingly popular among the LEO community. I think my wallet is going to take a serious hit, I see too many lights I like. I already ordered the P3X and P1R. Perhaps I'll give an overseas company like Olight a chance too.

I also had kind of a newbie question as well. I noticed on the P3X and P1R review, as well as other lights, that after prolonged use on the highest output, the light "drops down" to a lower output and then eventually turns off after prolonged use on the lower output. Would I be able to wait a few seconds before I can use the high output again? I only wonder this because there have been times where I use my SF G2X Pro for 30 minutes straight when on a crash scene or when searching for someone. I tried looking for an answer to this, and I think I did, but I just wanted to double check.
 

radiopej

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My Fenix lights step down, from burst to turbo after 3 minutes, then from turbo to high after 30.

After that, they'll remain in high. This is to avoid damaging itself, but you'll notice that the "high" on these lights is brighter than the highest on your previous lights.

Olight are based in the US, but made in China. That being said, they are very high quality and can hold their own. They're also quite happy on either CR123 or 18650 - no need to mess around with other batteries or boring a tube.
 

GatorMedic

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Jan 11, 2014
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I use a Fenix PD35 for duty carry (Paramedic) and am very happy with it. Nice low modes for doing paperwork or looking at injuries up close. Good medium modes for going through dark rooms/houses. Strong high modes for looking around dark fields trying to locate patients. Strobe and SOS modes to get people's attention if need be
 
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880arm

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. . . I noticed on the P3X and P1R review, as well as other lights, that after prolonged use on the highest output, the light "drops down" to a lower output and then eventually turns off after prolonged use on the lower output. Would I be able to wait a few seconds before I can use the high output again? . . .

It will vary a little bit from light to light depending upon how they are configured. Offhand I can think of three different step-down "strategies."


  1. Programmed step-down - Will reduce output after a specified length of time and is very common in lights today. It may be done to protect the light from overheating, as with the P3X, or simply to extend runtime, such as with the SureFire E1L-A. This can usually be "reset" by simply turning the light off and back on again. This is probably the simplest (and cheapest) way to implement a reduction in output.
  2. Thermal regulation - Often used in conjunction with #1, this continually monitors the temperature of some critical components and, if necessary, makes further reductions in output to keep temperatures within the safe range. This can only be "reset" by allowing time for things to cool off. This is another layer of protection and adds additional cost to the light so it normally doesn't show up in budget lights. The P3X also uses this method along with several other lights from SureFire and other brands.
  3. Voltage - Some lights will adjust their regulated output depending upon the voltage of the batteries. The Elzetta AVS head does this to allow one level of output when used with 2 cells or a higher level when powered by 3 batteries. Other lights, such as the HDS Rotary, automatically reduce output when the battery is no longer able to support the selected level. This usually results in a runtime chart that looks like stair steps with incremental decreases followed by a period of regulated (relatively flat) output. This can't really be reset (without changing batteries) although if the light is left off for a while the battery voltage may rise enough to provide a brief burst at a higher output level.

My experience with the P3X is that the thermal regulation won't be much of an issue if you have the light out and are using it. If it comes on while in the bottom of your gear bag, then that might be another issue!

Also, even though some of these reductions may look huge on a runtime chart, our eyes don't perceive brightness in the same linear fashion. There have been some great arguments over how much it takes to make a difference, but I would say that 99.9% of the time a 20-30% reduction in output would go unnoticed.
 

NotRegulated

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Nov 2, 2004
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Regarding the lights dropping down to a lower output I refer to this very good comparison of the the Surefire PX3 Fury vs the Elzetta Charlie High Output...

"When tested with primary 123A lithium batteries, the Elzetta Charlie maintained at least 85% of its initial output for nearly an hour before beginning a long period of declining output.

in comparison,

"The P3X Fury follows an entirely different approach and provided its full rated output for only a couple of minutes before rapidly reducing output to around 60%. The Fury then regulated its output based upon temperature which resulted in a cooler running light that provided over 1 hours and 45 minutes of regulated output"
 

SimulatedZero

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Nov 23, 2011
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So, I know I'm a bit late to this game here. But, as a recommendation from someone whose been for a perfect duty light for a couple of years, your may want to check out the Eagletac GX25L2.

Rechargeable, can use 18650s or CR123s if you're need to hot swap, momentary only electronic switch that also does constant on. I have never mixed it up under stress either. Easily accessed strobe, just wish your didn't have to hold the button down. Long runtime for the output. Solid throw (2 football fields to identifying a person). Good flood as well. Stream light Stinger size and shape.

I've found that 1000 lumens at 20k to 25k lux is just about perfect for a duty light. It's intense enough to reach a good distance and it still floods enough to search close areas.

So, any light with output around there will be a solid choice I think. The Eagletac just seemed the best of all the features to me. Though, sometimes I wish I'd gotten the SX25L2 just for the extra punch and runtime.
 

Richwouldnt

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Apr 17, 2011
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Reno, NV
Take a look at the Nitecore SRT6 and SRT7 lights. With their continuously variable output from <1 lumen to maximum and very quick mode selection handled by a magnetic ring interface they are an excellent choice IMO. Nitecore also offers a quite aggressive crenelated bezel accessory that fits them. I have it on an SRT7. The relatively low red output on the SRT7 can also be handy for preserving night vision.
 

prop

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Mar 18, 2010
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Theres a guy on YouTube that dropped a R1 Lawman in a bucket of water. It remained lit and worked just fine, so I wouldn't worry too much about water resistance.
 
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