Police Study of tactical use of Strobe

alpg88

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yep, brute strike ROTO-LOC Articulating Tactical Holster
 

the.Mtn.Man

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Forget the word "tactical" in the sense that the sales market is using it. That is not tactical in any way but a tactical financial way.
Those products are derisively known as "tacticool", as they don't have any purpose other than to look "cool".
 

romteb

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5. At least 250lm throw type beam at up to 2 hours. Higher lumens (read lux) is possible, but no less. (The effects of blinding and disorientation are optimal enough on that intensity. On lower lm the effect is less and not optimal.)
Technically this is a challenge. Small head, much throw, high lumens. In 2013 we ended up with the choice for the XP-G R5 LED. In that small 32mm head it has less flood then the XM-L's, and has a better power efficiency. For our findings, it still could be less spill, but that technical hurdle was to high at this technical level.



Did you consider the cree xp-e or xp-e2 to improve your lux numbers and tir or aspherical optics to solve your spill problem ?
 
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xevious

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Very interesting write-up; thanks for posting this perspective, Grizzlyb.

I completely appreciate the idea of minimal thought to put the light into action, thus starting in strobe instead of other modes and requiring only one switch in a predictable location. However, with any implement that is a device, there is training involved.

Obviously for the civilian, or non-tactical professional, starting the light in strobe mode is impractical and an annoyance. But what about a light that is programmable, whereby strobe can be assigned to the first primary mode and retained in memory, for use by police? My thought is something like a NovaTac/HDS programming system, but in the body of a tactical light that meets the physical requirements you've stated.
 

Grizzlyb

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Very interesting write-up; thanks for posting this perspective, Grizzlyb.

I completely appreciate the idea of minimal thought to put the light into action, thus starting in strobe instead of other modes and requiring only one switch in a predictable location. However, with any implement that is a device, there is training involved.

Obviously for the civilian, or non-tactical professional, starting the light in strobe mode is impractical and an annoyance. But what about a light that is programmable, whereby strobe can be assigned to the first primary mode and retained in memory, for use by police? My thought is something like a NovaTac/HDS programming system, but in the body of a tactical light that meets the physical requirements you've stated.

;) Ok just one quick answer before we leave.
In the article I also tried to explain that LEO's are 100% human. So indeed they are practical. . . . . .and that is often not Tactical.
100% of the LEO's (in Holland) are issued with Bulletproof vests. Only 25% is wearing it. (to hot, sweaty, uncomfortable. . . .so unpractical)
If we issue a light that IS programmable, 80% WILL program it for more practical use.
Within a few weeks their TL's will start up in 20lm mode for writing tickets.
So, they will throw away that small tactical advantage. There are already lots of beautiful lights on the market for civilians. This TL is not designed for that market.
We made it a tactical device. . . . . . that also CAN be changed to a normal light within 2 seconds, BUT only if you have no stress and no need for tactics at the moment.
When you finish your writing and put your light back in the holster. . . . .it returns back to the tactical device it is designed to be.

Afterthought:
We live in Europe, we don't go from door to door armed with rifles to take out hostage takers or town guerrilla.
In Amsterdam in 2012 there were 19 incidents were cops had to shoot (15 warning shots)
99.9% of all incidents are non weapon related. (Drunk people that won't leave the bar, women molesting there husbands, resisting arrest after theft etc.)

Shooting incidents are rear. Shooting incidents where tactical use of a lights was necessary are extremely rear.
I know of every shooting incident of the last 10 years in Amsterdam. No lights where used in any of those shootings.

We still train special forces in the use of lights/guns, but the "normal" LEO's got the basic training and knowledge about how to use a light in combo with a gun. After that basic training there has been little or non training in that part.

They do have to fight a lot in hand to hand. There the TL strobe device is a big help.
 
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LightJaguar

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I was kind of wondering what kind of Tactical training officers from Holland would get. They probably don't have to worry about the possibility of every other citizen shooting at them with a gun similar to theirs or even an assault riffle like in the US. Probably not too many military trained men like in the US. In my job alone about half of us are veterans some with combat experience I'm sure all with fire arms training. Two of my coworkers probably have enough guns, riffles and ammo to arm a squad.
I think the situation and tactics here are a bit different. Some years ago I got pulled over in Newport Beach, California for a burned signal light at night time. Even though I drive a small compact car, turned my interior lights on, put my hands on the steering wheel the officer that pulled me over had his hand on top of his gun when he walked over to my car.
Over here if you get out of hand with a cop you will probably get pepper sprayed or tasered if you are lucky. The only time I ever saw a cop get into some sort of hand to hand combat with a civilian it was more like baton to legs combat. The cop beat the hell out of this one drunk dude who kept on saying stupid things and got belligerent. After seeing that I made sure to never cross over to the US from Mexico half drunk less I end up in a similar situation.
I don't think I ever saw a cop use strobe on any of the "COP" TV show episodes.
I'm sort of wondering exactly who makes the flashlights that you need? Anyway we can buy them? :naughty:
 
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bluemax_1

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Here was my reply in the other thread about recommendations for police duty lights
Yes, I read the other thread as well and found it very interesting. I've always found the strobe to be much more disorienting than a standard light of the same brightness.

So the tactical strobe as Primary is intended for aggressive suspects then? The thing is, the vast majority of use here is against non-aggressors, eg. in routine night time traffic stops etc. Most of the time, it's used for illumination, to light up the interior of the stopped vehicle to check for anything out of the ordinary. For routine traffic stops in the US, the occupants remain in the vehicle. They're only ordered to carefully exit the vehicle while keeping their hands in sight IF there's reasonable suspicion that they're armed and/or dangerous. I realize in some countries, the occupants of stopped vehicles are supposed to exit their vehicle when they're stopped).

Most of the time though, the traffic stops are for traffic infractions/violations and the vehicle occupants are not aggressive. Before approaching the vehicle, officers here can look up the registration plates on the vehicle to determine if it has been stolen or involved in some other criminal activity increasing the likelihood that the occupants may be aggressive to officers. The majority of the time, that isn't the case, but of course, you still never know.

All that said though, a very bright light in the face tends to temporarily blind folks and even stun them. Shining a bright light in the driver's face at a traffic stop temporarily blinds them and allows for a quick visual inspection of the vehicle interior. There's little danger of the driver being night blinded as they drive off, since the duration of a routine traffic stop will give their eyes enough time to recover.

Even against drunk or belligerent suspects, the bright light being suddenly shone in their face/eyes is usually enough to disorient them.

To that effect, yes, we can both agree that a light with greater throw (higher candela) is better than a light with more flood. The brighter the light in their face, the more effective it is at disorienting them. I can also see your point about floody lights being less desirable and the potential for the suspect to see your partner approaching, as a brighter hotspot DOES cause more tunnel vision for the person facing it than a floody light with a less intense hotspot, and the flood could inadvertently light up your partner.

Depending on the situation, with some lights, the tactical strobe is only a button click away. And in the US, being a litigation happy place (people like to file lawsuits whenever they can), blasting everyone you stop in the face with a tactical strobe is not necessarily a good thing.

There's this thing called reasonable force. If you hit someone unnecessarily, that's unreasonable use of force and they can sue. If you use a tactical strobe on them and it turns out they suffer from epilepsy and go into a seizure, they can sue. If the court determines that there was no overt sign of aggression warranting the need for using something like a tactical strobe, you could be in trouble.

So although I read your thread detailing your testing of tactical strobes vs lights of equal brightness and their debilitating effectiveness on stunning, blinding and disorienting aggressive suspects and perpetrators, I have to say that although there are certainly uses for it, it's not something I'd advocate as a first use/primary mode.

And if the tactical strobe IS warranted and desirable, in many flashlights, it's just 2 button clicks as opposed to one. The first button click is going to cause a bright flash in their face anyway, and the second click will simply continue the flashing. Before flashlights with built-in in tactical strobe modes became common, I used the momentary switch on my Surefire to produce a tactical strobe when necessary by rapidly half pressing the momentary switch.

Now after having said all that, as I've stated, I certainly agree that there are situations where the use of the strobe is effective, desirable and always warranted (SWAT entry comes to mind).

I was also wondering if in all your testing, if you've determined any specific strobe patterns that are particularly effective? There are many different strobe patterns in all the different lights available these days. Some use a steady rate, some very fast, some are slower, some of them switch between faster and slower (eg. eight fast flashes followed by eight slower flashes). Aside from your mention of using strobes with faster rates due to slower strobes not making movements obvious enough, is there a particular frequency you've found to be more effective? What about the lights where the strobe frequency changes?

In all the tactical strobes that I've seen, there was one light I had where the strobe disoriented me more than others. It was a cheap Chinese made light branded MTE. The strobe on that light, if I recall correctly, was very slightly slower than the strobe on my Fenix or 4/7's lights, but something about that frequency caused a lot more disorientation than the others, to the point where after 3-4 seconds, I almost felt like I was losing my balance. Unfortunately, being a cheap light, it didn't last long enough to test it on other people to see if that strobe frequency was similarly more effective on other folks compared to other strobe rates, or whether that particular strobe frequency was more disorienting only to me.


Max

I hadn't yet read the newer posts in this thread before I made the post I quoted here.

Although LEO's here do have to occasionally get 'hands-on', as the poster above stated, in the US, officers tend to avoid hand-to-hand scuffles with potentially dangerous suspects. If a suspect is aggressive and uncooperative, pepper spray or a taser is preferred for subduing them, rather than closing the distance and engaging in hand to hand techniques. There's a fine line with excessive use of force, and of course, in the US, you never know who may be carrying a firearm (or other weapon like a knife), and you'll want to reduce the possibility of them gaining control of your firearm in a hand to hand scuffle.

Very often, the threat of being arrested and handcuffed is enough to quell belligerent drunks. The threat of pepper spray or a taser is even more effective. I do get the point about not wanting to use pepper spray on a crowded bus or subway train though, but even in a closed room/house, the pepper spray used by LEOs here sends a directed stream, not a mist. It minimizes the effect on other folks the stream isn't directed at.



Max
 
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xevious

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;) Ok just one quick answer before we leave.
In the article I also tried to explain that LEO's are 100% human. So indeed they are practical. . . . . .and that is often not Tactical.
100% of the LEO's (in Holland) are issued with Bulletproof vests. Only 25% is wearing it. (to hot, sweaty, uncomfortable. . . .so unpractical)
If we issue a light that IS programmable, 80% WILL program it for more practical use.
Within a few weeks their TL's will start up in 20lm mode for writing tickets.
So, they will throw away that small tactical advantage. There are already lots of beautiful lights on the market for civilians. This TL is not designed for that market.
We made it a tactical device. . . . . . that also CAN be changed to a normal light within 2 seconds, BUT only if you have no stress and no need for tactics at the moment.
When you finish your writing and put your light back in the holster. . . . .it returns back to the tactical device it is designed to be.

Afterthought:
We live in Europe, we don't go from door to door armed with rifles to take out hostage takers or town guerrilla.
In Amsterdam in 2012 there were 19 incidents were cops had to shoot (15 warning shots)
99.9% of all incidents are non weapon related. (Drunk people that won't leave the bar, women molesting there husbands, resisting arrest after theft etc.)

Shooting incidents are rare. Shooting incidents where tactical use of a lights was necessary are extremely rear.
I know of every shooting incident of the last 10 years in Amsterdam. No lights where used in any of those shootings.

We still train special forces in the use of lights/guns, but the "normal" LEO's got the basic training and knowledge about how to use a light in combo with a gun. After that basic training there has been little or non training in that part.

They do have to fight a lot in hand to hand. There the TL strobe device is a big help.
I see what you're saying. Giving the programming advantage to an officer means that their light may not be completely ready as quickly as it needs to be, depending on how they programmed it. I know for myself, I have my triple-click mode on my NovaTac set for strobe. I've used it enough that there's hardly any delay in my ability to activate it. But that was my own choice. It's also been the case that once in a while, I'll fumble with the triple click and bring the light on normal mode instead. With tactical work, you can't afford that. So I do appreciate the idea of the specialized TL, where strobe is the primary mode and it can be bypassed with a double-click or single half-click using the same switch.

I really need to find some social study reports of various European countries. I'm fascinated how some have so little crime, while others have more. And the USA has much more, not from sheer population but when looking at per capita.

There was an interesting spot on NPR today (National Public Radio in the USA). We're in the midst of dealing with new legislation proposals regarding the obtaining of firearms. The actual statistics of murders by people who are licensed to carry a concealed weapon is actually much lower than for the general population. There's something about having that power on hand that alleviates the immediate need to retaliate against someone who has offended you. Without it, one has a greater tendency to lash out at an antagonist, and thus creating an exchange that can escalate to violence. But the real problem that we've been seeing is security, keeping arms locked up and out of the hands of those not authorized. And that can only be feasibly altered by perpetual education/reminders and laws that make an owner culpable if a firearm is easily stolen (meaning not properly secured).
 

kaichu dento

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Wow this is a tremendous contributions to the community! I'd even vote this up for a sticky considering that so many useless threads about strobe pop up around here.

Grizzlyb, you may want to just change the thread title to something like "Real World Police Study of Strobe" or something like that....
+1 for changing the title to "Real World Police Study of Strobe", as well as making a sticky of this excellent thread.

...for the civilian, or non-tactical professional, starting the light in strobe mode is impractical and an annoyance. But what about a light that is programmable, whereby strobe can be assigned to the first primary mode and retained in memory, for use by police? My thought is something like a NovaTac/HDS programming system, but in the body of a tactical light that meets the physical requirements you've stated.
HDS programming definitely makes it a great option for a civilian, not to mention the user friendly sizing. I like the idea of also getting one of the lights being used in this program and think every home may benefit from having one or two in the house.

Sorry, but I am packing for Istanbul today.
I'll pick up on this thread in about 6 days.
Looking forward very much to the continuance of the subject from such an unemotional and well researched perspective.
 

BWX

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Very interesting. I always wondered what a strobe would REALLY do to a person. I think mounting a powerful thrower strobe to a home defense weapon (like my AK47 or 12 ga shotgun) might not be a bad idea. I mean if it gives you 2 extra seconds, that might be all you need.
 

tam17

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Thanks again for this insight, Grizzlyb. 'Been following your posts in other strobe threads although I'm not coming from a LEO standpoint. At last some research-based data in this highly hyped-up and mystified field. Did the Academy by any chance publish any scientific papers on this topic? Waiting for further development in testing on vicious dogs...

Cheers
 

deniscure

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So what tactical flashlights do you guys know which are able to start into strobe mode?
I got lucky with my first serious light, the P25! It's able to start into strobe mode.
 

shane45_1911

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I have been following this thread with significant interest.
As a LEO with 25 years experience in ERT and SWAT, I am extremely grateful to see that your experience with low-light, and strobes in general - mirror my own. I have done extensive low-light training (with a very under-rated Andy Stanford, as mentioned - and many others) and I am so glad no one is portraying a strobe as a magic death ray, or a device that sends everyone into an incapacitating fit of epilepsy. It has its purpose, and when used for certain specific uses, it is an effective tool.
Thanks for the very interesting post.
Be safe.
 
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