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Thread: What makes a light "tactical"?

  1. #31
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    Sick2 Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee1959
    Forget all the hype about tactical this and tactical that, tactical is the use an item may be put to, not the item itself.

    Function: adjective
    1 : of or relating to combat tactics : as a (1) : of or occurring at the battlefront <a tactical defense> <a tactical first strike> (2) : using or being weapons or forces employed at the battlefront <tactical missiles> b of an air force : of, relating to, or designed for air attack in close support of friendly ground forces
    2 a : of or relating to tactics : as (1) : of or relating to small-scale actions serving a larger purpose (2) : made or carried out with only a limited or immediate end in view b : adroit in planning or maneuvering to accomplish a purpose

    There is NO such thing as a tactical item, anyone hyping a product as tactical is full of well you know, they simply want to sell their product.

    Any item can be used in a tactical situation, some items may be more or less suited to that use is all. Tactical is the mind, not the item. With this in mind, a "tactical flashlight" may be, depending upon the need, be a very low powered highly focused light, a bright floody weapons light, an infrared light, the uses and options are as varied as the situations that may crop up. Therefore no single flashlight can be "tactical" unless it is used specifically in a tactical situation. It is the actual use that makes it temporarily tactical.

    Ok, sorry will get off my soap box now.
    There's no need to apologize Lee. Seriously, all Curious_character (or anyone for that matter) had to do was look it up in the dictionary... if the definition isn't blatantly obvious I don't know what is.

    Yes c_c any flashlight can be used tactically, but let's use an analogy with a gun. If you're fending off a threat, would you want to be using a cheap Lorcin or a well made Glock? Sure they're both guns, but which one would you depend your life on? In the same way I doubt you'd bet your life on a $1 flashlight, but if that's what you'd use then be my guest. Therefore I do think the use of the word "tactical" by a few manufacturers does hold some weight, Surefire for example has a line of well built tactical lights and has customer feedback to back up their claims.
    Last edited by dudemar; 03-22-2007 at 08:14 PM.

  2. #32
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    I am actually doing some weekend tactical training classes this weekend and yes I have brought many lights with me to play with.....I like the way LoneWolf described tactical as in it is different for many people and their work areas.

    My idea of a tactical light is much different than a soldier hunkered down in a foxhole in some jungle. Their objective may be stealth where mine is to light up as big of an area as possible. I do firmly believe that for a light to truly be useful in combat situations (both on the streets and other areas of combat) it must be reliable and very simple.

    In any tactical combat scenario my light must work every time I use it and I must have confidence in the light. I simply must know that when I truly need it that it will work...period. It is also important for the light to be simple and easy to operate....."click" it makes light then "click" it goes off. I know some will disagree here but it is plain old BS that a tactical light for patrol needs a strobe or SOS or even several levels of light. Believe me when I say that fine motor skills are gone in a crisis situation and one will be hard pressed to simply activate a single level light much less cycle through all the other stuff.

    I have seen videos of seasoned officers being killed during reloading of their weapon when they tried to put the magazine in backwards under stress.....also many simply forgot to deactivate their safety or even forgot to let go of their ticket book and return fire when fired upon.....point is that all the bells and whistles are fine when camping or simply to WOW your friends but again many of those features labeled as tactical in my opinion are marketing hype.

    I myself have had tunnel vision during a gunfire situation and I was shocked at how truly time slows down but your ability to perform simple tasks decreases greatly.....This is why I do not use the "tactical" laser sights as it is just one more thing to get in the way in a true to life combat scenario. Plain old combat sights are best in my opinion and believe me when I say if you are being fired upon you will be hard pressed to find that little red dot under all the stress.....while you are trying to get on target the bad guy is firing away.

    We train by repitition in doing things over and over until we can draw and fire in our sleep if we have to. I do not want to come to rely on gadgets and gizmos when plain old tried and true tactics come first. Yes a tactical light can be seen as many types however there are very few that are truly worthy of actual combat and this is where SureFire caters to the market and does it very well.......for several years my old Commander simply worked every time I needed it and it was a simple switch to operate....one level and also served as an impact weapon many times up close. Stinger does this also very well and thus far my Wolf-Eyes Raider is doing very well with the exception of one 13 volt lamp failure.....I was showing off at the range and was not in danger at the time and regardless my 9 volt factory set up has never failed me yet.

    I believe simple and reliable make a light or any combat item tactical however this is strictly from a street cops point of view.....your everyday librarian or maybe mechanic may need a tactical light with strobe, SOS , can opener , timing light attatchment , toothbrush , and 400 decreasing levels of light however for me I will stick with plain old basic every time.
    Is that an ARC in your pocket or are you just small like that?

  3. #33
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by TorchBoy
    No, I think pink tactical lights are quite acceptable if you're a girl. And camo has got to be OK for guys.

    Edit: Nice post Lee.
    Red may also be acceptable, if it is bathed in the blood of your fallen enemys.


    Just a civilian here, but yeah, i'd also say tactical depends on the use, not on the attributes of the light...
    The millitary probably uses most of its flashlights in a manner that wouldn't be called tactical by most folks.
    I remember the post of a member telling about his experiences using a Fenix L2P in the artillery: http://candlepowerforums.com/vb/show...&highlight=L2P
    Now, by most definitions of a tactical flashlight the L2P would be anything but a tactical light...

    In my opinon, the word "tactical" in a flashlights name isn't anything worth paying attention to. Who cares if a light is called tactical or not, the only important thing is that it does what you need it to do.

  4. #34
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpmaster
    "Tactical" (to me) is primarily a marketing tool -- a buzzword -- used by manufacturers (of all sorts of things) to get people to buy their stuff that usually doesn't really mean anything. Some manufacturers would call their flashlight "tactical" because it's black. It's stupid...
    Very well said. Totally agree.

    ...one of the things was brightness and another was a momentary tailcap switch...
    Both satisfy the minimum requirements to me (my opinion) It has to be bright enough to be capable of possible disorientation when shone upon a subject, and it has to be bright enough to clearly identify your target from typical "social" distances. Dead-man (momentary) switch so that (law enforcement applications) if you somehow get hurt and drop the light, it goes off by itself thereby not giving your position away.

    One last thing if i may add. RELIABILITY. There are a few manufacturers whose lights I would actually trust based on my taking their stuff apart and seeing how they're put together. Many cheap lights may look nice on the outside but after looking under the hood of many lights to see how well their electronics are put together (ie, cold solder joints, parts that are barely hanging on a pad etc.) I probably only trust a handful of manufacturers as producing "quality" and reliable products that satisfy the above criteria.
    Last edited by CM; 03-25-2007 at 01:10 PM.

  5. #35
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Lee1959 posted a definition. Take a look. For the most part it describes circumstances beyond the individual's control in every respect. Anything can happen.
    A tactical rifle, tactical knife, tactical flashlight, are how we see the term used most frequently, and in the true sense of the word, are supposed to handle any number of uses under any number of conditions that each might be called on for.
    -A knife might be overbuilt, sacrificing an efficient geometry that maximizes its performance at its basic function as a cutting tool in favor of a more robust one that allows the knife to be used for other things, like extra thickness for prying, added length in the form of an extended tang, a compromise in handle comfort for the sake of security, for example(s).
    -A rifle might have a variety of mounting systems for optics, lighting, support, etc. that sacrifice weight and ease of handling for options that widen the scope of its usefulness.
    -For a light, the basic requirements really encompass reliability, durability, ease of use/carry/deployment, size, and a relatively high degree of output to begin with. That isn't necessarily enough to handle *any* situation.
    SF is a good example for flashlights.
    Where do you find most of the options-beamcovers and filters. You have a light that is built to cover a basic set of needs, but might be required to fill many other uses as well. How do you fill those needs while minimally affecting the normal function of the light?
    SF's solutions(while including compatible LED heads, shock isolated bezels, turboheads, switching options, and things of that nature) are mostly add-ons that can filter, diffuse, and/or change the color of the beam, making it suitable for blackout use, lowlight navigation or mapreading, or even directing traffic.
    The light by itself isn't "tactical".
    That's the way I see it, anyhow...

  6. #36
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2xTrinity
    I agree that this is something I'd like to see more of. Simple one-mode flashlights should all use forward clicky IMO.
    I agree!
    Quote Originally Posted by 2xTrinity
    A lot of the Chinese lights use reverse clicky as it's easier to implement a two level resistor switch, or use with a computerized UI, such as Fenix or Rexlight.
    For the resistor mod maybe, but a reverse clicky is not needed for the computerized UI. It is being marketed that way, but short momentary presses to get to the mode you want, then a full press to stay there makes more sense and is more natural to me. Many people are implementing the Kooter tube with a SF Z57 momentary clicky on their P1Ds and finding they work more naturally that way.
    IMO the reason low end flashlights use reverse must be simplicity, availablility / easy to find in a catalog, size (look how big Mag's switch is), or reliability. I have found the Lightflux momentary is not designed so well if you try to use the low stage (untwist tailcap). SF, Streamlight, (and Mag) must have come up with good designs and either patented them or they are too expensive for others to use.

  7. #37
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jumpmaster View Post
    "Tactical" (to me) is primarily a marketing tool -- a buzzword -- used by manufacturers (of all sorts of things) to get people to buy their stuff that usually doesn't really mean anything. Some manufacturers would call their flashlight "tactical" because it's black. It's stupid.

    With respect to flashlights, I had the good fortune to hear directly from PK what it means as far as Surefire is concerned, but don't have time to detail it at the moment...I'll try to do that later though...one of the things was brightness and another was a momentary tailcap switch. I really cannot explain it nearly as well as he did though.

    JM-99
    +

    That full quote from above is over 14 years old ^


    If someone's not doing cqb/cqc,, can there be a tactical thrower?
    Last edited by orbital; 01-23-2021 at 07:05 AM. Reason: add

  8. #38

    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    In a close quarters situation a thrower can make up for lack of lumens with beam intensity that makes it……well a thrower.

    Think about it this way. It's pitch black, you're a teenager at lovers leap making out with oh I dunno you decide…… when suddenly BAM "outta the car long hair!" and you are blinded by the beam of John Q Law's 3D Rayovac Sportsman. You squint and put your hand over your eyes shielding them from the light saying "please turn out that light sir"……Oh, by the way it's 1964. Long before those "tactical" lights were invented. Yet back then your pupils were huge in order to have that cat-like vision under a moonless sky.

    If surprise is paramount an incan SureFire E1 can get it done at close quarters. I keep the 200 lumen EB1c on my night stand for it's snoot like beam in order to scare the bejezus out of anybody intent on harm who managed to get past the hounds at 3am. I'm not blinded by my light while the person on the wrong end of the beam is. Actually the early LED versions of Streamlights, Maglites, SureFires and Inovas did not put out a ton of overall lighting from those little LED chips but their pencil beam made up for it at those times where "surprize!!" was important. A 37 lumen Maglite solitaire with it's tiny Luxeon can potentially be a CQB light.

    For room sweeping or a warehouse raid the broader beam is better. But those TIR lights folks hated so much back in the day were awesome at close quarters situations. So that is one reason old cop lights with a 2.4 volt, sub 1amp bulb could be so effective.

    If the "non tactical" scenario involves finding your kids football in the bushes a thrower will place the beam between the branches without lighting up branches and brush nearby. Plus in the case of escaping a house on fire the pencil beam held at waist height or way overhead is better at cutting through smoke to find the exit.

    Now to the tactical manuvering question, in the case of the Inova back when this began, when trying to locate a wounded comrad or another rescue type tactic then carrying or dragging the victim out of a dark building to safety and both hands are required to aid the retrieval a head lamp is practical.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 01-23-2021 at 09:03 AM.
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  9. #39
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    These kinds of threads abound on CPF, and almost all end up being pointless goat-roping, cat herding exercises; ie: largely a waste of bandwidth. Let me lighten it up a bit with one of my personal favorite lines though (since the subject has been brought up yet again):

    There's an old, somewhat humorous 'saying' that I never really liked and never used, but heard a lot:

    Someone asks: "How much does that cost?"

    The reply was: "If you have to ask, you probably can't afford one".

    I've borrowed from that old line and modified it.

    Someone asks: "What is a tactical flashlight - what does that mean?"

    My response is: "If you have to ask, you probably don't need one".

    While they both sound similar and frankly a bit 'smart-A', there's a difference. The first one often wasn't really true, but if you think about it a minute, I believe you'll find the second (my version) almost always turns out to be true.

  10. #40

    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Attributes of a tactical light AFAIK:

    matte black color,
    the ability to break glass (or bones) with pronounced crenulations,
    a switch positioned on the end cap, to be operated with the thumb,
    strobe (possibly variable) mode to disorient an attacker/victim,
    throw rather than flood configuration,
    CW rather than high CRI light,
    extra red, blue or green color leds for tactical signaling,
    a name such as Warrior, Defender, Dominator, Fury, etc.

  11. #41
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    I do actually have a proper 'tactical' torch around somewhere... It's the old Personal Combat one we got issued in the Army. Olive green 2-AA Maglite, essentially. Twist-collar switch in the tailcap, twisty dial where you'd normally have a sideswitch which changes the colours. Uses bulbs, and is about bright enough to read a map, but that's it.

    Everything else is just a mis-spelling of Tacticool.

  12. #42

    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    I have no idea why im even replying to a 14 year old thread, but here it goes.

    A tactical light is defined to be: A single output flashlight with a minimum output of at least 60 Lumens and a rear, momentary switch.

    Whether or not that switch can be used to constantly activate the light or whether it needs to be twisted like on a 6P is not important for this classification. Neither is its color, self-defense or strike-capability, throw/flood or special modes like strobe.

    Thats about it. There you go.
    Last edited by Olumin; 01-25-2021 at 12:35 PM.

  13. #43

    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Nuf said Olumin. Nuf said.
    John 3:16

  14. #44

    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Hard anodized black for stealth and long wear resistance, 1 inch body diameter for gun mounting, springs on both contacts for shock absorption for gun recoil, tailcap switch (preferably forward clicky), optional remote pressure switch, quick access to turbo and strobe, non dimming regulation, runs as bright as possible for an hour or more, runs on 123As, 18650s, or 21700s, has no cheap plastic battery carriers or alkaline batteries (those are in tactical-like flashlights).

  15. #45
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Don't forget - In order to be tactical, it must have the big glassbreaker/DNA catcher crenellations, so that you can strike an assailant with it... while it's mounted to your assault weapon, with the head set behind the muzzle, of course!!

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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tasky View Post
    DNA catcher crenellations, so that you can strike an assailant with it.
    Soooo gross! though I am wondering why some places call them strike bezels now? I just thought it was something to do with putting them down on a flat surface or something so the lens doesn`t get hit and damaged.

  17. #47
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine Alicia View Post
    Soooo gross! though I am wondering why some places call them strike bezels now? I just thought it was something to do with putting them down on a flat surface or something so the lens doesn`t get hit and damaged.
    I didn't realise the forum times out your login, and just lost the long post I was typing...!!

    In short - Flat surface, yes. Crenellations are so that, if you've left the torch on, light shines out the gaps so you notice. Gaps also provide ventilation/airflow, to help stop you from burning the surface or setting something on fire.

    "Strike" bezels and glass breakers are things imagined by armchair warriors, who saw the crenellations and imagined some sort of tactical CQB type use, resulting in the oversized spiky versions. Same sorts of people came up with the idea of using them in self defence, which might work but would not be a good idea to rely upon and is far more likely to just get you hurt.
    Nobody really uses such things like that in real life.

  18. #48
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    * Check the Remember Me box when you log in to prevent the timing out issue.

  19. #49
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    A Surefire G2 is more tactical than >95% of the lights out there marketed as such. Required: compact, foolproof momentary operation under duress - generally with a tailswitch - durable, tight high-intensity beam, reasonably resistant to environmental intrusion. Optional: 1" diameter for compatibility with weapon mounts, continuous operation using a method physically distinct from momentary operation requiring conscious effort, HA aluminum body, 123A cell fueled. Unnecessary: multiple modes, programmable anything, secondary lights, kung-fu grip.

    Once you get outside the ... romantic ... imagery around SWAT teams and secret squirrels delivering candygrams to baddies at 2AM, actual tactical lights are boring, utilitarian, and of somewhat limited general use. But the term was cool with males in the 18-24 demo for years so it was applied to anything remotely resembling gear the aforementioned groups might use.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  20. #50
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by nbp View Post
    * Check the Remember Me box when you log in to prevent the timing out issue.
    Cheers NPB. I went and did that as soon as I realised the feature was active, heh heh!

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    But the term was cool with males in the 18-24 demo for years so it was applied to anything remotely resembling gear the aforementioned groups might use.
    And it has resurfaced with the surge in the EDC culture.
    EDC in itself has been around for many decades, but now it has an official name and a glossary, and so a whole 'culture' and 'identity' has sprung up around it... kinda like how the vaping 'culture' happened, too, except with things like Shot Show, EDC already had a world in which to belong. Interestingly, as also with vaping, Tactical/EDC people also have a 'uniform' of sorts, in that many of them all dress the exact same!

    TBH, while I am a fan of a fair bit of EDC/Tacticool stuff as some can be quite useful, I personally avoid the Walting Dork embarrassment by replacing the term with the word Technical.
    My 'tactical' jacket is made of technical fabrics. When people ask what I'm talking about, I start by saying "Gore-Tex™" and "Thinsulate™"... and because so many outdoor brands also use known fabrics like that, they immediately think of camping, hiking, cycling and so on... rather than combat cabbages who play CoD while wearing MTP/Crye kit festooned with Velcro™ patches that say "Major League Doorkicker"!

    So, my 'technical' torch is basically like a normal one, but with multiple modes for different purposes. Nothing 'tactical' about it!
    "Life is no brief candle, but a splendid torch made to burn ever more brightly" - Edward Dunlop.

  21. #51
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Tasky, I thought the British Army issued a right angle style flashlight similar to a Fulton?

  22. #52
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tasky View Post
    ... rather than combat cabbages who play CoD while wearing MTP/Crye kit festooned with Velcro™ patches that say "Major League Doorkicker"!
    Space Shuttle Door Gunner is so much cooler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tasky View Post
    So, my 'technical' torch is basically like a normal one, but with multiple modes for different purposes. Nothing 'tactical' about it!
    Reality is that for the last ~15 years the multimode LED flashlight has been the tool of choice for pretty much everyone that's not LEO nor a subset of MOSs.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  23. #53
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by knucklegary View Post
    Tasky, I thought the British Army issued a right angle style flashlight similar to a Fulton?
    Growing up, so did I... and they may well have done, once upon a time. WW2, perhaps?

    When I actually got there, nothing like that was on issue, at least not for the likes of us, or that the QMS was willing to admit he had in stock.
    However, in those days Maglite was about the best (and only) option, unless you wanted a crappy plastic Duracell one. So, if you needed decent light, you went and bought your own 2AA Maglite, plus a backup Solitaire for your pockets/keys/map case, and wrapped some spare cells in gaffer tape.
    Some went for the 2-D, 3-D and even the 6-D cell Maglites (wrap the batteries in paper to stop the rattle), but they were generally too big and bulky for Infantry use.

    I guess somewhere along the line the MoD cottoned on that everyone was buying those, and the Torch, Personal, Combat was devised. We got a few from the first issue, I believe, and they also came with a cheap Army copy of the Maglite elastic headband - Instead of a stitched in side-sleeve, they just added two elastic belt sliders. I could make a better one than that myself, right this minute!

    You can still buy these things from surplus shops - https://preppersshop.co.uk/british-a...ch-17287-p.asp
    We live in a world where you can sell some 50p standard issue underpants for £30, so long as you include the term "Tactical boxer shorts, as used by the SAS", even though the SAS only use them because everyone in the Army does... but even in that world, these torches still cost less than an ice cream from the van, which shows what cheap cack these really are!!


    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    Oooooooohh...... what's the age limit for applicants? Asking for a friend....

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    Reality is that for the last ~15 years the multimode LED flashlight has been the tool of choice for pretty much everyone that's not LEO nor a subset of MOSs.
    Also assuming they are young enough to know how to operate the VCR... I had to find "a decent torch" for my in-laws this Christmas. They had enough sense to ask the torch geek of the family, but I wouldn't trust them with an 18650, or anything that includeda Strobe mode!
    "Life is no brief candle, but a splendid torch made to burn ever more brightly" - Edward Dunlop.

  24. #54
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    ...actual tactical lights are boring, utilitarian, and of somewhat limited general use.
    Your entire post was spot on, but this bit should not be overlooked. [emoji106]

  25. #55

    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Olumin View Post
    I have no idea why im even replying to a 14 year old thread, but here it goes.

    A tactical light is defined to be: A single output flashlight with a minimum output of at least 60 Lumens and a rear, momentary switch.

    Whether or not that switch can be used to constantly activate the light or whether it needs to be twisted like on a 6P is not important for this classification. Neither is its color, self-defense or strike-capability, throw/flood or special modes like strobe.

    Thats about it. There you go.
    Multiple output modes are acceptable as long as the light always goes directly to max output on the first press of the primary button.

  26. #56

    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    Sorry but the last thing I want to deal with in a force on force situation is fooling around with levels. All my WML or “tactical” hand lights are single mode.

  27. #57
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    Default Re: What makes a light "tactical"?

    I was looking to buy a second sewing machine, and was reminded of ths thread when I saw quite a few of them labeled as "Semi-Industrial" for no other reason than they were made of metal! but for some reason It seems to sell, these are NOT "Industrial" or even "Semi-industrial" whatever that means!? LOL
    I have an all metal sewing machine that was my grandmothers and it`s all metal too, it`s for Home use because they were all made like that once upon a time.
    it seems "built to last" now = Industrial!

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