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Thread: What makes a flashlight just right

  1. #1

    Default What makes a flashlight just right

    Some of our contributors have very specific requirements for flashlights (and batteries) but as I don't have any job related needs, I buy quite a lot of stuff but then tend to use what just feels right. I have flashlights that use all the common cell types : AAA, AA, C, D, CR123A, 18650. That way, regardless of whatever is the current crisis, I can be guaranteed that I will always have light.

    Unlike some members, I don't have a big downer on Alkaleaks. They have their uses, just not in my torches. Where possible I use rechargeables, such as 18650 and Eneloops, but also Lithiums depending on need. I have moved away from anything that needs 2 x CR123A, but single Lithium AA or CR123A make excellent pocket carry torches. No one else in my family has the faintest interest in the subject, and I just got tired of perfectly good rechargeables being thrown away because "they were dead". So my family get the Alkaleaks, but I just test them often. The last torch I lost due to leaking was years ago in a 2D Maglite and that was my own fault for not checking that one often enough.

    Last year I bought a few single AA torches including the Olight S1A Baton. I liked that so much that I just bought the Olight S2A (2 x AA) and although I don't have big hands, this one feels just right. I think I'll get a lot of use out of it.

    My point is that sometimes a torch feels just right even though it might not technically be as good as some others. This could be why the older Maglite models sold so well. To the uninitiated they feel substantial and just right. I still own a couple myself!

    I very rarely remove the clip or lanyard if they come as standard. I never actually use the clip, but I find that it makes the torch easier to handle in the dark and to locate a side switch.

    I just wanted to thank all at CPF for all that I have learned. Ten years ago, I had a Maglite. Today I have lots more as well. And who knows what tomorrow might bring......

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    Hmmmm . . . . .

    Seems like that Olight S2A has been Discontinued !


  3. #3

    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    What makes a flashlight just right -> What makes lots of flashlights just right?

    1. Size. Very small, small, small-medium, large medium, big, huge, super huge. hat's seven flashlights right there. The smaller ones are easier to carry, but the larger ones have more performance and/or more fuel supply.

    2. Throw versus flood. Very small thrower, very small flooder, small thrower, small flooder, small-medium thrower, small-medium flooder.... .... ....

    3. Preferred type of fuel supply.

    4. Favorite manufacturers. Everything from budget to jewelry class.

    This is why I have 48 lights and I am still missing a few major classifications.
    2 Cor 5:6-8

  4. #4
    peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    My screen is blown up so that I can only see the text not the poster, but I knew it was you Richbuff!
    P
    "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    For me, if it turns on when I ask it to that's just right.
    John 3:16

  6. #6
    Administrator Kestrel's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    A flashlight is only perfect once it is discontinued & no longer available.

  7. #7
    *Flashaholic* idleprocess's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    Regardless of the design or formfactor, effortless usage makes it just right - after the period of discovery you can retrieve it, switch it on, adjust it, hold it, point it, illuminate something, switch it off, stow it almost without thought and with minimal error.
    I apologize that this letter is so long; I did not have time to write a short letter

  8. #8
    Flashaholic Dr. Strangelove's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    For me, if it turns on when I ask it to that's just right.
    Quote Originally Posted by idleprocess View Post
    Regardless of the design or formfactor, effortless usage makes it just right - after the period of discovery you can retrieve it, switch it on, adjust it, hold it, point it, illuminate something, switch it off, stow it almost without thought and with minimal error.
    +1 to both!
    "It used to be 'Merkwurdigliebe'"

  9. #9
    peter yetman's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    Quote Originally Posted by Kestrel View Post
    A flashlight is only perfect once it is discontinued & no longer available.
    That is so true.
    P
    "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" He chortled in his joy.

  10. #10
    Unenlightened
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    Non-corroding inner parts

  11. #11

    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    I over-think everything, so this is the kind of question I like!

    Simple UI. I want a tail switch, and three modes, at the most. Two works fine.

    A positive detent in the tail switch. I want it to require medium effort, have no wobble, and make a substantial "click" when it closes.

    The more "Millwright resistant", the better. I figure if I have a precision instrument which demands care and attention, it will end up in a mud puddle, the next day. If I have a light that can work as a jackstand, it will stay nearly pristine, for a decade.

    Fixed focus. I had a gift card, so I got a zoomie. I don't want another one.

    Good traction. Either from materials choice, or from some knobbly texturing. Some smooth lights are artful and well-executed, but I wear gloves at times, and I want something that's going to grip my hand, as well as my hand grips it.

  12. #12
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: What makes a flashlight just right

    Sometimes it's simply a matter of what you get used to.
    Kinda like a full-size truck felt right to me after 400k miles between a pair of them, and now a compact sedan does after nearly 230k on it, with <2k on my truck in the meantime.

    I used to carry CombatGrip Surefires for EDC and work(work being a big part, due to constant flashlight usage there).
    Nothing felt as right to me as the C2, Z3 and M3.
    Then, E series Surefires(or mods) and McGizmo Alephs for everything. When my EDC was a L4, then modded E2L, and my work light was a modded E2DL or E2D w/VME head and Malkoff M60W, nothing felt as right to me as E series Surefires with a long clip(which I always swapped to if the light didn't have one).
    Then, 18650s gained popularity. I wanted that extra runtime for work. Again the Surefirefire CombatGrips, but bored for 18mm cells. Then the bored 6P with FM34 for its versatility, and Leef 1x18650/2x18500/2x18650 bodies. I got accustomed to full size lights, now without the Combatgrip.
    Then Malkoff came out with flashlights, and once the crappy Kroll switch was done away with, the MD2 became my light of choice. I carry Zebralights for EDC, but have used SF 6Ps, occasionally 9Ps, and Malkoffs for work and EDC, then just work, for well over a decade. The work light may come out of my pocket anywhere from a few dozen to probably a hundred times on a back-to-back, evening and night, double shift. Sometimes I have to stand and watch some byproduct we run for several hours at a time when it's being problematic, and have to use my light to see it.
    I briefly kept track of the nightly use of my current MD2/M61N at one point, then averaged it out over time. I guesstimated 3400+ hours after over 5.5yrs. The amount of use time is less nowadays, but same light, same job, and that was over 2yrs ago.
    After all these thousands of hours holding a 6P/MD2 sized light in my hand, that's what I expect and prefer a flashlight to feel like.
    I really like the 1x18650-sized Zebralights, too, and the SC64w HI, that's still fairly new to me, fits my stubby hands perfectly. I still keep holding it in a cigar grip, and wanting to press on the tailcap, though...

  13. #13

    Default What makes a flashlight just right

    The one that I enjoy using because it meets my needs. Usually that means something bright enough, or with variable light levels, good runtimes, that uses common batteries...I like AA rechargeable...and durable. I donít want to collect or get caught up in small differences that donít make a difference use wise..and I donít want to upgrade every time something new comes out.


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