Size doesn’t matter when it comes to tactical flashlights; even the most compact torch can pack quite a punch. Manufacturers are touting this year’s bumper crop of tactical flashlights as smaller, lighter and brighter than ever before. Lumen blowback is a thing of the past. Clunky gun mounts have vanished. Battery-eating beasts are gone. If you haven’t upgraded your tactical torch in a while, now is the time to invest in a new piece.
Big Lens, Bigger Beam
Do you know how difficult it is to find a flashlight that can cover both long-range wide angles with trusted coverage and short-range compact spots without blowback? It just got easier. The Voidhawk T-Rex T3 features a precision optical zoom head that can shift from an ultra-wide field flood light to a focused spot beam, or any range in between. At its highest glow, this light blasts out more than 1,100 lumens. The T-Rex T3 also has incredible battery life with its rechargeable 3.7-volt lithium-ion battery, and each cell lasts for 800 recharge cycles. An optional extension tube enables it to run on 3x 26650 lithium-ion batteries, which extends its run time by 50%. MSRP $89.95 (sale pricing, subject to change).
MAGLITEMAG-TAC LED Rechargeable System
The MAG-TAC LED Rechargeable System by Maglite promises superior build quality and a long service life in a complete and economical package. The high-capacity lithium iron phosphate rechargeable battery charges in 2.5 hours on the included mountable base, which can be powered by a 12v adapter or 120v converter or via a standard USB cable, all also included. The Quick-Click mode selector lets officers operate the four illumination settings with only one finger. The MAG-TAC also comes with a detachable pocket clip, and at just 5.5 ounces with batteries, this is one of the lightest lights in our bunch. MSRP $73.61 (department direct price).
PELICAN7600 LED Tactical Flashlight
At just 6 inches long, this Pelican torch packs a mighty punch: 900 lumens of brilliant white light, anti-reflective coated glass lens, four performance modes — including high, strobe, medium and low — five selectable programs, sturdy aluminum body, and USB rechargeable lithium ion battery (although it can also run on disposable CR123 batteries). But what makes the 7600 such a reliable law enforcement flashlight is its colored LED lights that turn it into a multifunctional must-have. Red and green LEDs turn on with a twist of a switch, perfect for assignments where night vision is needed, or for traffic control with an optional slip-on wand. MSRP not available.
Can you imagine a single light reaching the length of seven football fields? That’s exactly what the PowerTac X10000 Destroyer can do. Designed to be the ultimate search and rescue (or apprehension) handheld flashlight, it produces an amazing 10,500 lumens at its high and strobe settings to stop suspects in their tracks. The X10000 Destroyer throws light up to 738 yards, with an impressive floodlight as well as a tight center beam to illuminate objects both near and far. This powerful torch comes with five settings (low, medium, high, strobe and SOS). To help prevent overheating, it’s made from Type III anodized aluminum and has a built-in waterproof cooling fan. Integrated rechargeable 8-cell circuit-protected 18650 lithium-ion battery pack (replaceable). MSRP $689.95.
SAFARILANDRLS Light System
Smooth Rail Glide
The Safariland Group’s RLS Light System solves the problem of carrying two essential items at once — a flashlight and a gun — which aren’t often easy to operate separately in high-stress situations. This genius of this product is that it can work as a solo flashlight or in tandem with your weapon as a tactical device. With LED technology, the RLS provides 190 lumens in a high, focused beam or 10 lumens on low. It uses just three inexpensive and universally available AAA batteries, so there’s no fumbling with recharging stations or cords. The two-hour runtime on high is useful, and a simple push-button control switch makes turning illumination on or off a snap. But the true beauty lies in the flashlight’s mount, which slides onto any compact light or Picatinny rail and features a unique locking system that fastens into place by swinging to the right or left. An RLSM duty mount is also included, for attaching to 2–2.25-inch belts. MSRP $118.
STREAMLIGHTStrion DS Compact Dual-Switch Handheld Flashlight
Streamlight’s re-envisioned Strion DS provides multipurpose versatility in a small package. Dual-switch technology allows you to choose from the push-button tail switch or the head-mounted switch, both of which operate independently. TEN-TAP programming lets you select one of three different programs: high/medium/low with strobe (factory default), high only without strobe or high/medium/low without strobe. The lithium ion battery can be recharged up to 1,000 times and only takes three hours to fully recharge. And the anti-roll head prevents your torch from making a getaway when you set it down. MSRP $147.60.
NIGHTSTICKRechargeable Tactical Dual-Light Flashlight
Reduced Lumen Blowback
When you use a light intended for distance to try to look at something small and close up, like a driver’s license, you can be nearly blinded by the powerful beam and the blowback it causes. The Nightstick Rechargeable Tactical Dual-Light Flashlight from Bayco Products virtually eliminates this problem. Two separate lights — a traditional forward-facing lumen flashlight and an LED floodlight in the stem — allow you to illuminate what you need with the proper amount of brightness. They can be used singly or simultaneously, so you can easily read that driver’s license using the LED floodlight while still shining a beam on the suspect in front of you. Powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable battery (included) or by two CR-123 lithium batteries (not included) using included battery carrier. MSRP $99.95.
Compact Size, Big Performance
They don’t call this thing the Tiny Monster for nothing. Staggering brightness (6,000 lumens) in a compact and easy one-handed light makes this a mean and maneuverable illumination machine. Its onboard OLED display lets you know how your light is performing at all times — with settings for battery life, brightness level and operating temperature, among other readings. Two distinct operating modes enable you to choose which way to use the light: Daily mode cycles through brightness levels from ultra-low to high, while search mode kicks it up a notch and ramps up brightness to Turbo-High. MSRP $359.95, or $399.95 with four IMR 18650 batteries included.
Limitless Mounting Options
Part flashlight, part hands-free light, the Y300 Ultra from Surefire is exceptionally versatile, extremely powerful and ultra-compact. When used as a flashlight, it fits snugly into the palm of your hand and is a superb fit for smaller hands, making it ideal for female law enforcement officers. Yet it’s a big performer in output, generating 500 lumens of white light on the high setting. Aside from its diminutive size, what makes the Y300 unique is its integrated magnetic base that can be used to attach the light to most smooth metal surfaces. The base also magnetically connects to an included quick-detach belt clip that can fit on belts, tactical vests or packs. A two-way pocket clip (also included) can help the torch slip onto the bill of a hat or a pocket of your pants. MSRP $295.
Read this story in the Spring 2017 issue of FOP Journal.