Friday, June 19, 2009

Things to look for when shopping for Flashlights

Reliability: No matter how much or how little you pay for it, you only learn this when using the flashlight, after 6 months or so of carrying around and using, I start feeling a bit better abut it.
LEDs are more rugged than filament bulbs, that have a rather fragile filament inside the bulb.
Battery availability: Something similar to ammo, the more common the battery the better, and hopefully it will run with just one. Most stores will have AA and AAA. Others may be harder to find in some places.
Run time: How long can the flashlight run will usually be more important than how bright it is. A tunnel, cave, but also more mundane things such as blackout and moving around buildings when there’s no power.
Brightness: For more tactical applications or for signaling, good brightness is important. That’s why a flashlight with low and high mode , and strobe is so desirable.
On/Off mechanism: While twist on/off is more reliable and there’s less mechanical parts that can brake, its rather hard to turn on quickly using just one hand. For a flashlight that may be performing more tactical/self defense roles, a tail cap clicky is preferred.
Attachment type: Some of those little strings and cords like the one pictured in a flashlight in the post below, they will brake. Do yourself a favor and cut them away now so as not to trust the useless thing and end up loosing your flashlight. I replace the string with a metal paper clip, and wrap the middle with a bit of self soldering rubber. A metal swivel hook attaches it to the bag so I don’t lose it.
Finally, as great as ordinary flashlights are, they’ll never allow the freedom a headlamp would for working, when you need both hands available.
Just a few things to keep in mind when shopping around.

FerFAL

5 comments:

Blackeagle said...

"For a flashlight that may be performing more tactical/self defense roles, a tail cap clicky is preferred."

I have to disagree with this. For self defense I don't want a 'clicky' tailcap switch that clicks on with one push, then clicks off with another. I want a momentary tailcap switch that is on only as long as I'm pushing on it. Lights are bullet magnets in a fight and they should be used as briefly as possible. I want one where turning it off is as easy as taking my thumb off the switch.

FerFAL said...

My mistake, I meant a tailcap like the one in SureFires, that can be turned on by pushing the button single handedly.(I suppose the clicky is the one that actually makes the “click” sound and stays permanent on/off)
My point was, you need something that can be operated single handedly, and yes, a light on along with your gun will identify your presence before needed and maybe get you shot, better to move around in the dark (specially in your home that you know better than anyone) and use the light only to either startle or identify a person if required.

FerFAL

Don Williams said...

Ferfay, I agree with you that the low-high modes are useful, in order to manage battery drain.

However, do you know if the Akoray can be set so that HIGH beam comes on FIRST when you hit the tail clip? If you are using it for defense, you obviously don't want to fumble with moving from low to high.

I concur with Blackeagle about flashing the light on and off. However, I think the primary value in tactical lights is blinding a threat with the bright light in order to give yourself 2 or 3 seconds advantage -- and to enable you to aim with precision.

The same benefit applies if you are armed only with Mace or a knife.

Don Williams said...

PS I also agree that , while you want the light to go on and off with just momentary pressure on the tail cap, you also want it to stay on if you press harder on the cap. Does the Akoray do this?

Also, I would note that being able to attach a lanyard to the light and your wrist is important. That way, you don't lose the light when
you have to drop it to reload with a new magazine. With a short lanyard, you can regrip the light by rotating your hand.

FerFAL said...

Don,
The 3 modes of teh Akoray are completely customizable. Each one can be set from low to high and anything in between. It starts to get brighter and brighter, you tap when you like the brightness you have, you have to be quick to set it at its lowest. Then it starts with the different strobe speeds. Any of the modes, 1,2 and there can be set to do anything you want. So yes, the first one can be the brightest, you can set all three to be whatever you want.
The akoray has an on off switch , so yes, it stays on, but it does make a small “click” sound. To change modes, you “tap” that same button lightly.
By the way, all these flashlights depend a lot on the battery used. While I think the manufacturer’s lumen capacity is exaggerates, good premium batteries and rechargabels do make a difference.
Get a good lanyard, the one provided is very weak and I would not trust it.

FerFAL