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Lighting Up Your Beat

Lighting Up Your Beat

Unless you’ve been hiding in the dark (sometimes I crack myself up) you’ve seen the explosion of flashlight makers. Last year I was unceremoniously jolted from my ignorance and tasked with shedding some light (I’m killing myself) on lighting lingo. If you missed it, check out “Lumens, Throw, Candelas And Lux — Decoding Flashlight-Speak,” May 2013. You can find it online in our digital editions if you foolishly tossed your print one. Now that the “lumen language” has been translated, the trick is deciding if a new light is something you need — or just something you want. I recommend you give in either way, but that’s just me.

There are lights available to suit any possible need we cops might stumble onto. They’re available in a stunning variety of sizes and offer simple uni-taskers to models boasting multiple modes. I’ve had my hands on many of them, and while we can’t cover ‘em all, I think this is a great start. Don’t forget to check out other products available from each of these manufacturers. The list of available goodies is sure to brighten your day (I’m outta’ control here). For more info:


I don’t know many patrol cops without dedicated lights for their duty pistols. One of my favorites in the gun-mounted group is the new TLR-4G by Streamlight. Made of polymer, this green laser/white light system is simple, blasts out 115 lumens of light for up to 1.75 hours and only weighs 2.8 ounces. The rail system allows mounting from the side of the gun, so no “hands in front of the muzzle” with this one. There’s an ambi-switch too. Neat.


The Safariland RLS is another great gun-mounted light. It comes with the belt mount too. This little light runs on AAA batteries, so you can get the batteries for this thing anywhere “free” coffee is served. This all-in-one light puts out 90 lumens, more than enough for this sort of thing. This is a great option for the plain-clothes freedom fighters if you don’t want the bulk of a gun-mounted system but need to carry a light. It’s also ambidextrous and can be swung right or left to fit.


If you want even less weight, the Rogers’ Rail Lite is so small you’ll forget you have it — but so great you’ll be happy you do. This little light fits on any rail system and goes on with a quick click. Keep it off the gun normally, and use the 28-lumen Streamlight Microstream light to find your lost keys, then snap it on if you need it. It’s not blinding light, but good enough to make do if you’re in a pinch. Perfect for an off-duty gun.


BLACKHAWK! brings the NightOps line to the table full of belt lights. I love the breakaway Mod-U-Lock holder. The light draws easily, yet the holder retains it securely. Great news, the NightOps series of lights can all use the same holster — one holster for multiple lights, with your choice of which light model you pick.


At an honest 1,000 lumens, SureFire’s new P3X Fury is compact, made of aircraft-grade aluminum, uses three CR123 batteries, weighs 7.2 ounces and is about 6.8″ long. It also delivers a genuine blinding white light, with run-times of about 1.5 hours at 1,000 lumens and 60 hours at 15 lumens. It’s a great second light for a duty cop to wear on their belt. Push the tailcap once and you get 15 lumens, but hit it twice and you get that 1,000-lumen, master-blaster beam. It’ll light up a parking lot, canyon, city street, back lot, inside of a movie theater, or an aircraft carrier flight deck.


Maxxeon’s tidy Pocket Floodlight has a 1:1 ratio of light to area. At one foot away from an object, the beam is one foot wide. At two feet, the beam is two feet wide, etc. This 6.5″, 140-lumen AAA light is perfect for close-in work like inside a vehicle, a crime scene, ground searches or checking out a suspect at arm’s length. Think, seeing “wide” not far.


The Viridian X5L green laser and tactical light rocks a CREE XP-G2 LED. The X5L produces 224 max lumens and the new, brighter LED is also more efficient than the previous LED, meaning even though there’s more light, there’s no decrease in battery life. You get a multi-function green light/laser combo, poly/aluminum body and easy zeroing for the laser. Going green means more than one thing!


Olight’s M18 Maverick offers a unique feature or three. Use the tail cap switch for on/off or momentary on bright and to control the strobe. Once on, use the side button to control brightness levels, strobe and as a battery strength indicator. We like the simple way a hit on the tail cap gets you maximum light — every time. But the side button is handy too, it blasts out 350, 80 or a sneaky 5 lumens. A great second, off-duty or undercover light.


The RHIGHT Duty Light is Brite-Strike’s newest model to their stable of tank-tough tactical lights. This 6.25″ long LED light offers a maximum output of up to 600 lumens of bright white light on high and strobe modes, 170 lumens on low. You’ll get around two hours of runtime on high/strobe and about 8 hours on low. The RHIGHT Duty Light is rechargeable, but it’s where the charging port is that’s particularly interesting — it’s hidden under the bezel. Unscrew the bezel and you can plug in either the AC or DC charger; it comes with both. And because a compression seal protects the charging port, the light is waterproof. Think of this light as you would your full-size light, but know it’s small enough to fit on your belt.



At about 3/4 the size of most full-size duty lights, the 9944XL from Nightstick is a force to be reckoned with. Featuring a 9.5″ hard-anodized aluminum body and stainless steel bezel, the 9944XL is a dual-light, dual-switch and submersible light. Dual-light means there’s not only a flashlight (operated by the first switch and the tailcap), but there’s also a separate floodlight (operated by the second switch on the body). The flashlight has three brightness levels: 650, 300 and 100 lumens, and four modes: high, medium, low and strobe, while the floodlight blasts 600 lumens only. But wait, there’s more! The 9944XL is rechargeable and comes standard with wall and car charger. If you don’t want the metal version, check out the polymer 9924XL.
By Aimee Grant

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  1. Ryan Hey says:

    What experience does the author have with running low light/no light? Is the author former MIL/LEO or active MIL/LEO? I’m asking because I have rarely seen the Rogers rail OR RLS used in classes, its def not used by MIL, and I have yet to see it on ANY LEO sidearms. This article sounds more like an advertisement than a user based, experience driven write up.

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