Web Blast Extra: Shedding Light
By Suzi Huntington
We wanted to show a few more ideas when it comes to lighting, and since we only have so much room in the magazine, we had to spill over onto the COP website. What follows are simply a cross-section of designs and models to help make the point that your options are nearly endless. Selecting a light is a bit like choosing computer software: You need to decide what job you want to do, then select the software (or light) that best fits your needs.
While there are lights that can handle a wide-range of chores, from basic “find my dropped keys” using a tiny key-chain light, to “blind the bad guys” hand-held lights, it would be hard to get by with a single light, so broaden your horizons and choose at least one from each category of small personal, medium “keep it on your belt” size and full-size lights. Some (like the Bluestone big one shown below) are more like “area” lights for canyon searches, crime scene illumination or working a crash scene at night. Others, like the Novatac Classic are more of a “general” light, able to handle a cross-section of chores.
Today’s companies offer high quality and tremendous performance for often very reasonable prices. Simply shop wisely and stick with name brands so you’re assured of a light you could bet your life on if you needed to.
Bluestone (a new company on the block) is offering what is a very practical sort of personal or “home” light handling any chore I can think of. While not a true “combat” light, it’s versatile enough to call upon if you have it at-hand. Called the “AT7” or “InCharge” it’s sort of fist-sized (that’s a .44 Mag round in the picture), has an anodized aluminum body and can be quickly adjusted from a wide to very focused beam. The best part is it can go from 185 lumens (really bright) to about 15 lumens (bright enough to do most light work you’ll usually need) by simply holding the on/off switch down. On high, it will burn 3.5 hours and on the lowest setting about 30 hours. It’s all done with Cree LED technology and a Ni-MH rechargeable battery. The really neat part is it charges just by sitting the bottom end into a base that charges using induction technology so there’s no clamps or clips or contacts. Sorta’ like an electric toothbrush charges. Think of it as a “general” or back-up light for you, and a perfect light for at home.
At the other end of the spectrum for Bluestone is this beast of a light. Called the 957K22N, it’s a rechargeable LED light and comes in a fitted metal case with a back-up battery and charger. With seven embedded K2 Luxeon LEDs, it puts out about 1,000 lumens on high, and you can focus the beam from one to four power. It lights up two or three acres at a time and would be just the ticket for blasting down a dark alley to watch the cockroaches scurry, lighting up a crime scene or helping in a canyon search. An astounding tool, it burns for about one hour on high and 3.5 hours on low.
The Novatac “Classic” is one of the new breed of AA battery lights. We like this since batteries are available anywhere and it gives off plenty of light for virtually any situation. Delivering .3 lumens for 240 hours, 30 lumens for 4 hours or 120 lumens for 30 min., the Classic is handy enough for a pocket and reliable enough for duty work. It even has a strobe, but the important point is the default mode is “on-bright” and off with one button push.
The SureFire E2L AA Outdoorsman is another AA-powered compact light and is rugged and dependable. It offers 80 lumens for 9 hours and 3 lumens for 60 hours (based on Lithium AA batteries). It defaults to the “low” mode for general lighting but a press of the button within two seconds of turning it off turns on the 80 lumen power. A good belt or “second” light for a cop.
The Leupold MX modular flashlight is fairly unique and shows some features only a company who is all about light-transmission (in their scopes) might offer. Aside from the obvious high performance specs like 64 hours of run-time at 10 lumens and 3.2 hours at 175 lumens, the modular design allows you to customize a light to fit your personal needs, changing tail caps, bezels and other features. It’s well worth a hard look, and can do double duty as a main light, “back-up” belt light, or small pocket light, depending on how you configure it.
AE Light has several innovative models but the AE “LifeLight” caught our eye. Originally made for cave divers, this dead-simple light is a fail-safe back-up for any situation. It uses CREE LED technology with AE’s proprietary reflector/accumulator design and a simple “twist of the bezel” to turn it on and off. No switches to leak or break. The AA batteries can deliver up to 72 hours of light ranging from a high of 270 lumens (for one to two hours) to 80 lumens for 48 to 72 hours. But a unique feature is even after a full week of “on” use, it will still deliver enough light to read a map or attract attention! It’s good for 600 feet submergence and you can drive your car over it too, if you feel the need. This just might be the ultimate back-up light for your patrol bag.
Also from AE Light is the TG MK2 (on the left) and the personal size Mini Might 85. The MK2 uses rechargeable batteries or CR123 batteries (2). With a body extension, you can use two rechargeables. The 230 lumen “high” mode goes for about 4.5 hours with about 13 hours on the 70 lumen “low” setting. It has a separate switch to activate the strobe mode. The Mini Might 85 is pocket-sized, using one CR123 battery and can deliver 90 minutes on high (120 lumens) and 120 minutes on low (60 lumens). Its waterproof to ten feet and has a special cut-out cap that protects the rear button, but still allows you to activate it easily.
Streamlight is world famous for their lighting technology, but sometimes good quality also comes in tiny packages. Their ProTac series are ultra-compact personal lights and can be powered by either AA or CR123 batteries. The featured ProTac 1L is a single CR123 battery-powered pocket light offering 1.25 hours of “high” 110 lumen light, and 14 hours of “low” 12 lumen light. The strobe feature is easily accessed and helps to make this a versatile back-up or pocket light. The “anti-roll” facecap means it stays put and a removable pocket-clip keeps it where you need it.
ASP might be known for their industry-leading designs in expandable baton technology but their lights are as cutting edge as their other gear. The Triad (we’re showing their 2010 model but they have new models due out any second) is elegantly designed and obviously made to very high standards. The three position rotary color locks the light, provides intermittent illumination or allows constant illumination, depending on your setting. It offers a focusing system allowing room-filling light or a high intensity beam of remarkable brightness.
The Tungsten is a minimalist design that’s tidy in the hand, but delivers powerful light using CR123 batteries. A one or two cell model is available and it offers the same “three position” switch system allowing constant on, intermittent on or locked off modes. A pocket clip can be easily attached for pocket or belt carry. As the Triad, the Tungsten series reminds us of a high performance auto — well engineered and expected to deliver high performance.
For info: www.americancopmagazine.com/productindex and click on the company listing.