TACTICAL LIGHTS

Renowned for their exceptional quality, Leupold launches their foray into…

Renowned for their exceptional quality, Leupold launches their foray into the tactical flashlight market with the modular MX series.

Anyone who has been watching the tactical flashlight industry will tell you that the big change in lights in recent years is the crossover to LED technology and the digital capabilities that go along with it. I have one of the first production examples of a LED flashlight from about 10 years ago. Made by ARC Flashlight, it is still running today and offers 40 lumens of somewhat off-color light. The company is still in business, with a improved line of utility lights.

That benefit of extreme reliability which first drew me to the ARC LED light is still a very critical advantage over incandescent bulbs. In the past few years, LED emitters have seen dramatically increased output levels and improved light quality. No longer just a bulb, battery tube and basic switch; today’s tactical flashlights offer a host of features — including variable outputs, strobe effects and programmability.

As LED technology spreads throughout the marketplace, costs have decreased to the point that you can now buy a LED light in the hardware store for just a few dollars. As with most things, you get what you pay for, and a bargain light is not what you’re looking for with a life-saving tool. With so many manufacturers in the light business, companies are distinguishing themselves in the market with feature innovations. Quality manufacturing, water resistance, durability, unique design and great functionality set the el-cheapos apart from a true tactical light.

SUREFIRE

SureFire, the creator of the modern tactical flashlight concept, introduces new models on a continuing basis. A few of note include the LX2 Lumamax which is a dual mode, two-battery light with an output of 200 lumens on high and 15 lumens on low. The tailcap is a dual pressure design; press lightly for low and press fully for high. Rather than a click-on design, constant-on is achieved by rotating the tailcap. Turning the tailcap inward partially yields a constant, low light and turning it fully inward offers a constant high output. Turning the tailcap outward locks out the light. The LX2 will run for 2 hours on high and 47 hours on low.

The E1B Backup is one of SureFire’s smaller statured, single-battery lights. Its momentary/clickable constant-on tailcap controls either 80 or 5 lumens, with a runtime of 1.3 hours or 37 hours respectively. Pressing the tailcap lightly offers high power, release it and press again within two seconds to get low. The tail- cap functions the same in the clickable constant-on function.

The Z2 LED Holster Kit is the familiar Z2 CombatLight, updated with an 80-lumen LED emitter along with a quick-deployment holster. Running for 3 hours on 2 batteries, it is fitted with a rubber outer ring to facilitate a “cigar” hold. Its momentary only, push-button tail cap can be rotated for constant-on or lockout. Fitting any SureFire light with a 1.25-inch diameter aluminum bezel, the ambidextrous, adjustable polymer holster holds three spare batteries, giving the Z2 LED six hours of tactical runtime in the field. Its rotating design allows it be angled in either direction.

BLACKHAWK

BlackHawk, the first to introduce the strobing feature to the market in its Gladius tactical flashlight, has recently introduced the improved Gladuis Maximis. Taking its power from two 6-volt lithium batteries, the Maximis outputs 120 lumens. A multifunction tailcap offers momentary switching, constant-on, strobe mode, dimming, and lockout. Designed for one-fingered operation, the switching is separated into two components; a push-button tailcap for output activation and a rotary dial for designating the function. In addition to hand-held operation, the Maximus is robust enough for use as a weapon light.

The Legacy X9-P is BlackHawk’s

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