Rushing down the dark hallway of a mobile home during a drug raid is not the time to discover your flashlight is in the car, but that is exactly what happened to me.
I had been on the job less than two years when I somehow wound up on point in an ad hoc raid of a known drug house. In the excitement of the moment, I left my D-cell light on the front seat of my cruiser. Afterwards, I swore to myself that I would always have a flashlight on my belt no matter what the circumstances were.
Law enforcement officers today have a wide selection of incredibly powerful lights. The flashlights today are much more advanced than those of just two decades ago. LEDs have almost completely replaced incandescent bulbs, and give current tactical lights unprecedented light output, durability and efficiency. Modern lights simply burn brighter, run longer and are more rugged than they have ever been.
Because of these advances, small flashlights can be constantly carried on the officer’s duty belt. While larger lights still have advantages, smaller duty lights ensure an officer will always have a powerful illumination tool at hand. The following lights are a few of the great options available today.
BlackHawk uses a tail-cap switch on this flashlight. This switch allows for both momentary and constant-on activations. A second control, a rotating selector switch, allows the officer to set the flashlight to a particular output mode and know exactly what will come on when he or she reaches for it under stress.
The light has four modes: high, medium, low and strobe. The high output is rated at 570 lumens, with medium and low rated at 220 lumens and 20 lumens, respectively. The Night-Ops Legacy L-6V runs on a pair of CR123A batteries that provide 120 minutes of run time on the high power setting.
ExtremeBeam M4 Scirrako
ExtremeBeam makes an extremely durable light called the M4 Scirrako. The light output from this flashlight is rated at 315 lumens, with a peak beam intensity of more than 24,000 candela. Unlike many tactical lights, the M4 Scirrako has an adjustable beam from flood to spot. The maximum usable beam length is about 364 yards. That is a lot of reach in a handheld light.
A tail-mounted push-button switch controls the light function. In addition to a constant-on mode, half-pressing the switch gives an officer momentary-on capability. The switch also rotates modes from high to low to strobe.
The M4 Scirrako is very rugged. According to the company, the light can be mounted on any gun up to .50 BMG caliber, and it’s impact resistant to 2 meters. Additionally, the M4 Scirrako is waterproof for four hours at 30 feet. For an officer working on the water, this light could be one of the best choices on the market.
ExtremeBeam uses high-quality manufacturing techniques with the M4 Scirrako. For example, double O-rings are used on all connection points,
and the light uses square-cut threads.
The aluminum body is hardcoat anodized to military specifications for a long-lasting finish.
Two CR123A batteries power this flashlight for about seven hours on high, 10 hours on strobe and 12 hours on low. In my own informal testing, I have gotten well beyond 24 hours of light usable for navigation after running for hours on high. While standard CR123A batteries will work fine in this light, the company offers rechargeable batteries for it as well. (extremebeam.com; 877-579-7878)
Streamlight ProTac HL 3
Streamlight has upped the ante with the new ProTac HL 3 flashlight. This handheld light puts out an overwhelming 1,100 lumens of blinding white light. When searching a backyard or alleyway, the ProTac HL 3 provides an officer with the ability to flood a wide area with light and quickly locate a suspect. I’ve used the ProTac HL on duty and can attest to the original’s power and durability. The HL 3 is almost twice as bright and uses the same quality construction.
The ProTac HL 3 also has a lot of reach with a 36,000-candela beam. An officer can illuminate a subject more than 400 yards away. If you’ve ever had to search a large field or golf course at night, you know that having that kind of reach can be a huge benefit.
A tailcap button is used to control the light. The switch can be half-pressed for momentary on, while a full click will leave the flashlight on constantly. Rapid half-presses will rotate the flashlight mode between full power, strobe and low power.
Three CR-123A batteries power the light for about 90 minutes on the brightest setting. The low setting extends the battery life to about 36 hours. Batteries do ship with the flashlight. Also included with the flashlight is a pocket clip and nylon pouch. Streamlight rates the flashlight as waterproof to 1 meter for 30 minutes, and the flashlight is impact resistant to 1 meter. (streamlight.com; 800-523-7488)
SureFire P3X Fury
The P3X Fury is one of SureFire’s latest designs, producing 1,000 lumens of white light from a package that is a little more than 6 inches long. There are two versions of the P3X Fury: the standard and the tactical models. The standard P3X has two light levels, high and low. The high output level is at the full 1,000 lumens, while the low level is at 15 lumens. A single press of the switch turns the light on in the low level, while a second press brings on the high output. Half-presses give the officer a momentary on, while a full click is constant-on.
The P3X Fury Tactical eliminates the low-light setting. Each and every time the officer presses the switch, the flashlight activates in the high output setting. Additionally, the light does not activate the constant-on mode with a full click. Rather, for constant-on, the officer twists the tail cap until the constant-on mode is activated. Both versions of the P3X Fury flashlight use three CR123A batteries. (surefire.com; 800-828-8809)
Related Stories: Product Spotlight | Tactical Flashlights