A law enforcement or military operator increases his chances of subduing a threat by using disorienting strobe or high-intensity light. Strobing light is useful because it can hide your exact position during a high-risk entry.

When Chester Gould’s comic strip Dick Tracy (written and drawn by Chester Gould) first appeared in 1931, the detective used all sorts of gizmos and gadgets in his crime-fighting escapades. These technological marvels were thought of as science fiction by most readers. But by today’s standards, things like a two-way wristwatch radio seem passé.

Battery operated lights were fielded by Tracy and crew way back, and have been carried by LE personnel for years and years. In the beginning, they were huge, with large disposable batteries and were expected to do double duty as a baton. Now, they are exceedingly small, extremely bright and capable of disorienting a suspect by way of their brightness. New technology, led by top low-light tactical operations instructors such as Ken Goode from Strategos International, has driven flashlight design and tactics. Among Goode’s many contributions to police and military low-light operations are the Blackhawk Gladius and now the Gladius Maximus flashlights. Other manufacturers, including Insight, Novatac, SureFire and Streamlight now offer strobe capabilities.

Since their advent, and with some operational feedback since their introduction, what are the pros and, if any, cons of strobing flashlights?

History of a Bright Idea
The modern strobe light was invented by Harold Edgerton in 1931 to study machines in motion. Stroboscopes are still in use today in machining, auto me­ch­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­anics, photography, and of course, night clubs and in special effects.

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