FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda is a retired LAPD sergeant with 34 years of law enforcement experience. He is the chief instructor of TAC-1 Defensive Firearms Training in Santa Clarita, Calif., and is a consultant for law enforcement training and litigation.

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and former New York police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.

BlackHawk's Night Ops Xiphos Weapons Light

May 07, 2007  |  by Rob Pincus

In January, I attended my 10th SHOT Show. Each year I always seem to leave the show with a couple of interesting items to test and evaluate for personal or professional use.

One of my favorite items from this year’s show was the Night Ops Weapons Light, a compact and versatile light designed to be mounted on the utility rail of a pistol, rifle, or shotgun.

Weapon-mounted lights (WMLs) are a point of controversy for some, myself included. I am not of the opinion that it is a great idea to turn a gun into a flashlight, or vice-versa, in general practice.

There are, however, specific circumstances when I think it is a great idea to have the option. Law enforcement and military professionals happen to find themselves in these particular circumstances quite often and, therefore, can benefit from the utility of a WML a greater percentage of the time than someone interested in home or self-defense.

At the most fundamental level, WMLs are incredibly useful for situations when you need to be doing more than one thing with your hands and one of them is point or shoot a gun in low light. The fact is that the armed professionals mentioned above often find themselves in low-light situations where they need to do a number of things with the weapon at the ready or even while engaging a threat.

Having the ability to produce a lethal response, cast light on a subject, control a bystander, use your radio, and/or do any number of other things simultaneously is incredibly important during low-light CQB situations. But you can’t point a gun at everything you need to illuminate on the job. If you choose to have a weapon-mounted light, I suggest that it be mounted as a “backup” in case your handheld light goes down or you need to use the weapons mounted light for a specific situation.

Back to the Night Ops Xiphos WML. The Xiphos follows the tradition of the Gladius handheld light from Night Ops in some ways, but also deviates in at least one important way.

The Gladius is one of the most sophisticated, complicated, and expensive lights on the market. It is fully adjustable in terms of brightness, is designed to manage battery life to an impressive extent, and can be used in an automatic strobing mode that distracts and disorients subjects. The Xiphos does most of the things that the Gladius does, but at a lower price point, in a more compact package, and with a much simpler user interface.

The whole idea of writing the term “user interface” for a flashlight is notable. It wasn’t long ago that the only option a user had with a flashlight besides “off” and “on” was focusing the beam for a tight or wide beam. Even then, I can remember some officers twisting the bezel of their 4 D Cell light until the thing popped open, rendering it useless for at least a moment or two.

The simpler something is, the more efficient it will usually be. The Gladius has been criticized by many, myself included, for being too complex. Admittedly, once I spent a few moments with the light, it was easy to figure out, but operating the Gladius definitely is a perishable skill and the last thing a police officer needs under stress is a flashlight that he or she can’t remember how to use.

Enter the Xiphos NT, with just one push lever that operates all functions of the light. Push the lever, and the light comes on. Push the lever again and the light goes off. Simple enough, and this is all you really need at the fundamental level.

What about the options? Tap the lever twice instead of just pushing it, and you get the much talked about Night Ops strobe effect. Another way to use the on-off lever is to press it twice slowly and hold it down; this turns it into a “momentary” switch, shutting the light off upon release.

One unique feature of the Xiphos is the mounting clamp, which grasps the rails at any point the user chooses. This allows easier mounting, especially on long guns, than traditional WML designs, which need to be slid onto the rail, locking only at specific points.

The Xiphos is lightweight and bright and designed to operate for more than two hours on one 3-volt battery. It is relatively compact and, of course, Blackhawk is designing a series of the SERPA holsters that work with a variety of pistols with Xiphos lights attached.

If you’re in the market for a weapons-mounted light, take a good look at the Xiphos. At $199.99, it’s not cheap, but it is a good value with excellent ergonomics and features.

Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Billy Kidd @ 1/2/2009 4:48 PM

Good article. My opinion is if your working LE or Military that may need a handgun/light combo then have both if possible. Weapons mounted lights have a great advantage in "some" situations but can be a liability if you just need to put light on something. Handheld lights should also be part of your kit (and training) in either case.
Just so everyone will know.........Insight has a Procyon weapons mounted light that offers constant and strobe light capabilities. It will fit holsters made by various makers that are made to fit M-3 style lights. Cost is usually under $120.00 . They also make a Gladius clone.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Foot and Hoof Patrol: Meaningfully Connecting Cops and Citizens
Foot patrol is the essence of community policing—officers on foot create opportunities for...
Arrive Alive: Police Must Reduce Single-Vehicle Crashes on Patrol
Too many officers are driving themselves into their graves—turning their cars into their...

Police Magazine