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Flashlights: Blinded by the Light

With or without a gun, the right light can stop crooks cold.

March 01, 2002  |  by - Also by this author

Remember when all you had to choose from were those fragile general use flashlights that would break if you sneezed and weren't all that bright? And then when they finally came out with heavy-duty models, they wouldn't break but could be unwieldy? Nowadays you can choose from several flashlights that are big and lightweight or any number of other combinations, including mini and superstrong and megabright. Whichever flashlight you choose, the new models are brighter than ever.

All of these offerings can effectively blind a potential threat, even in the daylight. This tactic can give you valuable seconds to evaluate your circumstances, and to act on the subject if necessary before he regains his sight. Flashlights are more than convenient sources of light; they can be used as life-saving tools.

MagLites are time tested and durable, as evidenced by the well used 3Dcell model above, still in use. Always evolving, the company now also offers camo mini-mags.

For some examples to help in sifting through the infinite possibilities, read on.

The "Old" Standby

Believe it or not, the old standby ain't that old anymore. Traditional flashlights have been revamped; they're brighter and even more reliable than the first heavy-duty models MagLite came out with in the '70s. And there is a much wider range to choose from. For example...

ASP Triad Lights are high-intensity flashlights made of extra strength aerospace aluminum for durability. A foamed vinyl grip lets you keep a tight hold on your Triad. Each flashlight's two leak-proof lithium power cells provide one hour of continuous run time and have a 10-year shelf life. You can adjust the beam from a soft flood to an intense beam, depending on your situation. And in case you're in a tight spot, the on/off switch is sensitive and quiet, so no one will know what's going on until you blast them with light.

ASP Sapphire Light

Garrity's Tuff Lites are heavy-duty rubber flashlights made to withstand all sorts of weather and abuse. They even float in water, in case you run into a huge downpour. Garrity's Sure Grip design of textured rubber makes the Tuff Lites easy to hold onto, so you won't accidentally drop them. But if you do, hey, they'll just float or bounce.

MagLite, known for introducing heavy-duty flashlights to law enforcement, offers a wide selection of traditional flashlights, among other types of lights. You can even get MagLites in different colors, including silver, red, blue, green, camo, and purple, if you're so inclined.

Features on MagLites include a high-intensity adjustable light beam that can be adjusted from spot to flood and a recessed, pushbutton, 3-position switch. Its body is anodized inside and out for improved corrosion resistance and it's water and shock resistant.

There's even a spare lamp secured inside the tailcap, so it will be ready when you need it.

LED lights may not seem traditional, but they're becoming widely accepted in law enforcement applications. Because LED lights don't use the old filament-type bulbs, you're less likely to lose your light source due to breakage. They also use much less power than other bulbs, so you won't have them burning out as quickly.

Lightwave's Lightwave 4000, distributed by LED Lites, is a 3 D-cell LED flashlight, which means it's big and powerful and it won't break if you drop it. It has 10 LED lights, not just one, and it's shockproof and waterproof, so it's good for all weather conditions. It also lasts for up to one month of continuous use.

Lightwave 2000

Charge It!

Rechargeable flashlights mean you don't have to worry about them running out of juice-as long as you remember to recharge them. Two options for recharging make this easy. You can get both auto and home chargers, so you won't be caught unawares in the dark.

Pelican offers several different sizes of rechargeable flashlights. The M7 is fairly small at 61/4", while the M11 reaches 111/4". Both come with their own specific rechargers and have an on/off button at the end of the flashlight (as opposed to the side), which can be helpful if you're carrying it up over your shoulder.

Pelican Products offers a variety of flashlights, including the small L1 LED and varying sizes of rechargeable models, among other types.

Streamlight, which brought the first rechargeable flashlights to law enforcement, offers the rechargeable UltraStinger, the new and improved version of the SuperStinger. The UltraStinger is five times brighter than its predecessor, emitting up to 75,000 candlepower for one hour. This makes it the brightest Streamlight flashlight available. This rechargeable weighs just over a pound, has a machined aluminum case, a super-strong polycarbonate lens, and features a spot-to-flood beam. Single and multiple AC and DC chargers are available for use with various Streamlight rechargeable flashlights. If you already have the SuperStinger, you can buy a kit to upgrade it to the new Ultrastinger.

Size Doesn't Matter

OK, maybe it does matter, but it doesn't have to be a limiting factor. You can get a lot of power out of teeny tiny lights these days. For those of you looking for big light in a small package, mini lights are the way to go. There are flashlights out there so small they fit on a key ring, clip to a zipper or hat, or fit in a shirt pocket.

The Photon Micro-Light 3-aptly enough, by Photon Micro-Light- uses a state-of-the-art micro-processor that makes it even more functional than previous models. The microprocessor gives you the choice of three levels of brightness, three levels of strobe, and a very handy one-minute auto shutoff. At any time you can squeeze the front button to bypass the electronics and turn on the light. It's available in seven different beams, runs on long-life lithium batteries, and has a water-resistant case.

The Photon Micro-Light is also available in a covert version, which adds an extended housing to shield the bulb. This reduces glare and effectively eliminates all peripheral light. Originally designed for covert military use, the Covert Photon 3 is useful for any situation where you don't want to attract attention.

The L1 LED flashlight from Pelican Products is water-resistant and provides a concentrated close-quarter beam. The LED lamp produces up to 50,000 hours of usage and uses four replaceable LR 44 1.5V alkaline coin cells (batteries included) for up to 100 hours of battery life. The light includes a breakaway safety lanyard and a handy pushbutton on/off end switch. It's even available in a choice of black or yellow.

The Lightwave Pocket-Bright uses LED technology. This mini light runs on two 2025 lithium batteries, included with the product. It works for more than 50 hours and is water- and shockproof. It even includes free accessories: key ring, neck lanyard, and hook and loop fastener. If you click it once it comes on. Click it again and it turns off.

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