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With so many illumination tools out there, there's bound to be one to meet your mission requirements.

December 29, 2010  |  by Scott Smith - Also by this author

The BlackHawk Legacy L6P's polymer body arrives with big checkers for a good purchase in various conditions with or without gloves. Photo courtesy of BlackHawk.

Duty lights have gone through numerous evolutions over the course of the last decade. We have seen the once standard one-size-fits-all flashlight morph into mission and unit specific lights. Today your options include "pocket" lights that illuminate a yard and miniature blinking LEDs that grab bystanders' attention as well as lights in a range of shapes and sizes that run on a variety of battery types. You may find one or all of these lights fit your needs.

5.11 Tactical

One of the most innovative lights on the market is 5.11 Tactical's Light for Life. It's available in a large size, the UC3.400, and a smaller size, the PC3.300. Both get their charge from a high-output capacitor, much like those found in a camera flash. The difference is that the flash dumps its light all at once. The Light for Life slowly dissipates its light, giving you at least an hour's worth of runtime.

Both lights can be fully charged in 90 seconds. Unlike nickel cadmium or nickel hydride batteries, the ultra capacitor allows you to leave the Light for Life on its charger without diminishing the capacitor's ability to recharge and hold that charge.

I have used both the PC3.300 and the UC3.400 and find them both to be excellent lights. The UC3.400 gives you 90 lumens for 60 minutes and will reduce to 25 for 30 minutes and finally 15 lumens for 30 minutes. The smaller PC3.300 has three outputs: 200 lumens, 70 lumens, and a strobe. Runtime is 45 minutes in standard mode, plus you can use it in a reduced output reserve mode for a one-hour runtime.

I keep a PC3.300 in the charger rack in my POV. This way I have a light at hand at all times. I know agencies that keep the UC3.400 in racks for use in emergency situations. With a 50,000-hour LED light and capacitor that can be charged thousands of times, these lights will outlast most of us on duty.


BlackHawk has been a leader in duty gear for military and law enforcement for more than a decade. About five years ago, BlackHawk added flashlights to its product line. The Legacy L6P is but one example.

I like the Legacy because of its polymer body. This material makes the light more durable and not as cold to the touch in the winter. The body also has nice big checkers for a good purchase in all conditions, with or without gloves. And to prevent the light from rolling, its tail cap and light bezel have seven sides.

Other notable features on this 90-lumen LED light include its operation and its two- to three-hour runtime. The Legacy's tail cap is a two stage button; simply push for momentary, and push until it clicks for constant on. This set-up requires only gross motor operation and can be easily operated with either hand. Attention to these details shows why BlackHawk is a leader in tactical gear including duty lights. The company's Legacy L6P will no doubt serve you well for many moons.


Brite-Strike Tactical Illumination Products is a company that is built by cops for cops. A couple of patrol officers started it to build lights with features cops need and want. And the company's Tactical Blue Dot series fits that mission.

The company's Tactical Blue Dot 198 light is sized small enough to fit in the palm of your hand or comfortably in a pants pocket. Yet it's long enough to be a last resort impact weapon-which is when the light's crenulated tri-strike crown on each end can come in handy.

The Blue Dot 198 is rechargeable can be had with a couple of versions of end caps: high/low/strobe, or momentary/high output, both with an output of up to 198 lumens. This allows you to decide what will best serve your needs. And each Tactical Blue Dot comes with a lifetime warranty, a ballistic nylon holster, and an AC Battery charger.

Several friends of mine have used the Blue Dot 198 and they like the feel of it and the way it looks. It is a solid light and I can personally attest to it having survived a nasty Pittsburgh winter of rain, snow, wind, and ice, which says a lot for any light.

CONTINUED: Flashlights «   Page 1 of 3   »

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