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Flashlights

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

Insight Technology

If you are looking for a weapon-mounted light I would suggest Insight Technology. You can mount the company's new WX150 on your handgun or any long gun with a Picatinny rail using Insight's patented Adjustable Slide Lock. This gives you a universal lock bar or a slightly thicker one for a Picatinny rail, ensuring a snug fit.

The WX150 gives you 150 lumens of output for two hours on a pair of CR123A batteries. You are also given three light options: push the ambidextrous toggle up for constant on, down for momentary on, or down and then quickly up for strobe.

In case you decide to take a swim, the WX150 is water resistant to three feet. This should prevent you losing illumination if your light falls into a puddle. I know from experience this can happen when you are in a hurry and forget to fully lock the light to your handgun rail. If you haven't done it yet, you will.

I have mounted the WX150 on my duty Glock 21, SIG P226, and Smith & Wesson M&P 9 as well as the rail of an AR-15. The toggle switch is easy to operate on any of these weapons, and the universal locking bar fits them all. I found the WX150 will fit holsters designed for Insight's M3 light, so you won't need to purchase a new holster (you will still have to check the fit to your gear).

The folks at Insight Technology must understand that many of us own and are issued various weapons, because the WX150 was built to function well on them all and with existing duty and concealment holsters. This makes the WX150 even more impressive in my book.

Pelican

You can illuminate areas, search vehicles and buildings, temporarily disorient suspects, and direct traffic all with Pelican's 2490 Recoil LED. This one light runs on four AA batteries and has an output of 51 lumens.

It provides useable white light out to 30 yards or so, yet it won't blind you when you're using it to search under a car seat. If you need to use the 2490 as a traffic wand, simply remove the lamp head, insert one of four colored lenses, and screw the included cone on. You now have a traffic/marker light.

You will find the 2490 is much lighter than your heavy-duty tactical light saber because it is made from tough polymer, not machined aluminum. This means it won't weigh you down if you stick it in a cargo pocket, so you can easily carry it there for when you need a versatile light.

I like the light's on/off switch, which is an easy-to-use toggle. It positively clicks on/off but does not make sounds that could betray your location.

If you are concerned about the light's toughness, let me put your mind at ease: I stood on it (at 240 pounds I'm not a fly weight) and it didn't break.

And since this light will be used in wet weather, the lens/wand threads have an O-ring seal. While I don't suggest using this as a dive light, it will function in a monsoon. I tested mine by turning it on and hosing it down for five minutes while watering my garden. The light didn't flicker or fail. I am sure if you get out a firehose the seal could be defeated, but I only want it to survive the rain like a duty light should.

Streamlight

If you are looking for a versatile light, I would suggest Streamlight's Stinger DS LED HP. This is the latest version of the successful Stinger Family and the most versatile to date.

What's so new about the Stinger DS LED HP, you may ask. To start it gives you three light outputs: high (200 lumens), medium (100 lumens), low (50 lumens), and a strobe. This variable output gives you a runtime as long as seven hours on low or as short as two hours on high output. If you drain the nickel cadmium battery it will take about 10 hours to charge-or you could purchase the Smart Charger and it will charge in Sabout two-and-a-half hours.

Thanks to its Cree LED and distinctive reflector, when used on high Streamlight's Stinger DS LED HP gives a narrowly focused useable light out to 50 to 75 yards depending on your eyes. This might not sound like a lot but it will allow you to make out little branches and individual leaves at that distance; therefore, you will be able to make out a weapon and facial detail.

The other new feature on this Stinger is dual switch operation. Streamlight gives you a tail cap or body button. Both buttons function identically: push to activate, hold down to reduce output in constant on, or a quick double click for strobe. Should you need momentary on (which is only high output) do not click the button. These features should be enough to pique your interest to check out the Stinger DS LED HP for a duty light.

SureFire

Last but not least, SureFire's AZ2 is a dual output LED light. At first glance it looks like a 6Z with its push-to-activate tail cap and mid body grip rings on a Combat Grip Body. But when you look more closely you'll see there are five lights in the bezel. Four are low output (35 lumens) and the center LED provides the high output (150 lumens).

How does one change from low to high output? The answer is simple: push the tail cap deeper. Need less light back off the cap and only the low output LEDs are on. This keeps the operation of AZ2 simple and uses only gross motor skills.

Like all SureFire lights the AZ2 is virtually indestructible. I have dropped, kicked, and accidentally tossed various SureFires. Their Mil-Spec anodized aerospace aluminum bodies have survived and so have the lenses; guess I'm lucky they haven't hit lens first. My 10-year-old 6Z has been all over the country and I would anticipate nothing less from the AZ2. If you keep it in CR123A batteries (it requires two), this light should last you a career.

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Tags: 5.11 Tactical, Blackhawk, Brite-Strike, First-Light USA, Emissive Energy, Inova, Insight Technology, Pelican Products, Streamlight, SureFire, Flashlights

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