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Departments : First Look

Hip to Be Square

Bushnell's new HD Torch produces a tightly focused square beam of light.

December 01, 2008  |  by - Also by this author


After a long research process, Bushnell has found an unusual way to build a better flashlight with very consistent light output: by changing the shape of the beam from a circle to a square.

"For the last eight to 10 years we have been looking at conventional flashlights on the market that typically produce circular patterns of light that are non-uniform, irregular blobs," says Jordan Vermillion, senior product manager for Bushnell. "The solution was to create a light that had intensity from side to side, top to bottom, edge to edge, and that was consistently bright in that pattern of light."

Bushnell's HD (High Definition) Torch does just that, with a uniformly bright square pattern of light that has numerous law enforcement applications.

To start with, the HD illuminates an entire wall without moving the light from side to side. "This means you can easily find the bad guy because the torch has such a wide field of view of light coming out of it," says Vermillion.

Because of its focused beam, the light doesn't throw off much peripheral light, which means it doesn't cast shadows back on the user that could give away his or her location. Another tactical advantage the light provides is that it can shine through tinted car windows without creating a shadow effect, so officers can see people and objects inside that might pose a threat on a traffic stop.

While patrol may seem the obvious niche for the HD Torch, search and rescue can benefit from the light's ability to aid in methodically searching an area to locate objects and people. "Because the light output is a square shape, if I'm looking for a bullet casing or a blood trail, I can do so in quadrants or zones," says Vermillion. This makes keeping track of what areas have been covered much easier.

In addition, the light is useful as an all-around flashlight for any detail, or even for outdoor recreation such as hunting game.

The HD Torch is constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum and produces 165 lumens of light with its powerful LED. Runtime is 1.5 hours and it is powered by two 3-volt lithium batteries, which come included. There are two operating modes: high and safety-strobe for emergency use.

For convenience, the HD Torch includes the "Find Me" feature, a glowing "B" rear button that also serves as a battery life indicator. A green glow indicates optimal battery life. When it turns red, there is about 30 minutes of battery life remaining.

Bushnell plans to use its patented technology that produces such a consistent beam of light in its other LED lights in the near future. For now, the HD Torch is scheduled to be available for shipment and in retail stores by mid-January. Uncle Mike's holsters will be available to accommodate the new light.

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Tags: Flashlights, Bushnell

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