Although it's best known for hard plastic dry boxes and underwater lights, in the last couple of years Pelican Products has become a major player in the police and military flashlight market.
About two years ago Pelican introduced the Black Knight series, which is targeted at the needs of law enforcement. These flashlights have features that make them ideal for duty use. Specifically, the units have a sure grip, rubberized coating, they are rechargeable, and they offer substantial output.
Let's take a quick look at the Pelican Black Knight M12, a full-bodied duty light that can really be an asset on the street.
The trend in duty lights has been to move from the full-sized typical police flashlight to new and powerful pocket-sized models that take up less space on a duty belt and can blind an opponent at 50 paces. These lights are great, but if you need a larger-bodied light, then you might want to pick up a Pelican Black Knight.
I chose the rechargeable Black Knight M12 for this review because, at first glance, it looked like a light capable of handling all of the abuse a hard-duty day can hand out. Little did I know how much I was underestimating this tool.
The Black Knight M12 has an aluminum battery case and lamp/reflector assembly. But don't think that "aluminum" means weak. This is not a lightweight alloy that will bend with finger pressure; it's the high-grade aluminum that's used in modern engine blocks. I may not be an engineer, but I am willing to bet this light can take the worst that any shift has to offer. If you break this casing, I really want to know how you did it.
One problem with aluminum is that it's really slippery. Pelican's solution to this concern is a vinyl sheath that gives the user a sure-grip surface even in the wettest of conditions. Pelican also gives the tube and reflector an octagonal shape, which aids in gripping the light because it contours to your fingers better than a round tube does.
Another great feature of the Black Knight M12 is the on/off button. Located just behind the lamp assembly, it is large and easy to operate. Unlike many other flashlight switches, this one is easy to operate with a gloved hand.
The rechargeable Black Knight M12 uses a refocused xenon bulb to deliver 151 lumens of light. OK, I know that 151 lumens may not mean much to the average cop. After all, how does a lumen translate to light on the street? All right, here's a practical description of the Black Knight M12's output. It delivers an eight-foot diameter cone of light at 50 to 60 yards.
A 110-volt charger comes with the Black Knight M12, and it is capable of fully charging the flashlight in two to three hours, giving the user about an hour-and-a-half of run time. An optional vehicle 12-volt plug and a direct wire kit are available.
Overall I found Pelican's Black Knight M12 to be a very solid duty light. It is not something that I would carry every day on a Sam Browne belt, but it would be a great tool to have in my car.
Scott Smith is a disabled veteran who served as an active duty Army MP and in the U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard as a security policeman.