Over the years in police products there have been fewer and fewer items that have a high “wow” factor. We see a lot of redesigns and improvements to many current products, but precious few innovations. But let me tell you, BlackHawk Product Group’s new Night-Ops Gladius flashlight is an innovation.

BlackHawk is best known for tactical gear. So when I heard about the new Night-Ops Gladius flashlight, I was less than excited. It sounded like just another very bright LED light in tactical black. And at this point, that’s a pretty ho-hum item.

But after my initial viewing, I realized that the Gladius is more than an ordinary light. It’s an outstanding and versatile police tool.

The Gladius is a bright LED light and, yes, it is blinding. LEDs aren’t the dim little key lights they used to be. These are real powerhouses.

In fact, the LEDs used in the Gladius are so hot and bright that the unit’s circuitry is designed to power down slightly if the light is on for more than a second and a half. This increases the battery life, and keeps the diode from overheating. But you won’t notice the minimal difference in light output until the battery power gets really low.

One of the better features of the Gladius is the anti-roll collar. Instead of having an octagonal shaped bezel to keep the light from rolling, the Gladius has a raised finger groove collar to prevent it from rolling and to aid in operation of the light. I found that this works very well on inclines such as a car hood, a roof, etc. It even functioned well on a wheel chair ramp.

Let’s take a look at the features of the Gladius. First, the bezel/lamp unit is factory sealed. This ensures that the unit is watertight and that it produces a bright focused beam of light. The lens can be cleaned with a damp cloth and, if you notice it is cracked or the lamp is not functioning, return the entire light to the factory for repair.

Also unique to the Gladius are the grasping grooves and flats. Many other lights use some texturing of the battery barrel portion of the light, but under wet or icy conditions these are moderately functional at best. The flats also allow the operator to get a better grasp when using the Rogers Syringe technique with a firearm.

It should be noted that the Gladius will secure into one-inch mounts for fastening the light to a weapon. The flats on the barrel do not affect the fit of the light into the rings.

What truly sets the Gladius apart from other lights is its three-mode switch. By rotating the on/off button’s housing, the light performs differently. It can be constant on, intermittent on, or a strobe light. Yes, this is a disorienting strobe like the ones on your cruiser. And from experience, I can tell you it works; I was the test dummy for a Gladius demonstration.

Overall I was very impressed with the Gladius. It has been aptly called a multi-purpose tactical illumination tool. The Gladius offers bright light for searching, a strobe for disorienting a perp, and it’s compact but it can be used as an impact weapon of last resort. It’s an excellent police flashlight.

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.