B5 Systems

Archive for the ‘Lights’ Category

What Makes a Good Tactical Flashlight?

Saturday, September 24th, 2022

“Tactical” is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days, used for everything from pens to bacon. In this context though, we mean a light that’s designed specifically for use in high-stress situations and demanding environments, both with and without a firearm.

First and foremost, it needs to produce enough light. There’s a great deal of debate about what constitutes “enough” light, but we can comfortably say a tactical light needs to output at least 300 lumens on its highest setting.

Next, we want to consider the secondary attributes of the beam. The most common metric for this is candela. While lumens measure the total amount of light a flashlight creates, candela measures how much of that light is focused in a single direction. A higher candela means a more focused beam with higher intensity. A light with very high lumens but very low candela is basically going to be a lantern rather than a spotlight.

Candela often gets simplified into “flood” and “throw.” Flood describes a flashlight’s ability to light up a wide area, while throw speaks to how well it can illuminate objects far away.

In a good handheld tactical flashlight, we want a combination of the two. Good flood is important, because you may not know exactly where the suspected threat is, but you also want your light to be able to illuminate objects and figures from a good distance.

After a good beam, we want to look at the control scheme. A tactical flashlight needs to be usable with a pistol, so one-handed operation is important. A push-button tail switch is usually best.

Most firearm/flashlight techniques are designed around flashlights with tail switches, so low-light training will be easier if you’re starting with a tail switch light. There are a few exceptions, though, so a switch located somewhere on the body is not necessarily a deal-breaker if it’s well designed.

Regardless of the activation system, a tactical flashlight must be capable of going straight to high output with a single button press. There’s no time for cycling through modes when you’re trying to decide if a shadow in the darkness is a threat or not.

Other tactical features like crenelated bezels or shielded switches are nice to have, but largely unnecessary. A crenelated bezel can improve the flashlight’s performance as an impact weapon or glass breaker, but that’s not the primary purpose of a tactical flashlight.

Shielded switches, especially tail switches, are convenient in that they make the flashlight less likely to activate unintentionally. Shielded tail caps can make a light easier to balance pointed straight up, which is nice if you need room-wide light for an extended period, such as during a power outage. But again, that’s not the primary purpose of a tactical light, so we file that under convenient rather than necessary.

With all that in mind, let’s look at a few of the most popular tactical lights on the market.

Streamlight ProTac 2L-X

The Streamlight ProTac 2L-X won’t break the bank, but it’s a great example of all the features we look for in a tactical flashlight. It has a full aluminum body and can put out up to 500 lumens with 6,800 max candela. That’s a fairly low candela number for a tactical flashlight, so the ProTac 2L-X is going to have a lot of flood, perfect for an urban or suburban environment. If you want to be able to use your tactical flashlight to light up pastures, though, you may want to opt for one with more throw.

The switch is programmable with several different modes but comes from the factory in a high/strobe/low configuration.

This is good for tactical use, as it allows you to get straight to high output, but users would be wise to practice with it a bit. It’s easy to mash the button too hard and get constant-on when you wanted momentary, especially when you’re swimming in adrenaline.

It’s a multi-fuel light, so you can use your choice of disposable CR123A batteries or a rechargeable 18650. The bezel is lightly crenelated—enough to protect the light and make it effective as an impact weapon or maybe even as a glass breaker, but so much as to chew through your pocket. The tail switch is shielded to help discourage accidental discharge, but not quite enough to allow it to tail stand effectively.

At over five inches long, it’s what we would consider “full-size” for this kind of flashlight: anything larger wouldn’t really fit in a standard pocket and would be more at home on a belt. As such, it’s small enough for everyday carry, but most users are going to notice the extra weight and bulk in their pocket.

SureFire EDCL1-T

For a more pocket-friendly light, we recommend looking at the SureFire EDCL1-T.

The EDCL1-T offers many of the same features of full-size tactical lights, just in a smaller package. It outputs 500 lumens at high and an unobtrusive 5 lumens on its low setting. At 7,600 candela, it’s mostly focused on flood rather than throw, but with 500 lumens it will still reach out far enough for most applications.

It’s also got low-profile crenelation around the bezel but doesn’t feature any significant tail switch shrouding and won’t be able to stand upright on its tail. Not that this is a big deal; it’s a purpose-driven tactical light.

This is most evident in its switch design, which is very well thought-out. A light press activates the low setting, outputting 5 lumens, while a hard press gives you the full 500. This is perfect for high-stress use; just mash the button and see what’s out there. Both options are momentary, so there’s no chance of accidentally hitting constant-on.

Constant-on with this light is achieved by activating the desired mode and then twisting the bezel.

Sadly, the EDCL1-T is not compatible with rechargeable 18350 batteries; it runs on a single CR123A, with no dual-fuel function.

Modlite Systems PLHv2

The Modlite PLHv2 is the most powerful light on our list, kicking out a whopping 1350 lumens: no low mode, no high mode. The beam is potent as well, packing 54,000 candela.

The Modlite is deceptively simple in design; it looks basic, with no crenelations around the head or tail. The tail switch is fully shrouded though, recessed into the body of the light to prevent accidental activation. This full recess also allows the light to stand on the tail cap. The clicky tail switch works similarly to many of the others, offering momentary activation with a light press or constant-on with a full press.

To achieve its prodigious output level, the PLHv2 runs exclusively on 18650 or 18350 rechargeable batteries, depending on the body size you choose. It does not accept CR123A batteries at all; in fact, Modlite states that CR123 lithium batteries can explode if used in Modlite flashlights. Modlite does, however, offer a bundle with the handheld light and an appropriate 18650/18350 battery and charger, so you have nothing to worry about.

Lastly, because of Modlite’s design, popularity, and range of models, their flashlights enjoy a wider range of aftermarket accessories than most on this list. Heads, switches, pocket clips, retention rings; if they make it for a handheld flashlight, they make it for a Modlite. This gives Modlite a much higher range of available customization than the other lights.

The (Tactical) Light at the End of the Tunnel

There you have it: three tactical flashlights for your consideration, from budget to bespoke. Each has its own pros and cons and serves a particular use case. Like handguns, pocket knives, and most other tools, some will serve your individual needs better than others, but the most important thing is to have one on you when you need it.

Whether it’s telling if that thing rummaging through your garbage is a rabid raccoon or the neighbor’s cat, or identifying a figure lurking in an alleyway, a tactical flashlight gives you options a weapon light simply can’t.

New Dual Spectrum Lights from Echo Arms

Tuesday, September 20th, 2022

Echo Arms has launched two versions of a dual spectrum weapon light.  The light is designed to provide a space and weight efficient way to allow the use of a compact 18350 powered white light head such as the Modlite OKW or PLHv2 combined with an infrared illuminator head such as the Modlite IR or BE Meyers KIJI.  Both versions utilize an M-LOK footprint, Surefire Scout compatible tail switches and allow simultaneous use and control of each light.  The units are ideal for rifles with clip on night vision using a BE Meyers KIJI for long range illumination.

Features:

• MIL-A-8625, Type III, Class 2 Black Anodize
• Blunt Start Threads to help prevent cross threading
• Low Vis Branding
• High Visibility High Temp O-Rings rated to 400? F are easy to see if they are damaged or missing compared to black
• Allows simultaneous mounting and usage of 2 flashlight heads
• Allows mounting on all MLOK interface devices
• Includes low profile T25 Torx hardware
• Weight: 2.0oz
• Dimensions: 1.27” x 2.35” x 2.07”

Available at www.echoarms.com, Modlite,  and Weapon  Outfitters.

B.E. Meyers & Co. Exhibiting at Booth #24 at Maneuver Warfighter Expo 2022

Wednesday, September 7th, 2022

September 7, 2022 (Redmond, WA) – B.E. Meyers & Co., Inc., a manufacturer of optoelectronics and advanced photonics for the defense and aerospace industries will be exhibiting at the Maneuver Warfighter Conference, on September 1315, booth #24 at the McGinnis-Wickam Hall, Fort Benning, GA.

B.E. Meyers & Co. will be showcasing the MAWL®-X1, a United States Department of Defense specific variant recently highlighted at Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment (AEWE). Other products on display will include the PEO Soldier fielded BOARS®-M2, (NSN)1240-01-682-8650, a modular, low-profile optics and accessory mount with true return-to-zero capability.

New products on display will include the IZLID ULTRA®, the latest addition to the IZLID series of IR and SWIR pointers and illuminators, and the KIJI, a modular VCSEL-based infrared laser illuminator designed for use with weapon systems, spotting scopes, helmet mounted navigation, or any handheld applications.

To schedule a meeting with a member of the B.E. Meyers & Co. team at Maneuver Warfighter Expo, please contact [email protected]. For more information about B.E. Meyers & Co. products, visit www.bemeyers.com 

The Big Gear Show 22 – Princeton Tec

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

Coming 1st quarter 23, a new version of the VIZZ headlamp from Princeton Tec called the RGB.

Powered by 3 AAA batteries, you’ll get up to 90 hours of light at up to 550 lumens in white, red, blue and green hues.

TLR7A Emissary Paddle Shifter

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

The Emissary Paddle shifter is a drop in replacement for the activation paddles on a Streamlight TLR7A, TLR7 Sub, TLR8A, TLR9 or TLR10 Weapon light.

It is designed to bring the activation paddle index point closer to the users thumb when using a natural thumbs forward grip position therefore making it easier to reach and more intuitive to activate. This gives the user more control over the pistol due to a more consistent and secure grip compared to a grip when using the stock activation paddles. The main activation surface is designed to be located in an optimum position right underneath the frame towards the front of the trigger guard.

The TLR7A Paddle Shifter is designed to be holster compatible. 

Standard and extended models are available in both two or four pack options.

emissarydevelopment.com

BIFROST GEAR Announces the New “Razorback” USB Rechargeable Tactical Helmet Strobe Marker Light

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

The Bifrost Gear Razorback rechargeable tactical helmet light was designed as a rugged, no-nonsense illumination marker device for unit identification or emergency signaling. Engineered to be the ideal size for ground ops while being less than half the weight of the competition, the Bifrost Gear Razorback is the perfect addition to your helmet loadout.

Features:

• Three operation modes – Constant-on, Strobing, and Distress Signal
• Compact design, 89x35x15mm
• 4x high visibility green LED
• Weighs less than 1 ounce
• USB rechargeable
• Up to 8 hours run time
• IP67 Waterproof
• Snag-free design

Currently available with green LED, additional LED colors coming soon.

Dealer inquiries and Government orders welcome

bifrostgear.com/products/razorback-rechargeable-tactical-helmet-light

NiteIze – Radiant Rechargeable Pen Light

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

The Radiant pen light from Night Ize is USB-rechargeable, offering 235 lumens on high (1:45) and 11 lumens on low (12:00), as well as waterproof to 1 meter (IPX7) and drop-proof to 1 meter.

niteize.com/radiant-rechargeable-pen-light

SOFIC 22 – Princeton-Tec

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Subsequent to the Gentex RAILINK announcement, Princeton-Tec has released their RAILINK Switch MPLS light which is designed to interface specifically with the RAILINK node, using parasitic power supplied by the RAILINK battery pack.

Because there are no batteries, it weighs just 13 grams and offers Red/IR LEDs with a simple switching system.

princetontec.com/product/switch-railink