Remember When 60 Lumens Was Enough?

This won’t be a long winded post, like they usually are. Someone recently asked what flashlight I carry, because he was getting tired of having a 6 inch roll of quarters sized Surefire G2X Tactical in his pocket every day. I gave him a quick answer, but it got me thinking about what we gun-totin’ parents and average folks need in a flashlight.

My training in flashlight use consists of short modules in several pistol classes and one where flashlight technique was a huge portion. Shivworks A.M.I.S. (a must take), Armed Dynamics Pistol 1, Paul Gomez and Claude Werner impromptu tutorials and a few local classes. Not a lot, but probably enough for my needs. That and a lot of home practice. So turn back now if that’s not enough for me to have an opinion.

LED flashlights have spoiled us. Remember when 60 lumens in a xenon G2 was plenty for a defensive light?  It needed 2 CR123’s and is the same size as the G2X noted above. It would allow us to identify threats, light our sights, and fill the room with enough light for what we needed…60 lumens.

We live in a golden age of LED technology as they get smaller and brighter and cheaper. The tactical/LEO/MIL guys, rightly so, are screaming they want “All The Lumenz!!!”. When I’m out with my family, I’m not that guy. I just need enough lumens.

My needs in a handheld:

  • Ability for momentary on with a tail button
  • Bright enough to identify people/critters/trip hazards/dropped keys at 15 yards or so. Let’s say 50-100 lumens
  • Bright enough to identify what’s in someone’s hands at 5 yards or so
  • Size envelope that doesn’t require me to wear the baggy 5.11 style pants to fit the light in my pocket. My wife likes me in jeans. This matters.
  • Readily available batteries, since it’s also getting used in a utility role.
  • Price point less than $50, because I lose pocket lights like it’s my job.

That’s pretty much it.

Here’s some lights that I have bought and carried in the last few years:

All I’m saying is, let’s remember what we need and keep the context clear. I need to be willing to carry my light first and foremost. Are there gripes with the above lights? Yes of course. I wish they’d be single mode, momentary push/twist on. But, I don’t want to have to wear suspenders to keep my pants up with my every day carry stuff, so I make due. 60 lumens used to be enough. For my current needs, it still works just fine. Your mileage may vary.

10 thoughts on “Remember When 60 Lumens Was Enough?”

  1. It isn’t always the total output of a flashlight that’s important. It’s the ambient light levels and what we are adjusted to. I’ve been told that for most people in the city and suburbs we are never truly and completely in night vision. For most of us we just need a little more light to decide threat or no-threat.

    See more about night vision at my shamelessly self-promoting blog:

  2. I have no problem carrying my P3x fury with Prometheus pocket clip in the back pocket of my jeans. You can use technique to reduce backsplash. You can’t make a less-lumened light brighter.

    1. I’m not worried about blinding myself with too many lumens. I know of a cop who broke the end of his femur falling on this back pocket light in training. Like a small of the back gun, an unnecessary risk ( for me).

  3. I keep
    A Streamlight next to my wallet( can’t tell you what model not it’s rubber coated and longer than my hand is wide. I figure if will slow down a pick-Pocket or work as an impact tool in the NPE I wofk in.

  4. I have been using 5.11 EDC lights for work and everything. $20, 2 AAA, and it’s yellow so I have SOME CHANCE of finding it when I drop it. Tied one inside the doorjam of my garbage truck because the fuel gauge has been INOP for YEARS. Use another for general pre-trip needs on dark mornings. Still others are EDC for Daddy Duty like bed checks, changing daipers in any clime and place, and not stepping on Legos or dog shite in bare feet. A flashlight needs to be comfortable in pocket, hand, AND MOUTH…

    1. I love the 5.11 AAA lights. Next time you lose one and need a replacement, give the Pelican 1920 and 1910 lights a try. They are a little bit brighter, and share all the size characteristics of the 5.11 lights. Cheers!

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