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:
- Pelican Flashlight 1910 single AAA 72 Lumens… in one AAA battery.
- Pelican 1920 LED Flashlight, Black 2xAAA, 67 lumen on high, longer run time
5.11 Tactical TMT PLx Penlight 2xAAA, Good switch, 90 lumens
- Streamlight 88049 ProTac 1AAA 70 Lumens. One AAA battery
- Streamlight Protac Tactical Flashlight 2AA Had since 2011, 2 AA batteries. 155 Lumens, strobe
- Streamlight – Duel Fuel Protac 1L – CR123 or AA, 350 lumens on high. My current EDC.
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.