What's so great about a tactical flashlight?
It might not seem immediately apparent why you want to put down $70, $80, $90, $100+ into a flashlight. It's like, "What's so great about a flashlight that it would demand that kind of money?" I want to give you, what are in my opinion, the five best things about tactical flashlights, the five things that to me are just in the broadest sense the biggest selling point of a tactical flashlight, the most urgent and poignant reasons why somebody should have one or someone should own one and if not have them with them at all times, have it somewhere nearby or in the house at all times because a tactical flashlight can really improve your life.
I'm going to start with number one and work backwards. The number one reason that you should have a flashlight, the number one best thing about a tactical flashlight, and not everyone is actually going to agree with me on this I think, some people will say it's my number two, but the number one reason to me to have a flashlight is toughness. Tactical flashlights are very, very tough. That is the number one thing that gets the tactical moniker in there. Let's say there's a storm, power outage, you're listening to the radio trying to get updates. As a kid, it was common for my parents the usher the family into the closet and be huddling around a radio figuring out what was going on until things were settled. We always had a flashlight. When I think back to those flashlights, I almost have to laugh. These lights were big, bulky, and made of cheap plastic. If at any time we had dropped those lights on any kind of hardwood or tile, it would have broken on the floor. That would have been the end of the flashlight, gone.
The great thing about tactical lights, the first great thing about tactical lights to me, is that it is a lot tougher to break a tactical light. Most are impact resistant up to about a meter, which is three feet in American. You're walking along with it. You're holding it just down by your waist, and something happens. It slips out of your hand, not likely normally because normally these have great slip-resistant textures, but let's say it does and it hits right on the concrete. 99% of the time, it will still work. There won't even be much in the way of apparent damage except for maybe a small chip somewhere.
Tactical flashlights are built to absolutely withstand damage, and this makes them much more dependable in any kind of emergency situation. If you for some reason need a flashlight that moment, if your power's going out, and anything happens that would normally cause damage to a flashlight, a tactical flashlight will keep going. If you have one stowed around for emergencies, why not have a flashlight that's not easily going to crack or just shatter with a hard enough impact? Definitely to me, that is number one reason that tactical flashlights are great.
Number two, this is something that I think a lot of other people might say should be number one. They'd have a good argument, I bet. It's brightness. Tactical flashlights these days use extremely powerful LEDs instead of the old incandescent bulbs. What this means is that we've got a lot more light coming out of these flashlights than ever before. Most people know about the brand Maglite, the original promoter of the idea of a super tough flashlight, and they also think of these as being very bright. The original Maglites have nothing on today's tactical flashlight market. A typical flashlight that you get at the grocery store, something just you pick up. It's just in some random utility shelf, and you've got something that's going to be about 15 lumens, 20 lumens maybe. My grocery store, I see them for 12. That's something that's going to be advertised as being pretty bright. Whoa.
The truth is that's very unimpressive compared to today's lights. We've got tactical flashlights typically at 700 to 1,000 lumens at that point. Look at that. They're typically 100 times brighter or in that neighborhood, 100 times brighter than your regular flashlight. That's crazy. You have these lights that they're going down ... You go out in your street and you shine it and it'll go all the way down your street and your neighborhood. We're talking about lights with beam throw that goes several football fields, the lights with better flood. These are tactical lights that are going to light up definitely interior environments as if it's daytime.
This sort of visibility that you get with a tactical flashlight is in a whole new tier than what you find with just a regular flashlight. It's the difference between walking through a horror movie with a jittery, small circle of light, giving you some visibility on select spots a little bit at a time and being in control of the situation. That's basically what buying a tool is for. It's to give you more control over whatever situation it is you're facing. For a flashlight, whose one purpose is to illuminate, I can't imagine why you wouldn't want that much more control if you're going to take the time to buy one.
The number three reason that I think tactical flashlights are great is the size. I brought up the old Maglites just now. One of the well known things about Maglites is they are very big. I would actually say for some people this is part of the attraction of the Maglite. Not only is it super tough, as I mentioned, but it's big so you can hit people with it, and that way it's a self defense item. I'm going to come back to the idea of self defense in a bit, but with today's tactical lights, what's great is tat a Maglite, you can't exactly hook that onto your belt or slip it into your pocket. It's not very transportable.
With modern tactical lights, you have lights no longer than the length of your hand. These lights are very transportable. There's a term for them in the flashlight industry, which is everyday carry, and these are lights, which it is easy to simply to pocket and take with you on your day. Throw them in your truck if you don't need them, whatever your destination is. If you're going camping, it's very easy to pack them up in a bag with whatever other items that you need. The size of today's tactical lights makes them a very attractive option, and when you combine that with how tough and how bright they are, it's incredible that they can fit all of those into one little package, but I guess that's the age of technological miracles that we're living in.
Number four is safety because tactical flashlights really can make you more safe and more secure. Some of them have accessories, such as new bezels, better, spikier bezels that make them a better weapon so they can be used for in a self defense situation because these lights are so tough, they can hold up to the shock of actually being struck against another person and actually do some damage, but more significantly are the ways that the beam itself is utilized for security and for safety purposes. It's pretty much standard at this point that all tactical LED flashlights come with a strobe function. It's a function where the light flashes on and off very quickly in a way that disorients the brain. If someone doesn't see it coming, it will absolutely surprise them, hurt their eyes, buy you time. It's a fantastic tool in a self defense situation, and as I understand it, more and more police are actually turning to the strobe function for nonlethal ways of subduing suspects. Good enough for the police, probably good enough for you.
Also these lights typically have an SOS function. This is really important. You'll turn it on, and it'll start blinking SOS in Morse code at 900, 1,000, 1,200 lumens, and that is a fantastic way to signal for help. If you're an outdoorsman, you get yourself into a jam, this is something that could really help you to signal to people very far away that you're in need of assistance if you do not have any other way to communicate. That's absolutely everything that you should consider when you're looking at the benefits of tactical lights.
The last thing I want to tell you, the number five reason why tactical flashlights are a great value, they just look cool. That's not actually a very functional reason, but it's true. They just look cool. You mount them on your rifle or you have them just sitting around and it's a cool-looking device, futuristic a little bit. Normally, they come in all black. You just look at it, you're like, "Aw, man. This is kind of a, kind of a neat-looking thing." Just to be totally honest, that is definitely another reason that that factors in. It's just why not? Why not have something that just looks cool? I can list that for a reason. That's a fun reason and legitimate.
Those are the five reasons that I see tactical flashlights as being a great option for just about everybody.