Thursday, May 17, 2012

Flashlights a Plenty

I own Surefire flashlights, Streamlights, Maglites, Rayovacs, and even an iNova.  Each has its purpose and is good at what it does, reliably.  Having sold outdoor gear for so long, I've had plenty of opportunity to play with various ingeniously designed and expensive flashlights, including weapon-lights.  I've determined a few generalities about my favorite brands:

Maglite: Tough, reliable, easily fixable. For head-knockers, they can't be beat. They do the beating. Keep one 3 D-cell LED model in your car, easily reachable. Keep another by the nightstand as a combination flashlight and billy club.

Rayovac: These excel as camping lights and kid lights, as they are reliable, reasonably tough, and cheap! If your kid exits the woods without it, or you drop it in the river ... oh well. Get another one. They're available almost everywhere.

Streamlight: Probably the best overall brand of flashlight, in my book. These lights get the job done and then some, for much less mu la than the competition. There are so many models of Streamlight that it's hard to know where to begin looking.  Luckily, they have an excellent product filter on their website to help you pick the perfect light for your needs.

Surefire: The big dogs of the tactical light world. Indeed, they make fantastic products that are super bright and tough as anvils. They also charge like they were selling the last piece of bread on earth. A $400 handheld flashlight? Yes, I've sold two of them over the years. The M6 Guardian is capable of putting the Bat Signal on a cloud with a light the size of a cucumber. Truly amazing. Their more "reasonable" priced offering are the Nitrolon line, which are the same thing as their standard aluminum bodied lights but made from high grade plastic. Parts are interchangeable.

Surefire weaponlights are almost works of art. Brutally tough, battle tested works of art. There is a famous story of a soldier walking down a roadside at night in Iraq, who was hit by an IED. He lost part of his leg. His M4 Carbine was found shattered, non-functioning, and lying in the ditch nearby. They found the black rifle, at night, because the Surefire light mounted to the quadrail forend was still on.


  1. recommend me a cheapish one for putting on my new Ruger p95?

  2. Not sure how cheap you mean, but cheap"ish" and really great is the Streamlite TLR-3 compact weaponlite that should work nicely. It's around $80-90. The best for a nightstand gunlite is the Streamlite TLR-1S, with its strobe feature that confuses the pupils and renders anyone who gets it in the face temporarily blind and mentally addled. It's around $110 last I looked. I'll be doing a post soon that will look at these and other weaponlites. Those are my favorite for close range though.

  3. holy crap, cheapish is $80? can you just get a mount or something and then put your own flashlight in it? was thinking less than $30. also, after checking out some Ruger forums on holsters and such, one holster a lot of folks recommended was a walmart holster made for a airsoft pistol that costs $7 and fits the gun perfect. so i went and bought one and i wouldn't say it is a perfect fit, but it fits pretty nice and has a place for the extra mag.

    1. Check out my Weaponlight Primer ( for more details on pistol mounted lights.

      I'll get into holsters before long, but I should probably talk about guns and bullets again first. I'm starting to feel like I'm writing a flashlight blog. lol

  4. Flashlights is a very important part of your kit. I've seen cheaper lights break and fail under hard use and ruin trips.
    I'll invest my money in a quality product that I know is bomb proof and will work every time I need it.
    People should be less worried about cost and more worried about value.

    I own Armytek Predator. It filled all my needs. Also I really like using CR123A batteries for it. I decided on a power source that was both economical and easy to find.

    1. Good choice. And in general I agree about cost versus value, with one caveat: at some point, variable by the individual, cost becomes an issue. Finding anything that is the best value for the money you have available to spend is the trick to being happy with your purchase. Consider cars. Would a Porsche 911 be a good choice as a reliable, always works, excellent performing sports car? Yes! Can I afford to buy one? No! ;)


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